mindfulness Based Stress REDUCTION
If you have wanted to learn to meditate but don’t know where to start, then here is your chance. We work in a supportive group with clear live guidance and recorded meditations at home. This is the best environment to keep you on track until mindfulness has become second nature and simply a way of life. You do not need to sit cross-legged on a cushion !
Enjoy the calm and sense of freedom that comes from being in the moment. Give yourself this valuable gift and become the master of anxiety, low mood and distraction. As one participant said “I thought, if not now, then when?!”
In the 8 week course we will meet once a week for two hours to practice mindfulness techniques, study the workings of the mind and body and share our experiences. We will be sitting, walking, lying down and moving gently. There will be some written exercises and discussion as well as times of silence and meditation.
To achieve positive results students commit to one lesson per week and 45 to 60 minutes of home practice 6 days per week. In this way old destructive habits of reacting to stress can be replaced by new ways of responding with intelligence and we will find that we are better equipped to deal with tension, fear or pain.
With mindfulness we can also be more present during our pleasant and joyful moments and thus able to enjoy the good times to the full. This course is suitable for adults of any belief system or none.
Participants will receive recordings covering six different meditation routines to facilitate their practice at home.
After the end of the course, Alison will be available for coaching by phone or Skype for those who would like to develop even more Mindfulness in their lives. Those who have studied the 8-week course are welcome to participate in any future courses for a 10 euro contribution per lesson, we love to have you back! (as long as space allows).
MBSR Intro video goes here
OVERVIEW OF LESSON CONTENT
There is more right with you than wrong with you, no matter what challenges you are facing.
Difficulties are workable.
Mindful awareness, which is paying attention, in the present moment, with kindness, is fundamental to this work since
the present moment is the only time anyone ever has to perceive, learn, grow or change
By becoming more aware of our thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations, as well as the external world, we give ourselves the possibility of a greater freedom of choice. We do not have to go down the same old mental ruts that have caused problems in the past
Eating Meditation Sitting.
In this light-hearted exploration of eating slowly and mindfully we have the opportunity to experience the difference between autopilot and mindful presence.
Body Scan Meditation Lying Down
The process of scanning through the different parts of our body helps us to develop both concentration and flexibility of attention simultaneously. This is preparation for later exercises where we fine tune our capacity to connect with our mood through the subtle changes that take place in our physical body sensations.
Gentle Standing Movement
Stretches adapted to the ability of participants will encourage body awareness and give us the opportunity to study the experience of movement with curiosity and interest.
Each class follows a theme but relates closely to the other lessons. There is time to share our experience of the guided exercises and of our practice at home.
Body Scan (20 or 35 minutes) x 6 days
9 dots exercise
1 mindful meal
PERCEPTION AND CREATIVE RESPONDING
How you see things (or don’t see them) will determine in large measure how we will respond to them. This ties in with how you see pain, illness, difficulty or stress. Here we start to see that it’s not the stressors per se, which have a direct effect on our mind and body but rather how we handle them which determines whether they will negatively influence the health of mind and body.
We explore thinking outside the box.
Body Scan Meditation, Lying Down
The process of scanning through the different parts of our body helps us to develop both concentration and flexibility of attention simultaneously. We begin to fine tune our capacity to connect with our mood through the subtle changes that take place in our physical body sensations.
Meditation of the Breath, Sitting
Sitting in a chair or on a cushion you are invited to follow the guidance and patiently return to the physical sensations of breathing, gently coming back to the “now”, no matter how many times the mind wanders. We are not asked to stop the thoughts but rather change our relationship to them, allowing them to pass by and seeing what it is like not to get attached to the stories they tell.
Body Scan (20 or 35minutes) x 6 days
Sitting meditation, (10 to 15 mins) mindfulness of the breath x 6 days
Pleasant events calendar one entry per day.
Mindful routine activity, like brushing teeth, mindfully
MINDFULNESS OF THE BODY IN MOVEMENT
“Use the breath as an anchor to tether your attention to the present moment. Your thinking mind will drift here and there, depending on the currents and winds moving in the mind until, at some point, the anchor line draws tight and brings you back.”
Jon Kabat-Zinn, Meditations for Everyday Life
There is pleasure and power in being present in body and mind through practice of yoga & meditation.
Yoga as a practice of mindfulness, emphasising gentleness, non-judgment, curiosity, respect for current physical limits, and non-striving.
Noticing and questioning the conditioned tendency of the mind to label events as pleasant (& grasp at them) or unpleasant (and push them away).
We can have pleasant moments while in crisis or pain, and unpleasant moments when things are going well too.
Meditation of the Breath, Sitting
Exploring the relevance of a dignified posture while “sitting”.
Introducing walking slowly with mindfulness and how we might bring this practice into our lives as we move through our day.
Lying Down Yoga
Moving within our limits and staying aware of how the body feels.
Please bring a mat and shawl.
Body Scan (20 or 35minutes) x 6 days
sitting meditation, mindfulness of the breath (10 to 15 mins) x 6 days
Pleasant events calendar one entry per day.
Mindful routine activity, like washing up, doing it mindfully
RESPONDING RATHER THAN REACTING
With mindfulness we are not guaranteed to be stress-free, but we learn how to deal skilfully with the inevitable stresses that arise as part of living a human life.
Conditioning and perception shape our experience; mindfulness practice cultivates curiosity and openness to all experience and helps us learn new ways to relate to external and internal stressors. We start to recognise our automatic reactive patterns and find we are able to choose a skilful response rather than reacting in habitual ways to stress.
We review the physiological & psychological bases of stress reactivity, and how mindfulness can be used to work with stressful situations and experiences. Discussion of how people often cope by trying to escape through alcohol, food, screen time and other habits that suppress difficult feelings.
30 minute Mindfulness of the breath and body
Expanding awareness into the body as a whole and further developing a broad and narrow focus.
The Three Phase Breathing Space a quick way to become aware of the moment and accept what is present in the way of physical, mental and emotional states.
Body Scan (20 or 35mins) alternated with mindful yoga x 6 days.
Sitting meditation (10 to 15 mins) mindfulness of the breath and body x 6 days.
The Three Phase Breathing Space at regular times during the day
Awareness of stress reactions and behaviours during the week without trying to change them.
Awareness of feeling stuck, blocking, numbing, shutting off from experience.
Review the information on stress in the class handout.
ACCEPTANCE and ALLOWING / LETTING BE
AWARENESS PRECEDES ACCEPTANCE
In the last session we discovered that if we are present and aware, we have a choice in how we deal with a stressor. We can react in our old unhelpful, habitual ways, or we can take a mindful approach and decide how we would like to respond with discernment.
In this class we explore further awareness of the conditioned patterns of escape from difficulty (fight and flight – reactivity/automaticity/mindless-ness). Investigation of the ways we often cope by escape or denial. Honoring that these coping methods may have been protective and have supported survival in the past, but are now counter-evolutionary and limiting, if not destructive.
We connect mindfulness with perception and appraisal in the critical moment when we are triggered into reactivity. We emphasise paying attention to the capacity to respond rather than to react to stressful situations.
Learning to honor the full range of emotions involves acceptance of them. We are then able, when called for, to express them with clarity and respect for ourselves and others.
Sitting Meditation, (40 minutes) Mindfulness of the breath and body, sounds and thoughts.
Reflection on first half of course, midway assessment.
The Responsive Three Phase Breathing Space.
Sitting meditations (30 mins), alternating with
mindful yoga/Body Scan.
Practice the Three Phase Breathing Space at regular times during the day.
Practice the Responsive Three Phase Breathing Space when needed during the day.
Fill out the Difficult Communications Calendar.
Awareness of “moments” of reactivity and investigating slowing things down with the breath
‘The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence.
When mindfulness embraces those we love, they bloom like flowers’
– Thich Nhat Hanh
TALK AND LISTEN WITH MINDFULNESS
Mindful communication happens when we are truly present in this moment with curiosity, kindness, and compassion. We listen with an open, non-judgmental heart to the other person.
In class we explore a recent stressful communication, using the exercise to see feelings more clearly, identifying our patterns of communication and practicing expressing ourselves accurately.
With Mindfulness we cultivate the capacity to stay balanced in relationships. We become more flexible and recover more rapidly in challenging interpersonal situations. In class we use an aikido exercise to illustrate different communication styles.
Sitting Meditation with less instruction (40 mins) breath, body, sounds, thoughts, emotions, open awareness.
Aikido communication exercises.
Sitting meditations (40mins), Body Scan, MindfulYoga Alternate these practices through the week.
Three Phase Breathing Space practice this at regular intervals during the day.
Three Phase Responsive Breathing Space, practice when needed.
Notice how you are relating to others.
The afternoon will start with a mindful lunch. An opportunity to eat your picnic lunch mindfully and prepare for an afternoon in silence with extended guided practice.
This helps to cultivate a sense of mindful presence and being open to any experience; an opportunity to practice mindful attention and immerse oneself in longer sessions of focus and quiet.
MINDFULNESS IN DAILY LIFE &
BRINGING AWARENESS TO TIMES OF DIFFICULTY
LINKING MOOD AND ACTIVITY
Recognising how our activities interact with our mood and well-being helps us to make wise choices about which activities we choose. Learning to take action based on present moment experience is key. This is how we take care of ourselves, with kindness.
This lesson is about integrating mindfulness practice more fully and personally into daily life. We are asked to purposefully reflect on life-style choices that are adaptive and self-nourishing as well as those that are maladaptive and self-limiting.
Sitting meditation – Open Awareness and the breath as anchor.
Questions about communication from Session 6
Discussion of what we take in; food & other sensory experience.
Practice own choice of body scan, yoga, walking and/or sitting for 45 mins, without using recordings (or alternate between recordings and own practice)
Informal practice of being as awake and aware as possible throughout the day
MAINTAINING THE MOMENTUM
Keeping up the momentum of intention and commitment developed over the course in formal and informal meditation practice.
Review of supports to help integrate the learning from this program over time: books, recordings, graduate programs, free sessions, webinars, apps, retreat centres.
Longer less-guided sitting and moving practices.
Guided reflection – learning from course, goals for future.
Discuss course e.g. expectations, hopes, learning, costs, future.
Final meditation, acknowledge group ending.
A programme that you choose for yourself and the option to team up with a meditation buddy.
This may sound like the end of something but it is in fact the beginning of taking a mindful approach to life and there is no limit as to what can evolve.
This is an effective and practical way to start or refresh a Mindfulness practice. If you have always wanted to meditate and don’t know how, or can’t maintain a regular practice alone, then a personal programme could be just the right thing for you.
Some clients book an 8 week course alone, or with a friend, and schedule weekly sessions of 90 minutes to study with a trainer on line. This is a significant commitment and requires time set aside for home practice as well. This is the tried and tested way of learning how to live a mindful life and is well worth the effort. Others are interested to simply get a taste of Mindfulness through shorter sessions with guided meditation and may consider a full 8 week course at a later date.
Individual sessions are also of great interest to people who have taken an 8 week course, enjoyed great benefits, and then let their practice slip. Some short sessions can easily get us back into the habit of daily practice. It’s like having a personal trainer and greatly increases the odds that we will get back on the cushion and continue to build on all the wonderful work that went before. .
Home visit on the French Riviera for one or two people.
1 hour teaching and meditation – 80€
90 minutes home visit -120€
8 week course taught privately (12 hrs of guidance) 880€
On Line By Skype or Zoom 45 minutes teaching / meditation – 45€
60 minutes teaching / meditation – 60€
8 week course taught privately on line (12 hrs of guidance) 660€
Session graphic here
Is it Time to Get Mindful at Work?
Mindfulness increases concentration and productivity
Mindfulness practice may seem like something that you need to do in a quiet room when you have no other distractions, but recent studies have shown that actually taking time to do mindfulness meditation while at work can help concentration and productivity.
Embraced by some of the corporate giants
Some of the largest corporations such as Google, the NHS and Transport for London have fully embraced this concept, with Google leading the way and employing a Mindfulness ‘guru’ to ensure that the principles are incorporated into the very heart of the company.
Reduced absenteeism, increased creativity
However, you don’t need to be a multi-million euro business to take this step and reap the benefits of reduced absenteeism, plus increased productivity, communication and creativity.
An 8 week course adapted to your company
Any organisation can offer an 8 week MBSR course to their staff,with sessions being held at an agreed time each week. The Mindfulness training is adapted to accommodate a busy work schedule with group lessons of only 1 hour 15 mins and home practice of just 25 minutes, as studies show that corporate participants still master the capacity to be in the now with these more compact practice periods.
Helen Baldwin, Director of Scinopsis Medical Writers set up a course for her colleagues.Here is what she had to say about the experience:
“Mindfulness training has been a key part of my personal development programme. I find with regular meditation I am more centred, happier and better able to focus and deal with difficulties creatively. I work with 12 fabulous women and I wanted them to have the opportunity to study Mindfulness for their own benefit and to help them manage what is often a high-stress job with tight deadlines. Those who attended the course reported marked improvement in their work and home life. The feedback included reports of being able to cope with pressure serenely and see solutions instead of experiencing anxiety. One person said that they were able to focus on the breath for 3 minutes when stressed and emerge ready to take on the task. Time became less pressured and it was noted that being mindful helped colleagues to be calmer too.”
The Mindfulness corporate course was also taught to medical and admin staff at the Tzank cancer clinic in Mougins France.If you feel that your company and colleagues could benefit from an MBSR course then please contact us and we can arrange a visit to discuss requirements and provide a quote.
MINDFULNESS IN SCHOOLS
Mindfulness Courses for Teachers, Secondary School Students, Primary School Students
Mindfulness In Schools Project (MiSP) courses have received wide acclaim for their efficacy and popularity. Each course lasts approximately one term with one lesson per week. Classes are varied and interesting with the emphasis on active participation and attention training. Teaching points are explored through discussion, writing and drawing exercises and backed up with slides and video.
Omindfulness is qualified to deliver all the MiSP courses, sharing the view that everyone deserves to not ‘just get by’ but to flourish. Through the key skills learned in these trainings we see young people navigating life’s difficulties with greater skill and engaging more positively with opportunities that come their way.
The curricula used have a reputation as the gold standard for class room mindfulness. They are based on rigorous research in clinical psychology and neuroscience, they are written by teachers and have been used successfully in a wide range of educational contexts.
Please feel free to call us for a chat and then you might like to book a 90 minute presentation to introduce the subject to the teachers or pupils in your school. This introductory slide show explains what Mindfulness is and how it is taught, while introducing the audience to the fascinating science base behind the trainings. The presentations for teachers are often of interest to other staff and parents too.
Many schools are now adopting mindfulness practices in their classes to help students cope with exam pressure and peer pressure. However if a school decides that mindfulness would be useful for their students, the first step is to educate the teachers. In this way a mindfulness school culture is built upon a solid foundation. When staff are familiar with the concepts they even model mindfulness in the way they work and interact, providing a touch stone for students as they, in their turn, learn how to be present in the here and now.
My sincere thanks again for the fantastic session today with our ISM community. Your presentation was very well received and the feedback has been very positive indeed.
I would now like to ask you to do a session for our PTA and parent body, which we can discuss further once I have spoken with the PTA President.
Further to that, I already have 14 members of staff who wish to undertake the foundation training!”
Bringing Mindfulness to Your School
There are three different programmes available and there is an introductory presentation lecture for each: