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Navigating mindfulness

New course for January 2018 here

Mindfulness is very much ‘in vogue’ at the moment and it can be difficult to decide what course or method is right for you; or if you are an Organisation which provider might be the best fit. In this post I wanted to highlight a few things to help you make your choices clearer.

Mindfulness is a secular practise that has roots in Contemplative Religions and in particular Buddhism. MBSR and MBCT courses (mindfulness based stress reduction and mindfulness based cognitive therapy) and their offshoots are secular and are therefore ideal for the workplace, health and education and for people with and without faith.

Take care to choose a course or practitioner that fits with what you are looking for. There are a range of mindfulness/meditation courses available from completely secular to those with a stronger Buddhist leaning. Contemplative practice of which meditation is the primary method in MBSR and MBCT can be found in many faith traditions.

Mindfulness practitioners that teach secular courses are expected to have completed prerequisite teacher training, particularly around inquiry into a participants experiences, to have supervision and to teach from their own practice as well as having further specialist qualifications if they aim to teach a particular specialist group. To find out more about this please visit here

If you are looking to introduce mindfulness into your Organisation consideration should be given to what the intention is for introducing it and making sure it is linked to the overall business or wellbeing initiatives of the Organisation. Ideally you would look to find mindfulness practitioners that have some understanding of the business sector that you work in, have experience of group work and facilitation skills and have their own mindfulness practice. Extended Mindfulness courses should be offered to people on a voluntary basis rather than as a mass mandatory roll out.

Mindfulness is about bringing awareness to current experience and attending to that experience with kindliness and non judgement. For all of us life can be tough at times and generally mindfulness is best learnt when life is on an even keel; to help navigate future tougher times rather than trying to learn mindfulness in an acute phase of your life. As Jon Kabat Zinn has said don’t try and weave the parachute as you are getting ready to jump!

Mindfulness is not just for adults! Mindfulness is also being introduced into schools and a leader in this field is the mindfulness in schools project. Their successful programs are an offshoot of Mark Williams’s work through Bangor and later Oxford Universities. Their programs are called .b (11-18 years), pawsb (7-11 years) and .bfoundations (aimed at teachers and those that work in schools).

Finally a group or do it yourself? Mindfulness can be learnt through many ways from apps on phones to reading books with cds to online programs to short and longer courses through to extended retreats. The key is finding what might best work for you and your learning style and your particular needs. The advantage of the group based courses is that you join a community support network of like minded people to help bolster your practice and learn from others’ experiences. They also tend to provide more practice hours to help you establish your practise in day to day life which is not always that easy!

Want to know more? I am trained to deliver MBSR (through Bangor) to the general population and can also offer a tailored corporate based mindfulness program and from June 2016 will be delivering the .bfoundations program to those within the Education and Schools sector. I am also able to deliver the non clinical mindfulness based course based on the best selling book Finding peace in a frantic world.

Interested in research? This is an excellent paper written by Katherine Weare on the evidence of mindfulness. While focused on the schools sector it talks to many of the recent results and benefits to adults undertaking mindfulness training too.

“This course was just what I needed at this point in my life. It has been enlightening and life changing and helped me focus and learn what being mindful really means”

Elizabeth (course participant)

“I would highly recommend this course to everyone, as even the most practical person still can use time to be more mindfully aware in giving your grey matter some time out for a workout”

Debbie (course particpant)

Please share if you think this might be of interest to someone and do get in contact if you would like to explore more! or tel 07801 246113