Mindfulness – Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is an 8-week intensive course designed to transform your relationship to stress and increase your enjoyment of life. MBSR was developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn a the Univeristy of Massechusetts and has been extensively studied since the late 1970’s.
The course is called "mindfulness-based" because the core teachings are around how to be present in our lives, with ease; in other words, how to be mindful in all of our moments. Mindfulness has two main components: 1) being present, focused, attentive, aware and concentrating on THIS MOMENT; and 2) being at ease with, as well as friendly and kind to, our own experiences. This course teaches both sets of skills, in detail.
More and more scientific studies are implicating "stress" as a causative factor in medical conditions. . . everything from diabetes to cancer to MS to chronic back pain. The intermediary is inflammation, caused by over-reactive stress hormones. While diet and exercise play a role in decreasing inflammation, so does calming the nervous system directly through mindfulness practice; often within seconds our body begins to activate different genes which bring our system into balance. More than simply "stress reduction" MBSR gives you the skills to thrive in all of life's circumstances, including the very challenging ones, without over-taxing your nervous system.
MBSR teaches four types of mindfulness skills: Each of the 8-weekly sessions will build these skill sets.
1) Formal mindfulness meditation practices: sitting meditation, walking meditation, body scan, mindful movement/gentle yoga, and lovingkindness meditation. Through formal practices you learn focus, awareness, and concentration that stabilizes your mind for stressful situations you might encounter during your day.
2) Applications of mindfulness to everyday activities such as mindful listening, eating, driving, making decisions, planning, and responding to stressful situations--learn to use your mindfulness skills 24/7!
3) Mindful Inquiry Increasing your ability to answer the question "what am I experiencing right now?--what am I feeling, what is happening in my body, what am I thinking?
4) Infusing all of the above with a friendliness to your own experience. This is a skill most lacking in our culture. We are trained to seek perfection and chastise ourselves severely though self-criticism and self-judgment when we fall short. For many, this is a habit that can follow them throughout their days and years--though like any habit, it can be changed and mended. The MBSR course will teach you specifically how to do this.
Common reasons for learning these skills are:
Course Format and Content
I closely follow the recommended guidelines for content, format and number of hours as intended by Jon Kabat-Zinn and The Center for Mindfulness at UMASS.
The class consists of eight weeks of 2 ½ - 3 hour classes with one extended retreat. Classes are highly participatory and practical. The course includes:
Continuing after the 8-week course
I offer a weekly drop-in mindfulness practice class to continue practicing after the MBSR class is over. Although MBSR requires an initial investment of time, effort and money, there is also on-going support available. The weekly class is "by donation" only, meaning that you can pay as your means allow to continue once your initial investment has been made. The weekly class is for those who wish to continue in a group format, as often or as seldom as you'd like. See the information about my weekly practice class on my home page. On-going retreats and individual sessions are also options for your continued local support.
"MBSR is simply the best method I know for empowering you to develop a regular mindfulness meditation practice that is right for you (choosing from one of the 10+ mindfulness practices taught in the course) AS WELL AS learning to apply the principals of mindfulness to the challenges--both inner and outer--present in your everyday life. Imagine doing all of this in a way that actually feels friendly and safe to your inner world, where awareness is cultivated along with compassion towards yourself--exactly as you are right now. Most participants find they not only are more present and confident in their lives after my MBSR class but they also know and like themselves better, too! Inner peace, calm, contentment, wisdom and friendliness to yourself and others are very common outcomes of the course, even when life circumstances don't change one bit--though they often do change for my participants, since they see options more clearly and have the courage to make needed changes." Trish Magyari, MS
Still have questions? Please contact me! I look forward to hearing from you.