Open Learning Course

Contemporary Mindfulness

Mindfulness in the contemporary context: from the monastery to the mainstream.

Start date: February 2023. Length of study: 10 weeks. Tuition: £450


The migration of mindfulness from monastic to mainstream settings has exposed both pitfalls and opportunities. Informed by neuroscience, cognitive psychology and martial arts perspectives, this course encourages students to drill down to the core of mindfulness to support the wise implementation of this ancient practice in our complex modern environments.


This course is an exploration of mindfulness with a focus on its application in the contemporary context. An overview of the “mindfulness movement” and its growth is provided as a starting point to thinking about how mindfulness has spread from the (often) highly structured and guided spiritual domains into self-directed approaches in everyday life and work. We explore some of the tensions held in the mainstream application of spiritual practices in healthcare, workplace and other secular settings. The module draws on a neurocognitive model of mindfulness to provide a scientific framework to help reflect on the variety of activities that come under the umbrella of “mindfulness”. We will additionally focus on the core aspect of embodiment in mindfulness – what it means to embody the practice of mindfulness and the role of the body in mind and brain as part of this endeavour.

Accordion Content
  1. Defining meditation and mindfulness and a consideration of the challenges and promise of empirical approaches to mindfulness. Reflecting on what mindfulness means for you in your context and life.
  2. The psychology and neuroscience of mindfulness. A neurocognitive framework to guide thinking on what precisely is happening in the mind and brain when “mindfulness” is being trained.
  3. An exploration of attention as a core process in mindfulness, and the importance of the body in training attention and the development of emotion regulation through the practices.
  4. Consideration of the language and meaning of embodiment in mindfulness-based approaches in the contemporary context.

There are no formal entry requirements to join this course. Come and study purely for personal interest and enrichment … and get the same level access as our postgraduate students who will be studying alongside you!

Before each course begins you will be provided with a Course Outline which will list the reading materials, time-lines, and any activities required as part of the course.

This course features 2 discussion forums, experiential activities and several live webinars.

Course tutor

Dr Tamara Russell

Tamara Russell, PhD

Clinical psychologist, neuroscientist, martial artist and mindfulness trainer.

Student stories

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