This course is modeled on the MBSR program founded by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in 1979. The course is a combination of meditation, body awareness and mindful movement practices: learning through practice and discussion how our body handles and can resolve the symptoms of stress, both physiologically and neurologically. Through participation in this course, participants learn to increase their ability to:
- Cope with stress, pain, illness, trauma and the challenges of everyday life
- Deal with disturbing events with calm, grace and clarity
- Be fully present and alive in each moment
There is over 30 years of research on mindfulness which indicates that mind/body training can have a significant therapeutic and curative effect for those experiencing stress, anxiety, high blood pressure, depression, chronic pain, migraines, heart conditions, diabetes and other ailments. In addition, participants report feeling more alive, more "in-tune" with themselves and others and more at ease in their daily lives.
The course consist of eight weekly sessions, each lasting approximately 2 1/2 hours. There is a free orientation session offered prior to each class start, open to anyone who wishes to learn about mindfulness. Class #1 also serves as an orientation for those who choose to continue with the eight-week course. In addition to the class experience, there is a mindful all-day retreat near the end of the course to help deepen participant's practice experience.
Mindfulness is best understood through direct experience and practice. To get the greatest benefit from the course, participants are asked to commit themselves to practicing mindfulness meditation, mindful movement and a combination of other informal practices each day for at least 30-45 minutes per day with guided audio-meditation practices. In the context of the class and daily life, participants learn to work with this commitment with kindness, gentleness and patience.
Who is MBSR for?
Mindfulness training is useful for a broad range of participants with diverse backgrounds, ages, interests and levels of health and well-being. People self-refer and/or are sometimes referred by their doctors or psychologists because of physical and emotional stressors in their lives. Many participants enroll because, although they may be feeling well physically, they say the pace of their lives is "out of control" or they're "just not feeling quite right" and want more ease and peace. Mindfulness training is shown to consistently enhance a greater sense of connection, compassion, ease, learning, concentration, creativity, personal resilience and professional effectiveness.
For people with job, relationship and family pressures, mindfulness can help with all forms and symptoms of day-to-day stressors, including headaches, gastrointestinal distress, irritability, high-blood pressure, fatigue, lethargy and sleep disturbances.
Mindfulness can reduce suffering even for those with serious mind/body conditions including depression, anxiety and panic disorders, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, respiratory disease and chronic pain.