How can I learn mindfulness?
Twice a year I run a group course over 8 weeks. More details are below. I also teach mindfulness individually, again over 8 weeks. When learning one to one with me, sessions tend to be 60-90 minutes per week.
What does the course look like?
I run an 8 week course (plus an additional follow up session, see below) that is MBSR (Mindfulness based stress reduction) based.
Each week is a 2 hour session. Each group will consist of approximately 12-15 people. This is a group based course as my experience is that learning together is the richest way to experience mindfulness. To get the most out of the course you will need to put some time aside each day to practice meditation. There are other home practice things to do to further deepen your experience of mindfulness.
There is no religious teaching in this course. Mindfulness is about a way of being.
You will receive a folder full of information about each week's experience and other information and resources you can look at to enable you to develop your own mindfulness practice. You will also receive a CD with some guided meditations.
Once you have booked I will also arrange to meet with you to ensure that you are aware of the style of the course and that it will meet you needs and answer any questions that you may have. There is also a follow up session about a month or so after the course ends so that the group can mee to share their experiences of continuing practice and to answer any questions that may have come up.
The 8 week group course costs £245 and includes:
CD of guided meditations
Pre course appointment (individual)
8 week group mindfulness course
A follow up group session following the completion of the 8 week course.
Ongoing support throughout the course as you need.
Individual courses cost £360.00
What is mindfulness?
"Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non judgementally" (Kabat-Zinn, 1994: 4).
You may have heard that the importance of mindfulness is that it helps us to chooose to focus on the present moment. Many clients tell me that they wonder why this is important.
The reason this is important is that the present moment is the only thing we have to work with. A research study called "A wandering mind is an unhappy mind" (2010) found that our minds wander nearly half the time. Wandering into the future thinking about what might happen and then treating this as fact causing us pain, anxiety and worry. How do we know what is going to happen in the next minute let alone the next year? Our minds also wander back in time creating stories in our minds based partly on past events. We go over and over things that have happened to us. We run events through our mind over and over again causing us distressing emotions such as humiliation, grief, embarassment and depression to name but a few!
Imagine your mind trained to be just in this moment, focussed and free of intrusions pulling your attention away from what you are trying to do. What would that be like? More peaceful maybe? More foccused, sharper, happier, kinder, calmer, wiser?
With practice you can acheive these positive states of mind. And when things get difficult, as they do in life, you will learn to accept those moments and not be fearful of them.
What we learn in mindfulness is to "participate in our feelings rather than be a victim of them" (Jon Kabat-Zin).
Evidence base for Mindfulness
The two most well known forms of mindfulness-based programmes are MBCT and MBSR. MBSR was developed in the late 1980’s by Jon Kabat-Zinn. Many forms of mindfulness-based programmes have grown out of MBSR. MBCT was developed during the 1990’s as a programme for people who are vulnerable to recurrent depression and it is recommended for this client group for use within the NHS by NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence). MBCT integrates MBSR with psychological understandings drawn from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
"Mindfulness meditation has been shown to affect how the brain works and even its structure. People undertaking mindfulness training have shown increased activity in the area of the brain associated with positive emotion – the pre-frontal cortex – which is generally less active in people who are depressed. Many studies have shown changes in brain wave activity during meditation and researchers have found that areas of the brain linked to emotional regulation are larger in people who have meditated regularly for five years or more. The evidence for different types of mindfulness is promising and research has grown in recent years." (Mental Health Foundation).
The Mental Health Foundation reviewed all the research and produced a report on the benefits and applications of Mindfulness.
You can find the report here