Teaching Mindfulness – Myths, Misconceptions, and the Right Approach

Mindfulness can have some wonderful benefits for everyone, but for many people who are so used to living their lives on autopilot, surrounded by distractions and worries, just learning how to ‘be’ and not react can be a difficult concept.

This is why it’s so important that people are introduced to mindfulness by teachers, therapists, coaches, and mentors who have the right skills, knowledge, experience and personal attributes.

The mistakes some mindfulness teachers make

Sometimes, with the best intentions, people make mistakes when teaching mindfulness to others, including:

  • Teaching people about mindfulness without actually using mindfulness.
  • Giving the impression that they know more about mindfulness than they actually do.
  • Promising ‘guaranteed’ or fast results.
  • Insisting that their approach to mindfulness is superior to other approaches.
  • Believing that mindfulness can be taught and learned as a concept, rather than practice.
  • Presenting the practice as magical or immediately life-changing in some way.
  • Telling you that practicing mindfulness means that you’re mindful by default.

Better ways to teach mindfulness

Practise what you preach: Demonstrate being mindful by being in the moment.

Be honest: Tell your learners about how much experience you have rather than claiming you know more about mindfulness than you do.

Realise that mindfulness is a practice: You don’t do eight or ten sessions and come away with the ability to be automatically mindful; becoming mindful is a way of life which gives you greater results over time with regular practice.

Trust your own path to mindfulness: No matter whether you learned mindfulness through at a Buddhist centre or you received more formal training, no one path to becoming mindful is better than the other. Encourage your learners to find the path that works best for them.

Realise the importance of knowing your own mind: Reading about mindfulness is not the same as knowing what’s going on in your own mind. Understanding your own thoughts and feelings and how you react to them is the first step to disciplining your own mind and becoming mindful.

Know that mindfulness can be uncomfortable at times: If you feel like your head is always spinning with thoughts, worries, and distractions, then paying attention to it in mindfulness sessions can be very uncomfortable and difficult. Doing the work to become mindful is not easy, but it’s so much easier if you have a good teacher supporting you through the process.

Remember that mindfulness is not magic: It’s a practical way to manage difficult emotions, reduce stress, build resilience, and improve physical and emotional health. You have to work at being mindful, it doesn’t just happen.

Better teacher training

Because we realise the importance of experienced and well-qualified mindfulness teachers, we are offering a Mindfulness Teacher Training Programme made up of 10 individual modules.

Flexible learning

We can offer the programme as:

A complete Teacher Training pathway

For people who have completed an 8 week course, practice mindfulness themselves and want to share mindfulness and its benefits with others.

Individual CPD Modules

For people who have completed their teacher training.

What does the programme involve?

Students will learn via E learning and teaching days which provide the opportunity to apply mindfulness through learning activities and reflection. Learners can also access telephone mentoring and this is encouraged, particularly where additional support needs have been identified. Course numbers are kept to a maximum of 10 so that every learner gets a high level of support.

Every module is linked with a real life work environment, and learners are encouraged to take responsibility for their own personal development, such as learning from other mindfulness practitioners and experts to reinforce their learning.

What makes our programme amazing?

All our tutors and assessors have mindfulness and teaching-related qualifications, and a minimum of five years’ experience of teaching and personal mindfulness practice.

There’s also an opportunity to become a member of a Mindfulness Teacher Support Network once you have completed the programme, which is a teaching community where you can contribute to online forums, access guided practice recordings, observe teaching, get valuable peer support and advice, and find courses and supervision to continue your personal development as a mindfulness teacher.

To find out more about our mindfulness teacher training, click here

Maureen O’Callaghan is a Member of the Chartered Management Institute and has an MSc in Mindfulness-Based Approaches. She works with organisations, teams, and individuals to create less stressful working environments, improve team working, enhance performance and productivity and develop leadership and management skills.  For more information visit www.mocallaghan.co.uk or e mail maureen@mocallaghan.co.uk

Reconnecting with Yourself – The Benefits of Going on a Retreat

Retreats give you the chance to have some time away from the constant demands and distractions of everyday life. They allow you to think about who you are, how you are, and most importantly, they give you the chance to just ‘be.’

This is so important for your mental and physical health. Retreats can help if you’re feeling stuck, uninspired, and burnt out; and you might just discover something about yourself that you never knew.

The benefits of going on a retreat

You get to focus on what matters

Getting away from the trials and tribulations of daily life allows you to focus on what inspires you, whether it’s your business, a hobby, or travelling. Inspiration can often motivate you to make positive changes in your life.

Less distractions equals more time

At home you might have family problems or money worries to deal with, and you might just not have the head space for thinking about your dreams, wishes, and goals. On a retreat, there’s no rushing, just plenty of time to allow inspiration to flow.

You get to really notice what’s around you

It’s amazing what you notice when you’re not running around after children, scrolling through social media, or mindlessly watching TV. You get to hear the sound of the wind, the birds singing, or even just the silence and experience truly being in the moment.

It gives you the chance to mentally detox

We all have so many stresses in our lives, and we’re bombarded with so much information that it’s not surprising that we just need time and space to mentally unwind every now and again. Going on a retreat is the perfect opportunity to clear your mind of clutter.

It reminds you of who you are

You may be a sister, wife, brother, husband, or friend, but don’t forget that you are YOU; an individual irrespective of societal labels. Going on a retreat allows you to just be you.

It helps you establish new habits

If your hectic life doesn’t allow you time to do what you love, or spend time on your hobbies, you can establish a routine of doing them on a retreat. Then you’ll be inspired to integrate your new way of being into your home life.

Our Mindfulness Retreats for Women

Whether you are hoping to feel more balanced and relaxed, or you want to experience a true sense of wellbeing, our retreats might be just what you need.

Our aim

We want to create a safe, supportive and non-judgemental space where you can just be, as well as giving you the practical tools to leave the retreat feeling inspired, renewed and energised.

Who is it for?

The retreat is open to all women, and it’s run by experienced mindfulness teachers who are able to support beginners and challenge more experienced mindfulness practitioners.

What does the retreat involve?

  • Each retreat programme is different, but retreats will usually include:
  • Gentle movement and relaxation techniques
  • Meditation practices
  • Opportunities to discover your innate creativity
  • Thoughtful, self-supporting lessons designed to improve your health and wellbeing
  • Opportunities to reset bad habits and introduce self-care strategies
  • Free time which you can use for rest and contemplation
  • For more information about our Mindfulness Retreats, click here

Maureen O’Callaghan is a Member of the Chartered Management Institute and has an MSc in Mindfulness-Based Approaches. She works with organisations, teams, and individuals to create less stressful working environments, improve team working, enhance performance and productivity and develop leadership and management skills.  For more information visit www.mocallaghan.co.uk or e mail maureen@mocallaghan.co.uk