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Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction Programme

This certified 8-week course in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and Relaxation is for young people aged 11 – 18.

We call the kind of moment to moment awareness invoked by tuning into your breath and to every other aspect of your life MINDFULNESS. It is developed by purposefully paying attention in a non-judgmental way, to what is going on in your body and mind, and in the world around us. Staying in touch in this way from one moment to the next, this shift in awareness, may lead to seeing things somewhat differently, perhaps to feeling less stuck, or to a sense of having more options, more strength and more confidence in your possibilities, more wisdom…
The course aims to assist you in taking better care of yourself and in getting the most out of living. The majority of people completing the programme report lasting physical and psychological benefits including:

  • an increased ability to relax
  • greater energy and enthusiasm for life
  • heightened self-confidence
  • an increased ability to cope more effectively with both short and long-term stressful situations

The aim of the programme is to learn new ways to handle challenging physical sensations, feelings, moods or social interactions.

What does the course involve?

The course will be run over 8 weeks in 2 hour sessions every Wednesday evening. A day of mindfulness practice is included in week 6 when participants have the opportunity to experience a whole day of practice to notice the effects of this. A trained mindfulness instructor will teach the meditation practices, support the participants’ learning and lead group discussions which are an important part of this process. To get the most out of coming to the class requires some work on your part and each participant is required to undertake between 20 and 40 minutes of home practice a day between classes. It requires a strong commitment to work on yourself through a gentle but rigorous daily discipline of meditation and relaxation. Making the time commitment and the personal exploration involved can make the course seem stressful at times but it is also likely to be pleasurable and empowering as well.

Who is the course for?

The programme is known to benefit people with a range of problems of both a physical and a psychological nature, but it is not necessary to have a specific health problem to find it helpful. We all have times in our lives when we experience difficulty, stress and struggle and for some of us this is our daily experience. The problem or illness itself may not change but the way we relate to and cope with the difficulty may shift, making it all feel easier. Developing greater awareness can open us to be able to change how we approach our experiences – taking more pleasure in the good things and dealing more effectively with the difficulties. We can see how often we are missing the moments of our lives! We can see how our habitual and reflex reactions to events often add layers of difficulty for us on top of the original problem!

The course is therefore potentially open to any of us who are at a point in our lives where we wish to, and are ready, to look deeply at ourselves. However, for some people it may be necessary to get the approval of your GP just to ensure that this course is going to be right for you at this time.
I have made an audio version of the workbook to make the course available for the visually impaired.

People do also come to mindfulness courses to gain skills in dealing with particular conditions, such as:

  • Heart disease
  • Chronic pain
  • High blood pressure
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety and panic
  • Depression
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Fatigue
  • Cancer and other long term illnesses (not to cure but to come to a place of acceptance)
  • Skin disorders

Summary of the course:

  • The aim of the course is to learn new ways to handle our moods and emotions.
  • It teaches us to take better care of ourselves so that we are able to live our lives in a fuller and healthier way.
  • It promotes a way of being that helps us tackle life problems – physical, mental, social and emotional
  • The focus of the mindfulness practice is to learn to be aware of the small changes in the physical sensations in your body; what is happening in the world around you (using your physical senses) and your thoughts, emotions and moods.
  • The course programme encourages us to develop the skill of being aware of our experiences (good and bad, pleasant and unpleasant) from moment to moment -so that we can learn to respond more skilfully to situations rather than simply reacting automatically.
  • Overall, the course is often helpful in dealing with an ongoing difficulty – the problem may not change but we can learn to relate to it differently.

Whilst taking part in the course it is important to remember that the course itself can be stressful. Finding the time to practice involves a shift in routine. Things may appear to be feeling more intense and challenging. The programme encourages us to bring a high degree of attention to everything, even the unpleasant or difficult things we are experiencing in our lives. This forms an important part of the learning to stay and ‘be’ with problems and difficulties, rather than turn away from them and avoid them. There is little opportunity or time during the course to discuss any current or past personal problems not related to the practices. If necessary, these should be pursued through individual work with a counsellor or other appropriate support.

Who is the teacher?

Justin Iles is a Bangor University qualified and fully insured mindfulness teacher with 10 years and approximately 10’000 hours of personal meditation experience. He also works as a CASY counsellor 2 days a week working with young people aged 6 -25.

How much does it cost?

The course fee is £120.00 which includes assessment by email or telephone, 8 x 2 hour sessions, a full day of practice in week 6, in-between session support, course work, learning materials and CD’s, and completion certificate.

How to book?

For further information or to book a place call the CASY Newark office on 01636 704620 or email office@casy.org.uk