Learn Mindfulness Meditation

If you want to learn mindfulness meditation, doing so with an experienced teacher has many benefits. As mindfulness has become mainstream there are now many different ways to learn more about it including apps, online courses, live courses and then various formats including the traditional  eight week course. So which is best for you?

Everyone is different and has varying demands on time and ability to commit. There can also be issues with finding a reputable teacher near you. (I have written about How to Find a Mindfulness Teacher here).

For some people dipping in and out of an app is perfect for them and an excellent introduction to mindfulness meditation. However, if you are wanting to learn how to manage  life stress, chronic pain or a condition such as depression or anxiety then it is worth investing in a face-to-face course with an experienced teacher.

The benefits of taking part in a 'live' 8-week course with a teacher are:

Teacher support

  • When we start practising mindfulness our awareness can increase more quickly than our ability to handle what it reveals. An experienced mindfulness teacher can support you if things get tricky – particularly in the early part of the course.
  • A teacher will be able to respond flexibly to an individual’s needs, as well as those of the group overall, and will be teaching ‘from the moment’ rather than following a prescribed formula that is more common in an app or online course.
  • A core part of learning mindfulness meditation is through guided reflection of a participant’s experience. This learning can only be obtained through a live session with an experienced teacher. 

Collective wisdom of the group

  • When we learn mindfulness meditation with others we discover that experiences that perhaps we thought were unique to us are actually part of being human. This normalising process is particularly helpful.
  • We also discover how each of us is different – we respond differently to common experiences and so we learn there is no right or wrong.
  • When we commit to  the challenge of establishing a daily practice it helps to know that we are not alone and that others in the group are also doing the same thing.

Showing up

  • Studies show we can establish a habit if we do something regularly for 8 weeks – the duration of the course. Learning mindfulness meditation by committing to showing up each week to a session supports our intention to commit to establishing a regular practice.
  • Following the set home practice over the 8-week period helps establish it as part of your routine. Home practice includes formal guided meditations as well as informal ways to weave mindfulness into your everyday. Left to our own devices most of us will choose the practices we like or just do them when we feel like. The richest discoveries are found when we just do it - regardless of whether we want to or not (and particularly if we would rather not). A structured course supports this essential learning.

Structured learning

  • The curriculum of the course has been carefully thought out and structured to introduce learning safely; establishing essential foundations early on rather than jumping to practices before the necessary skills are learned.

Evidence base

  • One of the attractions of mindfulness for many people is the strong evidence base demonstrating the physical and psychological benefits. However, the majority of these studies have been done with the traditional 8-week course rather than with shorter courses, apps or online courses without teacher interaction. Studies showing the rate of relapse for depression halved in those who practice mindfulness meditation were done with participants taking the 8-week course. Likewise the changes that occur in the brain such as improving focus, concentration, perspective, compassion and empathy (find out more here) were all done with participants doing the 8-week course.

Maintaining a practice

  • It is hard to practice on your own and if, like many, you find mindfulness transformative  it is easier to maintain a practice if you have built up a relationship with a teacher who offers follow-on sessions for ‘graduates’ of the 8-week course.You can find out more about Meditation Maintenance sessions here

Additional information about learning mindfulness meditation in a group

When you learn mindfulness meditation in a class you always have a choice in everything we do. There is never any obligation to share anything or contribute in the wider group if you prefer not to.

Learning mindfulness meditation in a group is not therapy. We are interested in what we are experiencing rather than why.

People learning mindfulness meditation in a group are just like you!  Some may want to find healthier ways to manage stress and improve their well-being, some may be looking to manage a chronic health conditions, some may be interested in improving focus and concentration, others may just be interested in learning how to meditate. The diversity ensures a rich learning environment.

Courses are held in central London. They are usually taught over 8 weeks, either weekly or every other week in four extended sessions.

Sign up to learn mindfulness meditation

If you would like to learn mindfulness meditation find out about the next 8-week course in central London here

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