For updated site please click this link: http://cathytheaker.com
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is an evidence-based approach which trains the mind, helping develop 'attentional control' through a range of exercises from meditation and mindful movement from yoga practice, which bring us into the present moment, checking in with our emotions, thoughts and bodily sensations.
Mindfulness is the awareness that arises when we pay attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally (Jon Kabat-Zinn, 1994)
You are coming off automatic pilot and embracing life consciously (Brantley, 2003)
What are the benefits of Mindfulness practice?
Numerous studies now demonstrate many benefits such as improved physical and emotional wellbeing, increased ability to be resilient and manage stress, increased focus, attention and concentration, heightened emotional intelligence, compassion and improved team working. Mindfulness also helps people cope with change and uncertainty and improves our ability to respond, rather than react. It also promotes divergent creative-style thinking, all of which are valuable in today's competitive, fast-paced workplace. Many companies such as Google, Apple, Yahoo, IBM, Procter & Gamble, Starbucks, Toyota, Volvo, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, offer mindfulness training to staff, since mindfulness enhances the qualities companies need.
Richard Davidson and colleagues found that within 3-4 months after a 10 week meditation training had ended, there was significantly increased activity in the left prefrontal lobe of the brain, which is associated with positive emotions. Blood tests also indicated lower cortisol levels (hormone produced in response to stress) and an enhancement of their immune systems. Four decades of brain research have demonstrated the brain is transformed by meditation and it can also affect genes getting switched on or off.
How I work as a Mindfulness Teacher:
I teach mindfulness practice from a secular perspective, as 'mind training', which does not interfere with any participants' religious or cultural beliefs.
I usually deliver training for up to 25 participants. The sessions are largely experiential to include practices such as mindful movements, mindfulness of breathing, mindful walking, mindful eating, mindfulness of an object, body scan meditation, compassion meditation.
Introduction to Mindfulness Sessions (2 hours, half day, full day workshops)
Mindfulness Resilience Courses (2 hours/week for 4 weeks)
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Courses (2 hours/week for 8 weeks and a Silent Practice Day
Wellbeing and Mindfulness Course (2 hours/week for 8 weeks)
Mindfulness for Study Programme (Krcmar & Horsman) (2 hours/week for 3 sessions) - for Students with Specific Learning Difficulties
All training is evaluated in order to ensure the content is meeting participants' needs. I also deliver the training in a 1:1 format if preferred.
I currently deliver mindfulness interventions to staff and students at Leeds Student Medical Practice and to NHS Staff as part of a randomised controlled trial with the University of Leeds.
Teacher Training and Good Practice Guidelines
I completed the TTRL1 (Teacher Training Retreat, Level 1) at Bangor University in 2016.
I adhere to the UK Mindfulness Teachers Good Practice Guidelines (UK Network for Mindfulness Teachers) https://mindfulnessteachersuk.org.uk
Mindfulness in Coaching: integration, challenges and transformation – International Journal for Mindfulness and Compassion at Work, May 2017,
Issue 1. www.theijmc.om
Running Mindfulness Groups for Students – AUCC Journal, March 2011
Feedback from Staff at Leeds Beckett University:
“I am going to definitely try to incorporate some of the exercises into my day”
“Facilitator very encouraging and inclusive”
“I would like to enrol in more sessions I really think my work life, self and family would benefit from me doing a mindful class each week”
“I would attend a regular session on meditation/mindfulness if offered”
“More sessions to do more in detail about different techniques would be good
Most helpful aspects:
“Learning something new and seeing how I could use it in my everyday life”
“All group exercises very insightful, mixed with theory – progressive learning, very interesting and helpful”
“The idea that you can incorporate it with a few minutes each day”
“Learning about checking in with myself, which in turn made me feel more calmer”
“The practice elements – demonstrating and participating in mindful activities”
“Taking time out to become aware and refocus”
“Exercises – how to breathe”
All participants stated they would definitely recommend the mindfulness sessions to others
I also work with a colleague, Geraldine Breakwell delivering bespoke interventions in the workplace, see: