Sherpa is a professional training company that trains business employers and employees in learning and applying pioneering yogic personal development and mindfulness practices that bring sustained wellbeing, resilience and improved performance for all who incorporate them into their working life.
The word ‘Yogic’ covers some forms of meditation and breath enhancement, as well as physical yoga. The physical yoga taught by Sherpa – Transformation Yoga – is a gentle, adaptable and highly accessible form of Hatha Yoga that emphasises good posture, spinal alignment and harmonisation of the breath with slow, steady movement with focus and – for safety – caring precision.
As a highly effective well-being practice with a substantial evidence-base (see Evidence Base and Links), Mindfulness is exploding in public and professional life all over the world.
In terms of stress, it is now proven to be as good, if not better than medication for relieving anxiety, and likewise with depression.
But what exactly is it?
The word Mindfulness could be seen by some as a bit of a misnomer. Your mind is not ‘full’ when you practise it. Rather, think of being mindful – aware of yourself, others and your immediate environment and you’re heading in the right direction.
There are many definitions of Mindfulness. The one that resonates best with Paul is adapted from one of John Kabat-Zinn’s (University of Massachusetts Medical School and founder of ‘MBSR’ – Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) definitions and is simple and direct:
Mindfulness is purposely paying attention, non-judgementally, to whatever you are experiencing in the present moment
… so, it’s being aware of everything that’s happening right now – in this moment – within your field of awareness.
Although Mindfulness as a concept has Buddhist roots, it is easily practised in a secular way and many wellbeing practices have it at their essence – it may be called ‘Awareness,’ being awake, being in the ‘Flow’ or the ‘Zone.’
Practicing Mindfulness in relation to something specific (like yoga, breathing, visualisation or affirmation) is a highly effective way of becoming more focussed on and responsive to the needs and demands of the present moment. The increased awareness that practicing Mindfulness brings allows you to start viewing your thoughts and feelings with discernment, without getting lost in them. This leads to wiser decisions when it comes to your work.
The Sherpa practices have Mindfulness at their essence. Your attention has to be fully present in order to practice them.
Having said that…
The Sherpa practices take Mindfulness further…
For example, in Transformation Yoga, you are very mindfully present with the gentle movement and stretching and breathing in harmony with these. But rather than being mindful of anything and everything you are experiencing (pure Mindfulness), you are purposely directing your attention – focussing it on both breath and movement – which then releases tension and pain and re-connects you with ease and wellbeing.
In Pure Meditation Foundation, again you are very mindfully present, but you are also training the mind not just to develop more mindfulness, but also focus and concentration and any Meditation practice should develop this. However, practicing the specific affirmation and visualisation aspects of Pure Meditation Foundation means that the mind is also harnessing its own power to develop all-important inner strength, positivity and resilience.
In Optimal Breathing, you are mindfully present, but again you are purposely directing – focussing attention – this time on breathing alone, in ways that are going to increase your wellbeing, energy and therefore performance.
So, while Mindfulness is effective in itself, taking charge of the mind – choosing to practise mindfulness of something specific (like movement or the breath) and keeping your focus on that for as long as you choose to – is what really sharpens the mind and takes wellbeing and performance to the next level.
This is where the present-centred awareness-raising practice of Mindfulness meets the yogic Self Mastery tradition that Sherpa’s practices come from.
Read more from Paul about The Enlightened Source of Sherpa Training.
The Enlightened Source of the Sherpa Training5th February 2016
My revelation with Transformation Yoga – How less is more2nd September 2015
More on Optimal Breathing and Quality Decision-making4th May 2015
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Paul Beard (Dip. THY&R [Transformation Hatha Yoga], Dip P. Couns.Coach & SRMHC Registered Teacher of Pure Meditation Foundation) is a qualified Yoga instructor, Meditation Teacher and Coach, member of the Government-recognised REPs (Register of Exercise Professionals), IYN (Independent Yoga Network) and accredited by CSA (Coaching Supervision Academy).
Since 2001, Paul has been training and teaching individuals and groups in self-development, well-being and stress management practices.
Paul is a student of Mata Yogananda Mahaysaya Dharma’s Yogic teachings – the source of the Sherpa practices. He has personally practised these teachings for virtually all of his adult life – finding them to be powerfully life-enhancing in every way.
Paul’s skills and experience have been crystallised in the Sherpa package of well-being and performance-enhancing practices.