Breathworks Mindfulness for Health Course for Pain & Physical Health Conditions
Mind Body Awareness offers the Breathworks Mindfulness for Health programme to support people experiencing any long-term stress and physical health conditions such as chronic pain, ME, MS, fibromyalgia, diabetes and obesity. The course is open to all on a self-referral basis. We welcome people with any form of ongoing stress, pain or physical health condition as well as their care-givers, friends and family members.
Please get in touch if you are interested.
Mindfulness for Health Course Details
This mindfulness course involves 8 weekly sessions of 2.5 hours. Each week there are short mindfulness and compassion-based practices, periods of self-reflection and sharing with others. There is an opportunity to learn how to pace yourself using a pacing diary, as well as formal teaching and experiential activities. This course includes 10 minutes of daily home practice.
The Mindfulness for Health programme integrates mindfulness, compassion, a supportive mindful movement practice, and practical components from modern pain and medical condition management. The course is based on the best-selling book Mindfulness for Health by Breathworks Founder Vidyamala Burch and Danny Penman. This book is recommended by expert health professionals as the most helpful and most evidenced self-help book available to support members of the public suffering from health conditions. It is available through your library on the Reading Well: Books on Prescription Scheme.
- Reduced stress and anxiety levels
- Improved mood
- Greater capacity to cope with physical health conditions
- Improved sleep
- Renewed appreciation of positive things in life
- Greater sense of connection to others
- Sense of feeling supported
This course aims to help participants to gain a greater understanding of how to bring mindfulness into their life to manage personal challenges and restore balance and ease. The course emphasises two key principles which underlie all aspects of mindfulness:
1) You learn to live in the present moment and breathe into your experience, rather than tensing against it
2) You learn to respond rather than react to life’s circumstances
What happens in the Mindfulness for Health course?
Mindfulness is explored progressively over the course. You gradually build up a rich awareness of yourself, as well as your relationship to others, enabling you to lead a more balanced life, even when experiencing long-term pain or illness.
The course helps us to recognise our inbuilt negativity bias and begin to appreciate life’s simple pleasures. Through mindfulness practice we learn to notice reactive patterns to our pain and illness and by bringing patience, self-care and self-nurture we start to recognise that we can manage our response to our difficulties.
We learn how to come to terms with our situation, not by changing the condition itself but by changing our relationship to it, allowing us broaden our perspective of pain or other unpleasant symptoms. Although the condition may remain just as intensely unpleasant, you learn new ways to hold it within a bigger container of awareness, with kindness and acceptance rather than rejection and resistance.
Mindfulness can be practised at home, enabling you to feel in charge of your own health and wellbeing. Gradually, over time, you can feel more in control of the choices you make. Through mindfulness practice, you can learn to tap into your inner resources and wisdom and discover how to live well, even with a painful or long-term health condition.
We begin by investigating our breathing habits, so we can learn to use the natural breath as an aid to managing our pain, illness or stress. We learn to how breathe into our pain or difficulty, allowing the breath to soften any resistance and release physical tension. The body scan helps us to develop greater ease and awareness of the body. Adopting a comfortable posture, lying down or sitting, we take our awareness through our whole body, using the breath to help us let go of areas of pain or tension. You are guided through gentle, slow movements, based on yoga and pilates. The movements are suitable for all, being easily adapted as necessary so they are appropriate for people suffering from a wide range of physical conditions.
Home Practice/ Mindfulness in Daily Life
You are encouraged to undertake daily home practice lasting about 10 minutes to help you develop your awareness and explore new ways to respond to the challenges that you face. By bringing awareness to the activities of daily life you can learn to overcome the tendency of overdoing it on good days or collapsing on bad days, with the accompanying emotions of unrealistic hope followed by frustration and despair. You will be encouraged to notice your daily routines using a pacing diary, enabling you to become more aware of the activities that help or aggravate the symptoms.
As you become more aware, you’ll learn how to make choices throughout the day, enabling you to discover a more balanced approach to life. You’ll be encouraged to practice the ‘Three Minute Breathing Space’ to help you to come back to an awareness of yourself in the midst of daily life. This helps you to simply rest your awareness quietly with the breath for a moment, no matter what you’re doing. This practice can be a remarkably effective way of bringing a sense of calm, peace and presence into your experience. Then, feeling refreshed and focused, you can go back to whatever you were doing.
Who is the course suitable for?
The course is open to all on a self-referral basis. We welcome people with any physical health condition including diabetes, chronic back pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, post-operative pain, cancer, nervous disorders, MS, Parkinson’s disease, and other non-specific pain. This list is not exhaustive and we welcome your enquiry whatever your condition. People over age 18 are welcome.
If focusing your attention on your breath or noticing your thoughts and feelings may be very difficult for you, it may be better to wait before starting the course. If you are unsure whether this course is right for you, please feel free to call Wendy on 01606 556206 or 07795 243346 before making your application.
What do I need?
1) A copy of the book ‘Mindfulness for Health’ by Vidyamala Burch and Danny Penman
Please buy a copy or loan one from your local library before the course starts. Please read Chapter 4 before starting the course. If possible, please read Chapters 1 – 3 as well, although this is optional. A CD of guided meditations is provided with the book. Free audio downloads can also be obtained from Sound Cloud.
2) Please wear warm comfortable clothing. There is an opportunity to lie down on the floor if you wish and it can get a bit chilly when lying in stillness. Yoga mats, blankets and cushions are provided.