Mindfulness Teacher Training Oxford

Coming to our Senses

Modern living has muted our ability to sense things well. Our nervous system evolved under evolutionary pressure and our hunter – gatherer ancestors will have honed their senses in life or death situations.; their footsteps would have often had to be silent, their movement fluid so as not to attract attention, and their hearing perfectly attuned to their surroundings. In the modern world on the other hand, we walk on flat surfaces, our movements can be clumsy, at no real cost to our survival and we have no need to hone our senses, as we are “kept safe” by any number of warning signs- beeping sounds, hand-rails and announcements telling us to “mind the gap”. This is the view of Peter Blackaby in his book “intelligent Yoga”.  He goes on to argue, that it seems that the muting of our sensory signals in our modern world leads to gradual confusion of how we actually feel in ourselves, resulting in odd migrating pains in our muscles and joints, recurring headaches and digestive ailments and psychological feelings of disquiet, anxiety and depression.

There is another way we become disconnected from our bodies and that is through emotional trauma. If something deeply shocking happens to us, we tend to shut down part of the brain that helps us make sense of internal feeling. In effect we try to hide from our feelings. Although this may be useful in the short term because those feelings may threaten to overwhelm us, in the long term it means we become unable to interpret our gut feelings accurately. This can lead to over-reaction to stimuli and develop into panic attacks or disturbing bodily symptom’s and long-term illness. Many people are now demonstrating and arguing that somatic intervention into psychological and physical trauma is deeply effective. Leaders in this field include Peter Blackaby , Bessel Van Der Kolk, Stephen Porges, Peter Lavine and Stanley Keleman. Jon Kabat in recognition of the  importance of connection to our senses called  his  2008 book– Coming to our senses.

Learning to re-notice

So how do we reconnect ourselves if we have become fragmented by life? Mindfulness Yoga is extremely well placed to facilitate this.

Mindfulness Yoga creates mind-body integration where it has been lacking. It allows us to use our somatic responses to pay attention to things we have previously left unacknowledged and we take for granted, the sensations we have when we practice yoga.

Mindfulness Yoga espouses using quiet attention, thoughtful observation and careful undoing of tension so that what is unnecessary can drop away and dissolve each time we practice.

According to Blackaby “This approach to yoga also encompasses a more serious attempt to integrate as human being, firstly with ourselves, the body-mind, then with our fellow humans and finally with the greater world outside.”

My own approach is to show how yoga can be used to pay attention to ourselves. To notice the difference between tension and anxiety, comfort and discomfort. Notice our sense of grounding and spaciousness or the ease or difficulty with which we move. Rather than approaching Yoga as an exercise system, mindfulness yoga is a tool for self- exploration.

By paying attention to our breath / bodily sensations we are better able respond in a helpful way than to react in a way that is unhelpful.

Aston Colley HPD, BWY Yoga Dip, is running a CPD event – Mindfulness Yoga Workshop, A development day for all mindfulness and yoga practitioners, exploring mindfulness of breath and body movement. The day, a mix of theory and practice, specific guidance and choreographed practice to teach, with a script to teach from. A look at modifications and an opportunity  to practice with others on the course. The day  aims to provide mindfulness practitioners with tools to further their own practice. It is hoped that by gaining a deeper insight into the process of self -enquiry through gentle movement and meditation, participants will ,after practice be able to impart/teach some of these insights to their students.

At Bishampton Village Hall , Nr Pershore WR10 2LY ( junction 6 M5) on Saturday November 30th 2019. Attendance £130 for students and graduates of CEC and £160 for others. Booking- Central England College , 0121 444 1110. Or email info@cecch.com

Attendees are requested to wear loose fitting clothing and bring their own yoga mat + blanket.

Aston workshops are best suited to mindfulness students with some Yoga/exercise/movement experience. If you are unsure of your suitability don’t hestitate to contact Aston( 01386 870893, aston@unwind.uk.com) as he will be happy to advise.