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Coaching Mindfully with Katia Khomich

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The more, you know, the more you realise there’s so many patterns which are actually stopping us from becoming who we are. Now, the question is who are we? That’s a question that the world has been asking for as long as humanity has witnessed anything. We are sure it’s going to ask for as long as humanity is going to exist, the world is going to exist for as eternity is concerned. 

That’s the reason we personally feel that in order to become an effective coach, it’s extremely important to take a dive, to take one step forward, to know who you are. In order to bring this shift, we recently had Katrina, to talk about Coaching Mindfully.  The discussions followed in the session to deeper aspects on how to apply the same in coaching. 

Deviating From The Popular Definition of Mindfulness

All of a sudden this word[Mindfulness] is becoming popular. There’s a lot of attention and a lot of interest in this mindfulness concept. If you Google it, you’ll see a lot of things happening. But the funny thing is that if you Google and you go to the result of images that Google will give you as a result of the search, you’ll see beautiful photos of beautiful women and men sitting in a beautiful posture, gazing in the range of the mountains. 

It’s just kind of this perfect picture of being blissful and happy and ideally in a beautiful resort, looking at a beautiful sea or the ocean or the mountain range.

 

Maybe some of you will be like, I don’t know. What is it about? Is it about withdrawal? Is it about being alone? Is it about being somewhere far away from where life is happening? So it may come across as confusing. And for some reason, mindfulness is being packaged and kind of sold to us as this. 

Quite simply we just need to be mindful. We just need to train ourselves. And it is the ultimate solution for every single thing in order to achieve a certain state and state of mind where you are kind of in the mountains, gazing outside and enjoying life in a blissful state.

But what if I introduce you to the idea that mindfulness comes across as a state, the quality of mind. Being mindful is equal to being aware. It’s paying attention on purpose in the present moment, non-judgmentally. 

Actual Meaning To Be Present In The Moment

If somebody would ask you in a really honest way, how would you answer the following questions? 

What’s your mood? 

What’s your emotional state? 

How do you feel?

Bored? Restless? Anxious? Sleepy? Right!

So all of these things that you’ve just been touching on, how I feel, how my hand feels, how my feet feel, these are all basically making you be mindful in the present moment because you are paying attention and there is no judgement. Maybe there was a bit of judgement about it. 

You were like, oh, I feel sleepy and I shouldn’t be. Or maybe I am bored and I shouldn’t be, but why am I? So judgement is this tricky concept.

Paying attention on purpose in the present moment right now, there’s no judgement. Yeah. I’m being mindful of what’s happening to me. With me, inside me, around me. 

Now, what is not mindfulness? Like, let’s say we had just kind of, okay, we got this mindfulness thing. What would be the opposite? I find it very helpful to compare mindfulness to what we call an autopilot.

When we wake up, we take a shower. We think about our first meeting. In our first meeting, we’re thinking that that was going to be another task we have to accomplish. Then we are thinking about the movie we watched yesterday. Then it kind of goes with the day through the morning.

Being in a sort of narrative that is always either a few steps ahead of us. Or a few steps behind like, “Ah, that conversation from yesterday keeps bothering me. That session with my client yesterday I keep thinking about it. I should have done something different. I should have asked a different question. I should have done it in a better way. And we keep coming back and coming back and coming back to that.”

So when we are on autopilot, first of all, our attention is more reactive. It’s like, you are actually competing for your attention.

Mindfulness: A Gym For Your Mind 

Think about yourself going into the gym. You want to make your core stronger, your shoulders wider, your body more flexible. 

Because it feels good after it makes your body stronger. And it’s just nice. Right? The interesting thing about going to the gym is that we spend a few hours a week in the gym with those weights, with those bicep curls, so that when we are out in life, we can use our body in the most efficient way. We can be flexible. We can lift heavy objects because our body is prepared for that. We are stronger. Right. 

So same thing applies to the way we can train our mind. Meditation is the most commonly used way to train our mind. When we create a condition and retrain, we set up a time of 10 minutes, 15 minutes a day, and recreate this condition where we train our attention in meditation practice.

Basically, this is what we, first of all, do. We learn to bring our attention back to what’s happening right now in my body, but also we train our mind to be less judgmental when you’re reminding ourselves, oh, this is now I’m judging. This is me being bored. There’s no need to change anything or improve anything, but we are alert to notice things that are happening to us in the present moment without any judgement.

So I like to think that meditation is like a bicep curl, but for the brain. It needs repetition. It needs consistency. It’s not about how long you go. If you’re going to spend three days, three hours once a month, but then never come back to the practice ever. It doesn’t really affect your mindfulness muscle. But if you daily commit to the practice regularly, you will start seeing how the muscle is becoming more responsive.

And all of a sudden you will notice in a few weeks that, “Ha! I’m slightly more aware of what’s happening.”

When you are training your mind, in general, in mindfulness meditation training, right? Like that, that gym for the brain. You will train three assets. It will all come from the mindfulness of the body and breath. So every single meditation will at some point invite you to bring your attention to your body. 

Mindfulness of the body and breath. I’m breathing, I feel my body. I feel the sleepiness in my body. I feel my hands. I feel the tingling somewhere, or itching somewhere. We learn to remind ourselves that beyond just having a head on shoulders, there’s also this whole unity that actually is quite useful and it keeps informing ourselves also with some sensations and the way it feels and the way what it wants or what it needs.

So we connect to the body and it’s extremely useful already by default, remembering that there’s the body.

Then we also learn to become aware of mindfulness. We learn to be mindful of our thoughts. What is it that I keep thinking of? And why are these thoughts coming back to me? And they’re actually useless. 

It’s like all of a sudden, you’re noticing that there’s a never-ending stream of thoughts that keep coming and coming and coming, and you can step out of this play and see if it sounds not so repetitive they happen to keep coming. 

Next we are going to talk about the big picture. 

Remember You Are Not Lost In Your Thoughts

One thing to tell yourself is that you’re not lost in thoughts. If there’s one thing about mindfulness that most commonly misunderstood is this idea that we have to be, I have to have no thoughts during the meditation, which is not true and practically impossible.

We’re having thoughts. They are still coming. We are learning to become aware of that. Oh, this is me planning again. This is me again, anticipating that worst case scenario. Oh, this is me again, remembering the conversation that was unpleasant to me. So you start seeing the pattern. 

All of a sudden, they don’t hold ownership over us. Don’t have power over us and this is empowering. And finally mindfulness is about emotion, right? It’s all connected. 

That’s why the arrows point and we kind of see that, “Ah, this is anger. I feel angry because that person cut me off in a car in the traffic. And I’m thinking about this person over and over again.” We’re so good at thinking about emotions versus feeling them. But now you have the tool to feel that anger and you feel how it evolves. And there was some thought process about it. And you feel it in your body and you see how it evolves and you see how it disappears.

Again it doesn’t own you. You have this access to choice. Wise choice. Because usually when we see what’s happening to us in the morning, in the moment, we are more likely to either act on it or maybe sometimes not act on it. Maybe sometimes the wise choices, not those speak up when someone is, you know, pushed us in a, in a natural or in a straight, maybe sometimes it is wise to stand up for yourself, but there is more awareness behind it.

Intentionality. You understand why it’s important to you. The main benefits of mindfulness practice. So the first one. Inevitably your attention will become better. Obviously, this is undiscussable. If you train your attention, you’re in good practice. You choose to focus on your body on the way your body is breathing. You get distracted with the thoughts.

Then you come back, pay your attention back to the body. Then you can get distracted again and then come back again. You are training your attention and you already can sense that when the attention is strong, more likely as a coach, you’ll be better at active listening, right? So you’ll start seeing the parallels.

(The indulging conversation went on for more time. To be a part of such valuable sessions check this page out for our upcoming free webinar with world-class coaches.)

About Katia Khomich

Katerina Khomich is a health coach, mindfulness teacher and yoga therapist. 

First 10 years of her career were in the corporate world, where she first managed and launched integrated advertising campaigns and then led marketing for Uber in Russia. 

First she became a certified health and well-being coach with Duke School of Integrated Medicine. Then her interest in the power of awareness led her to become a certified MBSR teacher  (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) following a program at the Amsterdam Center of Mindfulness. She also is in the final stage of obtaining a 550 hours certification at the Yoga Therapy Institute, Amsterdam. 

She strives to help people to integrate well-being in the remote-first world and live a more mindful balanced life. Working with her clients she uses tools of coaching, mindfulness and yoga therapy.

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