What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is an awareness that arises from an open, attentiveness to experience. It emerges when we pay attention to the present moment with open, friendly curiosity.
It is about simply letting go; of all expectations and all judgements. It is about opening our awareness fully in each moment, to any feelings, thoughts or physical sensations that arise.
Mindfulness practice originates from traditional Eastern philosophies and is now becoming widely incorporated into western settings. It is even used within the NHS to support patients struggling with stress, anxiety or depression.
The emphasis in cultivating mindfulness is not so much about trying to change our experience, but to develop a deep noticing of whatever emerges; with kindness and loving acceptance.
Through regular practice, we are able to meet ourselves with greater compassion and friendliness, and often discover an inner strength and resourcefulness that helps us make better, wiser decisions. We focus on the present moment, instead of dwelling on the past or future. Mindful practice not only has a positive impact on our health and well-being, it also benefits our relationships; with ourselves and others.
What is meditation?
Meditation is that which gives you deep rest.
Quote from artofliving.org
This simple definition beautifully sums up my personal perception of meditation, and this is what I teach my students.
For me, meditation is a gift of self-nurturing. It is a gift of time and tranquillity that we can give to ourselves – even if for just a few minutes a day.
Many traditional teachers focus on the discipline of meditation; I choose to focus on the joy of meditation.
To me, the word ‘discipline’ conjures up an image of hard work; the word ‘joy’, on the other hand, conveys a sense of lightness, and feels much more nurturing.
Yes, meditation will get easier the more you practice. However, if you believe that meditation can only be done in a certain way - i.e. sitting in the lotus position for at least an hour, with no thoughts floating through your mind whatsoever! - then it can feel like a pretty daunting and unachievable task.
I teach meditation in a way that is accessible to all.
I break it down into achievable practices, teaching you different tools, different approaches and a ‘Yes, I can meditate’ attitude.
Start by gifting yourself just a few minutes of ‘me-time’ a day with snippets of tools that you are taught in class, and before you know it you’ll be putting them altogether and meditating for 30 minutes without even realising it!
I teach many ways to access meditation. We can cover the whole range, or focus on one particular practice that works for you. Some of the meditation approaches we can practice together are:
- Core mindfulness practices
- Sound meditation
- Walking meditation
- Guided visualisation
- Introduction to chanting
Whether that calmness occurs whilst sitting in the lotus position with your spine straight, or simply focusing only on your breath; whether it happens whilst you are lying down listening to a guided visualisation; out walking or running; or whether that sense of peace comes from chanting, singing or even through doing the dishes; if your mind is calm and you are fully focused on what you are doing, then you are meditating.
Mindfulness is the willingness and capacity to be equally present with all events and experiences with discernment, curiosity and kindness.
Christina Feldman, author and co-founder of Gaia House
How can I learn Mindfulness and Meditation?
I teach mindfulness and meditation at my therapy practice in Kingsbridge. There are regular drop-in classes, one-day workshops and training courses available throughout the year. Further details are available on this website.
I am also very happy to teach meditation on a 1-2-1 basis and offer one-off sessions or multi-session packages.
See prices below.
Another way to develop your meditation practice is to immerse yourself with like-minded people on a retreat. I run one-day, weekend and also one week retreats throughout the year at my meditation studio just outside Kingsbridge (on-site accommodation available).
What are the benefits of mindfulness and meditation?
With regular practice, even if it’s just for a few moments a day, you may begin to experience a calm mind, good concentration, clarity of perception, improvement in communication, blossoming of skills and talents, an unshakeable inner strength, healing, the ability to connect to an inner source of energy, relaxation, rejuvenation, and good luck are all natural results of meditating regularly.
But there are many things that neuro-science doesn't show, such as improved relationships and perspective. All of this hinges on regular, sustained practice.
Practising daily mindfulness and meditation helps*…
- Expand awareness
- Grow compassion and kindness for yourself and for others
- Develop skills which promote confidence and happiness
- Reduce anxiety, chronic pain, depression, high blood pressure, IBS and stress
- Gain clarity, perspective, stability and courage
- Increase enjoyment of day to day living and immune system function
- Recognise, slow down or reduce habitual reactions
- Diminish negative thought patterns
- Build resilience and inner resources you never knew you had
*courtesy of www.dailymindfulness.com
Drop-in classes: £8
One-day workshop: £55
8-week training course: £95
1-2-1 session: £50