Mindfulness

Mindfulness is made up of a series of practical techniques and exercises to bring you fully into the present moment. Here we are not trying to change anything. Instead we are allowing everything to be as it is, and learning how to be completely attentive to what is unfolding in the now. Mindfulness is simple and powerful. It can transform how you perceive life and how you react to challenging or stressful situations.

As a result and with continued practice over time, a sense of acceptance and peace is felt. What is required from the student is a strong commitment, patience and a desire for less stress. Aoife’s mindfulness classes and workshops guide students to experience and learn the techniques. Relaxation and breath work practices are also included. She welcomes feedback and questions from students. Usually the practices are learnt sitting on a chair and sometimes lying down. It is important to wear comfortable clothing and enough layers in case you get cold or warm. Once the techniques are learnt, it is up to the students to continue practicing and to incorporate them into their daily lives. Group classes and private classes are available.

Mindfulness

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the art of being present. This is such a rare thing in our modern society. Most of us are running around constantly thinking about the future or the past. As a result our minds are always thinking and life is experienced through our mental chatter, not through the experience of being. Mindfulness practice helps us bring all of our attention to the present moment and experience it fully. In this capacity we become fully engaged with the now. Our stress levels naturally diminish and the quality of our lives can transform.

Benefits of Mindfulness?

  • Stress reduction
  • Memory boost
  • Increase in Focus
  • Less emotional reactivity
  • Self-insight & self-observation
  • Overall improvement in mental & physical well-being
Mindfulness

Frequently Asked Questions

How does mindfulness work?
What does mindfulness feel like?
What is the difference between mindfulness and meditation?
Can you learn mindfulness or meditation without formal practice?
Is mindfulness about trying to stop my thoughts?
I’ve tried a bit of meditating in the past and couldn’t do it. Does that mean it’s not for me?
Is mindfulness and meditation religious?
What do I wear to the classes?
Will I have to speak in the class?
Do we sit in chairs?
Is this a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course?

How does mindfulness work?

Mindfulness works on different levels. From a physical point of view, mindfulness practice causes the relaxation response. The relaxation response means that your breathing slows down, your blood pressure drops, you relax and feel calmer. From a brain scientific point of view, regular mindfulness reduces the reactivity of the Amygdala (the fight or flight part of your brain). This means you become less reactive and less stressed out about things, such as worries, and thoughts that previously may have caused you stress. From a psychological point of view, mindfulness allows you to begin to experience in a very natural and real sense being completely OK. This feeling creates a high degree of self-acceptance and less striving and trying to perfect, fix yourself or your life.

What does mindfulness feel like?

It depends on your experience at the time. Mindfulness isn’t one particular state or experience, but more of a deepening into the feeling of the experience you are having right at this moment – which could be pleasant or unpleasant. Mindfulness is not designed to change our experiences but rather to change our relationship to our experience so it is not as stressful or problematic.

What is the difference between mindfulness and meditation?

At the core, nothing. Mindfulness and meditation can both be defined as being present or being aware on a moment-to-moment basis. Nowadays both terms are interchanged in different contexts so it can seem a little confusing.

Can you learn mindfulness or meditation without formal practice?

In general, no. As with any skill we learn, or when we increase our physical fitness, we need to spend time formally learning and doing the practice or exercise.

Is mindfulness about trying to stop my thoughts?

No, this is a misconception. Stopping our thoughts is almost impossible. Mindfulness is not about avoiding or stopping anything. It’s about learning how to be more aware of everything – including our thoughts. Through this increased awareness we can start to distinguish between types of thinking that are productive and types that actually make difficult situations worse.

I’ve tried a bit of meditating in the past and couldn’t do it. Does that mean it’s not for me?

Not at all. Anyone can learn the basics of mindfulness practice. Sometimes it is about timing in life and finding the right teacher or program for you.

Is mindfulness and meditation religious?

Both mindfulness and meditation have formed part of Buddhist traditions for over 2,500 years. However it is possible to present, teach and practice mindfulness in a secular non-religious way. The benefits of mindfulness and meditation do not rely on a belief system, but in the practical aspect of implementing the practice.

What do I wear to the classes?

Wear whatever you are comfortable in. Make sure you can take layers off if you are too hot or put layers on if you are too cold.

Will I have to speak in the class?

Not if you don’t want to.

Do we sit in chairs?

There will always be a chair available for you to sit on. Depending on where the session is held, the students might prefer to sit on a bolster or block.

Is this a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course?

No, my classes are not official MBSR. My courses tends to be cheaper and shorter than most MBSR courses. Like MBSR courses, it has a strong focus on the practical and is 100% non-religious.