Course 1 | Health & Wellbeing


Earlybird offer: Book before 1 March 2021 to save £10

Book both courses at the same time to save a further £20

This 8‐week online course starting on 1 June 2021 is based on the fact that the brain has a property of neuroplasticity.

Both the brain and the nervous system can change structurally and functionally under the influence of the signals from the environment. Learning and memory are examples of plasticity. Implicitly it follows that meditators are able to change some neural paths in the brain through meditation, and this can result in a dramatic change in your outlook on life events.

This profound result of sustained practice, known for many centuries to meditation practitioners, has been confirmed by scientific studies in the last two decades.

See below for course dates and an overview of each of the 8 live sessions. (If viewing on a mobile or small screen, scroll down after clicking to read section contents)

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Live online course begins 1 June 2021 @ 7:00 pm

Course Dates

All sessions begin at 7:00 pm and end at approximately 8:30 pm

Session 1 | 01 June 2021
Session 2 | 08 June 2021
Session 3 | 15 June 2021
Session 4 | 22 June 2021
Session 5 | 29 June 2021
Session 6 | 06 July 2021
Session 7 | 13 July 2021
Session 8 | 20 July 2021

What happens once I've booked?

Once you have made your booking you will receive two emails.

The first email:

+ Confirms you’re booking
+ Provides you with your order number and confirmation of payment

The second email:

+ Welcomes you to the course
+ Confirms the dates of the sessions
+ Provides a link to the course page, where you will find login details for each of the eight Zoom sessions
+ Includes simple instructions for joining the sessions

Session 1: Orientation

An introduction to the Rinzai Zen approach to mindfulness and meditation, and the bodyscan meditation technique learning to instil awareness, allowing and non‐judgment.

Session 2: Stress

Stress is an unavoidable feature of modern life, and prolonged exposure to stress impairs many of the body’s functions.

Handling stressors involves development of outer and inner resources for dealing with them.

Meditation and mindfulness help you to develop your inner resources in two main ways:

  1. Providing an oasis of calm and relaxation in which we can recuperate
  2. Teaching you how to perceive clearly what’s going on and how we feel

Session 3: Physical Pain

With almost no exceptions, everybody will experience physical pain at some point in their lives. When we’re in pain, we want it to go away. Immediately!

The last thing we want to do is pay more attention to our pain. But that’s exactly what we do in mindfulness. Instead of focusing on how badly we want the pain to stop, we pay attention to our pain with curiosity and without judgment.

Research has demonstrated the benefits of mindfulness and meditation in treatment of chronic pain, anxiety and illnesses. This research also found positive improvements in indicators such as:

+ Anxiety
+ Depression
+ Self-esteem
+ Negative body image
+ Present-moment pain
+ Degree of inhibition of everyday activities by pain
+ Medical symptoms

Session 4: Emotional Stress, Anxiety & Depression

Rather than escaping emotional pain we deal with it through the practice of awareness and acceptance. Emotional responses are often rooted in the animal level of our being; hence one of the most effective ways of dealing with them is through mindfulness of the body. The key attitude is that of being present with emotional pain, neither suppressing nor acting on it.

This approach is equally valid for dealing with very strong states such as fear or depression, by simply coming face to face with the moment‐to‐moment reality of our symptoms.

The results of scientific research show that mindfulness and meditation (sometimes combined with CBT as in the MBCT course) is as effective as maintenance anti‐depressants in preventing a relapse into depression, and more effective at enhancing peoples’ quality of life.

Session 5: Role Stress & Time Pressure

As we live, work and act in the world we inevitably play particular roles which can end up being stressful, depending how we identify with them.

Role stress is typically a problem of identifying; the essence of the practice of mindfulness is that we dis‐identify, we allow ourselves to realize that we are more than a particular role, the person is not the mask.

Time pressure, or lack of, can also be a major source of stress.

Typically, people who practice meditation and mindfulness are far more able to access and stay with “flow states” than untrained people. Flow states refer to those times when time is no worry, “time flies; the ego falls away.”

Session 6: Taking Care of Yourself

Mindfulness and meditation help to develop the awareness and resilience so that we can cope better with life’s adversities. It also helps to see things more clearly, particularly those things that are nourishing and energy giving, and those things that deplete you and make you feel less than you really are.

There are many activities that are important to do to nurture ourselves: spending time with people on the same path as us, giving (time, money, etc), forgiving, remembering things you are grateful for, dancing, singing, laughing. These can be expressions of joy or generators of joy.

Cultivation of mindfulness will influence positively your relationships with others. With time your mindfulness practice can expand to all parts of life.

Session 7: Elevated Function

Meditation can take your further than stress‐proofing and preventing ill health on mental and physical levels – it can boost or elevate the function of your body‐mind beyond normal levels. This has been widely accepted in the East for a long time; in Japan many companies will send their employees for short courses in meditation training in a Zen temple.

Research shows that meditation improves attention, concentration and clarity of the mind:

+ Enhances creativity and problem‐solving skills
+ Induces general psychological wellbeing
+ Encourages positive personality growth
+ Increases self‐esteem
+ Increases empathy
+ Delays the aging process
+ Heightens perception
+ May even boost IQ

Performance anxiety decreases meaning public speaking or musical performing becomes easier.

Session 8: Changing Your Life

While meditation will likely help you live a longer life and enhance your level of health and wellbeing it does not lead to immortality!

The effects of meditation practice vary according to practitioner’s engagement and deepen with commitment and length of practice.

An occasional meditator may resort to meditation in times of stressful or difficult times; the regular meditator will be building a level of stress resistance than the occasional person will not have. Moreover, the relaxed awareness of meditative state will flow over into daily life and with consistent practice will give deep insights about life and our role in it.