Back in September, I spotted a tweet about a Mindfulness for Health course that would be starting soon in Sheffield. I clicked on the link because Mindfulness is something I am really interested in, especially for pain management.
It turns out that the course was being run by 2 ladies [Jane and Debs] who were training to become Mindfulness course tutors with a company called Breathworks. It was to be held at Union Street, a fab co-working space in Sheffield city centre. The course on offer was a practice course so that Jane and Debs could complete their Mindfulness teacher training. It sounded just what I needed and so I signed up as soon as I sorted out the inevitable logistics when you work full-time and have a young child to sort out and bought the book that accompanied the course: Mindfulness for Health. A Practical Guide to Relieving Pain, Reducing Stress and Restoring Wellbeing.
What I expected from the course was nowhere near the sheer amount that I got out of it. I do not exaggerate when I say that it has not only changed my relationship with Fibromyalgia, but it has also changed my life.
Now, I couldn’t possibly squeeze everything I would like to say about this course into one blog post so to get me started, this is just a quick overview of the course and my hopes for the course before I started. Keep a look out over the coming weeks for more information about the course, week by week.
Mindfulness for Health is based on a unique meditation programme developed by Vidyamala Burch to help her cope with the severe pain of spinal injury. Taught at Breathworks in the UK – and its affiliates around the world – this programme has helped tens of thousands of people cope with pain, illness, and stress.
The course is broken into 8 distinct topics; with practice, learning and discussions making up the bulk of the sessions week on week. There was also homework to complete and a workbook to support your practice and work at home.
Week 1 – Wild Horses
Week 2 – You Are Not Your Thoughts
Week 3 – Learning to Respond, Rather Than React
Week 4 – Watching Your Suffering and Stress Dissolve
Week 5 – The Pleasure of Small Things
Week 6 – The Tender Gravity of Kindness
Week 7 – You Are Not Alone
Week 8 – Life Lives Through You
I hoped the course would give me a better understanding of Mindfulness and a deeper knowledge of the practice of Mindfulness in specific relation to chronic pain conditions. I had no idea what to expect from the course other than what they had put on the tin, but it turns out there is a lot more to it than just an understanding of standard techniques. For me, it was finding an awareness of myself and of my condition, an acceptance of the Fibromyalgia and related health concerns that I didn’t realise I needed to note, a chance to forgive myself and find pleasure in the life that I do have and for relief from the additional suffering I was enduring through blame, blind determination, and avoidance.
If you are interested in future Mindfulness for Health or Mindfulness for Stress courses in Sheffield, check out Mind Body Feeling which is run by Jane. All information about her upcoming courses will be advertised there. For more information about Breathworks and the Mindfulness for Health course, check out the Breathworks website.
Next time, I will delve a little into Week 1 of the course, focussing on my experiences and what I gained from the learning that week.
Read more about my experiences on the Mindfulness for Health course: