Mindfulness

What is it?

Mindfulness simply means awareness. The origins of mindfulness come from Buddhist traditions, but there is no religious component to mindfulness courses and they are suitable for people of all ages, from all walks of life.

The most frequently used definition of mindfulness is this one by Jon Kabat Zinn, who was instrumental in bringing mindfulness to the West, and in particular into healthcare settings:

Mindfulness is…..paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgementally.

How do we do it?

Mindfulness practice uses our sensory experiences – our body sensations, sounds, tastes, sights and the breath to ‘anchor’ us in the present moment.

Mindfulness practice includes both formal meditation practice and informal practice of mindfulness of daily living, things like drinking a cup of tea mindfully – feeling the warmth of the cup, the smell, the taste, really noticing all of our experience.

An example of a short formal guided meditation, a three minute breathing space, is given here http://www.breathworks-mindfulness.org.uk/3-min-breathing-space

Other free meditations can be downloaded from here: http://franticworld.com/resources

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How is it helpful?

With regular practice, mindfulness:

  • Increases awareness which allows us to make better choices
  • Gets us off autopilot and in touch with our direct experience right now
  • Allows us to be truly present and spend less time worrying about the past or anticipating the future
  • Actually frees up time! When we are with our direct experience we are not on automatic pilot, or daydreaming, or worrying, or anticipating, each of which can take up a lot of time ….
  • Enhances our wellbeing
  • Reduces stress, anxiety and depression
  • Reduces the impact of long term health conditions
  • Helps us to manage life’s pressures
  • Improves memory, attention and decision making
  • Allows us to be more productive and creative
  • Helps us to make the most of each moment
  • Helps us to develop self-compassion and compassion for others
  • Changes our brain in positive ways

Mindfulness also helps by allowing us to tap into our own inner resources. This happens naturally through meditation and mindful movement, where we develop a still serenity; from here our problems are much easier to deal with. Mindfulness practice doesn't get rid of problems - we'll always have problems of some sort or another – but it helps us to change our relationship with them.

 

When you practice mindful breathing, you become truly present. If you are here, life is here also.

Thich Nhat Hanh

 

What do I offer?

My training has been with an organisation called Breathworks (www.breathworks-mindfulness.org.uk), a participating member of the UK Network of Mindfulness-based Teacher Training Organisations whose courses include a core component on developing compassion. I offer their 2 courses: 

Mindfulness for Stress

This course is for anyone dealing with stress of any kind, whether associated with work, relationships, finances, loss or other factors outside your control. On this course you will learn mindfulness strategies and approaches within a supportive environment.

This 8 week course is offered in 2 formats – once a week for 2.5 hours for groups or once a fortnight for longer sessions. Each session comprises a different theme to help participants to understand how mindfulness can reduce stress so they can incorporate this into their own lives. There is a combination of teaching, meditation, enquiry and group discussions. Each week there is home practice of formal guided meditations and one small thing to do mindfully to support mindfulness of daily living.

In the Mindfulness for Stress course you will learn:

  • Ways to reduce stress and become more resilient, calmer, happier and inspired.
  • How to apply mindfulness to all aspects of your life, giving you more choice in how you respond to life’s challenges

For an overview of the Mindfulness for Stress course please follow this link: Breathworks Mindfulness for Stress overview

Mindfulness for Health

This is also an 8 week course offered in 2 formats – once a week for 2.5 hours for groups or once a fortnight for longer sessions. This course is suitable for those in pain or dealing with other health complaints and follows the book Mindfulness for Health written by one of the founders of Breathworks, Vidyamala Burch along with Danny Penman. Participants should read chapter 4 of the book and optionally chapters 1-3 ahead of the course Mindfulness for Health. Similar principles are covered as in the mindfulness for stress course, but there is more emphasis on overcoming resistance and acceptance of health complaints and the course also introduces the use of pacing to prevent the boom and bust cycles of doing too much or too little. 

In the Mindfulness for Health course you will learn:

  • To live in the present moment and breathe into your experience, rather than tensing against it.
  • To respond rather than react to our life's circumstances

For an overview of the Mindfulness for Health course please follow this link: Breathworks Mindfulness for Health overview

I teach courses to groups and individuals in Warwickshire (Leamington, Warwick, Kenilworth, and Coventry). I also provide individual sessions by phone and Skype to those further afield - as well as taster sessions and follow-up sessions and bespoke courses/workshops for groups and organisations.

 

Our capacity to make peace with another person and the world depends very much on our capacity to make peace with ourselves.

Thich Nhat Hanh

 

When and where is the next course, and how much does it cost?

Please go to the tab or follow the link to courses to find out details of current courses, fees for groups and individuals and where I practice from.

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