Winter sun on sea

The Mindful Nation UK report

It can take years, decades even, for ideas to become accepted widely in society, and it seems that meditation in the Western world has taken about 40 years to go from relative obscurity (‘hippy’) to mainstream, and even to McMindfulness and a backlash. The evidence for this acceptance is the recently published Mindful Nation UK report produced by…

Dharana: training the brain to concentrate

In my monthly look at  Patanjali’s eight limbs of yoga, we’re drawing towards the last few now. The three remaining are internally-focused and build towards what can be seen as the ultimate goal of yoga. These three are: dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation) and samadhi (absorption, union). This month I will concentrate (pun intended) on dharana. Dharana (pronunciation guide)…

Mindfulness in mental health awareness week

Last week was Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK (11-17th May) and for 2015 the theme was ‘mindfulness’. People familiar with meditation and yoga may already know about mindfulness, especially as there has been quite a surge in interest in mindfulness in the media, in politics, in business etc in the last few years,…

Mindfulness for Health – a book review and reflections

The notion that mindfulness and meditation can help someone deal with pain and physical ill-health might, at first, sound unlikely. How can sitting thinking about something (or not thinking about things) reduce your pain? In ‘Mindfulness for Health: relieving pain, reducing stress and restoring wellbeing‘, the two authors (Vidyamala Burch and Danny Penman), both of…

WOW: wishing well

This week in class we practised a simple mindfulness meditation exercise which focuses on feelings of wellness and wellbeing. The WOW phrase stands for ‘wishing ourselves well, wishing others well’. It is important to wish ourselves well if we are to be able to help, support and be compassionate towards others. We can then begin…