Linking Mindfulness to Sports and Intercultural Training

Leadership, Diversity and Mindfulness applied to sports

Last Saturday at the SIETAR Europa conference, I had the chance to animate a wonderful workshop with a fellow interculturalist and friend Susan Salzbrenner from Fit Across Cultures. Jenny Ebermann | Susan Salzbrenner As we both have a strong background in sports and did not want to engage in more theories and “brain” focused presentations and activities, we decided to animate a session connecting our two brains[1]: the cranial one which we know and the so-called “enteric brain” located in our bellies (in the gut).


How did we do that?

Well, by linking intercultural training and the importance of “embodiment[2]” and mindfulness (moment to moment awareness) to athlete’s realities and movement. After a moment of mindful walking and grounding and by means of a very practical “experiment” we had the participants tune into themselves and connect with their feelings and body experience in different challenging intercultural and interpersonal situations.Cloud SIETAREUROPA 2015 mindfulness

Although this is far from being easy, the participants were wonderful and shared what was going on for them. Being able to relate to your bodily experience can actually inform you even before your thoughts come in, when it comes to decisions, dealing with particular emotional situations or simply in our daily lives. In the context of sports, athletes also have to train mentally in order to be able to resist pressure in competitions and perform at their best. Being in sync with their bodies helps them to overcome differences and difficult situations and enables diverse teams – when managed well – to outperform competitors.

What a great learning and what a powerful group! Thanks to all of you who have participated and thanks Raquel Benmergui for the wonderful graphic representations!



[1] Compare to : Amnon Buchbinder on Philip Shepherd’s “Out of our heads

[2] In the sense that: “We make the experience of culture through our bodies”, see Ida Castiglioni: “Embodiment of Culture

Do you still read books?

BooksHow many people among you still read books? Or do you prefer reading your favourite magazines and authors on mobile devices? I must say that I still love holding a hard copy in my hands that I can feel, smell, touch…. Especially when entering an old library and imagining all the work that went into writing, drawing, updating the manuscripts and books, I feel very humble and at the same time interested and eager to sit down and sink into this atmosphere of knowledge, fantasy, thoughts….

Today, we are living in a digital world, where everybody can share everything, become a journalist, producer, filmmaker right out of their living room and live wherever they might be. Children already start having touch pads and smart phones from a very young age onwards and not many of them have actually seen a library from the inside.

LibraryDo they have to? No, I guess… it all depends on how you consume digital media, how much space you leave for just being and opening up for creativity and innovation.

As I travel through Europe and work with people from many different backgrounds and industries, I notice the same pattern: people feel overwhelmed, not “human” anymore, constantly reminded that they should be responding, checking, scrolling, informing, texting… you find people sitting in restaurants, tubes, buses, bars that don’t speak to each other but prefer sending out messages to their online “friends”. News, pictures, videos are volatile, replaced by a stream of newer, nicer, cooler images and texts every second. Social media spread information mostly without checking if the source of the information is actually credible.

Are you also constantly connected, on the run, hasting through your different activities?

Do you jump up, every time you hear the familiar ‘ping’ sound of your mobile device, indicating that something new came in even when it’s your neighbours phone or device?

Try this: switch off your ring tones, alarms and notices so that you don’t hear anymore when new messages come in! You will already feel somewhat more at ease.

Maybe you are even able to switch off your complete phone or tablet from time to time to allow yourself a brain break.

What do you think and how do you cope?


Training the Leaders of Tomorrow

Having children on my own and seeing what they are taught in school and how, I began to wonder what I could possibly do to help them prepare for an adult life were uncertainty, ambiguity, volatility and complexity would simply be “normal”. Already working with leaders and organisations in terms of emotional intelligence, mindful leadership and communications, stress reduction and diversity, I began to think seriously about  training the leaders of tomorrow, hence the children of today.

At first, I followed the online courses of Mindful Schools in the US but then wanted to invest more time in teaching mindfulness to children here in Europe. I thus enrolled in a method called “Mindfulness Matters” (also known as the “frog method“) from Eline Snel and her Academy for Mindful Teaching. After 6 months of pilot teaching, training and learning, I am now certified child teacher for mindfulness; what a rewarding experiment to be able to teach competences to children that will last a lifetime! Let me know if you need more information about what this method consists of and what skills are taught to children! Have a great week ahead, Jenny

Jenny Ebermann Mindfulness Matters