International gathering for young moderators and assistant instructors in Acem
By Carina Heimdal
From 9th to 11th November, 2012, young Acem leaders from all over Europe gathered in Berlin. We had meetings in Acem´s premises in Berlin in Friedrichsgein, in the former eastern part of the city.
The main purpose of the weekend was to get to know and inspire each other! There were 12 participants from a total of five countries: Elia from Catalonia, Ina from Heidelberg, Daniel from Berlin, Jan and Olga from Hamburg, Andreas from Zurich, Jan-Egil from Bergen, Petter, Carina, and Grunde from Oslo, and Elisabeth and Stian from Copenhagen. We started both days by practicing yoga together.
We discussed each other’s experiences. In Spain, Elia invites people to a group meditation in her own apartment so that they don´t have to travel far to the nearest Acem center in Barcelona. In Bergen, long meditations always start with a few simple yoga exercises that can be done sitting in a chair – so-called office yoga. Many participants were interested in these exercises, so during the weekend we learned four office yoga poses. In Copenhagen, an hour of yoga is offered before each long meditation.
How do we work with PR, what kind of posters do we put up? Do we use posters at all? What makes people attend a beginner’s course? Ads on the internet? Recommendations from friends and family? Lectures about scientific research on meditation? And what makes people go on meditating?
We had role playing where we acted as participants in an M1 or guidance group. How should the leader handle a participant who only talks about another meditation technique? What does the leader do if everyone is passive? With these scenarios as a starting point, we discussed the challenges as we saw them.
The weekend also included delicious food from Berlin´s wonderful restaurants and cafes. Breakfast at the local bakery (with a choice that’s not on offer in less central parts of Europe), lunch at a Thai restaurant (main course for five euros!), Indian dinner, German lunch mit Spinatknudeln. We rounded off with cake and Apfelstrudel!