Learning mindfulness can make a big difference to our enjoyment of life. There is a large and growing evidence base demonstrating that learning mindfulness significantly reduces stress, anxiety, low mood and perception of pain as well as increasing well-being.
I attended a mindfulness course for myself in 2008, to see if it could help me during a stressful time. It worked, greatly reducing my levels of stress and anxiety, helping me to appreciate and enjoy my life and become more confident and at ease with myself. I went on to train as a mindfulness teacher and to study for an MSc in Mindfulness. I love teaching mindfulness and watching people benefit.
I have an MSc in Studies in Mindfulness from the University of Aberdeen and accreditation to teach mindfulness courses developed by Breathworks and the Mindfulness Association and have taught mindfulness for over 10 years to more than 500 people.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness means deliberately attending to and becoming more aware of our experience: our thoughts, feelings and body sensations. This allows us to perceive more clearly thoughts, physical sensations, emotions and events at the moment they occur without reacting in automatic or habitual ways. By developing a new relationship with our experiences, we can begin to respond more creatively. Difficult things no longer overwhelm us, and we can remain steadier through life’s ups and downs. The attitude we cultivate in mindfulness is warm, gentle and kind and learning mindfulness helps us to bring these qualities to ourselves and others.
8 week mindfulness course with a well-being and stress reduction focus in Stratford upon Avon
Course runs from Wednesday 25th March until Wednesday 18th March, 7.30 pm until 9.30 pm (2 week break 15th and 22nd April)
Free taster session Wednesday 18th March 7.30 until 8.30 pm
During the course we will engage in various activities to foster mindfulness and kindness. These include formal mindfulness meditation practices, where we set aside time to sit quietly and notice our experiences. They also include informal mindfulness practices, these are small activities we can do in the midst of our daily lives. The course also includes taught theory and group discussion. Home practice is very important, and you will be given workbooks and access to recordings of meditations to listen to on a daily basis.
There are lots of misconceptions about mediation, including that it involves stilling or controlling your mind. When we meditate thoughts will come up and sometimes our minds will be very busy and our bodies agitated, this is all fine. As long as we bring awareness to this we are meditating. Everyone can learn to meditate.
Each week of the course has a theme.
Mindfulness: Learning to Choose. In this session we explore what mindfulness is. We also look at the human tendency to make unpleasant experiences worse by reacting to them and adding on additional unpleasant thoughts and feelings. We look at how mindfulness can help us to accept experiences rather than reacting to them, and how this can help us to let go of them.
Coming to Our Senses. An important aspect of mindfulness practice is to pay more attention to our senses: body sensations, sounds, sights, tastes, smells. This grounds us in our actual experience in the moment and is an effective way to address the over-thinking that often occurs with upset or stress.
Working with Thoughts. Thinking is an amazing skill but sometimes thoughts can be distressing. Negative thoughts can lower our mood and create feelings of stress, but we can’t just stop thinking. In this session you will learn to notice thoughts as they arise in your mind and let them go. This can be really liberating.
Working with Difficult Experiences. Our lives aren’t always easy. We can have all sorts of worries and difficulties. In this session we learn how to be with unpleasant, difficult experiences without allowing them to overwhelm us or cause behaviour we may regret.
Noticing the Good Things. There is pleasure, enjoyment, beauty and love in life as well as difficulty. In this session you will be encouraged to widen your gaze and notice the small pleasures of life which often go unremarked. Noticing and appreciating good things makes a big difference to our enjoyment of life.
Kindness. The quality of awareness we cultivate in mindfulness is warm, gentle and kind and we foster this quality in our mindfulness meditations throughout the course. This session introduces a kindness meditation that can deepen feelings of kindness towards ourselves and reduce self-critical tendencies.
The Social Dimension of Mindfulness. In this session we expand the kindness meditation to include others. Although this can sometimes be difficult, research has shown that developing a kinder attitude to others has a very beneficial effect on how we feel.
The Rest of Your Life. We review everything we have learned and practiced and we look to the future discussing ways to continuing to practice and reap the benefits of mindfulness and kindness.
Each week of the course will introduce a meditation practice or develop a practice that you have learned previously. Meditations will include: The Body Scan, Mindfulness of Breathing, Mindful Movement, Kindness Meditations.
Micro practices that you can do in the midst of your day will also be introduced. These include: doing something mindfully, doing something slowly, taking a break, accepting a difficult experience, noticing and appreciating good things and responding skilfully to things and people.
Course cost £200 (this includes handbooks and recordings)
You may also use this form if you have any other questions about the course. (You don’t need to fill in the website bit!)