Mindfulness is “the awareness that arises from paying attention in a particular way; On purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn Professor of Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. In essence, it is tuning into ourselves, other people and our environment. Key to the practice is an acceptance of whatever is happening, not in the sense of giving up, but rather, utilising awareness and wisdom to determine the best way forward
Participants are introduced to simple meditation practices that can help us become more present to our experience, manage thoughts, emotions and body sensations more effectively, and develop helpful responses to difficulties. The practices include sitting meditation, body scanning and gentle mindful movement / Tai Chi, as well as some shorter exercises that facilitate the application of Mindfulness in daily life. There are also opportunities to share our experiences of the practices.
Our approach is based on the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, as well as the Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) course, developed by Zindel Segal, Mark Williams and John Teasdale at the Universities of Cambridge and Toronto. The two courses are very closely related. The MBSR course has been used for over thirty years to help with anxiety, chronic health problems, and general well-being. The MBCT course was developed more specifically to help prevent relapse among people with a history of depression, and is now also now being offered more widely, for people with other conditions and to non-clinical populations.
We will provide all equipment and course materials. We recommend that you wear loose clothing to the sessions.
Through regular practice. There is no shortcut. Mindfulness is learned experientially, which means trying it out for yourself. Learning involves formal and informal practice. Formal practice is sitting and being mindful without any distractions for a period of time (every day if possible). Informal practice is taking what you have learned through your formal practice of being present and applying this moment-to-moment in everyday life. Like any skill, the more you practise it, the easier it becomes.
Mindfulness has been proven to:
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Reduce depression
- Increase your feeling of well-being
- Increase self-acceptance
- Improve sleeping patterns and immune system function.
Mindfulness works on a number of levels:
From a physical point of view, formal Mindfulness practice causes the relaxation response. The relaxation response means your breathing slows, your blood pressure drops, you relax and feel calmer.
From a brain science point of view, regular Mindfulness reduces the reactivity of the Amygdala, the fight or flight part of your brain. This means you become less reactive and less stressed out about things, in particular worries, and thoughts that previously may have caused you stress, are not so problematical.
From a psychological point of view, Mindfulness allows you to start to develop and experience a very natural and real sense of being totally OK. This feeling creates a high degree of self-acceptance and less striving to try and perfect or fix yourself or your life (which most people find to be a highly stressful, not to mention futile activity)
It depends on your experience at the time. Mindfulness isn’t one particular state or experience, but rather an opening to the experience you are having right at this moment – which could be pleasant or unpleasant. Mindfulness is not designed to change our experiences as much as change our relationship to them so that they are not so stressful and problematical. One thing is for sure though; you can only experience what Mindfulness is like by actually doing it.
Nothing. Mindfulness and Meditation are simply being present on a moment-to-moment basis.
There may be the odd exception, but in most cases, no. Just like with any skill we learn, or when we increase our physical fitness, we require a dedicated time for formal practice or the exercise. There is no way around this. And just like physical fitness, Mindfulness (which improves mental and emotional fitness) is a lifetime practice.
Both Mindfulness and meditation have been a core part of most Buddhist traditions for over 2,500 years. We teach and practise Mindfulness in a 100% secular and non-religious fashion with no religious terms, philosophy or ritual. The benefits of Mindfulness and meditation do not rely on any belief system, but arise by simply implementing the practice.