MBSR is a highly participatory, practical, skills-based course that teaches you how to find more flexible and attuned responses to stressful situations balancing our problem-solving attitude with a more joyful and nourishing way of living.
The training runs over 8 weeks and involves guided meditation practices that can be done seated, standing, walking or lying down as well as mindfulness movement (yoga) and body awareness training. It aims to explore patterns of behaviour and underlying thoughts and feelings through reflections, talks and discussions. It includes individual feedback and support, daily home practice, recorded meditations and exercises and a comprehensive course manual.
The presented material comprises of an introduction to the brain and stress physiology, body awareness, cognitive behaviour strategies and interpersonal communication. Together with the practice this provides an opportunity to examine and reﬂect on patterns of the mind, feelings and behaviour, and to learn how to gently interrupt unhelpful and negative patterns. Over time the cultivation of deep states of relaxation fosters wellbeing whilst an increased ability to focus the mind on the experience of the present moment allows for more balanced and attuned responses to stressful life situations.
People enrol in an MBSR course for a number of reasons ranging from stress, related to work, family or finances, to dealing with major life changes, to coping with issues such as anxiety and depression. Many can’t put their finger on one reason but have a sense that something is “just not quite right”.
It is important to understand that MBSR may not be suitable for everybody such as for people dealing with substance abuse, severe mental health issues or acute medical problems. Although deeply routed issues may bubble up during the course, MBSR is not psychotherapy or counselling and does not serve as a substitute for dealing with severe issues.
This course has surprised me in many ways. I have learned so much about myself. It’s changed my life forever.