Mind Your Body
training course in France 2018
About the project
Mind Your Body is a training course which gathered 26 youth workers of 8 different
European countries: France, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Macedonia, Poland, Italy, Romania and Estonia to
explore the topic of mindfulness through body based methods and creative approaches, while
experiencing how mindfulness can be helpful in personal and professional life and how can be used
in various contexts of youthwork.
Project took place in natural environment of village Ganties inFrance, nearby the city Toulouse;
18. - 28. September 2018. Venue and program activities are offering the
experience of deeper personal and social interactions and sense of belonging to community in rural
environment. This project aims to introduce mindfulness and equip youth workers with wide range
attractive, interactive, dynamic mindful methods which are suitable for working with young people
and flexible to implement in various youth projects and initiatives.
Introduced methods greatly contribute to prevention and solutions of challenges young people face nowadays: improve overallwellbeing, mental and physical health, restore harmony and balance, cultivate ability to skilfully meetstress, build confidence, foster relationships to self and others, clarify visions and help find directionin life, improve discipline, creativity, sense of entrepreneurship and therefore employability and activecitizenship, improve problem solving skills andraise self-awareness.
They cultivate qualities whichare so much needed in European society nowadays such as tolerance and compassion, conscious leadership, active citizenship, acceptance, self-respect and respect towards others which are at the same time corner stones for building sustainable peace.
Used methods are based on activities and practices which are rooted in various traditions and their history around the world. Many of them were essential to maintain sustainable communities and facilitate their processes and development. Their efficiency and benefits were proven by wide range of walks of life and recently as well by numerous scientific studies. They have been transformed in the way they are accessible and applicable for 21st century and its challenges.
Training program includes elements with such as:
meditation practice, authentic dance and conscious movement, improvisational theatre, Heroes
journey, creative drawing, preparing and implementing events and workshops etc. and various
techniques for reflection and evaluation will be employed such as storytelling, drawing etc. Overall
the sessions will use a non-formal and informal experiential education approach. Exercises will be
utilised which ensure a wide variety of learning styles and preferences are met. The TC will stimulate
creativity, communication and active participation.
The first half of the project is dedicated to
discovering and experiencing various methods, tools and techniques focused on mindfulness such
as active and static meditations, visualisation, active meditations, dance, theatre, art etc. which will
serve as base for the rest of the program activities. As the milestone in the middle of the project
participants will implement gained knowledge and skills into designing public events such as flash
mob, campaigns, acts of kindness etc. which will serve as well as tool to anchor their understanding
of mindful approach and transfer it into the massage for the public actions which will be implement on
the 5th day in the city of Toulouse. The second part of the project will offer more methods and space
for discovering how to transform and implement gained skills into the daily professional and personal
life. To try out and anchor gained skills and know-how in safe environment participants will prepare
and implement workshops for children in local school. They will be presented with various support
instruments and programmes especially Erasmus+ and will be guided through process of designing
their own projects, initiatives and follow-ups.
Through the composition of daily practices, activities, personal and social interactions, community service and environment participants will be guided in
developing greater compassion, sense of sharing and belonging to community and will be supported
in transformation these qualities into their personal and professional lives.
Official invitation and infopack to the project you can find here.
Few lines from participants
The Mind Your Body group, comprised of people from different European countries joining a Training Course on mindfulness, had a last-minute addition: me! :D
This past September in Southern France, I was lucky enough to be a participant of the formation coordinated by Andrej Dobes and hosted by SolAfrika.
I really did not know what to expect: the topic seemed overwhelming yet attractive... I couldn´t even manage to position the GPS in this tiny town lost in the French countryside... I dreaded the thought of sharing few toilets with many strangers... But I had already been part of such mobility programs, at a smaller and bigger scale, and like most things in life with a multi-cultural group, they turn out to be super exciting! So I stripped myself off prejudices, and strapped on my backpack towards the train station...
Funny thing upon arrival: on the way to the accommodation, we passed by a massive backyard with a group of people and kids, that were setting the table to have dinner. I said to my newly-found mates: "WOW, so nice to have such a big family!"; Little did I know that we were just parking a bit further down the road and those people were going to be MY family, for the next 10 days...! The atmosphere was already so relaxed since that evening; it was a pleasure to share anecdotes, experiences, work, mindful quotes, nature, hugs and (some) tears with the crazy bunch we composed.
The training course was managed respecting the group dynamics and the coordinating members were also joining the activities, which made the experience even more interesting. Many of my mates had their own expertise to share, and we were fortunate to get some "extra lessons" on diverse topics that still related to the axis of the program. The ten days flew by and we were craving for more... Thankfully the connections we made are long-lasting and will be reinforced in future projects!
As a final reflection, I can avow that these kind of proposals are definitely a stepping-stone for better communication and understanding amongst diverse cultures. They build inspiration and motivation to develop personal and professional projects, in this case, with the aim of "aligning body and mind"; in the pursue of objectives that are beyond the particular and can eventually become social... Non-formal and de-structured processes are a major source of creativity, so I am sure I have gained new insights after this journey, specially from the interaction of so many talented beings.
A big THANK YOU to all the people that make these initiatives possible and cheers to a better Europe via Erasmus+!
In the second half of September, 6 adventurers from Czechia and Slovakia joined a training course called Mind Your Body that took place in a small village Ganties in southern France. The project started on the 18th of September and people from 8 European countries were able to participate (France, Estonia, Italy, Macedonia, Czech Republic (+ Slovakia), Romania, Cyprus and Poland).
The objective of the project was to introduce basic mindfulness through body based methods and creative approaches, while experiencing how mindfulness can be helpful in personal and professional life.
The very first day, we got to know each other through joyful activities and created our own “Facebook profiles” on paper, where we could share what interests us and learn what interests others. We were introduced to the topic of mindfulness and in the evening, we had a French cultural night.
The next day was focused on our body. We danced and did a little meditation called “Body scan.” At night, we shared our national food and drinks with other countries.
On the third day, the topic was “Mind”. We did Tai-Chi, another meditation and after lunch we created our own journal. Then we went to Toulouse also known as “Pink city”, where we had a dinner and seen a Brass festival.
During the next days we were also having a picnic, swimming in a lake, doing yoga, meditating, acting and hiking in beautiful mountains.
On the day seven, we made a groups of two and three and were coming up with activities for local children in the age of 8-11. The next day, we formed bigger groups of seven and eight and did the activities with kids.
The project ended on Friday, 28th of September. Overall, the project was very well organised. The weather was nice, and we all agreed at the end that the project changed our lives for the better. Hereby, I’d like to say thank you to both organisations (EYCB and SOL Afrika) and the organizers for making this possible.