Welcome to Glenda Irwin’s Blog

Research points to Workshops and Courses enhancing the benefits of your mindfulness practice.

These past few weeks I’ve been off ‘work’, and practicing mindfulness for long periods, during a pretty arduous recovery from surgery.

I’m pleased to say, I’m on the road to full recovery now. I know this, given the increased levels of energy I have noticed returning.

During this time, I’ve had the most incredible support through listening to the many wise teachers, scientists, and therapists who contributed to Sounds True ‘The Brain Change Summit.’

It’s available for purchase and I’d highly recommend the spend.

Especially for any therapists or mindfulness teachers that have the budget for Professional Development (NZ$300).

Amongst the incredibly interesting advice (interventions, meditation, neuroscience, diet, exercise…) Tami Simmons added a bonus interview that Dr Richie Davidson had recorded, during the Mindfulness and Meditation Summit of 2018.

He and Dr Daniel Goleman (Emotional Intelligence author), are likely the most prolific and dedicated neuro scientists researching the effects of mindfulness and meditation for brain change and health. During the interview Davidson names his purpose in life as being the commitment he made to His Holiness The Dalai Lama, to thoroughly research the efficacy of mindfulness and meditation practices for wellness of the brain. I was moved whilst watching Davidson share his commitment (made in 1995) and how this shapes his work, and his life.

Of the many things of value within that interview, my ears pricked up at this sharing…

When asked about the levels of benefit regards length of time spent meditating, or different types of meditation, Davidson shared that research showed periods of Retreat greatly enhanced and enriched experiences of practice. That basically, being on Retreat had higher efficacy than practice conducted alone at home.

The research pointed to 4 highly beneficial components of Retreat attendance.

  1. Silence

  2. Relinquishment of roles and responsibilities

  3. The guidance of a skilled teacher

  4. The bond or heightened energy of a group experience

Here is where I address the lofty claim that is the title of this blog!

Attending a course of workshops will benefit you more than reading about mindfulness, using an Ap, or just practicing alone. (that’s my opinion)

What the courses offer are aligned to points 3 and 4 of the research.

A skilled teacher, and the group experience, are a major part of why it is participants on Mindfulness Works courses (those I teach and those I’ve written) experience profound impact. Its not the full package - no noble silence, nor surrendering of ‘roles’.

But hey, 50% of the equation is worth a mention. And I can contest to the feedback from hundreds of individuals I have taught within a group experience, that their progression towards a regular practice of meditation and the benefits they feel, is often astoundingly quick and deeply impactful on their levels of well-being.

We are not all in a place whereby we can commit to going on Retreat. And there are few secular retreats, to which people could attend even if time allowed. But to undertake the often ‘scary’ step of joining a public workshop, and then bringing a willing/open attitude to that experience definitely enhances practice. Whats much better than my opinion is, of course, the exemplary findings of Davidson’s commitments to the Dalai Lama.

Find a teacher + Attend group practices = Up the benefits of self-awareness on your brain and your general well-being.

My next delivery of Mindfulness 2.0 is at Pakuranga’s Te Tuhi Art Centre starting next week (22nd May 2019) for 4 consecutive Wednesdays.

Glenda Irwin