Centuries ago, it was a tranquil sanctuary where Cistercian monks would spend hours in peaceful contemplation.
And this week Kirkstall Abbey will be giving people in Leeds a chance to follow in their footsteps and enjoy some mindful moments during series of drop-in sessions to support World Mental Health Day.
The abbey’s visitor’s centre will be hosting Leeds Mindfulness Week, a programme of free workshops in partnership with the Leeds Mindfulness and Positive Emotion Enhancement Centre.
Beginning yesterday and continuing in the Colonel North Room until Friday, the sessions will include Zen and meditation with the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives, an introduction to Hatha Yoga and a look at the world of Chinese physical culture with a Chi Kung expert.
Steve Hart, a mindfulness and meditation practitioner who has organised the sessions, said: “Leeds mindfulness week is about promoting a wide variety of contemplative, mindful and meditative practises to bring calm, wellbeing and fulfilment.”
Mindfulness involves bringing your attention to experiences occurring in the present moment, and is developed through the practice of meditation and other training.
The principles of mindfulness have been adopted in places such as schools, prisons and hospitals, with aims including helping with anxiety and depression, healthy ageing, weight management and athletic performance.
Councillor Rebecca Charlwood, Leeds City Council’s executive member for health, wellbeing and adults, said:
“We’re very proud to be supporting World Mental Health Day in Leeds and for Kirkstall Abbey to be hosting such an interesting and innovative programme of workshops.
“By organising and promoting events like this, we can encourage good mental health and show those who are experiencing any problems they are not alone and that there is help, guidance and support out there.”