Mindfulness is a word is a buzz word that we regularly hear being bandied about, but there's a good chance (like me) that you don't know what it *really* means. As a yoga teacher I have a sitting sequence, a meditation, at the end of my practice and as a Mum of two monkeys, I'm kept in the moment pretty much all of the the time! But I am actually Mindful? And what exactly is that anyway?
In order to find out, I turned to Kasia Olszko, a Mindfulness and Well Being Coach, based here in Barcelona and put to her some obvious questions. So, if you want to know how mindfulness differs from meditation, if you can fit mindfulness into a hectic schedule with kids and which Mindful Apps an expert uses, then this is the blog for you.
1. Hello there, firstly could you introduce yourself...
Hi, my name is Kasia Olszko (enjoy working out how to pronounce it! ) and I am originally from Warsaw, Poland but moved to London when I was 16 to study at an amazing musical theatre school, Urdang Academy. I started performing professionally at the age 14 and carried on acting for several years until I switched to the other side of the camera and became a TV producer. In the last few years I knew there would be a shift in my life, I could feel I was growing to focus on something new. I’ve been always focused on personal growth, practiced yoga and meditation for many years and always wanted to help and support others so I decided to combine the three and I ‘ve set up Mindful Workshop. Part of my personal journey was relocating to Barcelona, which has always been my dream, with my boyfriend Toby (one and only) and 3 year old son Jasper (the light in my life). Part of my personal journey was relocating to Barcelona, which has always been my dream, with my boyfriend Toby (one and only) and 3 year old son Jasper (the light in my life).
2. Tell me a little bit about your role as a Mindfulness and Well Being Coach...
The big vision is to create a happier and healthier society. I believe self-discovery and open, non-judgemental awareness are superpowers which can help us create a happier life for ourselves and a better world for everyone to share. My role is to empower people to take care of their minds. Become free of stress, anxiety and restlessness. I believe the power is within us, sometimes we just need a map to find it. I am combing years of training as a dancer, actress and Mindfulness Based Awareness Coach (MBAC) to create powerful group and individual programs for my clients.
3 . So what exactly is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a mental skill; anyone can learn it. It is a way we perceive and experience life. It is a key to peace, happiness and wholeness. There are many ways to practice mindfulness, so everyone can find what works best for them but real change comes with repetition, you need to stick at it.
5. Does meditation differ from Mindfulness?
Meditation is one of the ways to practice Mindfulness. Mindfulness meditation is a particular type of meditation and it is different to other contemplative traditions. They key difference is that we are not trying to stop our thoughts and feelings, we simply observe them.
6. What would be your top piece of advice for busy parents trying fit mindfulness into their day?
Do a little but every day. 5 minutes per day is enough. You can also practice with your kids, they really get it.
5. Can you suggest one Mindful technique that people could do today?
Sure! Pick one thing that you will do today like driving a car, talking to a friend, cooking, washing your hair, walking to the shop, playing with your kid and focus 100% of your attention on it. Try not to think about anything else, instead focus on what you doing. Observe the world around you, really see it, focus on all bodily sensation, what can you hear, what can you smell, what can you sense and how does it make you feel? Don’t judge yourself or label, simply observe.
6. Do you have any favourite mindfulness or mediation coaches/ experts/ bloggers/ apps that you use or look to for inspiration?
I decided to do a virtual book shelve on my website as there are so many fantastic experts out there. You can check it out for inspiration here.
7. Finally, why do you think that Barcelona is a Mindful place to live?
Barcelona is connected to nature. It is full of beautiful architecture, history and heritage. People seem to take their time and not give in to the rat race. Spending time with family and friends is the top priority for many people here. All generations mix and coexist. Spaniards/Catalans love children and children are the best mindfulness teachers. Everyone wants to have fun and enjoy life.
If you want to learn more about Mindfulness, Kasia is running regular sessions on a Friday night at Happy Yoga in Poble Nou, 19:30h- 21h, from Feb onwards. Go check it out, I'll see you there 😊