Interview with Sonya Russo, the owner of Waves Mindfulness and Wellbeing Ltd
Mindfulness is frequently mentioned these days but are you clear on what it’s good for and who can benefit?
Sonya Russo from Waves Mindfulness and Wellbeing Ltd runs mindfulness courses and classes in mindfulness and other wellbeing activities for a wide range of people in the community (London and the South East). She has developed two specialised mindfulness courses.
Mindful Me! is a mindfulness course for children that uses meditation, craft and yoga and works to help children understand and balance difficult emotions.
She also runs a program called Plan B that runs across several Prisons in the UK, the program teaches people in custody emotional regulation and helps support those recovering from drug misuse, mental health issues and trauma.
How did you become interested in mindfulness?
I had suffered with anxiety and depression since I was a child. I had been exposed to lots of different types of therapy and medications but nothing seemed to break the cycle of getting ill. These issues followed me into adulthood where I learned to cope with my anxiety with unhealthy behaviours and as such my mental health got worse. By the time I was 30 I had suffered from two breakdowns. It was whilst getting treatment that I was first introduced to mindfulness.
After taking my first course in mindfulness I stopped having panic attacks that had plagued me for 20 years. It was then that I knew this was something I had to introduce into my life! After committing myself to the practice I began my teacher training in MBCT (mindfulness for anxiety and depression) and MBRP (mindfulness for substance misuse).
I am probably the most unlikely mindfulness teacher! I definitely don’t fit the stereotype of the serene, lentil eating hippy. I like to break down the barriers and misconceptions people have about meditation and enjoy working with hard to reach communities and teaching mindfulness in a unique, refreshing and relatable way.
What do you feel is the greatest benefit of mindfulness?
There are so many benefits to mindfulness, both physically and mentally. People come and learn mindfulness for many different reasons. For me in my early days of practice it helped me understand my panic attacks and to find balance from overwhelming emotions. I use it day to day to help me manage the stress load of running the business, to be more creative and focused, and to help me navigate the roller coaster ride of emotions that come with being a mum.
How would you imagine life without it?
Mindfulness is habitual to me now, its hard to imagine life without it. I bring the practices and mindset into my daily routine. I feel like I approach life with my armour on and have an inner confidence that I can handle whatever life chooses to throw at me that day. My life and my family’s life has changed so dramatically because of the benefits it has given me. By practising mindfulness myself I feel more alive, and my daughter has learned to manage emotions better, her focus has improved and the results show in her school work and attitude towards difficult things.
Why do you think it’s important for children to practise mindfulness?
We live in a very fast paced world. Our children are bombarded with content from the digital world, stresses at school and the need to succeed. Mindfulness allows children to develop tools to help them focus and manage their emotions as they navigate life. Parents need to understand that stress isn’t just the curse of adults and that our children can experience high levels of stress which manifest in ways we don’t always understand. Once learned and practised, children can take this awareness into adulthood.
I believe mindfulness is most effective when the whole family practises — children will pick up on their parents emotional behaviours and learn accordingly. So if mum is mindful, this will have a great impact on the rest of the family.
If you want to find out more about Waves Mindfulness, please visit their website:
Waves is a fresh approach to Mindfulness, we deliver mindfulness and holistic well-being services in a fun, informative…www.wavesmindfulness.com