Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction
what is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a practice of paying attention to the present moment, nurturing clarity and acceptance. We all have moments in life of being “mindless,” where we are multitasking, shoulders hunched, face tense, and not sure why we are so exhausted at the end of the day. Being mindful, we become aware of what we are doing while we are doing it.
what is MBSR?
MBSR is Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. Our MBSR program is an eight-week workshop taught by an experienced teacher, that includes weekly group meetings (two and a half hour classes) and a one-day retreat, home practice (approximately 45 minutes daily), and instruction in mindfulness meditation, gentle yoga, and group discussion.
Who can benefit from MBSR?
People come to MBSR from many different places. Some are dealing with chronic illness or chronic pain, some are dealing with some incredibly difficult life circumstances, some are simply dealing with the everyday stress of a life of constant busyness that we all have. We are busy. We live in a culture that places a high value on what we accomplish, how much money we make, how successful in various arenas we are. There is nothing wrong with having goals and wanting to succeed in life, but when we put a higher value on doing than being in life, we can find ourselves unbalanced, stressed, fatigued, anxious, depressed, dealing with a variety of health issues, or with just a sense of something not being quite right. I ask MBSR participants the first day what brought them there and many say “I just knew I had to do something.”
This is the human condition, to be dealing with the stress and struggles of life.
At the end of the MBSR course, we ask what they got out of it, and people say things like “I got my life back.” “I still experience stress but I can respond better to it.” “I don’t have to be controlled by my stress.”
So what do we do in MBSR that makes such a difference for people?
We begin by exploring a variety of mindfulness practices that are designed to train ourselves to become more aware of what is happening in the present moment. This includes seated meditation, a lying down “body scan” meditation, and gentle, mindful yoga.
People mistakenly think of meditation as being a perfect zen-like state with no thoughts, and often I hear from people “I can’t meditate, my mind is all over the place.” In this assumption that in meditation there is no thinking, or that thinking is bad, we judge ourselves as not good enough to do it. The truth is, we all have busy minds. We all have minds that wander and get lost in thought, that ruminate over a past failure or fantasize and plan how we want things to turn out in the future. That is completely normal and that is not a barrier to meditation, or to MBSR.
The way our minds are is exactly what we work with in meditation and in MBSR. Over time and practice, awareness becomes more accessible, rather than our “default” mode where we are lost in the stories of our mind. And the more we practice regularly through meditation, mindful yoga, and our other mindfulness practices, the more we have access to present moment awareness when we are in a stressful situation too. Through cultivating present moment awareness – though the MBSR curriculum, the practices, and the group discussion – we begin to open to a life of more presence, awareness, and vibrancy.
In MBSR at Source Yoga, you will be expertly guided by Erin Joosse, who has been teaching yoga and mindfulness practices for more than two decades. Erin is a Certified teacher of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) through the University of California at San Diego, Mindfulness Based Professional Training Institute. She teaches Mindful Yoga, Meditation, and MBSR, and is owner and studio director of Source Yoga.