I am a qualified instructor of MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) and MBCT (Mindfulness Based Compassion Living) Teacher certified by European Institute for Mindfulness Based Approaches (IMA). My qualification to teach Mindfulness in the Workplaces I received in Oxford Mindfulness Centre (UK).
In addition to my passion for teaching mindfulness I completed the Positive Neuroplasticity Training (PNT) and Professional Course in Positive Neuroplasticity with Rick Hanson.
My formal schooling begun with the Master, Degree from the Adam Mickiewicz University of Poznan in Poland, Faculty of Mathematics. She also completed the Postgraduate Diploma in Database Systems in Poznan University of Technology in Poland.
I am a member of Mindfulness Teachers Association Ireland.
The teachers I had the honor of meeting and drawing inspiration from:
Jon Kabat-Zinn, Frits Koster, Michael Chaskalson, Malagorzata Jakubczak, Linda Lehrhaupt, Willem Kuyken, Rachel Lilley, Erik Van Der Brink, Chris Tamdjidi, Sarah Silverton, John Peacock, Rick Hanson
Aneta Baraniak Interviewed by Sohini De from Wind of Change Total Wellbeing
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your practice, the types of clients you come across.
My journey with Mindfulness and Meditation started in 2013 when I was feeling overwhelmed with life. My life wasn’t a disaster, but I felt like my worrying thoughts and anxiety were occupying my mind. I’d had start thinking “Maybe this is what it’s going to be like for the rest of my life.” This question resonated with me vey much. Step by step I started getting involved in Mindfulness through listening to the interviews with Jon Kabat Zinn and his guided meditations.
Soon after I joined the 8 weeks MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) course in Dublin and then I began to meditate on the regular basis. I started noticing the little glimpses when I felt freer from worrying even if some situations did not get as I would like them to go. It was a big relief. After some time with the regular practise I was getting closer to the stage where I wanted to share with others what I received from meditating. I attended the Mindfulness Teacher Training Course.
How do you think mindfulness or MBSR in particular can help people in their daily life, especially for those who are constantly running to balance office work and family life?
From my own experience and from the feedback of participants of my courses, I would be tempted to say that the first step is the realisation that it is me who should care about myself the most. When someone who is close to us, a child, a husband, a parent or friend suffer and is going through difficult situation in their lives, we give them our attention and we support them. Why not to have this same approach when we suffer? Instead of that we very often criticize ourselves or blame others for our problems. Practising Mindfulness, we learn what does it mean to live in the present moment, not dealing with the past, not worrying about the future, but just being more aware what exactly is happening now. You might ask why the NOW is so important? As Jon Kabat Zinn said:
“the present is the only time that any of us have to be alive– to know anything– to perceive– to learn– to act– to change– to heal”
Personally, I initially found mindfulness was very difficult to get into but once I grasped it, it helped me a lot with my stress management when I needed it the most. How do you recommend people to start this journey so that it is an enjoyable experience?
I would recommend finding a qualified teacher who is allowed to run the MBSR or MBCT (Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy) courses. It is appropriate to ask a teacher for his or her certificate.
What do you exactly mean by mindfulness and what are the various forms?
Mindfulness is part of Buddhist philosophy, however in the Western world the concept of Mindfulness was created relatively recently, in the late 70s. Jon Kabat Zinn the Professor of Medicine, founder of MBSR course, says that Mindfulness is an awareness that arises when we pay attention to the present moment on purpose, non-judgmentally.
The MBSR course was primely dedicated in the late 70s to people with depression and chronic pain disease. Shortly after this, the MBSR course begun to be introduced for all who struggle with stress and anxiety.
At the present time there are other Mindfulness Based Interventions courses like, MBCT (Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy), MBCL (Mindfulness Based Compassion Living), MBRP (Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention).
Any particular area or group of people who might benefit the most from mindfulness?
Mindfulness can be practised by everyone. We all have ability to stop, taking a pause and allowing ourselves just to be. The question that any individuals need to ask themselves - Am I ready to start this journey? As I mentioned earlier, attending any Mindfulness courses it is a commitment. The participants are told by a teacher from the beginning, that Mindfulness is not the “ad hoc fix”. It is a practice and it requires a time. Also, it requires to rescheduling a bit our day to set the proper time for meditating. I do not talk about hours of sitting on the meditation cushion. There are various of meditations, which are provided on the MBSR course, including Breathing Space, Sitting meditation, walking meditation, meditation on thoughts, emotions and feelings.
We are doing this interview mainly for the national workplace wellness day so is there any tips you can give our viewers which they can incorporate in their busy life to overcome their daily challenges?
The most common feelings that appear in our busy life are anxiety, fear, sadness, grief, loneliness, and anger. We can talk about busyness and stay in our head, or we can move into our heart and feel the emotional reality of busyness in our body. When we are willing to do that, a space opens for emotions to do their work of informing, energizing, and motivating us to live our life in alignment with what is most important to us as a compassionate, caring human being.
First we need to allow ourselves to pause and switching from the doing to being mode. Waking up in the morning we can take few breaths with the awareness of how our body feels at the moment without any judgements and what is very important wit gratitude and kindness to ourselves. During the whole day we can remember that getting back to pay attention to the breath even for 3 minutes, will anchor us with the awareness of what is happening now in our body and in our mind.