What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a basic human capacity that we can tap into at any time. It involves actively paying attention to what is happening in the present moment, without judgement. It is rooted in kindness and compassion and can become a life-long exploration and way of being in the world.
What mindfulness courses do you offer?
The two courses I offer are derived from the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction programme and also from the "Finding Peace in a Frantic World" programme. My training is in keeping with the requirements of the UK Network of Mindfulness Based Teacher Trainers. The network requires training with a clear rationale to last for a minimum of 12 months.
Who are the courses for?
People come to Mindfulness with a variety of life experiences and will find different aspects of the course resonate for them. Some might decide to sign up for a course because they are feeling stressed at work or at home, while others want to explore how to deepen their appreciation of life or because they are going through a difficult time.
NB. If you are in the middle of a serious depressive episode or are experiencing other mental health issues or trauma it may be best to consider a different approach. Mindfulness is not therapy and it may be that counselling is more appropriate at such times. Please have a chat with me first.
Is Mindfulness a religion?
No it is not a religion although it has roots in Buddhist philosophy and has an ethical basis, helping us to nurture wholesome mind states such as kindness, compassion and patience. Some teachers describe the words heartfulness and mindfulness as being interchangeable.
Do I need to attend all the sessions?
As with anything new, mindfulness improves with practice and you will get more out of the course if you attend all sessions. This is a choice rather than a "have to" and it might help to reflect on why you are investing the money in coming on the course. If for any reason you have to miss a session you can soon catch up and the hand-outs will be provided for you. If you are in a particularly busy period of your life it might be best to wait.
I'm not sure if mindfulness is for me
Many people start out with this thought and mindfulness helps us to be with uncertainty. If you feel drawn to try it or are simply curious and approach it with an open mind, then that is a good starting point. I am happy to have a chat with you to discuss in more detail and I occasionally run taster sessions.
What can I expect to happen during a session?
Each week we will do a guided practice, such as mindfulness of breathing, a body scan or other practice. There will be talks and also group work and discussion. The aim is to make the course very hands-on and practical so that you can relate it to your everyday life.
What about the home practice?
Home practice is an integral part of the course - you could describe it as 1% theory and 99% experiential/practice. To get the most out of the sessions you will be invited to commit to a daily practice of about 40 minutes or two shorter practices twice a day. This gives a better chance for the practices to sink in and to become something you build into your life, rather than an extra thing to stick on your "to do" list. Like anything else, the more you practice, the more you get out of it.
Can you tell me about the group work?
You will never be forced or expected to speak in class; the atmosphere is one of safety, support and confidentiality. Discussion, pair work and group work help make the practice of mindfulness real and relevant and you will probably find you get more out of it by taking part. If you want to discuss this further, just give me a ring.
What happens on the day-long retreat?
This gives us the opportunity to spend more time on the practices and to see what it is like to come out of "driven-doing" mode and into "being" mode. The days are taken in silence (including lunch) and we gently come out of silence towards the end of the day. These sessions are open to those on a mindfulness course and anyone who has already completed an eight week course.