With the current Mindfulness in Dance Teaching course underway I have been reflecting on a personal retreat I spent recently at Samye Ling Tibetan Buddhist Monastery and Centre for World Peace and Health on the banks of the river Esk in Scotland. Although this is a Buddhist Monastery, it is not necessary to be Buddhist or even religious in order to visit or stay at this peaceful place. I loved being close to the water and this lovely little beach with its colourful pebbles.
The photographs in this article are ones I took during my retreat. Although it was still quite wintry weather there were some dry and bright patches of weather too. You can see from the photos that there is still some snow lying on the banks of the river and pond beneath the bridge.
During my retreat I spent time joining silent meditations as well as spending time by the river enjoying some mindful moments doing mindful breathing and movement. Breathing in fresh, clean air and doing some early morning mindful movement is a great way to start the day.
Several times during my retreat I walked across the wooden bridge to the river where I spent a little time sitting on a stone enjoying a mindful moment or two in meditation. Even just a few mindful moments here and there offers benefits. I certainly felt it was beneficial doing some little and often meditation.
Doing little and often mindfulness is something that we can do as dance teachers for our own wellbeing. Most dance teachers are very busy people so it is not always easy finding time to switch off and relax. But once you are into the habit of spending some mindful moments for you then you should feel the benefit. In the Mindfulness in Dance Teaching course we explore ways of bringing some principles of mindfulness into our dance teaching practice. This course is not a strictly mindfulness course. Instead it explores ways of teaching dance that incorporate aspects of mindfulness such as noticing, non-judgemental observing and mindfulness in action. Exploring non-judgemental observing can be challenging for dance teachers as a lot of dance teaching can be about being judgemental. Teachers who have already taken this course report finding this aspect particularly challenging but also a very useful addition to their dance teaching toolkit.
You can read more about Mindfulness in Dance Teaching in an article posted earlier on this site. Meanwhile I am looking forward to another stay at Samye Ling’s in the not too distant future.