Welcome to Mindfulness at Kyra. We been offering mindfulness training and practice groups for our volunteers’ members since 2017.

Our tutor is Alison Gear, and she is supported by Lis Barton. We have run the Mindfulness Association Mindfulness Based Living Course every year since October 2017.

Alison adapts the presentation to meet the needs of Kyra members, some of whom may have experienced trauma.  

Nearly one hundred women have done mindfulness with Kyra since we began the groups and we are delighted that the Purey Cust Trust https://pureycusttrust.org/ who support health and healing in and around York, have now given us funding to run some more courses. We are currently planning this new provision for 2021.

If you would like a place, please email lis@kyra.org.uk. The course will be suitable for those without any experience of mindfulness. If you have already done a similar course elsewhere you are welcome to join the practice group at any time, again, just email Lis for more details.

It is International Women’s Day on Monday March 8th 2021 and York International Women’s Week 6th – 14th March 2021 so our session on Tuesday 9th March at 2pm will be open to everyone and part of the festival. This year the theme is ‘Women in a time of Plague’. Please contact lis@kyra.org.uk if you would like a place.

When the pandemic started we moved our practice group on to Zoom and increased to two sessions a month, on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday afternoons, from 2pm to 3.30pm.

It is a supportive group that has a mix of some long-standing members and others who joined more recently. It has a certain synergy, and everyone finds the opportunity to practice together regularly very helpful and enjoyable, especially during lockdown.

Practice Group 2021

We are currently using Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Seven Pillars of Mindfulness as a theme for each session.

He talks about the foundations of mindfulness practice in his book “Full Catastrophe Living”. We hope that this will provide a deeper understanding and appreciation of the practice of mindfulness and how it can empower women to have a choice whether to respond rather than react to life’s challenges.

You can think of the pillars as attitudes on which mindfulness practice is founded. They are inter-dependant and inter-related.

Seven Pillars of Mindfulness

Week 1 – Beginners Mind

We started the series with Beginner’s Mind because it seemed appropriate for the New Year

  • Too often we let our thinking and our beliefs about what we ‘know’ stop us from seeing things as they really are.
  • Cultivating a mind that is willing to see everything as if for the first time.
  • Being receptive to new possibilities… not getting stuck in a rut of our own expertise.
  • Each moment is unique and contains unique possibilities.
  • Try it with someone you know – next time, ask yourself if you are seeing this person with fresh eyes, as he/she really is? Try it with problems… with the sky… with the dog… with the man in the corner shop.

Here is a 15-minute Loving Kindness Meditation led by Alison

Week 2 – Non-judging

This is Jon Kabat-Zinn on being non-judging:

and a poem called ‘Allow’ by Danna Faulds which captures this idea. Danna Faulds is an American poet and thinks the practice of meditation allows her to access a vivid inner life and creative voice.

There is no controlling life.

Try corralling a lightning bolt,

containing a tornado.  Dam a

stream and it will create a new

channel.  Resist, and the tide

will sweep you off your feet.

Allow, and grace will carry

you to higher ground.  The only

safety lies in letting it all in –

the wild and the weak; fear,

fantasies, failures and success.

When loss rips off the doors of

the heart, or sadness veils your

vision with despair, practice

becomes simply bearing the truth.

In the choice to let go of your

known way of being, the whole world is revealed to your new eyes.

Week 3 – Patience

This week we looked at patience, the third of our series on the Seven Pillars of Mindfulness.  Jon Kabat-Zinn says  “Patience is a form of wisdom. It demonstrates that we understand and accept the fact that sometimes things must unfold in their own time.”

This article looks at research showing the benefits of being more patient:

Four Reasons to Cultivate Patience (berkeley.edu)
Good things really do come to those who wait!

Lovingkindness/Metta phrases

  • May I be filled with Kindness
  • May I be well in body and Mind as I am able to be
  • May I be peaceful and at ease
  • May I know how to recognise and nourish the seeds of happiness within myself and others

Patience – one of the pillars of mindfulness

The mindfulness attitude of patience is a form of wisdom.

Mindfulness attitudes patience, demonstrates that we under­stand and accept the fact that sometimes things must unfold in their own time. A child may try to help a butterfly to emerge by breaking open its chrysalis. Usually the butterfly doesn’t benefit from this. Any adult knows that the butterfly can only emerge in its own time, that the process cannot be hurried.

In the same way we cultivate patience toward our own minds and bodies when practicing mindfulness. We intentionally remind ourselves that there is no need to be impatient with ourselves because we find the mind judging all the time, or because we are tense or agitated or frightened, or because we have been practicing for some time and nothing positive seems to have happened.

We give ourselves room to have these experiences. Why? Because we are having them anyway! When they come up, they are our reality, they are part of our life unfolding in this moment. So we treat ourselves as well as we would treat the butterfly. Why rush through some moments to get to other, “better” ones? After all, each one is your life in that moment.

Practicing patience

When you practice being with yourself in this way, you are bound to find that your mind has “a mind of its own.” We notice that one of the minds favourite activities is to wander into the past and into the future and lose itself in thinking. Some of its thoughts are pleasant. Others are painful and anxiety producing. In either case thinking itself exerts a strong pull on our awareness. Much of the time our thoughts overwhelm our percep­tion of the present moment. They cause us to lose our connection to the present.

The mindfulness attitudes patience can be a particularly helpful quality to invoke when the mind is agitated. It can help us to accept this wandering tendency of the mind while reminding us that we don’t have to get caught up in its travels. Practicing the mindfulness attitudes, patience reminds us that we don’t have to fill up our moments with activity. With more thinking in order for them to be rich. In fact it helps us to re­member that quite the opposite is true. To be patient is simply to be completely open to each moment, accepting it in its fullness, know­ing that, like the butterfly, things can only unfold in their own time.

From :Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat -Zinn