The Body is the Bellwether of Regulation: A Q&A with eMindful Teacher Kelly Barron

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March 28, 2022

Although I’d known eMindful teacher Kelly Barron for two years, I’d never seen her face to face or spoken to her directly. Kelly and I both contribute frequently to the eM Life blog and I often attend her Mindful Daily sessions – and in both situations, I’m a big fan of hers. 

Kelly has a way with words, both on the page and as a mindfulness teacher, and as she began telling me about her personal mindfulness journey, I couldn’t type fast enough.

Q: How do you start your day?

“Years and years ago, I decided that starting my day with intention was going to be part of my mindfulness practice. I wake up and meditate for 45 minutes to an hour and over the years I have added things to this routine like breathwork and some movement. It’s a chance for me to begin the day in a purposeful way and set my intentions,” she says. “It’s been really heartwarming to see that outflow of intentionality, and usually my days go really well as a result of that morning practice.”

Q: Where are you based out of and what do you love about it?

“I’m in Los Angeles – the West side – and never in my wildest dreams did I think I would live here. It has been so formative in my development and professional growth, and I associate it with my well-being. I love the fact that LA is a meritocracy; you can be in Starbucks and the person next to you in flip flops could be running a million-dollar company. There’s a lot of mixture and vibrancy because of the diversity in the city,” she says.”

She adds that LA’s weather “cannot be understated”:

“I ocean swim and mountain bike and can be outside with neighbors in the backyard, and I am fortunate that most of my teaching is online so I don’t get stuck in LA traffic. It is a really wonderful place to be.”

Q: How long have you been practicing mindfulness and how did that journey begin?

“I began my practice in 1998 – over 20 years now – and I started like a lot of people do. I was a hard-charging, very focused journalist; it was demanding and fairly pressured with lots of competition. I didn’t really have many personal skills to help me manage and I was struggling, so meditation became a tool for me because mindfulness was not in the cultural lexicon,” she says.

Through meditation, Kelly says she found mindfulness, and the practice was literally life-changing.

“It changed how stress was affecting me, and as I practiced, my life and relationships became more fulfilling and intimate…deeper and more authentic. Over time, mindfulness became not only an advocation but a profession as well. I really enjoy sharing it because it has had such a profound impact.”

Q: What’s your favorite mindfulness practice right now?

“My go-to practice is ‘see, hear, feel’ and it’s from Shinzen Young. Essentially it’s a choiceless awareness practice where your attention floats freely to what you see and what you hear outwardly and inwardly, and what you feel in the body. I found that with this practice, I gain a lot of concentration and clarity, and that’s really helped me develop some essential mindfulness skills,” she says. 

I also do a lot of loving-kindness practice – it helps my ability to be of service in my daily life. Throughout the day, I am also continually noticing what’s happening in my body and collaborating with it. Our body is always communicating with us; the body is the bellwether of regulation.”

Q: What eM Life programs are you teaching right now and do you have a favorite?

“I teach Mindful Leadership and Mindful Dailies. I’ve really enjoyed the Mindful Leadership series because we are in such a seismic shift in the workplace with the Great Resignation and hybrid work environments, and employees are relating to work differently than before the pandemic. They want to work for conscious leaders that resonate with their values,” she says. 

“We spend so many hours working; if I can help people develop skills that help them be more compassionate and self-aware, and it helps create more conscious and compassionate workplaces that allow people to flourish, that’s the goal.”

Q: What’s your advice for people who are new to mindfulness or who are curious about it?

“Get support. Having a live connection with a teacher to get support – whether it’s taking a class or getting a coach – can help you develop a sustainable practice. One of the hardest things about mindfulness is practicing it. As you learn about the practice – just as you learn how to cook or play a sport – get support in whatever way that shows up for you.”

Experience mindfulness with Kelly Barron on the eM Life platform:

Written by Becky Greiner