Frequently Asked Questions
1Is there any value in doing an ONLINE Mindfulness course and what can I expect?
Good question! You may think that it would be impossible to engage in mindfulness online, that learning mindfulness practices and connecting with a group would be difficult. I am happy to say that this is not the case! Since March 2020, I have been offering all of my mindfulness courses online and feedback has been really positive. Lots of people have even reported some advantages... some find it easier to take part from the comfort of their own home, rather than having to travel to their course, others find learning and practising mindfulness from their own home space allows them to integrate it better into their daily life. Everybody seems to enjoy the diversity offered by an online course, allowing them to meet with people from a range of different locations and even countries. Have a browse through the Testimonials page to hear what some participants have shared. I am now a Certified ONLINE Mindfulness teacher and have gained considerable experience in facilitating mindfulness courses online. I would be delighted to welcome you into my Zoom room and support you to learn and practise mindfulness in your own home. You can expect a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere, creative use of the technology available, lots of support from me as you develop your mindfulness practice and hopefully some fun along the way!
2Is Mindfulness the same as Meditation?
While these two words are often used interchangeably, there are in fact a range of meditation practices to be found throughout the world. Some kinds of meditation focus on calming or clearing the mind, on relaxation or on centredness. The intention of Mindfulness is a little different. Mindfulness is a way of relating to whatever happens in our lives, whether on the meditation cushion or in daily life. It’s about cultivating awareness of whatever we happen to be doing, simply noticing, without judging. In that sense, therefore, mindfulness can be applied to every moment of our day and not just to the times when we are “meditating”. It’s challenging to describe mindfulness in words. It is best experienced from the inside out. There is much to be gained from reading about mindfulness but far more to be gained from actually doing it! Try it for your self and only then will it fully make sense to you.
3Is Mindfulness a religious practice?
The practice of Mindfulness is more than 2,500 years old and can be found, in some shape or form, in most of the major world religions. However, it is not a religious practice in itself. People who are committed to their own spiritual development or faith practice often find mindfulness to be complementary to this but mindfulness can be practised by people of all faiths and none.
4Is Mindfulness the same as psychotherapy or counselling?
No. There is no doubt that through mindfulness practices, we become more aware of our thinking, our emotions and our usual habitual reactions. We begin to notice when and how we are clinging to memories and fantasies or preoccupied by worries and constant planning. In this regard, there is a considerable educational component to mindfulness. Nevertheless, while we can learn a lot more about ourselves and develop greater insight into the patterns we have developed over many years, mindfulness practice is not about individual or group therapy. In the courses I offer, a clear distinction is made between the support offered to participants with their mindfulness practice and the kind of therapeutic support that might be offered by a counsellor/therapist in a group therapy setting. Having said that, those already engaged with a therapist or counsellor often find mindfulness practices to be very complementary to this process.
5Is Mindfulness beneficial for me if I am receiving treatment for anxiety and/ or depression?
The Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Programme (MBSR), in particular, has been designed to support people experiencing a whole range of physical and mental health conditions. In more recent years, the MBSR programme has been adapted by others working particularly in the area of mental health and often includes components of cognitive therapy. Reports from this area of work clearly indicate that the MBSR programme can greatly assist those experiencing psychological distress, including anxiety, panic, depression, fatigue, and sleep disturbances. Having said that, participating in a mindfulness course, particularly MBSR, can be challenging and there are times in our lives when this kind of challenge may be too much for us. If you have any concerns about your ability to engage with a mindfulness course at this particular time, please feel free to discuss them with me. Together, we can assess whether this is an appropriate time for you to take part in a course.
6Do I have to sit on the floor?
No! Mindfulness can be practised just as easily whilst sitting in a chair, standing or even lying down. It is useful to remember that a lot of meditation practices originated in Eastern countries where people are used to sitting on the floor as part of their daily lives. For those of us in Western countries, sitting in chairs is what we are generally more used to and we tend to have less flexibility for floor sitting. However, during the mindfulness courses which take place in-person, I have a range of meditation cushions and meditation stools available so that participants can, if they like, experience sitting a bit closer to the ground!
7What should I wear when I attend a Mindfulness course?
As the practices involve paying attention to our breathing and doing some gentle movement, it is best to avoid clothing that is tight around the waist. Comfort while taking part in a mindfulness class is really important so loose clothing works best.
8Are there programmes available for young people and children?
Yes, there are a lot of developments in this area of mindfulness work and the value of developing mindfulness programmes for children and young people has been recognised by many people working in the fields of education and health in particular. Currently I am focusing on providing courses for adults but I would be happy to direct you to mindfulness resources that are available for children and young people so please feel free to contact me for further information. Those involved in teaching and youth work often acknowledge that they too could benefit from taking part in a mindfulness course so please get in touch if you would like to consider this as an option for you or your team of colleagues.
9What can I do if I want to do a Mindfulness course but it is too expensive for me?
I am committed to making mindfulness courses as accessible to as many people as possible. Flexible payments options can be accommodated, and, on each course, a number of concessionary places are also available. These are generally offered to students, seniors and those in receipt of Social Welfare payments. However, if you would really like to do a course and are on a reduced income, please contact me to discuss it and I will do my very best to accommodate you.