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Retreat Day

Friday 18 October 2024



This Mindfulness retreat meets BAMBA’s Good Practice Guidelines and will be facilitated by registered Mindfulness Teachers. This special, spacious day is suitable for people who have an established regular mindfulness practice and will take place in the Green Room of The Bridgewater Hall (09:30 - 16:30). A light vegetarian lunch is included in the price of the ticket. Places are now very limited. Retreat can be booked separately or as a combined ticket with the main festival event on Saturday.  

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Main Festival Day
Saturday 19 October 2024 

Click Speaker picture or scroll down for full talk descriptions

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What Failing at Mindfulness Taught Me About Mindfulness for ADHD

ADHD might be perceived by some to be the exact opposite of what we aspire to when being mindful. In fact, ADHD might even be considered a state of extreme mindlessness.


Through the study of this mindlessness however, come deep insights in what it really means to be mindful in the fullest sense. Drawing on research from neuroscience, movement sciences and martial arts, as well as her own story of "failing at mindfulness" Dr. Tamara Russell will show that if we can fail mindfully, we can (surprisingly) develop a very unique type of mindfulness that unlocks the potential of neurodiverse brains.


Dr. Tamara Russell is a neuroscientist, author, clinical psychologist, martial arts expert and leading innovator in mindfulness. She has helped people all around the world transform their lives using her ground-breaking applied translational neuroscience approach to living well.

With two PhDs in psychology and a black belt in Shaolin Kung Fu, Tamara's work integrates mind, brain and body in a totally unique approach to thriving in chaos. The Dragon Academy is the vehicle through which she supports her clients to study the movements of body, mind and heart in ways designed with the neurodivergent brain in mind. Underpinning her approach is a heart felt intention to increase accessibility to mindfulness, particularly for those who struggle to engage with "traditional" seated approaches.

Tamara is the Director of The Mindfulness Centre of Excellence, which was founded in 2011 after an inspiring moment sharing the stage with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The remit of this centre is to innovate in the delivery of mindfulness for wider accessibility and the benefit of all types of mind. Excellence is defined as "fast failing with kindness" to get to novel solutions as quickly as possible.

Tamara is the author of three books: Mindfulness in Motion, #whatismindfulness, and What Colour is Your Dragon?

Mindfulness and Healing Generational Trauma

Mindfulness can play a crucial role in addressing and healing generational trauma. By practicing mindfulness, we can develop greater awareness. Allowing us to break free from harmful patterns passed down through generations.


This can lead to improved mental health, better coping strategies, and more secure relationships. Mindfulness also helps us cultivate compassion and empathy, which is essential in helping us understand and support the healing process of generational trauma that has been passed down through communities.  


Slavery, Genocide, Colonisation, and the trauma of witnessing mass violence, the loss of loved ones, and displacement, can have a long-lasting effect on our mental well-being.


Mindfulness can help break the cycle of generational trauma by attending to the somatic manifestation of trauma on the body, as a result of historical atrocities. This practice of mindfulness can help us create a more positive and resilient future for ourselves and future generations.


Hycinth is an experienced integrative psychotherapist, mindfulness teacher, and registered mindfulness supervisor. With over 2 decades of experience in psychological disciplines, Hycinth has a special interest in generational and childhood trauma. Hycinth has a warm, authentic, and practical approach to her work which is grounded in a philosophy of calmness and ease. Hycinth emphasises an embodiment approach, using the body as a guide to inform her work. She shows deep understanding and empathy in her work.


She provides dedicated clinical supervision and is a registered mindfulness teacher and supervisor with BAMBA. 


Hycinth completed training in mindfulness in non-clinical settings at the Oxford Mindfulness Centre and Mindfulness-based inclusion training (MBIT) from an African Caribbean perspective. She mentors trainee mindfulness teachers and runs regular mindfulness workshops and retreats. You can find more information

Don’t Forget Your Senses: The Importance of Awareness of the External World


Mindfulness practices often seem to turn our attention inward. We bring awareness to breathing, other body sensations, thoughts, emotions, and impulses. Sometimes we remember to notice the sights and sounds around us, but this seems to be less emphasised. This talk will explore new research about the importance of external sensory awareness and how it helps us to overcome unhelpful patterns and habits and find new ways of responding.

Prof Ruth Baer is a clinical psychologist and a mindfulness researcher, teacher, trainer, supervisor, and practitioner. Before moving to Oxford in 2019, she was a Professor of Psychology at the University of Kentucky, where she conducted research on mindfulness and taught and supervised several mindfulness-based programmes in a doctoral programme in clinical psychology. Her scholarly interests include conceptualization and assessment of mindfulness, effects of mindfulness-based programmes, mechanisms of change, and harm and adverse events in mindfulness practice. She is also very much interested in professional training and ethics in the mindfulness field.


She is the Director of the Master of Studies in MBCT, a University of Oxford degree programme managed jointly by the Departments of Psychiatry and Continuing Education. She also contributes to the Oxford Mindfulness Foundation’s 12-month teacher training pathway by training cohorts and providing workshops. She teaches mindfulness courses, supervises mindfulness teachers, and collaborates on research papers with colleagues at the University.

Gentle Embodiment: Trauma-Informed Mindful Movement
Join Kalyana Bliss for gentle and trauma-informed mindful movement exploring the sensations arising in the body, followed by time for questions and reflections. 
This session will provide an opportunity to cultivate embodiment—the felt sense of inhabiting the body. 
In our typical daily lives, movement is often a means to accomplish a seemingly never-ending list of tasks. We might pay little attention to our moment-to-moment bodily experience unless we notice pain or a biological need. Intentionally bringing friendly awareness to the movements of the body can help infuse our whole, dynamic lives with the mindfulness we cultivate in the relative stillness of the mat.
As we move through a series of gentle and optional movements in this session, you might notice: 
-an array of sensations, thoughts, and emotions
-your body’s current abilities and limits and how you relate to them
-familiar and surprising ways you hold tension and create comfort
-changes in the body’s felt sense of “before” and “after” practice
This session will be led with focus on trauma-sensitivity, placing each participant in control of the depth of practice, with full awareness that each of us is the expert in our own bodies. This practice can be done sitting and/or standing with the option to lie down at the end. Mats will be provided and there is no special attire or equipment needed. You are warmly invited to come as you are.
Kalyana Bliss is an MSc student in the Mindfulness Based Approaches Programme at Bangor University, an MBSR teacher, a Kripalu yoga teacher, and has trained in trauma-informed mindful movement and Somatic Experiencing. She has trained in Trauma Sensitive Mindfulness with her mentor Dr David Treleaven, author of Trauma Sensitive Mindfulness. Kalyana’s sitting and movement practices have helped her understand and co-exist peacefully with a history of trauma, chronic pain, and anxiety.

Mindfulness at the "Deep End": Supporting People from Disadvantaged Communities

The ‘Deep End’ refers to communities in the most deprived geographical areas. People from
deprived or disadvantaged communities have the greatest health needs, yet can experience
challenges accessing the care and support they need. We know that mindfulness can help to
improve a range of physical and mental health conditions. Yet does it help all people equally? The
research on mindfulness for people from disadvantaged communities shows higher course drop-out
rates, at 40 to 80%. This talk will explore findings from a recent review of this research, and the
factors that can support access, engagement, and better outcomes.

Dr Kelly Birtwell is a research psychologist, counsellor, and mindfulness teacher. Based in the Centre
for Primary Care and Health Services Research at the University of Manchester, her work explores
mindfulness for underserved groups. Her interests include person-centred approaches to
mindfulness, mindfulness-related harm and adverse events, and experiences of neurodivergent
individuals. She has received funding from the NIHR School for Primary Care Research
(, and the Mind & Life Institute to explore autistic adults' experiences of mindfulness:

Previous speakers included:

Prof Rebecca Crane, Prof Mark Williams, Prof Willem Kuyken, Dr Ken Lunn,
Dr Phil Startin, Liz Lord, Kalyana Bliss, Imani Sorhaindo, Louise Haynes,
Sue Tibbles, Lucy Woods, Chris Ruane, and many more Mindfulness experts!

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Event Team
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