Mindfulness and Royal Curiosity

November 19, 2021
Mindfulness Prince Charles

“Mindfulness, does it help?” he said, eyes twinkling.

“It “It does” I said. “It’s all about the breath.”

“The breath. Of course. And has rain stopped play?” he said, gesturing towards his wife who was peeking out from beneath her transparent umbrella.

“No, we’ve just breathed through it, let it go. Accepted it for what it was. You’ve 

got to remember to breathe” I said, rather bravely.

He chuckled.

“Breathe, of course, I’ll remember that” he said. 

And with a nod of his head, the rather charming heir to the throne was swept along by his kilted companion and heavy entourage for another soggy tree planting duty.

I needed a few deep breaths after meeting Prince Charles. We were in the Royal Botanical Gardens, Edinburgh, this Autumn. I had been sheltering under a tree alongside fellow Mindfulness Now trainees. All of us were keen to get a glimpse of the royals on their visit to the gardens. We’d planned our practice sessions around a possible sighting, meditating outside in the rain- a glorious experience- in case they walked past, following the journalists and even sweet-talking a policeman for a coveted spot!

His Royal Highness had noticed us grasping manuals and looking somewhat keen and excited, if slightly damp, and come over to say hello. I took the opportunity to tell him why we were there, learning about mindfulness meditation, with Sharon Conway. We were training to be mindfulness teachers I had proudly told him, offering up my manual as proof. I was delighted that the future King was so genuinely interested, and he took the time to talk to me for a few minutes about the course and the benefits of mindfulness. 

After twenty-five years working as a Forensic Psychologist, mostly in Her Majesty’s Prison Service, and becoming gradually more interested in meditation, I had decided to attend the Mindfulness Now teacher training. I didn’t know what I would actually do with the qualification. I couldn’t really see myself being a teacher, but I thought it might be thought-provoking, expand my knowledge and help with my personal practice.

Our week of training was set in the striking city of Edinburgh. We had our own little space, nestled deep in the Royal Gardens. Close to nature, we learnt, explored, practiced, and lived being mindful. Being able to sit, walk and breathe amongst the trees, whatever the Scottish weather decided to gift us that day, enhanced the whole experience and took it to another level.

It was a privilege to be on the course and learn alongside a group of like-minded, warm and generous people, and nourishing to be face-to-face after so many online interactions due to the pandemic.

Mindfulness Teacher Trainees

Thank you, Sharon, Hannah, my lovely group, and of course HRH Prince Charles for making the week so memorable, rewarding, and special.

And next week, I’m taking the plunge and starting to deliver mindfulness sessions out of my local yoga studio. I’m not expecting any royal clients, but I do hope that wherever he is, Prince Charles is remembering to breathe.

Rebecca Milner

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