frequently asked questions about Mindfulness Courses for Healthy Living

how do I choose a mindfulness course?

There are lots of different mindfulness courses to choose from
It’s important the Mindfulness teacher is registered with the UK Network of Mindfulness Teacher Training Organisations
 which checks that teachers have an established ongoing meditation practice, have recognised training to a suitable level, are committed to continuous professional development, are receiving regular supervision specifically for their Mindfulness teaching, and hold appropriate insurance. Read more about things to consider ...

Mindfulness Courses for Healthy Living are taught by Lokadhi Lloyd and 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 the CMRP (Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice, University of Bangor). Lokadhi is a registered supervisor of mindfulness teachers with the Mindfulness Network CIC.

how do I learn mindfulness?

The style of learning is experiential – you might say that mindfulness is caught rather than taught.
The course is built on, and based around, meditation. It's 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. You will have guided meditations to download, and 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.

Perhaps you're wondering why do a course when I can learn mindfulness on-line ...?

why do a course when I can learn mindfulness on-line?

Face-to-face or online?
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 meditation practitioner and trained mindfulness teacher, 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. 

how do I choose between different models of mindfulness?

There is a variety of different mindfulness-based approaches, most commonly MBCT and MBSR, with strong similarities. Generally, it’s not necessary to appreciate the comparatively minor differences between them.

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.

Many people find it helpful to work in a group with people bringing a variety of experiences. However, if you specifically want to do a mindfulness course with others working with the same issues as you – for instance chronic pain or illness – you might want to find a specialist course. It's a personal choice, and something for you to consider when looking at the range of courses available.

Perhaps you're wondering which approach I teach?

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 – the aim is to help you develop skills to get more out of your life and deal with everyday stresses and strains. You don’t have to have a history of depression or anxiety to benefit from these courses: we're all susceptible to stress and fluctuating moods!

Mindfulness for Healthy Living Courses can bring greater awareness into 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 the stress associated with compulsive and avoidant behaviours – including unhelpful relationships with food, disrupted sleep, and other habitual patterns. 

what people who've done Mindfulness courses for Healthy living say ...

“I’d read a book on mindfulness but could not keep the practice up." 

“I’d previously learned to meditate on-line and read books. I decided I needed support from a consistent group to establish a consistent practice.”

“I’ve been on quite a few meditation retreats, but find my practice drops off in daily life."

"I wanted to do a course to help integrate my understanding of mindfulness.”

"I wanted to practice with others and have the guidance that a course could offer.”

PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS

What standards do Mindfulness Courses for Healthy Living meet?

The courses adhere to the highest professional standards. I'm registered with the UK Network of Mindfulness Teachers, the Mindfulness Network CIC and listed with the Mental Health Foundation (Be Mindful), and a member of other relevant regulatory bodies including the BACP.

My meditation practice experience goes back more than 30 years and I've taught mindfulness in the public and voluntary sectors since 2006. I trained for more than 5 years with the CMRP (Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice, University of Bangor in Wales), world-leading centre of excellence in mindfulness.

In addition to being a registered supervisor with the Mindfulness Network, and trainer of other teachers of mindfulness, I also receive regular supervision.

To keep my practice fresh I go on regular meditation retreats, and to keep abreast of developments and current research I attend frequent CPD (continuing professional development) events, seminars and courses.

what qualifications do you have for teaching mindfulness?

Formal training includes over 5 years at postgraduate level:, including extensive training in the theoretical framework and teaching of mindfulness-based approaches. I hold a postgraduate diploma (PGDip) from the Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice (CMRP) at the University of Bangor, pre-eminent base of mindfulness research and development.

I'm registered with the UK Network of Mindfulness Teachers, the body which upholds professional and ethical standards in the field, and as a supervisor with the Mindfulness Network CIC, and am trained in the Breathworks mindfulness approach to managing chronic pain and illness.

I'm also a trained and experienced therapist/counsellor, and registered member of the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP).

what experience of teaching mindfulness do you have?

I've taught mindfulness in the public and voluntary sectors for well over a decade in a variety of settings.

Over the years, many hundreds of people have benefited from the courses I've taught. Many to stay in touch with me and continue their practice of mindfulness: returning to courses and stand-alone practice days. And a fair number have themselves gone on to train to teach mindfulness in a variety of different contexts: education, bereavement, the voluntary and charitable sectors, the NHS, as well as to general populations.

what other skills and training do you have?

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 frequent continuing professional education seminars, workshops and courses.

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.

supervision:
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
support others in offering mindfulness training to a high standard of professionalism by offering one-to-one supervision, mentoring, and running group training seminars.

how do you stay up to date with developments in mindfulness?

research and developments in mindfulness:
By keeping abreast with research in the field, I engage with current international thought underpinning the ethos and integrity of mindfulness-based approaches.

I 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 application of mindfulness.

what people who've done these courses say ...

“I haven’t found it easy, and at times very difficult, but overall it’s been worthwhile. Thank you very much for all your guidance and wisdom.”

“I’ve gained a better appreciation of the things that are good in my life, and I am happier for it."

“I’m really pleased I was able to complete the course – it was hard going at first, but definitely worth the effort: really valid things I can use.”

"I now feel I have a resource to help cope with bad times.”

PRACTICAL THINGS

what do I need to know about Mindfulness Courses for Healthy Living?

Before your place on the course can be confirmed, once you have booked and paid for your place, you’ll need to complete an on-line registration form. 

The atmosphere of classes is supportive, warm and relaxed – there’s often laughter. And there’s space for quietness and reflection.

At the same time, continuity and commitment is essential for you to get the best out of the course. It's a significant undertaking– not a quick fix. 

A central ingredient of the course is the home practice between classes: 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.

is there anything I need to do before the course?

Completing the on-line registration form 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 any practical needs you might have. 

Registration is secure and on-line. Please complete it comprehensively 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.

do I need to attend the whole course?

Yes. It’s important to commit to all 9 classes, including the orientation session, and a weekend practice day..

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

I regret it's not possible to make separate catch-up arrangements if you do unavoidably miss one or more class.

how large are the classes?

There are generally anywhere between 10 and 25, and there'll normally be a support team of five or six carefully chosen people. Some of the work is done in smaller groups, pairs or threes.

The atmosphere of classes is supportive, warm and relaxed – there's often laughter. And there's space for quietness and reflection. People often say that the group is one of the most valuable aspects of the course. 

will I need any special equipment?

Home practice between the classes uses pre-recorded guided meditations: you will 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. I

And if you're unable to do this, please let me know 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: you'll need to consult your usual source of assistance if necessary.

should I do anything further to prepare for the course?

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!

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.

do you offer one-to-one mindfulness training?

In my experience, there are significant benefits in mindfulness training being offered in a group context, and I regret that I do not offer one-to-one mindfulness training sessions.

can I do the course if I'm very depressed, anxious or stressed?

If you’re currently mildly depressed or stressed you may benefit from the course. It is, however, important that you are not 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.

Equally, whilst the course can support the avoidance of relapse and be beneficial to those with a history of addiction, it is not appropriate for those whose addictive behaviours are currently sufficiently strong to interfere with attending regular weekly classes and committing to daily practice of up to an hour.

what if I am taking antidepressants 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.

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.

if I want to do the course for professional reasons is that ok?

Many people are interested in mindfulness training from a professional standpoint. You're very welcome if this is your reason for doing the course.  It is, however, 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.

should I bring or wear anything special?

Just bring yourself! And wear loose, comfortable clothing. Chairs, cushions, mats are provided. There are changing rooms if you're coming straight from work. 

some of the things that people who've completed courses have said ...

“I was sceptical at first but after a while it started making a lot of sense in many ways I can’t pinpoint.”

“I’ve had quite a journey and once or twice, if my back has been bad, I’ve wondered whether to come – but I did, and it did help.”

BOOKING

booking deadline

There's a booking deadline several days before courses start.

course registration

Once you've paid and booked you need to complete the secure on-line registration before your place is can be confirmed.

All questions about course fees and availability of places are handled by the North London Buddhist Centre, where the courses are held. Please check terms and conditions when you book.

venue

All Mindfulness Courses for Healthy Living are run at the North London Buddhist Centre 72 Holloway Road, Highbury, London N7 8JG, (close to Highbury and Islington tube and overground stations); frequent buses stop near by.

course fees and booking

Once you've booked, you need to complete a secure on-line registration process before your place on a Mindfulness Course for Healthy Living can be confirmed.

There is a booking deadline for each course and early booking is advised. 

Processing the registration information takes some time, and you should allow several days for this to be completed. Please take this into consideration if you book in the last week or two before a course begins, as processing registration information may take longer at this time. 

For current fees, please go to Mindfulness Courses in London. 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.

what if I book and can't attend the course?

Please check the terms and conditions at the time of booking. Full payment is needed for all bookings, and payments are not refundable. It may, however, be possible to transfer to another course run by the Centre, subject to certain restrictions and an administration fee.

I hope this answers your questions - I look forward to welcoming you to the course!