8 week training programme

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is all about learning to direct our attention to our experience as it unfolds, moment by moment, with open-minded curiosity, kindness and acceptance. Rather than worrying about what has happened or might happen, it trains us to explore and respond skilfully to whatever is happening right now. With awareness comes choice and with choice, freedom.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed to be accessible and effective for busy people in an every busy world. Inspired by Finding Peace in a Frantic World, a course designed to help introduce busy professionals bring mindfulness to everyday moments and .bFoundations a workplace programme for adults in education settings, the material draws on aspects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT).

What are the course intentions?

The course aims to support participants in learning about mindfulness through experience. Benefits of taking the course may include developing awareness of our present moment experience, finding ways to feel happier, calmer and more fulfilled, to get on better with others, to work more effectively and to increase resilience in the face of stress and difficulties. The course is focused on supporting adults in developing their own practice of mindfulness in everyday life, rather than a training to teach others. Many participants find taking the course has a positive impact on both their personal and professional ways of being. Completion of this programme also meets prerequisites for continuing to train with the mindfulness in schools project should you wish to teach their .b or pawsb curricula with children (www.mindfulnessinschools.org).

What does the course look like?

Mindfulness is best learned in a highly practical way. Over the course, we practice learning to direct our attention in a deliberate and friendly way to whatever is actually happening in our present moment. Whether that be the breath, sensations of the body, thoughts and feelings or everyday activities such as walking, eating, listening and speaking. At first we may become aware of how frequently the mind wanders away from our chosen focus of attention, but with practice we learn to direct our attention more skilfully and kindly. This can help us to break the hold of unhelpful habits of behaviour, thoughts and emotions and impulses that arise from these. With practice we can learn to choose how we respond to all aspects of life, pleasant and unpleasant, with care and compassionate interest. Each session builds on each other and is also flexible to respond to individual needs as they arise. As with all new skills, it takes practice and effort to make time for exploring our experience in this new way working with an experienced and appropriately trained guide* helps to enrich our learning experience.

Each 90 minute session will focus on a particular theme or aspect of mindfulness and will involve some discussion, interactive exercises and meditation practices. Until the next session, there will be the invitation to make time for daily practice so we can bring mindfulness to our daily lives and thus build our mindfulness or awareness muscle in any moment. There will also be the opportunity to join with other mindfulness practitioners on a day of practice. On this day when we can allow ourselves to just be and practice tuning in to our present moment experience with a kind and friendly curiosity.

Weekly Session Themes:

Session 1: Waking up to the autopilot.

The course starts with waking up to the human tendency to operate on automatic pilot. We practice paying attention in new ways and becoming aware of what happens when we step out of automatic mode.

Session 2: Bringing curiosity to experience 

In this session we learn about the evolution of the mind and explore how the body can be an anchor to the present and a radar for important messages. We learn how ‘keeping the body in mind’ can help us to befriend body sensations as a way to anchor and steady our attention. It can helps us to tune in to sensitivities to anxiety, stress, fatigue and pay attention in helpful ways to these messages, rather than being overwhelmed.

Session 3: Mindfulness in Daily Life

Mindfulness can be practised throughout the day in our everyday activities and helps us to build flexibility and transform the ordinary to extraordinary. In this session, we practice formal and informal ways of approaching our experiences with attitudes of curiosity, kindness and patience. We learn how regular practice helps to slow down the momentum of daily frictions and unhook us from unhelpful thought loops.

Session 4: Tuning in to Thoughts & Feelings

In this session, we zoom in on the mind’s ever-present running commentary. We practice relating to thoughts as we can relate to sounds. We can listen, observe and begin to see thoughts as creations of the mind rather than facts. We learn how we can see more clearly, recognise habits of mind and how they powerfully influence mood and behaviour. This gives us great freedom, the space where we can choose our actions wisely rather than react on impulse.

Session 5: Exploring difficulties: Buidling resilience

In this session, we practice a new attitude towards difficulties with an invitation to turn towards and befriend aspects of our experience that we may typically avoid and resist. Usually when faced with a difficulty or discomfort, our habit is to shutdown and push away. Yet the paradox is while this may feel best in the short-term, long-term we are learning the habit of automatic avoidance and we can handle much more than we think we can. When we practice gently turning towards, when we feel steady, step by step, breath by breath, we are building the our resilience skills.

Session 6: Relating to ourselves and others

The intention of this session is to consolidate all our learning in the previous sessions. We continue to practice ‘approaching’ difficulties, stepping back from unhelpful thinking habits and fostering kindness and compassion towards ourselves and others. We deliberately move from a quality of harsh attention to kind and calm attention, especially to the inner critic when s/he appears.

Session 7: Developing balance in our lives

In this session we bring our mindful awareness to habitual patterns of living our lives and we open up to attending to the ways that help us to flourish. We reflect on how we can choose what we do and how we act to nourish ourselves everyday.

Session 8: Mindfulness and the rest of your life

We celebrate completing this course and we reflect on what we are taking from the course and how mindfulness may fit in the rest of our lives. Life is the curriculum and we have to weave our parachute every day so it is there for us when we need it!

*I am a fully trained and certified MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) teacher. I adhere to the Good Practice Guidelines for Mindfulness Teachers in Ireland as a member of the Mindfulness Teachers’ Association of Ireland (www.mtai.ie). I am also a Chartered Psychologist with training in clinical and educational psychology.

Cost: €175 for all sessions and course material (audio recordings and course text).

When: Thursdays 3.45pm – 17.30pm

Dates: 19th September – 7th November 2019

Contact sheena@discoveringmindfulness to book your place.

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