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This course will explore various approaches to pain and/or stress-management through mindfulness-meditation, with guided meditation-relaxation practices, and gentle movement (based on yoga, T’ai Chi and Qigong). We also look at pacing in daily life, and will cover how to keep an activity diary.
This course is suitable for anyone suffering from stress or poor health, and will teach methods of ‘coming home’ more fully to our present experience, and in so doing may also help to inhabit our bodies more fully. The mindfulness-meditations presented may also help to observe and perhaps quieten the often restless mental activity (anxiety and stress) that at times we can all suffer from, when we are not able to ‘switch off’ from our ongoing ‘internal dialogue’ (over-active thinking).
What will I learn?
What do I need to know before I start the course?
Each class will be two hours long. There will be a tea break and plenty of informal time to relax and chat during the classes.
This course is suitable for (almost) everyone. There are no pre-course requirements. However, this course will probably not be suitable for those with significant ‘learning disabilities’, or for those with other mental health issues.
There is a suggested reading list (see below) if you would like to read more about Mindfulness and Health.
There is, however, one book that you will need to get for the course, and preferably read beforehand. This is 'Mindfulness for Health’ by Vidyamala Burch and Danny Penman, ISBN: 9780749959241 (winner of the British Medical Association book awards 2014 - popular medicine). You will need to buy this book before the course starts. This available from the Book Depository for around $25 (on special) including postage, but will take at least 1 week to arrive.
Mindfulness-based stress reduction and Mindfulness-based pain-management can also be very helpful for those living with pain and illness, and people can attend this course with any health issue. The gentle exercises are simple and safe, and suitable for those who may not have good levels of fitness.
Mindfulness approaches, have also been used, to help prevent relapse into substance use (e.g. alcohol) and addiction – but this may not be suitable for those currently in withdrawal. ‘Mindfulness’ has also been used (e.g. mindfulness based cognitive behavioural therapy) for helping to prevent relapse into depression, but again this course will not be suitable for those currently depressed.
The focus of this course is on group work, discussion and self-help strategies. The Mindfulness material and Mindfulness based pain and stress management methods presented on this course are for personal development, self-management, self-empowerment and self-directed learning.
To gain benefit from the course, it is essential to engage with the materials outside of the class, and there will be homework set each week, for about 30 minutes per day for guided meditations, breath awareness and Mindfulness practice.
Suggested course outline (this may change upon class discussion)
This short 4 week course can serve as an Introduction to Mindfulness for health, for anyone who wishes to learn mindfulness. This course could also serve as a practice/refresher course, for anyone who has attended another course, and wishes to deepen and further refine their mindfulness practice.
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Mike grew up in England and studied Acupuncture, T’ai Chi and Qigong from his early 20’s, going to China to study at a teaching hospital there (1987) after finishing his diploma in London. He then spent time in Japan (teaching English) and continuing his study of acupuncture and Qigong. Returning to London, he studied Osteopathy, and then Chinese Herbal medicine. He also continued his interest in ‘practical’ meditation and yoga and his interest lies in body-mind awareness (integration) and practices as they can be applied in modern healthcare and healing. Mike trained in the Breathworks programme (UK) from 2004, training also with its founder Vidymala Burch, among others, and it is this training that has perhaps had the greatest influence on the Mindfulness for Health material presented here. Mike lives with his family in Linwood, Christchurch, where he practices as an Osteopath, Naturopath and Acupuncturist.
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