What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a way of being which involves bringing awareness to the unfolding of present experience, moment to moment, with curiosity, openness and acceptance. It is not a set of techniques to be learned to escape unpleasant feelings, a relaxation exercise, or a goal to be reached, but rather an approach to life that can help us respond more skilfully even when challenging experiences do occur.

Mindfulness is an integrative, mind-body based approach that helps us change the way we think and feel about our experiences, especially stressful experiences. It involves paying attention to our thoughts and feelings so we become more aware of them, less enmeshed in them, and better able to manage them.

It is described as an, ‘awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment by moment’ (Jon Kabat-Zinn, 2007). Although commonly associated with Buddhism, developments in psychology and neuroscience support mindfulness as being an inherent part of the human mind that can be developed and enhanced through secular meditative practice.

Practice rather than theory!

Until recently, mindfulness has been a relatively unfamiliar concept in much of our culture. Happily this is now changing with no shortage of mindfulness books and research readily available. Whilst such books can offer helpful guidance they are not a replacement for the actual practice of mindfulness.

Whilst we may experience impromptu moments of mindfulness, for example stopping to notice and appreciate a sunset, a formal practice offers us the opportunity to develop awareness more consciously, allowing us to live life more fully.

Mindfulness involves a process of becoming more aware and accepting towards all our experiences including the unpleasant ones. This takes on-going practice and commitment. It may seem counterintuitive at first, because it involves the idea of allowing and turning towards an unpleasant experience, rather than trying to get rid of or control it.

It is not a passive process but rather a kindhearted and intentional engagement of wakefulness. With sustained practice, it is possible to see the many ways we get hijacked by wishing things to be different from what is actually present.

Evidence for Mindfulness

Mindfulness has been the subject of growing attention and interest in recent years, thanks to a rapidly expanding evidence base. This demonstrates it can be helpful for many mental and physical health problems, such as stress, anxiety, high blood pressure, IBS, CFS/ME, fibromyalgia and depression, in addition to promoting general physical and emotional wellbeing (Mindfulness Research, 2011).

Inspiration, motivation, and a more comprehensive view through interaction with others

There is tremendous value in practicing in a group and receiving guidance from a qualified teacher. A class can provide inspiration, motivation, and a more comprehensive view through interaction with others. An MBSR teacher and the group can help you explore your experience of the exercises and take you to a deeper level of understanding. Although a book may be a great starting point, we encourage you to seek opportunities to learn MBSR in a class situation.

Linda Lehrhaupt and Petra Meibert, 2017

Upcoming mindfulness courses and events in York, Helmsley, Harrogate & North Yorkshire

Emotional Fitness
Workshop

Mindfulness for Emotional Fitness

Priory Street Centre, York
27th November 2019
18:30 to 20:30
From £25 (discount options available)
Practice Days
Continued Practice Session

The Trials and Tribulations of Meditation

Priory Street Centre, York
3rd December 2019
18:30 to 20:30
From £25 (discount options available)
Practice Days
Practice day

Continued Practice Day

Beverley Quaker Meeting House, Beverley
7th December 2019
9:30 to 16:30
From £40 (discount options available)
Mindful
Introductory Workshop

Time for Change: Mindfulness Introductory Workshop

Priory Street Centre, York
21st January 2020
18:30 to 21:00
From £25 (discount options available)
Introductory Workshop

The Mind of the Manager: Mindfulness Introductory Workshop

Priory Street Centre, York
22nd January 2020
14:00 to 16:30
From £60 (discount options available)
Water drop
Introductory Workshop

Mindfulness for Health and Wellbeing Introductory Workshop

Priory Street Centre, York
22nd January 2020
18:30 to 20:30
From £25 (discount options available)
Mindful
Introductory Workshop

Time for Change: Mindfulness Day Workshop

Middlethorpe Hall, York
25th January 2020
9:30 to 16:30
7 week course

Cultivating Mindfulness in Management

Priory Street Centre, York
From 4th February 2020
14:00 to 16:00
From £260 (discount options available)
6 week course

Living with Uncertainty

Priory Street Centre, York
From 4th February 2020
18:30 to 20:30
From £200 (discount options available)
Practice Days
Deepening Practice Day

Self-Compassion Deepening Practice Day

St Olave’s Church, York
8th February 2020
9:30 to 16:30
From £40 (discount options available)
MBSR Course
8 week course

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction

St Andrew’s Church, Bishopthorpe
From 8th February 2020
10:00 to 12:30
From £260 (discount options available)
Practice Days
Continued Practice Session

Mindful Self-Care

Priory Street Centre, York
21st April 2020
18:30 to 20:30
From £25 (discount options available)
Practice Days
Deepening Practice Day

Deepening Practice Day

St Olave’s Church, York
25th April 2020
9:30 to 16:30
From £40 (discount options available)