What is it?
In a nutshell, it's the practice of clearing and focussing the mind, training it to direct your thoughts along a positive path in order to promote your wellbeing.
Yes. It's not the easiest thing to learn and do for most of us and just like anything new, it takes a bit of practice to get going and to start reaping the benefits.
What are the side effects?
These can be many. A quick Google search will show you plenty but a reduction in stress and a greater ability to deal with anxiety are probably the most talked about and scientifically documented.
There are plenty of others. These include increasing a person's attention span and ability to focus, enhancing self-awareness, better emotional health, improved sleep and decreased blood pressure. Meditation has also been shown to help fight addictions and control pain.
People also use the practice to develop other beneficial habits and feelings, such as simply being more positive, being in a good mood and having a brighter outlook.
Sounds a little vague doesn't it. Well it kinda can be...
We're all different but generally, we all want to be happy, fulfilled, content, satisfied, calm, healthy, in control and all that good stuff. Life has this habit of presenting us with various challenges to achieving these things though. Within us, within our actions and our thought processes, we have an ability to make the best of any situation but a busy and cloudy mind can seriously impede our ability to do this. This is where these mindfulness practices come into their own, helping to clear whatever fuzz, mental chatter and any other stuff so you can focus on whatever needs to be focussed on.
There are many ways to meditate or be mindful. In these classes, our teacher will guide you through some different techniques that you can take away and practice outside of the class should you wish. Some will probably resonate with you more than others but you can play, pick and choose what suits you best.
For most of the class we'll be seated on the floor/cushions. Eyes can be open or closed, however you're most comfortable. The teacher will guide you through different techniques which you'll get the opportunity to practice. There'll be an opportunity to ask questions or chat either as a group or privately afterwards too, should you fancy that.
Will there be lots of sitting still?
A fair bit, but the stillness is a big part of what we're trying to practice.
Liken your brain to a lake (go with us on this one). If the weather's been stormy or if a bunch of people have been messing about in it, the water is probably choppy and murky from all the disturbance. Left to settle, the water will clear. It's kinda like this with the mind, the stillness promotes clarity.
Have a go.
We have classes running every Thursday evening at 8.00 pm throughout September. They're suitable for everyone and no prior experience is necessary. It's a great way to dip your toe into this kinda thing if you never have, and a great way to further any existing practice you might have.
You can use any of our class passes to attend one/all of these sessions. For those wishing to sign up to the four-week program, you can do so with a Mindfulness Pass (£30.00 for the four classes, with a place guaranteed).