FAQ – What are Frequently Asked Questions?
What is the MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) Program?
It is an 8-week course, held in a group setting, with teacher-guided instruction of formal and informal mindfulness practices in order to cultivate awareness of the ways that the mind and body connect for health and well-being. Participants learn through experiential exercises (body scan, sitting, breathing, gentle yoga, walking, eating, communication) and discussion about how to bring mindful awareness to daily life. This new understanding through the practices often leads to reduced stress, improved relationships, and beneficial health results from attention to self-care. This program was founded in 1979 by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in the US.
- Information Session (1.5 hours, free of charge) provides a brief introduction to mindfulness practices, research, course particulars, and Q&A about joining a course. Note: It is required of all enrolled participants to either attend the Info Session or have an interview with the teacher.
- 8 x Weekly Face to Face Sessions (2.5 hours each) that include workbook, handouts and audio recordings.
- 1 Day Retreat (7 – 7.5 hours) is a program included as part of the course curriculum.
- Home Practice for 45+ minutes daily throughout the course.
Week 1 – Cultivating mindful awareness, group guidelines and personal commitment to engage in practice – both in class and at home. Learning about direct experience.
Week 2 – Perception – How we see or don’t see things, including stresses and challenges.
Week 3 – Power of being present through moment to moment awareness.
Week 4 – Meeting, investigating and working with unpleasant, uncomfortable or even painful parts of life. Stress reactivity.
Week 5 – Habits & patterns of mind and what bringing mindful attention to them reveals. Stress reactivity vs. stress response.
Week 6 – Communication: exploring interpersonal relationships and their patterns & reactivity
Week 7 – How are mindfulness practices integrated into daily life?
Week 8 – Reflecting on & understanding how the 8-week mindful journey has impacted life and what the choices are moving forward.
Silent Retreat – an extended experience in silence in the activity of being without the usual distractions and demands of daily life. Program includes a rotation of teacher-guided practices: sitting, movement, yoga, stories, eating.
Frequently Asked Questions about MBSR
What sort of people attend the 8-week MBSR course?
Ages 18 to 80+ take the course… many different nationalities: university students, householders, parents, working professionals & retired people… anyone wanting to learn about mindfulness and how to improve the quality of their life, people wanting to learn new ways to work with the difficulties and/or challenges in their lives. Many people have the course recommended to them by a health care professionals or friends who have benefited from the course themselves.
Can children and teens sign up for the MBSR course?
MBSR was designed for adults. Different student mindfulness curriculums suitable for primary ages and adolescents can often be found in local and international schools taught by trained staff. Please ask your local educators.
Do I need to have any meditation or yoga experience prior to the course?
No… it is not necessary. Everyone will have the opportunity to explore and experience mindfulness practices with a skilled teacher to guide and help answer questions about practice. For those that have any prior experience with meditation or yoga, the course can be a good refresher to rebuild a strong daily practice. For those that have physical/pain challenges and feel that yoga may be difficult to manage, there are modifications available in the guidance to address individual issues.
What if I can’t do mindful movement / yoga because of a physical condition?
The yoga is very gentle, and the main focus is working within our limits whatever they are. The teacher will guide how to work within any physical restrictions. There will always be encouragement to take care of yourself in the best way possible. Modifications in all movement postures are available.
What if I can’t sit still for very long in meditation?
Many participants worry about this initially. Mindfulness is not necessarily about sitting still or moving slowly, but more about bringing attention to the present moment whether in stillness or restlessness. The class is a good place to explore the nature of our minds and bodies when developing practice skills and notice how conditions may change over time.
I already meditate - Do I need to stop when I take this class?
For the duration of the course, it is recommended to follow the curriculum, which involves some very specific meditation practices. Many experienced meditators take this course because while they have learned to meditate, they may wish to discover new understanding and ways to incorporate meditation and/or mindfulness into their everyday lives.
How many people are in the class?
Group sizes vary from 4 – 20+ people.
What happens in each class?
MBSR sessions are both experiential and didactic. Each class will have formal practices including meditation and mindful movement as well as inquiry around the actual experience of doing these practices. The inquiry helps to clarify the students’ own experience; and since most people in a class discuss their experience, you learn from everyone else as well. The didactic portions of the class are about specific meditation techniques, stress reactivity and response, communication, nutrition and more.
What if I can’t make all eight classes?
The MBSR curriculum is sequential and each class builds on the prior class and the individual work you do in between. It’s important to try and attend all 8 classes plus the All-Day. Sometimes things come up (travel, illness, work, etc.) and if there are parallel courses being taught, an arrangement can sometimes be made to make-up classes in another group. If more than 3 classes are missed, it is recommended to re-take the course at another time.
What is the All-Day Retreat?
The Retreat Day (7-7.5 hours) is usually held in the second half of the curriculum length. This is a valuable opportunity to consolidate the practices learned over the previous weeks in a full day of mindfulness practices guided by the teacher.
What if I can’t attend the Information Session?
The Information Session is an important opportunity to meet the teacher in person, learn about the course details and also to sample some of the meditation practices. If a participant cannot attend an Orientation session, then a telephone interview is arranged with the teacher to discuss course details, explore application points and answer any questions in order for the participant to understand the commitment involved in undertaking this kind of coursework.
Do I have to do the home practices, or can I just attend the weekly classes?
Learning about mindfulness is highly experiential and the most important component of the course. All participants are encouraged to use the 8-weeks as a “testing ground” for cultivating mindfulness practice, to discover the impact, insight and benefits for themselves. Engagement with the guided recordings and informal practices in the home practices throughout the weeks are essential and serve as the foundation for learning.
Are there conditions or life situations when taking an MBSR course is not recommended?
If a participant has experienced a recent (in past 6 months) bereavement, major relocation, divorce or serious health diagnosis, then it is important to discuss with the teacher. Sensitive and vulnerable emotions may feel magnified during the coursework and it’s best to discuss beforehand. If there has been recent sobriety from addiction, a depressive episode, and/or a traumatic experience, it may be encouraged to delay entering an MBSR program or seek other treatments. The hope is that participants can complete the MBSR course at a point in their life where they are supported and able to gain full benefit from the mindfulness practices. Please consult with the teacher about any issues.
Is mindfulness compatible with my religious faith?
MBSR was developed in a way with practices and techniques that are neutral and secular. The concepts and meditations are accessible to all people regardless of their religious traditions or spiritual beliefs. Mindfulness practice is about awakening to our lives and seeing ourselves more clearly in the relationships of mind and body for well-being. Often, participants report that cultivating mindfulness practices are a complement to their religious traditions, rather than incompatible.
Do you offer a Certificate of Completion for this course?
Yes, you may request a Certificate of Completion for this course if 7 out of 8 weekly classes are attended plus the All-Day event. The Certificate of Completion does not however mean that you are qualified to teach mindfulness to others. This course is intended for personal enquiry in learning concepts and cultivating mindfulness practices. The MBSR course Certificate may be required as a pre-requisite if you go on to more professional teacher-training and development in mindfulness.
What if I would like to become a Certified MBSR teacher?
Please ask the teacher for the latest mindfulness training institute recommendations, both in person and online, local and international, that may suit your needs.
Please reach out to me and I will be happy to talk through any questions that you may have about mindfulness or my emerging art portolio.
Or contact me on:
+31 6 1951 5505