Welcome to Mindfulness Works – New Zealand’s largest mindfulness training organisation
Most people have questions about mindfulness, meditation and Mindfulness Works courses. Here is a summary of the most common questions. If you don’t find what you are looking for here, please do contact us.
About Mindfulness and Meditation
What is mindfulness?
How do you learn mindfulness?
Through practise. There is no shortcut. Mindfulness is learned experientially, which means trying it out for yourself. The practice involves formal and informal practice. Formal practice is sitting and being mindful without any distractions for a period of time (every day if possible). Informal practice is taking what you have learned through your formal practice of being present and applying this moment-to-moment in everyday life. Like any skill, the more you practise it, the easier it becomes.
What are the benefits of mindfulness?
Mindfulness has been proven to:
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Reduce depression
- Increase your feeling of wellbeing
- Increase self-acceptance
- Improve sleeping patterns and the immune system.
How does mindfulness work?
Mindfulness works on a number of levels.
From a physical point of view, formal mindfulness practice causes the relaxation response. The relaxation response means your breathing slows, your blood pressure drops, you relax and feel calmer.
From a brain science point of view, regular mindfulness reduces the reactivity of the Amygdala, the fight or flight part of your brain. This means you become less reactive and less stressed out about things, in particular worries, and thoughts that previously may have caused you stress, are not so problematical.
From a psychological point of view, mindfulness allows you to start to feel in to and experience a very natural and real sense of being totally OK. This feeling of OKness creates a high degree of self-acceptance and less striving to try and trying to perfect or fix yourself or your life (which most people find to be a highly stressful, not to mention futile activity)
What does mindfulness feel like?
It depends on your experience at the time. Mindfulness isn’t one particular state or experience, but rather a deepening in to the feeling of the experience you are having right at this moment — which could be pleasant or unpleasant. Mindfulness is not designed to change our experiences as much as change our relationship to our experience so it is not so stressful and problematical. One thing is for sure though, you can only experience what mindfulness is like by actually doing it.
What is the difference between mindfulness and meditation?
Nothing. Mindfulness Works defines mindfulness and meditation as simply being present or being aware on a moment-to-moment basis. We use the terms interchangeably.
Can you learn mindfulness or meditation without formal practice?
There may be the odd exception, but in most cases, no. Just like with any skill we learn, or when we increase our physical fitness, we require a dedicated time to formally do the practice or the exercise. There is no way around this. And, just like physical fitness, mindfulness (which improves mental and emotional fitness) is a lifetime practice, not just a one-off.
Aren’t mindfulness and meditation Buddhist religious practices?
Both mindfulness and meditation have been a core part of most Buddhist traditions for over 2,500 years. Mindfulness Works, like many modern forms of mindfulness and meditation such as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) present, teach and practise mindfulness in a 100% secular and non-religious fashion with no religious terms, philosophy or ritual. The benefits of mindfulness and meditation do not rely on any belief system, but lie in the practical aspect of simply implementing the practice. Just as many gyms offer yoga in a religion-free manner, so do organisations offer mindfulness in a religion-free manner.
About the Mindfulness Works Intro Course
Who is this course suitable for?
This course is suitable for:
- 18-year-olds and over
- People who have never meditated or practised mindfulness before
- People who have just started meditating or practising mindfulness.
How long is each class?
Each class runs for one hour.
How much time do I need each week to practise?
We recommend you set aside at least 12 minutes every day for the formal guided mindfulness meditation practice.
What do I wear to the classes?
THE most important question! Wear whatever you are comfortable in. Make sure you can take layers off if you are too hot or put layers on if you are too cold.
Do we sit in chairs?
Is this a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course?
Our courses are not MBSR courses. Some of our facilitators are trained in either MBSR or MBCT (Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy). The Mindfulness Works programme is different however. The Mindfulness Works course tends to be cheaper and shorter than most MBSR courses. Like MBSR courses, it has a strong focus on the practical and is 100% non-religious. We highly recommend MBSR courses. They are an ideal follow-up to the Mindfulness Works Intro course. For some of you, you may even find that an MBSR course is more suitable for you then a Mindfulness Works intro course, depending on your individual circumstances.
How qualified are the Mindfulness Works teachers?
All the Mindfulness Works teachers teach from their own experience. They have an extensive background in practising mindfulness and meditation. Some have had formal psychological, counselling or mindfulness training. Some have had training in a monastic setting over a number of years. Some have no formal training (besides our internal Mindfulness Works training) but have extensive personal experience of mindfulness and meditation over a number of years. All our teachers emphasise on keeping it real, practical and highlighting your own ability to teach yourself. Read more about the Mindfulness Works teachers.
Why do you charge for your courses? Some organisations offer mindfulness or meditation on a donation basis.
Most organisations that offer mindfulness or meditation on a donation basis are religious and run along traditional Buddhist lines. Mindfulness Works is a private commercial organisation and has a totally different model.
Different models appeal to different people (or the same people in some circumstances). The Buddhist-based trainings are superb and where many of the Mindfulness Works teachers learned mindfulness, yet not everyone wants this. The choice of what type of course or teaching works for you, is entirely yours.
How do I get the most from the course?
Mindfulness is like physical fitness; it requires commitment, practise and time to work. In order to get the most from the course, we recommend:
- Attending every class
- Practising for at least 12 minutes every day, with the guided meditations for the length of the course (and longer if possible)
- Reading the guidebook and completing the assignments in the book.
How do I find out when future courses will be offered?
To be notified when future courses are ready for registration, please enter your email address at the bottom of this page (right down the bottom in the footer of this website).
About Refunds & Transfers
Can I get a refund if I can’t make the class or change my mind?
100% refunds can be issued up to one week before the class starts. After that time, no refunds are given as there may not be enough time to re-sell your ticket.
Can I get a refund if I don’t feel I received value from the course?
We don’t issue refunds if you don’t attend the full course. We do, however, offer 100% refunds if you have attended every session and feel you have not received value. This is because the benefits of the course are delivered through attending all the sessions and implementing the practices. Just as if you join a gym but only attend one session you won’t get benefit, the same is true of this mindfulness course. It does require this commitment. To ask for a refund if you complete the full course and feel you have not received value, please contact us letting us know that and we will issue you the 100% refund.
Can I transfer my ticket to another course?
Transfers can be issued up to one week before the class starts at no cost. After that time, no transfers can be made as there may not be enough time to re-sell your ticket.
How do I claim a refund or a transfer (please read notes above first)?
Contact Karen and let her know what course you were booked on (be specific — we run courses throughout New Zealand and Australia) and what course you would like to transfer to (if you are wanting a transfer).