Frequently asked questions

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
About MINDFULNESS for HEALTHY LIVING courses

THERE ARE LOTS OF MINDFULNESS COURSES – HOW DO I CHOOSE?
It’s important that the course is facilitated by a teacher who is professionally trained, qualified and supervised – and registered with the UK Network of Mindfulness Teacher Training Organisations which checks that teachers have an established ongoing meditation practice, that they are suitably trained, committed to continuous professional development, hold appropriate insurance and are receiving supervision for their Mindfulness teaching.

WHAT STANDARDS DO MINDFULNESS for HEALTHY LIVING COURSES MEET ?
Mindfulness for Healthy Living courses meet the highest professional standards – in line with NICE (National Institute for Care and Health Excellence), The UK Network of Mindfulness Teacher Training Organisations, and the criteria set by CMRP (Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice).

WHAT QUALIFICATIONS and EXPERIENCE DOES LOKADHĪ HAVE ?
Having taught Mindfulness courses in the voluntary and publicly-funded sectors for well over a decade, I have a thorough understanding and experience of both the practice and theory of Mindfulness.

APPROACH
My approach is informed by a longstanding Mindfulness meditation practice of more than 25 years;  formal training includes over 5 years at postgraduate level with the Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice, world-leading centre of excellence in Mindfulness training.

CONTINUED PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
To continually refresh my approach, deepen my personal experience and my teaching practice, I attend regular courses, seminars and retreats with leading practitioners, teachers and researchers in the Mindfulness world.

RESEARCH
I engage with current international thought underpinning the ethos and integrity of Mindfulness-Based Approaches, and maintain strong connections with colleagues and people directly involved with the original research behind Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), and with ongoing developments in the field.

PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS
As a member of relevant recognised professional bodies, I adhere to high standards of professional and receive regular supervision from experienced supervisors registered with The UK Network of Mindfulness Teacher Training Organisations and trained with the CMRP.

SUPERVISOR
I devote significant attention to reviewing and upholding the quality of course content and delivery, and as a trained and experienced supervisor of other teachers of Mindfulness-Based approaches, s
upport others in offering Mindfulness training to a high standard of professionalism through one-to-one supervision and group training seminars.      

GROUP FACILITATION SKILLS
I’ve undertaken extensive group facilitation training with well-respected trainers and organisations including ReVision and the CMRP, and regularly refresh my approach through continuing professional education.

OTHER PROFESSIONAL SKILLS
A qualified and experienced therapist/counsellor (BACP), I am one of few practitioners specifically trained to bring Mindfulness into my therapeutic work.

WHY DO A COURSE WHEN I CAN LEARN MINDFULNESS ON-LINE ?
There’s an increasing range of Mindfulness training options and it’s difficult to know where to start. Mindfulness training is not a “quick fix”.  It involves a structured approach and regular ongoing commitment. On-line programmes might seem attractive in offering flexibility and accessibility. However, lack of personal contact can make it hard to sustain motivation and develop a strong Mindfulness practice.

FACE-TO-FACE
There are significant benefits in establishing and developing your practice face-to-face, under the guidance of an experienced, trained Mindfulness meditation teacher and practitioner directing you as an individual; encouraging and supporting you in working with any difficulties which might arise as you progress.

BODY AWARENESS
Mindfulness training involves developing awareness of the body, as well as learning to observe the activity of the mind and of feelings – and it is not easy to work in this way without the teacher and student being in one another’s physical presence.

GROUP CONTEXT
Equally important – and not to be overlooked – are the significant benefits of learning Mindfulness in a supportive group.  Many people find that sharing their Mindfulness journey with others is one of the most memorable and valuable aspects of a course.

DO I NEED TO ATTEND THE WHOLE COURSE?
Yes. It’s important to commit to all 9 classes, including the orientation session, and the practice day (normally a Saturday). Each class builds on the previous one, and on the home practice between sessions. Missing one class will have a significant impact on what you’re able to get out of the course overall, as well as affecting others’ experience of the course. 

Please ensure that you take whatever steps you can to plan well ahead to minimise the possibility of work, home or other commitments getting in the way.     

It is not possible to make separate catch-up arrangements if you do unavoidably miss one or more class. It would be best for you to do the course another time if you are unable to commit to the whole course at the time of booking.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I HAVE TO MISS A CLASS ?
If you unexpectedly have to miss a class, please let me know by email as soon as possible – you will be given my contact details.

WILL I NEED ANY SPECIAL EQUIPMENT ?
The home practice between the classes is based on pre-recorded guided meditations and you’ll need to download MP3 tracks so you can play these back between classes.
You will need to check before the course begins that you have access to suitable download and playback equipment – either an MP3 player or computer, tablet or smartphone.

If you don’t have access to these facilities, you can burn your own CDs, from the MP3 downloads, to play on an audio CD player. If you are unable to do this, please let me know that this is the case when you complete the registration process – before the course begins – so I can provide the material on audio CDs.

Whilst I provide detailed download instructions, I regret I cannot provide further technical support.

IS THERE ANYTHING I NEED TO DO BEFORE THE COURSE BEGINS ?

Once you have booked and paid for your place, you’ll need to complete a registration form as soon as possible before your place on the course can be confirmed. This will take perhaps 30-40 minutes. It will help you reflect on what brings you to the course and is an important part of the process, as well as helping us ensure we can meet your needs.   

You can complete the registration securely online. Please complete it as comprehensively as you can and return it on line (not by post) as soon as you can. Your information will be treated in strict confidence and destroyed after the end of the course.

WHAT SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT THE COURSE ?
A central ingredient of the course is the home practice you do between classes. It’s a significant undertaking: you’ll be asked to do up to an hour’s practice each day for the duration of the course.   Some of the home practice can be woven into everyday activities, but for most of the course you will need to set aside 35 minutes or so, each day, for formal practice.   

SUPPORT
To help you maintain your commitment to this, you might want to ask someone to act as your supporter or ‘buddy’ for the duration of the course – to encourage you along the way. This might be someone you already know (a friend – perhaps someone who has done a similar course – or your therapist) or it could be someone you get to know who’s doing the same course as you. You’ll be able to contact me between classes, though it’s unusual for anyone to feel the need to do so.

WHAT IF I HAVE ANY SPECIAL NEEDS ?
We like to do what we can to make the course as accessible as possible. If you have special needs, or have concerns about undertaking the course, please make this clear when you complete and return the registration form – I’ll be happy to talk things through with you.

SHOULD I BRING/WEAR ANYTHING SPECIAL ?
Just bring yourself! And wear loose, comfortable clothing. Chairs, cushions, mats, are provided. 

CAN I DO THE COURSE IF I’M VERY DEPRESSED, ANXIOUS or STRESSED?
If you’re currently mildly depressed you may benefit from the course. It is, however, important that you are not currently feeling so unwell, stressed on anxious that this will get in the way of your attending the classes and undertaking regular daily home practice of up to an hour.    

The course isn’t suitable for those who are currently severely depressed, or experiencing acute stress or anxiety: it would be better to wait until you are feeling more able to make the kind of regular and sustained commitment that’s involved.

WHAT IF I AM TAKING ANTIDEPRESSANT OR OTHER MEDICATION ?
That shouldn’t prevent you doing the course. If for any reason you’re considering not taking any medication you’ve been prescribed it’s essential that you don’t discontinue your course of treatment without first discussing this with your doctor or other health professional – and make any changes only in consultation with them.

DO I ALREADY NEED TO KNOW HOW TO MEDITATE ?
No. If you already have meditation experience that’s absolutely fine but it’s not necessarily an advantage.   

Many – perhaps most – participants have no previous meditation experience and it’s perfectly ok to come on the course never having meditated before. You’ll be introduced to simple meditation practices based on awareness of the breath and body, and given plenty of support and opportunity to build up your practice.

SHOULD I DO ANYTHING FURTHER TO PREPARE FOR THE COURSE ?
No, that’s not necessary. It’s best to come along with an open, receptive approach without too many preconceived notions – the course is about practising Mindfulness, rather than thinking or reading about it !

HOW LARGE ARE THE CLASSES ?
There may be up to 25 participants in the class (generally anywhere between 12 and 25) and there will normally be a support team of five or six carefully chosen people. Some of the work is done in smaller groups or pairs. The atmosphere of classes is supportive, warm and relaxed – there’s often laughter. And there’s space for quietness and reflection.

HOW DO I LEARN MINDFULNESS ?
You might say that Mindfulness is caught rather than taught – the style of learning is experiential.   

The course is built on, and based around, meditation. It is not an academic course, and it may take a bit of time for you to adjust to the learning style. My advice is – just give it a go! There are sound reasons why the material is offered in the way it is, and those who struggle to begin with often find that they ‘get’ it. It’s the way that we meet our difficulties that is at the core of the learning.   

You’ll be introduced to simple meditation practices and Mindfulness exercises which you will practice in your own time between classes, and will be given comprehensive hand-outs after each class.   

The classes and home practice support one another, and it’s important to feel able to commit to both.

WHAT IF I’VE DONE MINDFULNESS TRAINING BEFORE ?
That’s fine – you’re very welcome! Many people find that doing the course twice or more helps develop and deepen their Mindfulness practice; that they develop a different relationship with things they didn’t ‘get’ or which slipped under the radar the previous time round.   

If you have done a Mindfulness course before (MBCT, MBSR, or Breathworks) it is, however, just as essential that you come to all the sessions, and participate fully – including the orientation session and practice day.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MBCT and MBSR ?
There is a variety of different Mindfulness-Based Approaches which have strong similarities. Generally, it’s not necessary to appreciate the comparatively minor differences between them if you are considering doing a Mindfulness course.   

They each open up the possibility of a deeper, richer experience of whatever everyday life may bring – difficult or pleasurable – and the opportunity to make significant changes in how you respond to events, whether ordinary or challenging.

WHICH APPROACH DO YOU TEACH?
Mindfulness for Healthy Living courses closely follow the MBCT (Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy) model, which is very similar to the stress-reduction approach (MBSR).   

Whilst there is an emphasis on working with unhelpful patterns of thinking, including low mood, you don’t have to have a history of depression to benefit from the course which aims to help you develop skills to get more out of your life and deal with everyday stresses and strains.   

Mindfulness for Healthy Living courses can help bring greater awareness to all aspects of your life, and help you work with stress, anxiety, low mood, and tendency towards depression. They also help manage chronic pain or illness, and can support you in working with compulsive, addictive and avoidant behaviours – including unhelpful relationships with food, disrupted sleep, and other habitual patterns.

I’D LIKE TO DO THE COURSE FOR PROFESSIONAL REASONS …
Many people are interested in Mindfulness training from a professional standpoint. You are very welcome if this is your reason for doing the course. However, it is essential that each person participates fully – engaging with the process in the classes and undertaking the home practice in the same way as everyone else.

I also need to make clear that this is not a Mindfulness teacher training course.   The course is intended to help participants develop their own personal practice.   Further training, aimed at those with a well-established practice and specifically designed to develop teaching skills, would be necessary before it would be appropriate to offer this way of working to other people.

CAN I GET A REFUND IF I BOOK BUT THEN CAN’T DO THE COURSE ?
Please check the terms and conditions at the time of booking.*

The courses are often over-subscribed, and early booking is strongly advised.   Full payment is needed for all bookings, and payments are not refundable.   

Once you have paid a fee for a Mindfulness for Healthy Living course you are required to complete a secure on-line registration process before your place is can be confirmed. Processing the registration information takes some time, and you should allow several days for this to be completed and for your place to be confirmed.   Please take this into consideration if you book your place in the last week or two before a course begins, as processing registration information may take longer at this time.

*To make places available to as many people as possible, up to 72 hours before the course begins you may transfer to another event in the North London Buddhist Centre’s Mindfulness, Buddhism or Yoga programme – subject to certain conditions which include an administration fee, time limit (one year) and number of times you may transfer (one transfer only). After this point no transfers will be made.   The Centre does not refund course/class fees.

BOOKING AND COURSE FEES?
All matters concerning course fees and availability of places are handled by the North London Buddhist Centre.   Fees are set according to whether you are employed, employed but on a low income, or are eligible for a concessionary rate (student, retired, or in receipt of benefits). There are a limited number of extra-low cost places available – to apply, please contact the North London Buddhist Centre direct.

I HOPE THIS ANSWERS YOUR QUESTIONS, AND I LOOK FORWARD TO WELCOMING YOU ON THE COURSE !

Lokadhi