8-Week Mindfulness for Wellbeing Course
Thursday 21st January 2021 – face-to-face (spaces available) and online (spaces available)
Mindfulness is a bit like being given the instruction manual to our own mind! On this course, which follows a formally validated approach, you will learn: what mindfulness is, its benefits, and the many ways to practise mindfulness – leading to the development of your own mindfulness practice.
The course runs over 8-weeks with a small group online or face-to-face, in weekly two hour sessions starting at 19.30. It’s supported by providing audio meditation practices and written material for use at home. It’s based on the eight-week courses MBCT and MBSR (see below for more detail on this).
The benefits of this course have been far-reaching and have had an impact on all aspects of my life!
Why attend a mindfulness course?
Regular mindfulness practise has been shown many times to be beneficial to most of those who practise, building resilience, enhancing well-being, reducing stress, and improving focus and clarity at work and at home. It has been shown to help us become more aware of the often illogical patterns our thinking mind is drawn into, providing approaches to take back the control we think we should have.
Like any skill, mindfulness requires practice – and this will be your main task as an attendee, practising the mindfulness exercises most days. You will be provided with guided audio meditation recordings which can be listened to either over the internet or by downloading to your favourite mobile device.
Start date: Thursday 21st January 2021
Time: 19.30 until 21.30
Venue: Online and face-to-face at: Renewal Centre, Church Road, Swallowfield, Reading, RG7 1TJ
Cost of course: £235
- Week 1, 21st January – Running on autopilot
- Week 2, 28th January – Living in our heads
- Week 3, 4th February – Gathering the scattered mind
- Week 4, 11th February – Recognising aversion
- Miss one week for school half-term
- Week 5, 25th February – The odd thing about ‘allowing’
- Week 6, 4th March – A thinking exposé
- Week 7, 11th March – A time to dance?
- Week 8, 18th March – The present in the future
Mark has an inclusive and generous style which guided us all beautifully through our learnings. Bringing so much more than mindfulness, Mark adds further depth & understanding to how our brains and bodies work so we can take more personal control of our well-being.
More background details?
The approach we take is based on a formally defined course called Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). MBCT is the only mindfulness course recommended by the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for use in a clinical environment, for example by the NHS. MBCT itself is based on an approach created in the United States called Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).
We call the course ‘Mindfulness for wellbeing’ because we are not running the course in a clinical environment, and so we are free to dynamically adjust some of the practices to suit those who attend.
If the smallest part of you is entertaining the idea of signing up for this mindfulness course, don’t hesitate or put it off or wonder how you’ll fit it in. Just sign-up. You’ll be very glad you did.
Are there ID requirements or an age limit to attend the course?
The course is open to anyone aged 18 years or over.
What about COVID19 precautions?
For face-to-face courses, the Renewal Centre has been through a risk review and implemented the precautions for safe use of the venue. The maximum number of participants in the venue is ten to enable the two-meter distancing, with face coverings – we are restricting it to a maximum of eight for this course. Current guidance permits the meeting of more than 6 people for training, with social distancing. The course will run simultaneously online if you would rather attend that way, or if tighter restrictions come into force during the course. Mark, the trainer, will wear a face shield.
Attend online or face-to-face?
We’re often asked if it’s better to attend online or face-to-face. Ideally, we would all attend face-to-face to get the most engaging experience, but where that’s isn’t possible or appropriate, attending live via web conferencing is a good alternative, and still an improved experience over a pre-recorded course. It is possible to mix attendance, sometimes in the venue (assuming spaces are available) and sometimes online. This hybrid approach enables you to meet Mark and some of the attendees, but also provides the flexibility to join online as the need arises.
What if we go back into lockdown?
If we go back into COVID19 lockdown, the course will continue at the same time and dates, online. If you don’t want to join the course this way, you’ll be welcome re-join the course on the next run, or receive a pro-rata course refund – whichever you prefer (there may be situations where the course can’t continue online, in which case a pre-rata refund will be provided).
Where can I contact the organiser with any questions?
If you have further questions, do get in touch using one of the options on our Contact Us page.
What if there is a week I can’t make it?
If we know you can’t make a particular week, we can ensure that you still received the notes for that week, along with the practices. It may also be possible to join the training online or attend the daytime course for one session. So, don’t worry too much if you know there is one week you can’t make. If it’s three or more weeks I can’t make? Generally, it’s a good idea to book on the following course – but, every situation is different, so do contact Mark to discuss; for example, it may be possible to book a number of one-to-one sessions to cover the content you won’t be able to make.
Can I pay by…?
You’re welcome to pay by bank transfer, credit card, cheque, or even cash, we ask for your preference on the booking form.
Can I reserve a place on the course?
You’re welcome to reserve a place with a deposit of £40, which will hold the place until 7 days before the course. So we ask for full payment at least 7 days prior to the course.
What is the refund policy?
A full refund is available if you choose to cancel your attendance 48 or more hours before the first training session, and an 80% refund right up until the first session. A full refund is also available if you attend the first training session and decide that the course is not for you – just let us know within 24 hours of the first session.
What size is the class?
The course is run with a small group, a maximum of 14 people, and a minimum of 5.
Is the course suitable for those with depression or other mental illness?
Mindfulness practice can be beneficial for those who have suffered from depression or other mental illness. However, the course may not be suitable if you are currently suffering from clinical depression, unless under the guidance of a medical professional. Partly, this is due to the nature of mindfulness practise which invites us to focus on and work directly with our thoughts and feelings – this can be very helpful for those who have suffered from depression but may not be productive in the middle of a depressive episode. Do please speak with Mark if you’re unsure about suitability.
What are the computer / technical requirements to attend?
The guided meditation practises are provided as mp3 audio files, which can be played on any computer or smartphone. The files are provided for download using a web link, and can also be copied to a memory stick, or even a CD provided for participants if preferred.
Online courses use the computer conferencing software Microsoft Teams, which is free to use as an attendee and runs on all major computers, tablets and smartphones.
Do I need to be able to sit in the lotus position or any other special position?
No! There is no special sitting position or physical requirements. For sitting meditation, the suggestion is to sit upright, with your upper body self-supporting (for example, away from the back of a chair). But if that isn’t practical, then you can sit however you choose.
Is it suitable if I have a physical disability?
Yes! Although there are recommended postures for practice (see ‘Do I need to be able to sit in the lotus position’, above), they are not required. There are also simple movement practices – again which can be adjusted or excluded to support anybody who wishes to learn to become more mindful.
I believe it is important to teach mindfulness both competently and ethically. Although mindfulness is not formally regulated in the UK, recommendations for ethical practice are provided by the UK Network for Mindfulness-Based Teachers (the UK Network) for training, practice and supervision, and I follow these guidelines, for example:
- Formal and continual training – my training followed the UK Network guidance for training teachers, and I teach according to the guidelines expected for mindfulness teachers. This is the same approach recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE; the UK body providing evidence-based information for health and care professionals, including the NHS).
- Under normal circumstances, we will speak on the phone before you start a course to ensure that the course is suitable.
- Confidentiality is key in all of my courses.
- I have regular supervision from an external qualified mindfulness supervisor.
A more detailed description of the guidelines is provided by the UK Network here: Mindfulness-based teachers Good Practice Guide.
It has been one of, if not the best, investments in my life.