Do you suffer from stress and the suffering associated with stress?
Mindfulness means deliberately attending to and becoming more aware of our experience: of our thoughts, feelings and body sensations. This allows us to clearly perceive these thoughts, physical sensations, emotions and events at the moment they occur and without reacting in an automatic and habitual way. By developing a new relationship with the conditions that we find ourselves in we can begin to respond creatively. Mindfulness doesn't get rid of our problems but gives us a choice as to how we respond to them.
The course focuses on the experiential practice of mindfulness, of being present with what is happening around us and within us. Rather than moving away from what is present, mindfulness happens when we come into the here and now, to simply be with what is already here. This natural human quality allows us to shift out of the mode of constant “doing” that we often find ourselves in, to come into a more balanced mode of “being”, a relaxed present moment awareness. By spending time in this present moment awareness we can:
- Develop awareness of both the sources of our stress and the tendency to "move away" from unpleasant experiences, leading to reduced stress reactivity
- Develop greater awareness, understanding and acceptance of emotions, allowing us to recover from bad moods more quickly
- Connect with the present moment through our senses, enabling us to step out of the automatic patterns of worrying, ruminating, planning and over thinking
- Recognise thoughts as part of our experience, and become more able to let go of negative or unhelpful thoughts
- Learn about the patterns of our minds, giving us more conscious choices about how to live
- Improve communication skills though interpersonal mindfulness practice, enabling us to enjoy more satisfying relationships
Who will benefit?
Mindfulness has been proven to benefit participants experiencing a wide variety of conditions or situations, including:
- Stress (work, family, relationships, illness, food/eating, worry, time pressure…)
- Chronic pain and illness
- Anxiety and panic
- Insomnia and fatigue
- Medical conditions (high blood pressure, heart disease, asthma, skin disorders, headaches)
Although there is a structure to the course, we have the possibility to adapt the course to work most effectively with the participants in each group. A weekly break-down of a typical course looks like this:
- What We Resist Persists. Our stress can be exacerbated by our resistance to unpleasant experiences and so we get caught in a trap: the more we resist it persists! Mindfulness allows us to accept experience rather than reacting to it.
- Coming to our senses. When we're stressed we naturally try to do something about it and this usually involves thinking and problem solving. The trouble with this strategy is that it's often counter productive. Thinking about our stress keeps us stressed! Mindfulness enables us to pay more attention to our senses which brings us back to our actual experience in the moment. This can greatly reduce stress.
- A Penny For Your Thoughts. Thoughts are one of the main causes of stress. One of the skills you'll learn on the course is to notice thoughts as they arise in your mind and to let them go. This is often a liberating insight for people who attend the course.
- When Your Buttons Are Pressed. Life as you know isn't easy. Financial worries, difficulties in relationships, illness and employment issues can all take their toll. Mindfulness helps us to develop inner resources and skills to cope better- in fact to flourish- in the midst of the challenges of life. Learning to be with difficult experiences without our 'buttons being pressed' is a key skill that you'll learn.
- The Pleasure of Small Things. When we experience difficulty in life we tend to focus on it, often to the exclusion of all else. On the course we'll encourage you to widen your gaze a little and notice the small pleasures of life which often go unmarked. By noticing the good things and letting them in to our experience we're working against what neuroscientists call the inbuilt 'negativity bias' of the brain.
How Does It Work?
The course combines weekly sessions with daily home practice.
The weekly sessions provide an opportunity to practice mindfulness together as a group, to discuss personal experiences and hear about others' experiences. Mindfulness practice during the weekly sessions typically combines sitting and gentle movement meditation with some sessions also incorporating mindful eating and mindful communication experiences.
Each week, participants are asked to commit to a daily home practice comprising of formal meditation practices and "mini-meditations" which can be practiced throughout the day to bring mindful awareness into participants’ daily life.
The course also includes guided meditation MP3s/CDs, a course workbook, and telephone/email support throughout the course.
“I discovered meditation 15 years ago during a particularly stressful time in my life. At the time I was suffering from panic attacks and constant mental chatter, both of which were very tiring. Mindfulness and meditation gave me a way to significantly reduce both of these symptoms and also gave me clarity to see a way forward, and to grow as a person. In fact mindfulness and meditation have had such a positive impact on my life that I decided to focus my energy on the study of mindfulness, deepening my own practice, and sharing meditation and mindfulness with others. I now teach 8 week meditation and mindfulness programmes, run retreats and provide mindfulness based awareness coaching.”
With a background in physics, software engineering and management of large teams, Neil provides a pragmatic approach to mindfulness and meditation which balances the intellectual with the spiritual.
Neil benefits from the following experience:
- Over 15 years of daily meditation practice
- MBSR training with Susann Herrmann, co-founder of London Meditation.
- Trained as a Mindfulness Based Awareness Coach with Albert Tobler, co-founder of London Meditation.
- Mindful Inquiry training with Cindy Cooper (Bangor CMRP)
- Mindful Movement training with Vanessa Hope (Bangor CMRP)
- Mindful Inquiry with Focusing (Peter Gill & Lokadhi)
- Teaching Mindfulness in Non-Clinical Settings (Frantic World) (Chris Cullen)
Also regularly attending retreats and courses to develop his personal and professional practice, including:
- Mindful Self-Compassion Intensive with Christopher Germer and Christine Brähler
- Foundations of MBSR/MBCT Retreat with Christina Feldman, John Peacock, Chris Cullen
- 2015 Mindfulness in Society Conference (Bangor CMRP) - Mark Williams, Saki Santorelli, Breathworks
- 2014 Cognitive Neuroscience of Mindfulness Conference (Bangor CMRP) - Cindy Cooper, Rebecca Crane, Phillipe Goldin
- Silent Zen Retreat with Stephen and Martine Batchelor at Gaia House
- iRest 8 Week Course with Sarah Gulland
- Embodying the Awakened Heart Retreat with Yanai Postelnik and Leela Sarti
- BFA Focusing Skills with Manjudeva
Meditation and Mindfulness are suitable for most participants; however these practices may not be suitable for those with certain pre-existing mental health conditions. If you suffer from any existing mental health conditions, please check with your doctor or specialist before booking. In addition, please inform us of any physical, emotional or mental health issues which could affect your participation in the course at the time of booking. All information given will be treated in strictest confidence. Please also note that attendees must be at least 18 years age.
Upcoming Courses:Currently we are offering the Mindfulness for Stress Course on a One-to-One basis.
We are able to start the course with you at any time and tailor it to your needs.
For more information, please visit our One-to-One page.
If you cancel more than 14 days prior to the start of your booked course, we will refund your fee minus a £50 cancellation charge. We regret that cancellations 14 days or less before the start of your booked course cannot be refunded.
Find out moreFor further information, call 07740 773977 or contact us, via our Contact form.
The course was facilitated in a very professional manner with much thought being put into all nuances of it. I found Neil's presence and the way he conducted the course very healing due to his gentle manner. I liked his willingness to share some of his own learning and struggles without losing a sense for appropriate boundaries. The retreat day - including Josey's delicious food - was a special treat and bonus to the course and well worth the extra hours of attendance.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the Mindfulness course over the past 6 weeks. It was everything (and more) that I hoped it would be. Your teaching of the concept and practices of Mindfulness was done in such an easy to understand manner and with such kindness and, very importantly, fun. It also turned out that we had such a warm, friendly and open group so it couldn't have been better.
Thank you very much for the Meditation Classes we have just concluded. They were very useful as well as enjoyable and I think have helped me to address the issues in my life that have been concerning me as well as helping to enhance my life by being more mindful. You ran the classes in a very thoughtful and relaxed way that was very beneficial to the experience of mindfulness.
Absolutely loved the course and Neil's tuition style. I'm going to ensure that meditation becomes an integral part of my life...
A perfect introduction to mindfulness and meditation, great explanation and guidance of a variety of different meditations and mindfulness practices...
I gained insights into who I am, and have also begun to notice that my inner confidence is improving as I continue to practice...
Gentle approach to meditation. I've seen a wide variety of meditation techniques in a short time. Neil's open honest approach works well for someone who comes from an IT background, such as myself.
This is a great course for busy people who want to de-stress and feel calmer...