Midsummer Feast

West Cork Mindfulness

Midsummer Mindfulness Feast: a 4-day Mindful Cooking, Eating and Meditation Retreat, at Bobbio Centre, Magheramore, Co. Wicklow,
22 June 7 pm – 25 June 2 pm, with Paola and Marjó.

vegan mediterranean dish http://barnimages.com/

The focus of this silent retreat is on preparing, cooking and eating joyfully and mindfully.
Paola will guide all participants in preparing and cooking summery dishes, vegan and vegetarian. She has trained at the Ballymaloe Cookery School, and has been cooking in restaurants, private catering, on the Asgard, and for Marjó’s retreats for many years. Paola is also a certified Mindfulness trainer and Breathworks trainer, facilitating courses and retreats.
Marjó will guide the mindfulness meditation in sitting and walking sessions, as well as mindful eating. Marjó has been guiding mindfulness and compassion retreats for over 25 years.

There will also be time for plenty of rest, and going for walks on the nearby beach, making this a very special retreat.

View original post 97 more words


Conscious Cooking, Mindful Eating and other Mindfulness Practices


A silent residential mindfulness retreat, from Friday 9 December to Sunday 11 December,  in Ballyhoura Mountain Lodges, at the foot of the Ballyhoura Mountains, guided by Marjó Oosterhoff and I.

Mindfulness is not only practised in meditation but can also be applied in something we do every day, like choosing, preparing and eating food.

In the weeks before Christmas, anxiety and stress can build up around food and meals: what to cook that is not too complicated or expensive, not too time-consuming; how to cater for the vegetarian or vegan , or for the person who is allergic to certain foods.

We’ll prepare the food together, in a way that may be quite new for many of us, then we will all sit around the table and eat mindfully and in silence.

Marjó has been teaching meditation for over 20 years, and you can find more about her and Passaddhi here.

Paola has been cooking for mindfulness retreats for many years, and is always asked about her recipes. This weekend is a unique opportunity to learn from her directly and experientially.

There will also be sitting meditation sessions, and slow, mindful walking meditation, reflections around the food we eat, and time to go for longer walks as well as rest.

Cost: €160, including a deposit of €60.

The guidance and teachings by Paola and Marjó are offered on a donation basis.

There are only 8 places available, in twin rooms, in two lodges. The spacious kitchen and dining area of one of the lodges will be used for the preparing and cooking practices.

This weekend will be suitable for beginners and non-beginners.

Bookings with Paola: telephone 087-2453292 or 028-48089.

Email: mindfulness.westcork@me.com

It will be possible to stay on in the lodges until Monday morning 10 am, but you’ll need to organise your own evening meal and breakfast.

Breathworks course in Cork city

For the first time in Cork City , the Breathworks Mindfulness for Health 8 week course starts on the 14th of October, in Bru Columbanus, Wilton.

Contact me if you want to know more.



Jon Kabat-Zinn, who developed the Mindfulness Based Stress reduction course, says : “The Breathworks approach to Mindfulness-Based Pain Management (MBPM) is the most comprehensive, in-depth, scientifically up-to-date and user-friendly approach to learning the how of living with chronic pain and reclaiming one’s life that I know of”.


More about the Breathworks approach:





Stressed? Who, me???

Years ago – or what seems a lifetime ago, I spotted a book at Dzogchen Beara bookshop “Full catastrophe living” by Jon Kabat-Zinn.

I read a few page, and decided that I did not need it – “Me stressed? But if I am the calmest person in the world! ”  and so life went on…

Fast forward 5 or 6 years, I was searching for a new direction. By then I had acknowledged that stress was playing a big part of my life: I had started meditating more regularly and I could really notice how the stress was softening when I was practicing, and how it really spinned out of control if I wasn’t.

I attended a day of mindfulness with Marjó Oosterhoff , and there I picked up a leaflet about an MBSR course running soon, taught by Tracy Ryan.

I read the leaflet carefully,  googled ‘MBSR’ found out that it had been established by the above mentioned Kabat-Zinn, and that the book I had so quickly dismissed was all about it!

I also  found out there was a teacher training in Dublin – so I decided to attend the 8 week course with Tracy for two reasons: I wanted to establish a regular practice, and also wanted to see if that was the direction I was looking for.

And it was – during the 8 weeks I discovered how a regular practice is important, and how much I wanted to be able to share this with others.

I also discovered that I was far more stressed than I thought!

I enrolled for the training, and never looked back.

So what about the stress?

It is still there – it is part of life and – although there are ways to avoid certain stressors – it will always be.

Becoming aware of the stress, of the difficulty, shifting from reactivity and moving towards a kind acceptance, learning to respond, letting it be part of who I am but not all of me, finding joy even when I feel sad, angry or frustrated: this is an ongoing  journey that started the day I set foot in the room for the first class of the MBSR course.




Like in this image,  under the agitated surface of the Atlantic ocean on a sunny winter day  there are deep calm waters, so it can be for us: mindfulness, kindness and compassion are the way to find our own inner sanctuary.


The next 8 week  MBSR course starts on the 12 of October in Bantry. It will take place in the lovely new Center , Life balance Yoga   , Upper Main Street.


Booking is essential, contact me for a booking form and more information.


Mindfulness and Kayaking retreat


26 to 29th September 2016



Immerse yourself in meditation and nature on beautiful Heir Island. We will be practising mindfulness and heartfulness both as formal meditation practices and while kayaking around the Island.
Paola Vais will be teaching and guiding mindfulness meditation, and Kevin Mc Cormack, of Heir Island Sailing School, will teach and guide us on the water.
Accommodation will be in the B&B attached to the Sailing School, and the stunning studio of Mobius center, where we’ll practice meditation is only less than 5 minutes walk from it.
We will spend part of the time in silence, and there will be time to simply relax and enjoy the unspoilt beauty of Heir Island.

Accommodation in double or triple rooms, only very few singles available, on a first come first served basis.

Cost is all inclusive: € 390/420/460

There is the possibility of one concessionary place for someone willing to help a little during the retreat.

For bookings contact mindfulness.westcork@me.com


A few years back, when I mentioned that I was training to teach Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, a lot of people did not have the slightest idea what I was on about.



Nowadays most of us would have heard, from one source or the other, the word mindfulness.

As it is often the case, when something starts becoming more popular the misinterpretations start multiplying… so I was pleased to find an accessible non-academic   article about the meaning of the word “Mindfulness” here