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IFA Paris Istanbul - MindfulTR işbirliği

IFA Paris Istanbul Campus collaborates with MindfulTR.

IFA Paris prides itself on being a fashion institute that educates its students and network on important foundations in today's industry such as inclusivity, diversity, sustainability and more.

What is more essential for IFA Paris is that the mental health and the worldview and open perspectives of its students. Regarding on that, IFA Istanbul campus has collaborated with MindfulTR and included mindfulness practices into its curriculum to help its students elevate.

We come together with the founders and facilitators of mindfulTR Zeynep Akgiray and Handan Şefik Oral to find out more about the insights of mindfulness and its practices.

Handan is not only the guest trainer of this insitute but she is also an active member of the corporate world as IT manager. She gives trainings and coaching on mindfulness to various groups.

Zeynep is also a certified mindfulness facilitator and founder of MindfulTR, which is established with the intention of providing mindfulness based programs and coaching service to both individual and corporate clients.

Handan’s journey starts with her own need to find peace in this hectic world order and her never ending desire to finding answers to life. While trying to find her path, she comes across with the concept of ‘power of now’ and wants to go deeper. She then discovers the MBSR training, which is Mİndfulness Based Stress Reduction program that she also teaches at the moment.

‘It (MBSR) helped me a lot to find my own way in this life by knowing myself better from inside out and made me see things clearly, without judgement, with more equanimity.’

Zeynep starts her journey with mindfulness through an article she finds on the internet and gets impressed by the term ‘neuropasticity’, which is simply the ability of the brain to modify its connections or re-wire itself.

The article expresses that via mindfulness practice, it is possible for everyone to rewire their brain so that one can regulate their emotions, their reactions and change their habitual behaviours, their mindset in the way they require.

A way of managing/training your mind, yourself rather that being managed. And the most incredible part was that; this radical change was proven scientifically via neuroplasticity - the studies via FMRI show that mindfulness meditation can actually change the structure of the brain . Eight weeks of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) was found to increase cortical thickness in the hippocampus- which governs learning and memory- and in certain areas of the brain that play roles in emotion regulation and self-referential processing.

  1. Could you give us a more insight on mindfultr?

Zeynep explains, ‘Mindfultr is an establishment formed with the intention of providing mindfulness based programs & coaching services to both individual and corporate clients. As Mindfultr, we provide various mindfulness based programs/trainings to individuals and companies tailored to their needs, especially focusing on workplace facilitation with the aim of supporting companies in creating effective and healthy working environments via helping individuals acquire skills that will support both their business and private lives.

With this intention, we – a team of internationally certified mindfulness facilitators having expertise in different subfields- joined our forces together in order to best serve our clients as per their needs. ‘

MindfulTR have various programs with different scopes, themes, durations and practices. The common denominator of all programs is that they are built on the basis of secular science based mindfulness.

The program portfolio not only includes international 8 week programs such as MBSR (mindfulness based stress reduction program) and MBCT (mindfulness based cognitive therapy program) program – which can be facilitated only by accredited mindfulness facilitators, but also programs designed as per the needs of the corporate clients such as interpersonal communucation skills, mindful living and mindfulness based performance enhancement. Programs differ as per the durations too; such as weekly /monthly programs with in-depth scopes as well as hourly /daily webinars & workshops.

However, as stated before, the aim for the MindfulTr is to tailor the programs based on the needs of the individuals and companies. Therefore, firstly, the team sits all together and see what are the pain points and needs and then design the program accordingly. It is also important to note that the participation to the programs is on voluntary basis. Besides the group programs, they organize individual mindfulness coaching sessions as well.

We ask them what ‘mindfulness’ is in simple words and this is what we have learned:

Mindfulness is giving your full attention to the moment you are in, to whatever you are doing. However, the quality of the attention is the key point here. It should be purposeful, non-judgemental and a kind attention so that you only see what is there, in this very moment.

The purpose of the mindfulness is to let go of unhealthy or negative thoughts and emotions and deal with life’s challenges in a more effective way and to see things more clearly. Having this clarity, one can claim their right and call out their capacity to respond with their inner and own voice to the moment, to the situation they are in, whatever that is and this is a freedom in life.

Mindfulness is not just a state of mind but a way of life. In simple words, it is paying attention to our thoughts, feelings, sensations, and physical experiences without judging them or reacting to them. So by practicing mindfulness, we can learn to let go of unhealthy or negative thoughts and emotions and deal with life’s challenges in a more effective way.

2. Could you give an example of mindfulness?

Zeynep: There are many simple ways to practice mindfulness. A simple example can be simply paying attention. .Just trying to take the time to experience your environment with all of your senses — touch, sound, sight, smell and taste. For example, when you eat a favorite food, just take the time to explore it with senses and truly enjoy it.

3. What are the ways that we can practice mindfulness?

Handan: You can practice mindfulness in every moment in every situation by only returning to your breath or to your bodily sensations in a particular way; intentionally, non-judgementally and friendly way; asking yourself what is happening here and now?

And in order to cultivate mindfulness, one can practice it via formal practices such as body scan or sitting meditation, or via informal practices such as walking or eating. Listenning to someone is also a mindfulness practice. All these are our main practices we include in our mindfulness programs.

The perfect duo, Zeynep and Handan also describes the importance of mindfulness practices in educational and work environments for us:

‘We live in a fast moving world where we have too many distractions. Phones, social media, sounds from outside if you live in a big city and also sounds from inside, our inner critics which grows bigger and bitter with the growing expections from others and ourselves. All these distractions, move us out of our center and without being aware of it, we live either out of our body or within our heads, struggling with all these never ending stories in our heads and this steals our focus.’

If you are in educational or working environment, what you need is to concentrate. But how can you do this under these circumstances? Mindfulness jump in right here.

With your cultivated mindfulness skills, you become able to spot when you are out of your center and also bring yourself back to center for a more focused, less stressed, calmer and even wiser moments.

Additionally, many work and educational environments are embracing mindfulness for the benefits it offers individuals with managing complex tasks, increasing resilience, improved leadership skills , more effective communication skills, enhanced creativity and ability to manage our emotions internally and externally.

4.What do you think on the collaboration of Mindfultr and IFA Paris Istanbul? What should we expect?

Handan: We are very excited about it. It is very important that students gain mindfulness skills within your program, so we think this is a very visionary decision to include mindfulness within your training schedule. This will not only help them within their educational life, but also will support them in their everyday life as well.

Zeynep: Since we are talking about fashion, creativity plays a crucial part and mindfulness enhances creativity. It is known that mindfulness practices open the mind to new ideas and perspectives and improved attention makes it easier to register the novelty and usefulness of ideas. Students will find the opportunity to explore how to be mindful in their creativity.

5. What should students at IFA Paris expect from your classes?

Handan: Classes will be mainly experimental and the tools will be themselves. They need to bring themselves as body, mind and heart. Together with those, they also need to bring their curiosity and openness and then the learning will start. They will practice and experience mindful moments and they will cultivate their mindfulness skills in those moments and then this will permeate the rest of their life. We will also have didactic teaching hours in which they will learn the fundamentals and background of the conceptual mindfulness.

As IFA Paris Istanbul team, we also feel quite excited to see what kind of path our students will be taking through this mindfulness journey and eager to witness their change. We look forward to create a mindful space for everyone around with the help of precious team of mindfultr. We thank them for sparing time for us and would like to see what their classes look like.

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