What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a state of moment-to-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, body sensations and surrounding environment. It facilitates an acceptance of our thoughts, feelings, and life circumstances without judgment. By accepting these experiences "in the moment" we are able to approach each situation with greater clarity, presence, and peace. This allows us to increase our capacity for dealing with difficulties in a more skillful manner. Becoming more mindful will not eliminate the causes and conditions that cause suffering in life, but it can allow the experience of that suffering to become less debilitating. In turn, this facilitates living a life filled with less drama, regret, and unhappiness and greater peace, strength, and compassion for self and others. Moreover, science shows that mindfulness practices can reduce the activation of the body's stress response system, which can lead to better physical health as well as mental clarity over time.
Mindfulness practices are nothing new. They have been around in many Eastern and Western traditions for thousands of years. Yet over the past several decades, these practices have been distilled by the scientific community into evidence-based tools that everyone can use to improve the quality of their lives.
Importantly, these practices do not require any prior training and are perfect for both beginner and experienced practitioners. It is my honor and privilege to guide others on their journeys towards finding more peace, patience, and tranquility, even during the extreme difficulties many of us face in our lives today.
What is Mindful Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)?
MBSR is an evidence-based program designed by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zin from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Traditional MBSR is an 8-week program that includes 8 2-3 hour sessions once a week and a one day mini-retreat to strengthen and deepen what is learned in the weekly sessions. MBSR includes various types of meditation practices, designed for a secular audience. Yoga (which can be also thought of as mindful movement) is included as a component, although the yoga can be modified for any fitness level (it can even be done by following along in your mind's eye!). Students are asked to commit to a daily home practice to get the maximum benefit of participating in the program. The weekly classes include discussions with the group leader(s) and the other students. In my experience, we can build a beautiful community exploring these practices together, even though the actual work is done individually and internally.
I teach 8-week long, traditional MBSR courses with my colleague Laurie Hallihan. I am also available to modify MBSR to fit your individual or organizational needs.
What are the benefits of practicing Mindfulness & MBSR?