The One with a Mindfulness Weekend

I spent the weekend at Zentrum für Achtsamkeit, doing an introductory course on Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction.

I had asked my boss a few months ago, when everything felt really crazy and out of order, if I could use some of my training budget on a mindfulness course because I felt like this would be more useful to me and my team than some conference or course material for something technical. He said yes, so I booked the course. Since booking the course, I am feeling much better, so I didn’t feel like I needed it so desperately anymore. On the other hand, it felt like I was in a place where I could really think about being more mindful towards myself and others without panicking about everything I am doing wrong. So I guess it was the perfect time for me to do it.

The course was divided into 3 big parts: On Saturday morning we got an introduction into the course and into mindfulness, we did a long body scan and mindfully ate a raisin. For our lunch break, we got the task to just focus on taking a break, eating mindfully and noticing positive things. In the afternoon we did a first sitting meditation that was focused on our breaths, talked a lot about stress (stressors, stress reactions and what the brain has to do with all this) and did a second sitting meditation that was focused on a body part. On Sunday we did a short bodyscan, a 25 minute meditation with different anchors, talked about the default-mode network and about the 8-week mindfulness program.

I really liked the way the course was done. We did all the different types of exercise that are done in the 8-week program after Jon Kabat-Zinn, with lots of explanations why these types of exercises help develop a more mindful life. Kirsten explained everything in a way that was easy to understand, but also focused on the scientific aspects (brain, hormones etc.). And there was always time to ask questions or even voice discomfort with a type of exercise.

If anyone is interested in doing a mindfulness course, too, I would recommend doing one with meetings every week for 8 weeks, though. This was really a lot of input and very introductory. If you meet regularly, while doing the course “homework”, there is some accountability for actually doing the 8 weeks, and more space to ask questions that might just come up after doing the exercises for a while.

But I’m going to try doing the 8 weeks on my own from now on. I’ll report back afterwards.