Mindfulness expert Sybille Gebhardt: Keep your mind & body happy.
Sybille Gebhardt is an experienced naturopath, yoga teacher and mindfulness expert. She has recently launched the ‘The Light Programme’ which aims to cultivate mindfulness in the workplace, teaching employees about the benefits of incorporating mindfulness practice into their work life, maintaining optimal posture and how to make healthy food choices.
We caught up with Sybille to find out more about why we should all be practicing mindfulness and her top tips for a healthy mind.
What is mindulness and why do we need to practice it?
Humans have evolved left and right brains to regulate active and passive behavior. These behaviours need to be in balance in order for us to experience good mental and physical health.
The more our thinking is polarised towards left-brain thinking (which is predominantly analytical, task-orientated, and controlling), the more chronically unhealthy and unhappy we will become. We feel pressured by time and we feel alone rather than part of a community. This over-stimulation of left-brain activity means people now often spend more than 50% of their time in an internal world of thoughts, worries, planning and rumination. We are missing out on actually experiencing our lives as they happen.
In order to readdress the balance, we need to take proactive steps to include more right brain passive attitudes and activities in our daily lives. Passive behaviours give the body and mind an opportunity to decompress, to rest, to digest properly, to assimilate information, to process and to be present.
Mindfulness practice helps us to see more clearly the patterns of the mind and teaches us how we can stay in or come back to the present moment. The outcome of incorporating mindfulness into our daily lives means we are better able to spend time in the right brain, where tensions leave the body, digestion is able to happen properly and the whole person is able to achieve a state of health.
What are the benefits of practicing mindfulness?
Learning to relax the mind through mindfulness can help ease tensions in the body. Letting go of your past fears and future worries and learning to concentrate on sitting comfortably with the present moment can help your outlook on life.
Benefits of being mindful include:
- Create symmetry in the body
- Relieve chronic muscle contractions
- Decompression – grow an inch (a person will be shorter as a result of poor posture)
- Improved breathing
- Improved digestion
- Improved brain function
Mindfulness is best incorporated into everyday tasks. Observe yourself performing these tasks and stay in the present, for example sensing the smell of your food, the texture, the temperature and the taste. As soon as you notice that you have drifted off into thought while eating, you’ll already have achieved the first step to mindfulness – which is noticing that you are in thought rather than in the present moment.
Top 5 tips for getting started:
- Don’t worry if you keep drifting off, just keep practicing. The stiffest muscle is between our ears (!) and it is the hardest to train.
- Practice being mindful at least once per day.
- Fuelling the body with foods which help stimulate right brain activity - the creative 'being not doing' state can help you be more present. Green is the key here. Upping your intake of green fruits and vegetables, quitting sugar and caffeine and drinking plenty of water will have you feeling calm.
- Find something you love doing such as dancing, listening to music or yoga to switch off daily from the stresses and active behaviours of life.
- Come to 'The Light Programme' to learn how you can incorporate mindfulness into your personal schedule.
Sybille Gebhardt runs ‘The Light Programme’ at The Light Centre, Moorgate. She offers a naturopathic clinic, 1:1 yoga sessions and several yoga classes. The Light Centre opened in 2013 and is one of London's leading yoga centres. Sybille also hosts cooking courses and urban detox retreats in London and runs the ‘Model Look Bootcamp’ for London’s Elite Model Agency. She has released her own ‘Total Body Cleanse Yoga’ DVD.
For more information please visit www.sybille.co.uk.