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8-Week Mindfulness for Life: Health and Education – October 2021

This online evening course is open to anyone, including people working in health and education with the unique needs of  learning mindfulness for their own wellbeing, but also curious about how mindfulness can be integrated into their professional lives to benefit the people they work with.  The renowned 8-Week Mindfulness for Life Course, developed by the University of Oxford Mindfulness Centre, provides foundation training to develop your own mindfulness practice and qualifies as a pre-requisite course for further training to teach mindfulness to adults and young people.  Peer discussions will explore emerging mindfulness skills both personally and professionally.
Instructor:  Debbie Larson MSc, occupational therapist
When: Monday Evenings from 7:45-9:30pm
4th, 11th, 18th October; 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, 29th November  (no class 25th October)
Pre-course information session:  13th Sept, 7:45-8:30pm (recorded, can be viewed later)
. £195
 Please contact us ( to book a place.  Invoices can be provided for workplace funding.

8-Week Mindfulness for Life Course – What is it and what can I expect?
Mindfulness is a valuable life skill to keep you balanced and healthy with a ripple effect that supports the wellbeing of the people you encounter every day.  By training the skill of of moving your attention to focus on what is steadying in the present moment, you feel calmer and more in control of your life.  The 8-Week Mindfulness for Life Course, also called the 8-Week Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy for Life Course or 8-Week MBCT-Life, was developed by the University of Oxford Mindfulness Centre for anyone who would like to learn mindfulness to manage the frantic pace of daily life.   It is based on the 8-Week MBCT for Depression Course, recommended by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence in the UK.  The University of Oxford, in conjunction with the Wellcome Trust, is currently investigating the role of an equivalent programme for teenagers to prevent mental illness.

People who complete an 8-Week Mindfulness course experience*:

  • Lower stress, anxiety and depressive symptoms when compared to a control group
  • Improved working memory
  • Improved ability to focus
  • Greater satisfaction with their relationships
  • Improved fear modulation
  • Greater immune function
  • Reduced psychological distress
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Better cognitive scores (particularly in older people and people with Alzheimers Disease)
  • Reduced cell ageing
  • Improved ability to cope with the pain, anxiety and depression that can accompany a chronic condition
  • Improved ability to overcome addiction due to reduced psychological distress
  • Improved sleep

American Psychological Association and Greater Good Science Centre, University of California

The Simply Mindfulness courses for adults are taught by Debbie Larson, HCPC registered occupational therapist and BAMBA listed mindfulness teacher.   The 8-Week Mindfulness for Life course qualifies as a pre-requisite course for people who wish to progress to becoming a mindfulness teacher themselves.  Information for adult teacher-training pathways after you have completed an 8-Week Mindfulness Course can be found on The Mindfulness Network and Oxford University Mindfulness Centre websites.  If you would like to train to teach children, information can be found on the Mindfulness in Schools Project website.

“I found the explanation of what was behind the practice, the science, most helpful.  Also gave lots of options of how I can make everyday things mindful eg. now doing my back exercises mindfully”

“Debbie’s sense of fun really helps liven things.”

“I enjoyed the spot on teaching.  The YouTube practices.  Being part of a group.  The accompanying handouts.”

What is the content for the 8-Week Mindfulness for Life Course (MBCT-Life)?
Week 1:  Waking up from automatic pilot (mindful eating and body scan practices)
Week 2:  Another way of being (body scan and mindful awareness of breath practices)
Week 3:  Gathering the scattered mind (mindful movement and breath, body and sounds practices)
Week 4:  Recognising reactivity (mindful walking and breath, body, sounds and thoughts practices)
Week 5:  Allowing and letting be (approaching difficulty practice)
Week 6:  Responding skillfully:  thoughts are not facts (mindful listening and compassion practice)
Week 7:  How can I best take care of myself? (awareness of breath practice)
Week 8:  Mindfulness for life (body scan)

What do we do each session?
Each session consists of 30 minutes of mindfulness practices, reviewing mindfulness experiences and challenges in the preceding week in small groups (or Zoom breakout rooms), interactive teaching of a new mindful concept, followed by time for questions and information for the upcoming week’s home practice.

What do I need for each session?
The online sessions are taught on Zoom.  It is easier if you can find a quiet space or headphones if you are in a space where others may be able to hear.  For the studio sessions, you may need to bring a mat, blanket and cushion.  These are available in the studio, but it depends where we are with COVID guidelines in October if we can use them or not.

Is there a manual?
Yes, you will receive the University of Oxford Mindfulness for Life manual as well as handouts at the end of each session.  The manual and handouts are electronic for the online course, and printed for the studio course.

A certificate of attendance will be given if you’ve attended a minimum of 7 of the 8 classes.

Will I get homework?
30 minutes of daily home practice is suggested to do between the sessions.  These can be accessed through the Simply Mindfulness YouTube channel that you can subscribe to for free.   Building up this practice takes time and the course is designed to help you do this.  Come with the intention to commit to a regular home practice and we will take it from there.

Is it for everyone?
If you are experiencing extreme difficulty or are in the midst of a major illness or a distressing life event, it is not the right time to learn mindfulness.  Mindfulness does not replace medical care or one to one therapy.  Please contact the instructor or your GP if you have any concerns.

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