Morning Mindfulness at Tower Bridge
Forty-odd metres below my feet a lady in a large white hat hurries below, clamping the headgear to her head with white fingerless gloves. A man carries something long and shiny over his shoulder. A pair of chaps on bikes shoot in between harried pedestrians who whip round to give them hard British stares. Others hurry past, too grey and dark and scurrying to individualise. None of them looks up, but I am looking down, observing.
In an hour or so the great glass panels in the high-level walkway over Tower Bridge will be teeming with visitors from around the world but for now all is peaceful, quiet, mindful.
Clinical psychologist Dr Tamara Russell comes from a background in psychology and Kung Fu. For her, combining meditation techniques with gentle movement seems both natural and obvious. Encouraging people to observe both themselves and the world around them, she adds small stretches and simple breathing exercises, aiming towards a gentler, quieter, slower way of life, both in and around work.
Tower Bridge is an interesting choice for mindfulness sessions. In the distance, London Bridge streams with commuters, blockades with buses and clamours with humanity. Below our feet City people herd towards the jumble of tower blocks behind the Tower of London. Tourists brandish selfie-sticks, taking images they might never look at.
Literally above it all, we are invited to study ourselves. To consider how we feel when certain emotions occur, to start to recognise emotion patterns in our worlds and bodies. Not necessarily to change those patterns, just to know them.
As the session closes, we are encouraged to take things just a little more slowly today. In the spirit of mindfulness, I take Tower Bridge’s stairs rather than the lift and get stranded on the second floor. No way out. Yes, I recognise that emotion. That’s how I feel when I’m late back to my desk and stressed. Ah, well, at least I tried.
One-Hour Morning Mindfulness sessions at Tower Bridge will take place at 07:30 – 08:30 on the following dates:
Wednesday 3 February – The Mindful View
Wednesday 10 February – Check your Perspective
Friday 19 February – Compassion
Each session costs £20