A 5-week transformational course
in trauma-sensitive mindfulness
July 6 - August 7 | Tuesdays 6:30pm and Saturdays 10am BST
Learn the practice of mindfulness meditation and transform your life in this 5-week course that integrates ancient teachings and cutting-edge developments from neuroscience, psychology, and trauma healing.
Master the art and science of embodied meditation and develop a greater awareness of your body, emotions, and thoughts, while deepening your self-compassion, equanimity, and lovingkindness.
Go deeper into the why, what, and how of each practice and discover what theories from neuroscience, philosophy, psychology, and ancient wisdom can teach us about living a more mindful, joyful, and fulfilling life.
Discover your window of tolerance and learn practices that bring you back to safety in and outside of meditation, helping you build resilience and supporting your journey of trauma healing.
"I loved this course. It was very informal and personal, yet very skilled at making complex concepts accessible, fun and visually beautiful! Excellent at holding the space and giving right amount of time for everybody to speak, listen and learn. Hard to believe Maria is still training! Would love to do another course, or even do this course again in a year or so."
Integrating psychology and meditation
Is this course for me?
Yes. Absolutely. But perhaps I should elaborate.
May You Be Happy isn't just a meditation course; it's a therapeutic container for deep transformation through the practice of mindfulness meditation. Unlike other meditation courses that only focus on teaching the practices without much grounding in the reality of the student's daily struggles, May You Be Happy has a holistic approach that addresses your entire being, integrating the mind, heart and body.
So if you're a beginner or someone who has tried but stopped due to unexpected reactions, or if you've been practicing for a while using apps but you'd like to build a self-guided practice, this course is for you. Each session will expand your awareness and push you to grow in a gentle, supportive, and playful way.
The course spans 10 sessions, meeting twice weekly over 5 weeks. Every week we will explore a new layer of awareness through a trauma-sensitive lens, focusing on the body, emotions, thoughts, compassion, lovingkindness, and sense of self. Each session will include elements of psycho-education, trauma awareness, practice, and integration.
You will get handouts for further reading and recordings for home practice. If you cannot make a session, you will receive a recording of the teaching and practice so you can catch up in your own time.
What is trauma-sensitive mindfulness?
Trauma-sensitive mindfulness acknowledges the fact that trauma is a part of life - indeed, a part of us. We all hold unprocessed pain from our past that unconsciously affects our present. This can manifest as frightening body sensations, emotions, images, or voices, and a nervous system that's very sensitive to traumatic stimuli - all of which can make learning how to meditate seem difficult, or even impossible to some.
A trauma-sensitive approach works with the nervous system and teaches you how to practice within your window of tolerance through personalised modifications. Over the course of 5 weeks you will learn how trauma lives in your nervous system and how to handle states of dysregulation effectively. By learning how to self-regulate you will develop the capacity to be with and work with traumatic stimuli, eventually re-establishing a sense of safety both inside the practice and in daily life.
About your teacher
My journey with meditation started a little over 4 years ago as an attempt to temper my constant anxiety. As my practice deepened, I was surprised to find that my sittings weren't always experiences of ecstatic joy and bliss. In fact, they often brought up threatening sensations in my body, overwhelming fear, unpleasant memories, and feelings of dissociation. But none of my meditation apps talked about this.
It turns out I wasn't alone. About 8% of people experience unwanted effects from meditation, leading to a worsening of their anxiety and depression. But this doesn't mean we can't practice. We just need a different approach than the one offered by mobile apps and most teachers. This offering is a synthesis of hundreds of hours of study and practice. I am a certified meditation teacher, a certified trauma-sensitive mindfulness practitioner, and a member of the Complementary Therapists Accredited Association in the UK.
1-1 interactive guided meditation
The interactive guided meditation is an incredibly powerful tool to deepen your self-exploration. Similar to a psychedelic experience, this journey taps into the symbol-making capacity of your psyche to reveal unconscious material, insights, and new meanings - but without the fuss of taking a psychedelic.
It can help you uncover the meaning behind a physical symptom, find physical or emotional healing, reveal a past life that you can learn from, help you deal with conflict, or imagine your ideal future and how to get there.
The transformative 90-minute session includes a 30-minute exploration of your intention, a personalised guided journey, and 30 minutes of integration coaching - and it's 40% off when booked as part of the course.
Make an investment in your wellbeing
Tuesdays 6:30pm and Saturdays at 10am BST
Each class is structured to include a brief check-in followed by an introductory practice, lecture, the main practice, and an integration circle and discussion.
While the course will teach the core, evidence-based practices of mindfulness meditation, I encourage you to attend as many of the optional live sessions I offer throughout the weeks as a means to deepen your practice and learn new formats.
May you be welcome
Opening circle and introduction to the art and science of mindfulness meditation. We'll discuss the building blocks of the meditation practice and do our first practices together.
May you be safe
What is trauma, and what supports our healing from it? In this session we'll learn the core principles of practicing in a trauma-sensitive way, tools for self-regulation and how to create resilience. We'll also do our first body scan.
May you be free from suffering
If pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional, how can we get better at accepting discomfort? Discover the two wings of being with and working with experience and learn how to practice RAIN for difficult sensations.
May you be happy
What are feelings? How do they affect you? In this session we'll begin cultivating awareness of our emotions and the somatic imprint they leave. We'll practice naming and being with feelings as they happen.
May you be happy
How do you deal with difficult emotions? Are you afraid of your own fear? On this day we'll talk about "negative" emotions, what they mean, and how to work with them in our meditation practice.
May you be at peace
Where do thoughts come from? Are they always true? On day 6 we'll begin cultivating awareness of thoughts, observing the mental chatter with a non-judgemental attitude, and resting in the space between thoughts.
May you be at peace
If your beliefs inform your thoughts, which shape your emotions, decisions, character, and ultimately your destiny, noticing our thoughts is more important than ever. In this session we'll inquire into thoughts to surface the core beliefs behind them.
May you be loved
The purpose of meditation is to practice being with our experience in a more compassionate way. That's why on day 8 we'll learn Tonglen meditation and discuss the challenges of compassion practice.
May you be loved
Metta bhavana is a Buddhist practice of holding ourselves and others in lovingkindness, and opening the heart. On this session we will learn and practice this beautiful meditation and what it means to take refuge in love.
May you be free
Who is it that's paying attention beyond all sensations, emotions, and thoughts? On this final session we inquire into the nature of the self and identification, then we'll wrap it all up with a closing circle and (virtual) hugs.
Looking in will require of us great subtlety and great courage - nothing less than a complete shift in our attitude to life and to the mind. We are so addicted to looking outside ourselves that we have lost access to our inner being almost completely. We are terrified to look inward, because our culture has given us no idea of what we will find. We may even think that if we do we will be in danger of madness. This is one of the last and most resourceful ploys of the ego to prevent us discovering our real nature.
So we make our lives so hectic that we eliminate the slightest risk of looking into ourselves. Even the idea of meditation can scare people. When they hear the words “egoless” or “emptiness”, they think experiencing those states will be like being thrown out of the door of a spaceship to float forever in a dark, chilling void. Nothing could be further from the truth. But in a world dedicated to distraction, silence and stillness terrify us; we protect ourselves from them with noise and frantic busyness. Looking into the nature of our mind is the last thing we would dare to do.
Sometimes I think we don’t want to ask any real questions about who we are, for fear of discovering there is some other reality than this one. What would this discovery make of how we have lived? How would our friends and colleagues react to what we now know? What would we do with the new knowledge? With knowledge comes responsibility. Sometimes even when the cell door is flung open, the prisoners choose not to escape.