Mindfulness workshop this weekend

We are very excited about the Mindfulness Workshop at Caramel Notting Hill this weekend. We spoke to Savyna Darby about her experience and the benefits this practice can have on children and family life. To book a space email lara@caramel-shop.co.uk. See our previous post here for more details.


1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your relationship with mindfulness.

I was raised by my grandfather who was deeply spiritual and kind. His motto was to live in the present, to be kind to oneself and to others and to simply smile, through good and bad.

Somehow, this became my blueprint for life. I always start my day with deep breaths, gratitude for being alive, for having a beautiful home and the biggest gift of all, my Oscar. His smile, his inherent kindness and innocence reminds me to be the best I can be. Mindfulness is what helps me stay focused on what is truly important.

2. Why and how often do you practise mindfulness with your son?

Like all disciplines, it takes commitment. Mindfulness, until it becomes second nature,  has to be cultured on a daily basis. From drinking a cup of tea with all of one’s senses engaged to having a bath with all your being present in the moment…

When my son started nursery, he became increasingly sleep deprived during the day and as a result, affected his being and sense of calm. The ‘terrible twos’ is what I was told it was. But on weekends, when he slept properly, played, and was essentially free, his behaviour was vastly different. One night, he woke up and would not sleep. He kept crying and I decided that we must do something fun to dissolve the ‘unhappiness.’

I grabbed some paint, a chunky brush, lots of water soluble paint and started to paint with him.  Over the following nights, it became a ritual, where he would wake up and say ‘mama, must paint!’. Only this time, he would sit, choose a colour independently and paint until he had had his fill. I found that after that, he would sleep right through till morning and was happier. Painting, breathing, addressing how he felt at that particular moment in time instilled in him too, mindfulness. Painting became cathartic. To this day, we stop to breathe, really breathe, chant ‘om’ and paint, amongst other activities, to enjoy the present moment and the feeling it brings.

3. What are the benefits? Have you seen a change in your son’s behaviour since he was introduced to mindfulness?

The benefits of mindfulness come with the practice. It is like cultivating a good habit, such as eating healthily and mindfully not just for a day, or a week.. When mindfulness is practised, no matter how humble the beginning is, it undoes the bad habits, and teaches the mind to begin again, to be in the present moment.

When we learn to enjoy the now, we become less stressed as we realise we can’t control the future, and the past is gone. The present moment is your biggest gift. With a relaxed body and mind, you can achieve so much more with better results.You can control your emotions better when you are aware of what you are feeling. With awareness comes mindfulness. You can breathe into whatever you are feeling, and restore your balance. You can see clearly and better. Your reaction to a situation will be calmer and better dealt with. It is like meditation without sitting crossed legged. You can be in a state of mindfulness everywhere.

4. What advice can you give to someone who is new to mindfulness?

Start with a deep breath and a positive attitude. Then take the first step. Start with something simple, something that fits into your daily schedule, such as your first cup of tea in the morning.

This can be very meditative. Breathe in the uplifting smell of the blend and as you breathe in, say ‘ I am relaxed’ or ‘I am strong’ or any powerful affirmations you feel comfortable with. Repeat the affirmation a few times and breathe into it whilst the tea is brewing.

Find a comfortable place to sit, soak in the sunlight, and recharge. Think about all the good things that you are blessed with and be thankful. Gratitude is mindfulness. Being kind to oneself is mindfulness. Take your time to really drink the tea, thinking about the tea, what it tea like, how it feels, what it smells like. In short, be in the present moment and fully relish it..Breathe. Once you have started this, you can carry this attitude to washing your dishes for example, where it is another opportunity to be mindful.

When spending time with your child, the same principle and attitude can be applied to any activities you do together. This is the only moment you truly have, so immerse fully into it, breathing and smiling. This is Mindfulness.

5. What makes you happy right now?

My son Oscar. We have come a long way together and I love where we are at with each other. I spend all my waking hours with him and every moment we spend together is beautiful. There are challenges of course. Parenting is hard, very very hard. Being mindful about who he is, who I am, finding things we both enjoy together, and being at ‘one’ with each other, fulfils us both.

He is a beautiful child, with so many talents and displays so much kindness and gratitude. This makes me happy.

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