What is Mindfulness?
The definition that has been adopted across most researchers, teachers, and practitioners was first introduced in the US by Jon Kabbat-Zinn in the 1970’s and has evolved to the following: “Mindfulness is paying attention, in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally”
Here are Alternatives we adopt most of this definition, making one small but important change. Our definition of Mindfulness is:
Paying Attention, in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment and noticing judgments and criticisms.
This small shift away from the notion of being non-judgmental to noticing judgments is intended to acknowledge the human condition – this includes the process of deciding, or discernment.
What do you do at Alternatives?
Our approach to mindfulness at Alternatives is to begin by getting to know each person we work with.
We try to identify what has worked and what has not worked for you. We introduce a wide variety of meditation techniques and – through a process of experimentation – develop a customized practice for each person that fits into an already busy life without adding a new stress. This provides access to the wide range of benefits that a regular meditation practice brings.
How often should one meditate, or be mindful?
How nice would it be if we could just follow a layout out process that would work for everyone! We could all benefit from the many wonderful benefits of meditation and a mindful lifestyle. Of course there are hundreds of “manuals” that provide just these prescriptions, including modern research based approaches to deal with anxiety, stress, sleep, attention and so forth, as well as ancient traditions designed to improve concentration, empathy, compassion and maybe even ultimately enlightenment.
For many people these manuals work; because the techniques fit their style, or the individual is in so much pain they are willing to make the prescription work regardless of cost.
Our framework for mindfulness is rooted in the notion of personal experimentation and reflection. How often an individual meditates or engages in mindfulness depends, in our approach, on what is helpful or useful for that individual without adding new stress.
Our approach is very well supported by the research, which demonstrates that
people who meditate get the benefits of meditation and
when individuals are introduced to meditation the difference between those who practice and those who don’t is whether the individual “likes” the practice.
What does not seem to matter is whether practice is performed daily or on a different schedule, or whether the practice is a simple as 30 seconds of breathing or 45 minutes of silent focusing meditation.
How long are mindfulness sessions at Alternatives?
Adult sessions are 90 minutes.
Child and Adolescent sessions are 45 minutes.
Groups are 1-3 hours.