Tessa Watt is a mindfulness teacher and consultant, running public courses and workshops in organisations since 2009. She is author of Introducing Mindfulness: A Practical Guide (Icon, 2012) and Mindful London (Virgin, forthcoming August 2014). Tessa is co-presenter of Be Mindful Online, the Mental Health Foundation’s online mindfulness course. In her earlier career she was a research fellow in History at Cambridge University, and a senior producer with BBC Radio and Music. She was a founder-director of Slow Down London, a project encouraging Londoners to appreciate life instead of rushing through it, and she led the Slow Down London festival in 2009 working with over 60 partner organisations across the city. Tessa teaches meditation at the London Shambhala Meditation Centre, where she has practiced for over 20 years, and is a qualified yoga teacher.
2 Minute Interview:
How does your workshop relate to being in the NOW?
Mindfulness is all about training ourselves to be in the Now. It is the key to being able to come back to the present. When we watch our minds, we start to see how much time we spend in the past or future, and it can be a bit shocking. We might see how we get trapped in unhelpful cycles of anxiety or depression. But the great news is that it is completely possible to retrain ourselves, and there are really simple techniques to do this. These have been around for thousands of years, and are now being shown by modern scientific research to be extremely effective. My workshop will give a taste of these techniques, using awareness of our body and senses as a way of being in the Now.
What are you most looking forward to doing within your slot at NOW?
We’ll work with simple sensory experiences like tasting and listening, which are common to everyone. But each person is different and will discover different things in the same experience. So I’m looking forward to meeting the participants and sharing what they find interesting or challenging as they go through the practices.
Any tips on how the audience can most benefit from your workshop?
Come with an open mind and willing to be very simple. Life these days is complicated and we want things to be ever faster, fancier and more entertaining. Mindfulness is about getting back to basics, retraining your mind and body to do one thing at a time and enjoy it fully. So come willing to try it out, and I will give you some ideas about how you can take it further if you’d like to.
At Deptford Lounge:
Mindfulness workshop: coming to your senses
Mindfulness is a training in being more present and aware in each moment, using ancient meditation techniques in an entirely secular context. It’s increasingly recognised by the international scientific community as an effective approach for reducing stress and anxiety, and increasing wellbeing. Tessa will give an introduction to mindfulness and lead a few simple practices which you can use in your daily life.
Anxiety happens when we get caught in mental chatter, which often goes round and round in circles. We spend our time worrying about the future or replaying scenes from the past, and miss the here and now. In this workshop we’ll discover how in each moment we can let go of these unhelpful mental habits by bringing awareness to our body and senses. We’ll use mindfulness of tasting, hearing, seeing and breathing as a way of coming to our senses and rediscovering enjoyment of the present moment.