What mindfulness course is right for you?
29 March 2019 | Mindfulness Courses
There is a dazzling array of mindfulness offerings around lately, so how to choose?
Here is a chart that maps out different kinds of training - from the most accessible and easy to the most demanding and involved - and let’s you know where the programs we offer (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and related programs) sits in the scheme of things.
Obviously, the more you put in, the more you will benefit. A rule of thumb might be to choose a pathway that suits your immediate needs, knowing that these needs may change as you practice. Many short or online courses or apps are fine if the stakes are not very high and you just want to dip your toe in and get a sense of what the hype is about. But if you have some current challenges (stress, anxiety, depression, pain, illness) a short course may not be of much benefit even though it is cheaper and won’t take up much of your time.
Phone apps, online & short courses
|Description||Introductory secular ‘taste’ of mindfulness|
|Commitment||Short term, very little commitment|
|Practice required||Everyday mindfulness and short practices. Great for saving time but not so great for changing your brain.|
|Involvement of a teacher||Sometimes, often not and the training of the teacher might be variable in terms of professional and personal immersion in the practice.|
|Benefits||More present moment awareness. Not much evidence for helping with serious challenges|
Mindfulness Based Programs: Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy
|Description||Basic secular evidence-based training to enhance resilience, focus, emotional intelligence and engagement in life and also to treat stress, anxiety, depression, pain and other conditions. See here for more info.|
|Commitment||It involves an initial 8 week intensive immersion and then ongoing longer term personal practice if inspired.|
|Practice required||You will need to commit to some formal meditation practice and also linking what you are learning to your everyday activities and relationships. This is where the power of the program is.|
|Involvement of a teacher||Yes. If it is a bona fide MBSR or MBCT course it will be taught by someone who has years of training and meditation practice under their belts, including silent retreat experience.|
|Benefits||Good evidence for reduction of stress, anxiety, depression, pain, trauma and increased resilience and ease|
Training in Buddhist teachings & practice
|Description||In-depth, ongoing personal exploration through retreats and teachings|
|Commitment||You can take it as you go, but you will need to be self-directed and find a method that suits you.|
|Practice required||Formal mediation training retreats, study and everyday mindfulness|
|Involvement of a teacher||Yes. But you will need to do some research to find a method and teacher that you can relate to.|
|Benefits||Cultivation of stable states of safety, peace and connectedness|
Intensive Buddhist training in monastic settings
|Description||Spiritual training to explore the nature of reality and the mind|
|Commitment||Long term, demanding|
|Practice required||Intensive formal meditation training, study and everyday mindfulness|
|Involvement of a teacher||Yes|
|Benefits||Extensive transformation of suffering in ones' life|