Mindful Manchester…has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
Manchester is widely known as the city of innovation and creativity, so it is no surprise that the Guinness World Record attempt for the most number of people practising mindfulness at once took place in Manchester last weekend.
Organised by mental health charity Self Help together with the Whitworth Art Gallery on Oxford road, the event saw 272 people attend, beating the previous world record of 250 people (although this is still to be confirmed by Guinness World Record representatives).
The hour-long session began with a welcome from the Charity and Art Gallery, and an introduction to mindfulness – which is simply paying attention to the present moment in a compassionate and non-judgemental way. We then took part in an exercise called the body scan, during which we were instructed to pay attention to breathing, and notice feelings and sensations in different parts of our bodies with a kind curiosity.
We then had a discussion around making everyday activities mindful (suggestions included eating, walking and even dancing), so as to develop the ability to root ourselves in the present moment rather than focussing on worrying or thinking about the future/past. The final exercise was the 3-minute breathing space – a short practice which is designed to refresh and relax yourself and bring your attention back to the present moment.
The mindfulness teachers from Self Help who lead us through the exercises were very skilled and calming, and the surroundings of the impressive Whitworth Art Gallery which was renovated 2 years ago, helped to create a tranquil and reflective atmosphere for the session.
Social Sense’s Neena (Programmes Manager) and Reece (Programmes Executive) attended the Guinness World Record attempt.
I was amazed and delighted to see the range of participants – it was great to see people from all different ages, backgrounds, and stages of their mindfulness practice. Having practiced meditation for around 6 years and attended meditation retreats in the UK and Portugal, I was really keen to take part in the event. Personally, mindfulness has helped me cope with the stresses and anxieties of life, so much so that I feel like a different person from how I was a few years ago. This has even led to me now working in mental health delivering mindfulness in schools around the region as part of Mindful Me: http://www.mindful-me.co.uk/.
I left the event feeling very relaxed and peaceful and would attend any similar events in the future – thanks so much to Self Help and the Whitworth Art Gallery for organising this brilliant event!
After discussing the benefits that Neena has personally received from Mindfulness, I thought it would be a good idea to go down and give it a try. As a ‘newbie’ I was slightly nervous due to the amount of people, however the coaches made you feel at ease. I also was very surprised by the different stages, from beginners to mindfulness pros, that attended the event.
I really enjoyed the experience and signed up for a further 8-week course to start my mindfulness journey.
Social Sense understands and appreciates the benefits that mindfulness can have on people’s emotional wellbeing and mental health so it is great to see such a high turnout. Thank you to Self Help and the Whitworth Art Gallery for organising such a great event!
By Neena Agravat & Reece Hobson.