Impassioned by Compassion with Karen Atkinson


In honour of World Mindfulness Day that took place on 12th September, we asked Karen Atkinson, founder of MindfulnessUK, developer of the Integrating Mindfulness and Compassion in Professional Practice course and lecturer on the Yogacampus Yoga Therapy Diploma, to provide us with more insight in to moving forward with Mindfulness based practices and the observations they bring up, and how Compassion is key to this.

Mindful running, mindful eating, mindful cleaning...Mindfulness has been encouraged to make it’s way in to every activity that permeates our lives and for good reason too. Did you know, in just five 20 minute mindful based practices, you can start to shift the chemistry in your brain? Wow! Mindfulness has certainly become a 21st Century necessity and has soared in the last 20 years, from revolutionising key sectors such as education, justice systems, clinical and health fields, and the workplace….But what if the mindfulness we have become so familiar with is only part of the picture? What if there is another key component we are missing? 

It's one thing to sit and be present and aware of your emotions, thoughts, feelings, and physical and mental symptoms as they are, but then what? What do we do with it when we are aware? When we have realised? How do we move forward with those observations? 

In honour of World Mindfulness Day that took place on 12th September, we asked Karen Atkinson, founder of MindfulnessUK, developer of the Integrating Mindfulness and Compassion in Professional Practice course and lecturer on the Yogacampus Yoga Therapy Diploma, to provide us with more insight.

Having a background in nursing and physical therapy with over 20 years of experience, Karen went on to incorporate yoga and complementary therapies within the NHS and private sector during her career. Bringing mindful movement and practices to those suffering from long term illnesses, chronic pain, trauma, abuse, torture and a wealth of other complexities, mindfulness based practices held powerful space in the recovery processes (at appropriate and safe times), even more so than any other clinical based interventions. However, Karen reflected upon her own experience when battling cancer, feeling as though she had been let down by her mindfulness practices and wasn’t sure what to do with the vulnerability she was feeling, when suddenly it dawned on her that COMPASSION was the missing tool.   

Buddhist philosophy has a beautiful way of expressing this very notion in the form of the Garuda Bird, whereby one wing is wisdom or mindfulness, and the other is seen as compassion. The mighty bird can not take flight without two even, equally sized wings. 

Karen began to see what an important aspect incorporating both mindfulness AND compassion became to her teaching,  to inspire others to live full, healthy, balanced lives. By drawing in on the awareness of the situation at hand, and bringing in an element of compassion to hold space for the associated reactions,  you are presented with a toolbox to bring in to work with these difficulties and to take flight in a very new way with kindness, and gentleness, and self nurture and care.

Impassioned by compassion, Karen began a search for more of these powerful tools and wanted to train further, however many of the mindfulness training courses on offer at the time weren’t able to provide compassion at this level and only offered basic level certification. Eventually, Karen developed a 200H, level 4 teaching qualification in delivering Mindfulness and Compassion on a 1:1 basis as well as offer bespoke courses for specialist groups with an emphasis on the therapeutic and neuro-scientific aspects of mindfulness with specific training in compassion itself. Her path led her to find the Counselling and Psychotherapy Central Awarding Body (CPCAB), approved by the Government body Ofqual, who awarded the course, and oversee all processes around qualification, ensuring a standard is set for delivery by teachers, students have a rich and wholesome experience, and graduates of the course can walk away with a recognised qualification that is a valuable asset to any CV and teaching toolkit. 

This course has something to offer for everyone, whether you are a yoga teacher or yoga therapist looking to incorporate more mindful based compassion in to their teaching and own practices,  or are a professional in healthcare, social care or any related complementary healthcare fields.

When will it run?

The course takes place over 3 Fridays and Saturdays: 23rd and 24th November 2018, 8th and 9th February 2019, and 10th and 11th May 2019. See the course's webpage for further information.

Live on Campus:

To watch the full Live on Campus feature with Karen and hear more about her insight in to the world of Mindfulness and Compassion, her own personal journey, and how YOU can benefit from the Integrating Mindfulness and Compassion in Professional Practice (IMCPP) plus further details about the training, click here