Teaching Meditation could just be one of the world’s most stress-free career options. Imagine the job description, “should be able to sit silently for extended periods of time without doing or thinking anything. Ability to view thoughts as clouds floating across sky an advantage”.
Meditation has been used to calm and focus the mind since the year dot. In the ‘60s it was adopted by spiritual seekers in the West as a route to spiritual growth. Now a raft of scientific studies is revealing ever more benefits for meditators – from staving off dementia to having a happier social life. Hardly surprising that its popularity is booming worldwide.
Bristol has many excellent meditation schools teaching meditation for individual practice – Buddhist and Transcendental as well as Mindfulness. Now a secular training centre for meditation teachers has just opened in Clifton covering all the main techniques. The British School of Meditation train experienced meditators to teach their skills in a course professionally accredited by the Open College Network South West Region, trading as AptEd, as well as being recognised by the Government agency OFQUAL.
The training centre is headed by Bristol born Sarah Presley who discovered the benefits of meditation while recovering from M.E. She used mantra meditation daily, repeating the words, ”happy, healthy, and strong”, especially when feeling low about her tired body and fuzzy mind. Her mind became clearer, her ME ended and by 2002 she was working again as a holistic therapist and teacher.
For almost a year Sarah taught at a secondary school for children with a broad range of physical and emotional problems from ADHD to autism. The teachers were surprised by how well the children responded to her 1-2-1 sessions. Sarah taught each child breath, visualisation, and mantra techniques over five sessions. Posters around the school reminded everyone to take a “calm breath” when stressed.
Sarah’s Quick De-Stress Technique
“A good way to calm down is to tune into your senses. Take a moment to notice any smells in the room – what do you notice about those smells? Stand still and listen to all the sounds you can hear – what can you hear? If you do this this for each of your senses you will come back into the present moment.”
The British School of Meditation course teaches the many benefits of meditation, as well as the scientific evidence to support them. It also covers different types and techniques and how to develop a meditation business. This is taught in two blocks of two and a half days supported by fifty hours of written work. You don’t need to sit in full lotus but they will check your meditation ‘flight hours’ to ensure you have a solid foundation of practice. The course aims to develop each students individual style within a broad educational framework. Each course intake is around ten students and the next Bristol course starts mid July. See www.teaching-meditation.co.uk
If you would like to learn to meditate, Sarah will be running her next 5 week Beginners Meditation course, starting on the 10th June. See www.sarahpresley.co.uk
More Meditation Tips from Sarah
Tip no.1: Meditation isn’t all about sitting crossed legged and chanting “Om”! Nor is it about silencing the mind too. Meditation can be done at any time or anywhere. Meditation is about being aware of what you are doing when you are doing it. And to help us to bring this awareness, we use our breath or counting or even positive words (mantra) to bring about this focus. We can even bring our focus to different parts of the body too.
Tip no. 2: What colour do you associate with the word calm? Imagine you are breathing in this colour into your body and mind with each breath. And feel your body and mind starting to calm with each breath.
Tip no. 3: When faced with a situation that can cause you to feel stressed, bring a few breaths to focus on each of the following parts of your body. Start with C for Chest, then A for Arms, then L for Legs and M for Mind. You have just spelt out the word CALM with your breath.
Tip no. 4: Meditation does not have to take up lots of time. Why not take a few mindful breaths at regular times during the day? Perhaps you could take few fully present breaths before checking your emails? Or before you answer your phone or before your next meeting.