Updated: Jan 8
When one of my Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) class participants said, “I originally took the class to learn about meditation, however, I left with a new view on life”, I was reminded again of the reason as to why I initially signed up for it, over 16 years ago. My anxiety and perspective on life was small, narrow, and controlled by negative thinking, self-doubt, and fear of failure. However, my experience as a participant of MBSR cracked open the door to possibility.. possibility of living life differently with more ease… offering the opportunity to pause and not be overrun with worry, planning, or regret.
Mindfulness is about purposely choosing to be present in each moment with a friendly kindness towards all feelings, thoughts, or body sensations as they arise in the moment. The research shows that as we learn mindfulness skills to stay present with our moment -to-moment awareness, the ability to take charge of our health by feeling more in control of our life is enhanced. I really had a hard time swallowing the paradox of needing to let go of me believing that I could change outcomes by controlling every little thing that appeared. But Forrest Gump became my mentor as he shared his mother ‘s wisdom- ‘Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.'” What an illusion to think I could control the unexpected! The mindfulness skills I learned in my first MBSR class allowed me to use mindfulness meditation tools to relax and peer out from the overwhelm of my life with skills, curiosity, and trust. That was the beginning of my life-changing through my dedication to learning more, practicing more, and offering the same opportunity to others. 10 years later I was on the way to becoming a trained MBSR teacher.
What is the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program? MBSR is a researched-based program, originating out of UMASS Medical School. Additionally, MBSR is the most evidenced-based program to support brain change and build a meditation practice to support on-going resilience. For over 35 years, it has offered opportunities for enhanced emotional well-being to participants from all walks of life and all around the world. During the eight-week program, the instruction and practice increase your ability to cope more effectively with stressful situations and connect more fully with yourself, life and others. Participants have reported an increased ability to relax, greater enthusiasm for life, and improved ability to connect with themselves with kindness. During the eight weeks and half-day retreat mindfulness meditation skills are practiced along with gentle movement techniques; tools are identified for managing stress when it is occurring, and the role our thoughts play with increasing or decreasing stress is explored.
Please join me as I facilitate Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction beginning in January at Studio D yoga in Midlothian.