What is Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction?


Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is an eight-week, in-depth, experiential course in mind/body awareness. Using meditation, yoga, personal inquiry, dialog, and somatic awareness exercises, the MBSR program introduces participants to the art and science of living mindfully.

MBSR is a method of using meditation and mindful movement to cultivate awareness and reduce stress. It is based on the ancient practice of mindfulness, which is about waking up, being fully alive, and being present for the richness of each moment of our lives. Within this awakening, we gain access to our deepest inner resources for living, healing, and coping with stress.

Developed in 1979 at the University of Massachusetts Medical School by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD. the MBSR course is now offered in over 200 medical centers, hospitals, and clinics worldwide.

MBSR challenges participants to practice present moment awareness, deep relaxation, and gentle movement. Through the use of these techniques, a person learns to discover and observe his or her reactions to life’s stressors and to choose how to respond. With practice, one can apply these skills to everyday situations and connect more fully with one’s self, loved ones, and the life one is living.

MBSR can help people who are coping with medical problems, job or family-related stress, and anxiety and depression. The majority of participants report lasting decreases in both physical and psychological symptoms. Pain levels improve and people learn to better cope with pain that may not go away. Most people also report an increased ability to relax, greater enthusiasm for life, improved self-esteem, and increased ability to cope more effectively with stressful situations.

Learn how to take better care of yourself through the interplay of mind and body - and mobilizing your own inner resources for coping, growing and healing. In the MBSR program, you will learn to access and cultivate your natural capacity to actively engage in caring for yourself and find greater balance, ease, and peace of mind.

How Can MBSR Help Me?

  • be present for self and others, clients

  • strengthen mental flexibility, focus, and calm

  • build resilience in the face of personal and professional challenges

  • manage difficult emotions without feeling overwhelmed

  • cultivate patience and develop self-compassion

  • manage chronic pain and illnesses such as anxiety and depression

  • reduce everyday stress and associated high blood pressure

  • manage anger, panic, ADD/ADHD, disordered sleeping and eating

  • recognize and thereby shift habitually maladaptive behavior and thought patterns

  • develop new and creative coping skills that are wise and helpful

  • build the body's immune system

What to Expect

The MBSR program consists of 10 sessions: 1 orientation, 8 evening classes, and 1 longer All-Day class

  • Orientation: Meet your classmates, instructor, and review logistics and expectations for the course.

  • Class 1: Introduction to mindfulness, and the Awareness of Breathing and Body Scan meditation practices; gentle mindful movement is introduced

  • Class 2: Bringing awareness to present-moment experiences and gentle mindful movement or other forms of meditation.

  • Class 3: Connecting to pleasant moments, gentle mindful movement, and introduction to mindful speaking and listening.

  • Class 4: Connecting to unpleasant moments and expanding our field of awareness to all our senses in a non-judgmental way.

  • Class 5: Developing compassion in daily life; expanding our foundation of mindfulness to the intra-personal.

  • Class 6: Mindfulness and awareness in our communications; awareness of relationships.

  • Class 7: Broadening our capacity to bring mindfulness to all areas of our lives for greater resiliency, greater love, and greater connection.

  • Class 8: Acknowledging progress, the ongoing process, and how to sustain a mindfulness practice going forward.

  • The All-Day Class (occurring between Classes 6 and 7) is a seven-and-a-half-hour retreat held mostly in silence in order to experience seamless continuity of mindfulness practice. This session is an opportunity to put into practice all the skills you have learned so far in a supportive community environment, together with alumni from previous MBSR courses. Attendance on this day is strongly encouraged.