Lichens 1310 x 350

Introductory courses and workshops

An introduction to mindfulness can be provided in the form of one or two hour, half day or full day sessions for businesses, other organisations, or the general public. These introductory courses are designed to offer a taste of mindfulness-based approaches, through a simple but coherent introduction to mindfulness practice, and how this can be beneficially brought into the workplace, home and all aspects of daily life.

Courses can be tailored on request to the particular needs of a group or organisation. An introductory course or workshop does not replicate the full benefits of the eight week programme.

The 8 Week Course

The eight week course is an integrated programme of MBSR and MBCT, and is intended to facilitate a personal investigation of mindfulness in everyday life, and its application to stress and life challenges. The course is an experiential training in the practice of mindfulness, learned through meditation and movement, to help develop new ways of handling challenging physical sensations, feelings, moods or experiences.

The aim of the course is to deepen understanding of the way we think, feel and react to stress and to understand and practice mindful responses to stress.

What does the course involve?

Heart shaped stoneThe course consists of an introductory session followed by eight weekly classes of two hours with up to 15 people working together as a group. During the course you will learn how to develop mindfulness through “formal” mindfulness meditation practices, including sitting meditation, gentle movement, stretching and body awareness exercises, and also “informal” practices, for example, bringing mindful attention to ordinary, everyday experience.

An important part of the learning process is through reflection and exploration of your experience of practice, and through discussion in both small and large groups. You do not need to have any previous knowledge or experience of mindfulness, or meditation to come on the course.

Home practice

Home practice is an essential part of the course. Developing mindfulness takes practice. Each participant is required to undertake up to an hour of practice each day between classes to help establish the skills that are being learned. This requires a strong commitment to work on yourself through a gentle but rigorous programme of mindfulness practice, supported by guidance from CDs. Course material is provided to support this learning at home.

The course tutor can be contacted between classes to help with any difficulties that might arise with your practice.

Who is the course for?

Everyone can benefit from mindfulness. The programme is known to benefit people with a range of physical and psychological health problems, but it is not necessary to have a specific health problem to find it helpful. We all have times when we experience stress and difficulty.

Illnesses or difficulty may not change, but the way in which we deal with them can shift, making it all feel easier. Being more aware and accepting of our thoughts and feelings means we are in a better place to make wise choices, and deal with difficulties more effectively. The course can therefore benefit anyone who is at a point where they are willing and ready to look deeply at themselves.

What are the benefits?

Evidence-based research has shown that training in mindfulness and MBSR can positively affect participants’ ability to reduce medical symptoms and psychological distress, while learning to live life more fully. The MBSR programme has benefited people with a variety of conditions and concerns:

  • Stress in relationships, family, work, finances, during times of uncertainty and change.
  • Illness and chronic pain, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, asthma, skin disorders.
  • Anxiety, panic, depression, fatigue and sleep disturbances.
  • Learning self-care, enhancing well-being and dealing more effectively with life’s ups and downs.

Most people completing MBSR programmes report that they gain lasting benefits, such as:

  • More energy and enthusiasm
  • a greater capacity for relaxation
  • more self-confidence
  • an increased ability to handle stressful situations.

What is available to us is the full spectrum of who and what we are. What is required is nothing special, simply that we start paying attention and wake up to things as they are. All else will follow.

Jon Kabat-Zinn