Zen yourself : workshop three


Aukett Swanke / 22 March 2016

Our final workshop in the series as part of international architects Aukett Swanke’s WELLNESS month, took place on 22 March in their London studio.

“A relaxing hour that puts you in a good mood”

The themes focused on being self aware (as other perceive us, and how we actually feel), to develop better self care.

Various verbal exercises in pairs revealed how to be self aware in our




The pairs were asked to run a mental ‘body scan’, ‘mood check’ and ‘energy level test’ to bring their self awareness into focus. It is only once we are truly self aware can we improve our self care.

“Practical and accessible techniques”

It’s our natural default to say everything is fine, when perhaps our bodies tell another story (tension, pain, poor posture), and our moods (down rather than up, pre-occupied rather than present, withdrawn rather than outgoing) can affect a team, a meeting, a discussion. If unaware of these, we cannot manage the negative impact they have on us, and others. Nor can we find ways to change for the better.

“I enjoyed the practical applications of ideas”

If our energy levels bottom out, we often opt to keep pushing on, regardless. A kinder and more productive response to this would be to take a break, a nap, eat something to give a natural energy boost. Listening to our bodies, our energy levels can make all the difference to our self care.

“The self awareness discussion was interesting”

During the second part of the workshop, I invited the participants to try their hand at Haiku. A prolific poet myself (though not specifically of Haiku), I found the simplicity of Haiku an appropriate tool for everyone to take a creative break to author three lines of evocative poetry.

From what I’ve learned, Haiku is essentially a poetry form that is composed naturally from a meditative state, arising from awareness in the moment, where possible close to nature. It typically has 17 syllables, across three lines, and once finished should be left as it is, with no changes.


The group took to it like fish in water… they scribbled quietly away, producing some lovely, simple haikus they then shared with us all. And were surprised at how simple and relaxing the exercise was.

“Useful session – being aware and open to new concepts. Good base to explore more zen techniques”

“Was interesting to learn about zen and how easy it is to improve your day to day with some meditation”


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 © Amanda Yensa Manor 2016


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