Very simply, mindfulness can be described as moment-to-moment, nonjudgmental awareness.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, or MBSR, was developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. in 1979 based on clinical research and his own experiences as a molecular biologist, a practicing yogi, and a student of Zen Buddhist teachers.
In an MBSR class, facilitators and participants share mindfulness practices that can help us uncover paths to internal calm and peace, even when facing stressful situations.
With consistent long-term practice, MBSR has been shown to work as well as anti-anxiety medication.
Have you ever found yourself losing your cool or saying something you regret when someone upsets you?
As someone who has yelled at complete strangers when activated—imagine a 5'2" Hulk—I now think there's another way.
When we practice moment-to-moment awareness, studies have shown we can begin to respond to stressors in ways other than defaulting to “fight, flight, freeze” reactions (our “lizard” brain trying to protect us).
Mindfulness teaches us to learn to use the wisdom of our body and mind to face stress, pain, and illness.
MBSR can reduce not only stress, but harm to oneself and others.
"Practicing becoming more mindful helps me be more aware of being attuned to my body and how my body reacts to stress and anxiety. I can sense when I need to take some time to be still or breathe with intention."
"I have strongly relied on my rational/logical self, believing all my thoughts and ignoring or not paying attention to my feelings or physical sensations. I am learning to be aware of my thoughts, without taking them as total truth or relying on them. I am learning to pause, be aware, be curious, question my initial thoughts, feelings, physical sensations before choosing if and how to respond."
"I am noticing that I am more aware of my body and more in tune throughout my daily activities I can sense and in tune when my body wants attentiveness. Wriggling or tapping my toes sometimes makes me laugh or smile. I can also hear my body speak to me...there is a language of gentleness that I am tuning into."
"Practicing becoming more mindful helps me be more aware of being in tune with my body and how my body reacts to stress and anxiety I can sense when I need to take some time to be still or breathe with intention."
"The skills taught in this class arm a person with ways to deal with stress, anxiety, and letting go, and the benefit of becoming a better listener."
"It makes me smile when I notice that I'm being mindful in situations where I haven't been (or rarely have been)."
All times Pacific
"The study participants who took the drugs and those who participated in the meditation program were evaluated at the end of eight weeks using the same clinical scale, and both groups showed about a 20% reduction in the severity of their symptoms."
Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey
If you have ever experienced stress or anxiety, MBSR offers practices that can help regulate your reactions to stressors. Past students and co-teachers offer some helpful insight on this page: momenttomoment.co/about
At this time, I may offer both formats in 2023. Online classes would take place over Zoom, while in-person classes would take place in San Diego, California. Sign up below for updates on new offerings.
Each session of an MBSR course is different and can include guided meditations, guided reflections, facilitated group inquiry, small group sharing, reviews of home practice, content about stress and stress response, Q&A, and more. Participants are encouraged—but certainly not required—to share their experience of their practice, remembering there is no right or wrong way to practice. Your practice is yours.
While you may already have expectations of what meditation or mindfulness is, my invitation is for you to come to class with curiosity, setting any expectations aside.
A traditional MBSR course includes an orientation prior to the start of the course, and then spans 8 weeks, with 2.5 hours of class time each week, as well as a day of facilitated mindfulness lasting 7 to 8 hours.
The most important time commitment, however, is your home practice outside of class. This includes approximately 30–45 minutes of daily formal practice (body scan, seated meditations, mindful movement, etc.) as well as practicing informally, such as while eating, walking, etc.
After class 8, class 9 is basically the rest of your life!
It is recommended that participants miss no more than 2 sessions. If you know you must miss 2 or more sessions, I suggest you choose to take the course another time.
While MBSR can complement therapy and other supports, it is not recommended that participants forego therapy or prescription medication while participating in an MBSR course. If you have underlying or root trauma or causes for anxiety that have not yet been addressed, it is recommended you address them with health care and healing professionals before embarking on an MBSR course.
Indeed, MBSR and mindfulness practice can teach us to notice when we are worrying and when we experience negative emotions. At some point during an MBSR course, participants may even be encouraged to sit with difficult or negative emotions that are arising. While practicing MBSR, we can befriend whatever arises for us with curiosity and without judgment.
However, sometimes these emotions can be very intense and triggering. Facilitators may ask that participants notice when these emotions become too much and to back off gently, again without judgment. During a meditation practice, only you can determine whether an emotion is too intense to stay with.
If you have underlying or root trauma or causes for anxiety that have not yet been addressed, it is recommended you address them with health care and healing professionals before embarking on an MBSR course.