8-Week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Orientation
I am unable to teach the MBSR class currently. Please see MBSR and other meditation class offerings at https://www.ccmindful.org/offerings.html
Class Schedule: 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction
The first step for registering for the 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course is to attend the Orientation Session. This is a time to learn more about mindfulness, how it can be helpful in our lives, and how we work with mindfulness in this course. It is a chance to ask questions and register if you choose.
Jon Kabat-Zinn created Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction in 1979 and describes mindfulness as “the awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.” Mindfulness is something anyone can do virtually any time, although effectively practicing it involves guidance and understanding.
Mindfulness is not as hard to practice as you might think. In fact, mindfulness is a state of being that all humans possess. There is nothing to acquire, as mindfulness is being aware of the present moment without being carried away by all of your thoughts.
With mindfulness there are two fundamental attitudes: Being non-judgmental and being kind. Think of these two attitudes as being as essential for the practice of mindfulness as two wings are just as essential for a plane to fly.
- Being non-judgmental is about be factual rather than focusing on your perception of things or evaluating them as being good or bad. Because we are human we judge things all the time as being good or bad, liking or disliking them. It is normal for us to judge, however if we don’t redirect our attention then we can easily be carried away by a cascade of negative thoughts and get stuck. Awareness is the human capacity to know what is happening in the moment. Judgments are thoughts that arise within your awareness. Being non-judgmental is noticing or acknowledging our experiences and judgments and then considering other possibilities and perspectives. Being non-judgmental does not mean that we are being detached or void of emotions. It is about knowing what is on your mind without judging the content of your thoughts. Taking a non-judgmental stance allows one to observe perspectives, hold opinions lightly, and allows for a broad scope of possibilities.
- Practicing mindfulness without kindness is incomplete and brings about a sense of being cold, bored and detached. See if it’s possible to witness feelings of stress with a warm and friendly attention. Taking this kind of view doesn’t mean that you have to like what is happening. Simply having the intention to be kind is enough to get you started. Attempt to treat yourself in the same manner that you would a dear friend. Note that this skill can be especially difficult for people who are perfectionist or have trouble seeing their value. Even if you have trouble with self-criticism, perfectionism or have low self-esteem, a sense of self compassion can grow and develop with regular practice.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is a formal mindfulness practice and is the process of being in the present moment non-judgmentally as you pay attention to an object of awareness. The most common objects to pay attention to during meditation are the breath and the body.
Through meditation, we are able to observe sensations, thoughts, and feelings as in impartial witness which helps us respond in a more centered and conscious manner in our daily lives. People often assume they are not good at meditation because their minds wander or they have too many thoughts. In fact, It’s normal for our minds to create new thoughts and to search for solutions to our problems.
Thinking in and of itself is not a problem. How we relate to our thoughts is what causes problems. Do you believe every thought you have? Are many of your thoughts a story about what is wrong with you or others? Stop and notice how judging yourself and others as “bad” makes you feel in that moment. If we are honest, being judgmental does not feel good, even if we think we are right. Meditation helps us see our experiences more clearly, resulting in better mood regulation and problem solving skills. People who practice meditation often recognize while their thoughts are real, they are not always true.
In this course we will start with the body scan meditation as we are often paying more attention to what is going on in the mind as we ignore the body.
This course is not group therapy, however people may share sensitive information in the class as it relates to their stress and how they are coping. Everyone is asked to respect confidentiality and not share anyone’s information outside of the class, including the teacher.
No Advice Giving
When people share their struggles many of us want to help them by giving advice. Giving advice sends the message they cannot figure out how to solve the issue on their own. I will redirect conversations away from advice giving if they should occur. Give yourself permission to take the class just for you.
Set Aside Time for Practice
Plan ahead and speak to your loved ones about what time you are planning to practice meditation.
Groups of 2-3
From time to time in the class you will be invited to pair up with one or two other class participants for discussion and mindfulness activities. While participation is encouraged it is not required. You can always engage in another optional mindfulness practice during this time.
Each week you will have access to MP3 guided meditations which you will practice throughout the week. Ipod, computer, smartphone. If you have questions you are welcome to send me an email, text or call me and I will do my best to get back to you in a timely manner.
Wear comfortable clothing and avoid strong perfumes as some folks may be allergic
Please bring food, water or medicine if needed. If it is possible eat your meal before class. If you are coming directly from work, feel free to dress how you are, however it would be strongly recommended that you wear comfortable clothes for week 3.
Arrive On Time & Attend All Sessions
This will assure that you and others get the most out of the course and will also help support others in their practice. All-Day retreat is June 1st from 10a-4p.
Feelings of sadness, anger, fear could seem stronger at the beginning because you may be paying attention in a conscious way for the first time.
History of trauma, abuse, addiction may heighten your emotional reactions. Please let me know if this is the case so we can discuss to see if it is appropriate for you to take the class.
If you have any untreated major psychiatric illness or are dealing with suicidal ideations, please have a conversation with the instructor to make sure this class is right for you at this time.
Your relationships may change. Sometimes we discover through mindfulness that we are making choices in our daily lives that we wish to change and this can involve setting boundaries with friends and loved ones that may pose emotional challenges.
Self-care is at the core of mindfulness so if you hear guidance that you know if not healthy for your body or condition, or if you are feeling pain, please disregard the teacher. Either modify the pose or rest and imagine engaging in the pose in your mind. Explore your limits; go to your edge, but not beyond.
Yoga is used to teach mindfulness of the body, being aware of the body from moment to moment. Form is less important in this class than in other forms of yoga where proper form is emphasized. I will be available to help you make modifications and will go through them with most any pose.
Please do not be discouraged by the any of the home practice suggestions. While the heart of the practice is 30-45 minutes of formal practice a day and 15-30 minutes of informal practice, you can modify as necessary. I have recorded 3min, 5min, 15min and 30 min body scan meditations.
If you have any questions about this course, please do not hesitate to reach out to Jude directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 843-364-5921.
Road Map to Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
Week 1: A road map of the course will be provided to provide context for the MBSR experience. You will learn about mind-body medicine and participate in mindful eating, mindful breathing and the body scan meditation.
Week 2: With stress and mindfulness, our perception is the key to how we respond. Our perception determines how we see thing or don’t see them. In this class you will explore your assumptions and how your perceive the world. You learn how to use the body-scan practice to deepen your awareness of how you react to stressful situations. Changing the way you respond and perceive challenges will alter the short- and long-term effects of stress on your body and mind.
Week 3: In this class you will practice mindful hatha yoga, sitting meditation, and walking meditation. You will explore insights and challenges with formal meditation practice and applying mindfulness to daily life. You will find that there is power and pleasure in being present and notice how your experiences create reactions of pleasure or discomfort in the mind and body.
Week 4: In this class your practice will focus on expanding your field of awareness and the development of deeper concentration. You will learn how the body and mind react to stress and explore mindful strategies for responding to stress in a proactive manner.
Week 5: By this time you have reached the halfway point in the course and should be familiar with the foundations of mindfulness and how to apply these skills more efficiently and effectively to the stressors in your life. You will begin to notice where you may be stuck in unhealthy patterns and begin to decondition these habits through mindful awareness. You will also learn how to apply mindfulness when you are experiencing physical sensations and intense emotions and see the relationship between with stress reactivity in health and illness.
Week 6: Being resilient is about ability to return to balance after stressful events. This class will focus on coping strategies which expand your inner resources and enhance your resilience through the practice of mindfulness. You will began to expand your practice from a focus on intrapersonal skills to applying mindfulness to relationships. Here you will look at how to work with difficult communications when emotions are strong.
All-Day Retreat: The retreat is a 6 hour long intensive session that assists you in establishing the use of mindfulness skills in formal and informal mindfulness practices. We will practice all of the meditations learned so far which will prepare you to use these methods well beyond the conclusion of the course.
Week 7: The most effective way to practice mindfulness is over the course of a lifetime, however even if you only practice during the course you will find benefits to learning about these practices. This class will focus on ways to integrate mindfulness into your daily living. While regular mindfulness meditation practice is important and helpful, it is just as valuable to bring a sense of mindful awareness to every aspect of your life. This kind of non-judgmental attention will help with self-reflection and decision making.
Week 8: In the final class, you will review everything you have learned in the course and explore how to carrying the momentum you have built into the future. You will learn about resources in the local and online community to sustain and support your practice. This class will create a fulfilling closure to the course by honoring the end of the program and the beginning of your life after the course.
By registering for the course you are committing yourself to attend each of the nine (9) weekly sessions, the all-day retreat and to practice at home for 30-45 minutes daily for the duration of the course.
I want to make the MBSR classes available to anyone who thinks that could benefit from practicing mindfulness regardless of income. If you the MBSR class will be helpful to you and you are committed to doing the work, then I want you to be able to take the course. The fees are as follows: High-Income $450 Medium-Income $350 Low-Income $250, If you will need to make a payment plan or would like to inquire about a sliding scale below $250 please send me a private message prior to the orientation at email@example.com. No one will be turned away due to financial reasons.