What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness practice is simple: paying attention to your experience from moment to moment, without judgment. We often operate on auto-pilot, unaware of our physical bodies; unaware of our surroundings; mostly lost in our thoughts; and either dwelling in the past or worrying about the future. Cultivating the ability to remain attentive to what is going on, moment by moment, with an attitude of non-judging, is the aim of all mindfulness practices. While this is very simple, it does require some training.
My teaching stems from my own practice, as I have been a yoga and meditation practitioner for a number of years. I regularly attend meditation retreats and completed a 200 Hours Yoga Teacher Training program to further my knowledge–and deepen my practice–of yoga.
If your agency/organization is interested in offering some mindfulness programs, I also provide on site training. Please contact me for details.
The 8 Week MBSR Program
Tools for Living – Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction
The 8 week program was developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the Center For Mindfulness (CFM) in Massachusetts (US) in 1979. Since then the program has been taught in hospitals, health care centres, yoga studios, private clinics and other places, all over the world. It consists of 8 weeks of classes (2 hours and a half each ) and an all day retreat (8 hours).
In this program, you will learn and practice a number of formal mindfulness meditation practices, such as the body scan, sitting and walking meditation, and mindful yoga/mindful movement. You will also be introduced to informal practices, aimed at cultivating/integrating mindfulness in your day to day life. You will learn how to take better care of yourself, and manage life challenges and stresses: learning to respond instead of reacting. You will also explore interpersonal mindfulness: learning how mindfulness can improve relationships and communication.
This program requires commitment. As a participant, you will be expected to attend all sessions, including the all day retreat. Furthermore, the course entails some homework — about 45 minutes daily. This “homework” allows you the opportunity to integrate what you will be learning into your daily life. With this in mind, please consider if you are prepared and ready to invest your time and energy in the program prior to registering.
Next 8 weeks MBSR program: Dates to be announced
Why participate in a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program?
Numerous research studies have found that mindfulness practice can greatly improve one’s physical, emotional and psychological health/well-being. People participate in MBSR programs for all kinds of reasons: to address medical conditions, such as migraines, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, high blood pressure, stomach/GI distress, sleep disturbances, illnesses such as cancer, heart disease; to address psychological/emotional issues, such as anxiety, depression, anger, excessive worry, being prone to negative thinking, difficulty coping with stress, seeking to gain more balance and resilience, a quieter mind; or simply to be more fully present in one’s life.
Everybody can learn to meditate
Jon Kabat-Zinn, in his book called Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life states that pretty much everybody can meditate: if you are able to breathe, you are able to meditate. He also clarifies what meditation is about. As he writes:
Meditation is not about feeling a certain way. It’s about feeling the way you feel. It’s not about making the mind go empty or still, although stillness does deepen in meditation and can be cultivated systematically. Above all, meditation is about letting the mind be as it is and knowing something about how it is in this moment. It’s not about getting somewhere else, but about allowing yourself to be where you already are. (p. 33-34)
So pretty much everybody can meditate. However, it does require commitment, commitment to stick with it. Participating in an 8 week program can provide such an opportunity.
- Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness
- Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life
- Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness
Thich Nhat Hanh and Pema Chodron are two other great teachers in the field of mindfulness and I would highly recommend some of their books as well such as:
- The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh
- Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life by Thich Nhat Hanh
- Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living by Pema Chodron
- When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chodron
Video Introductions to Mindfulness