The Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program (MBSR) is an attention-training program – a structured, systematic educational approach that uses intensive training in mindfulness meditation to teach us to cultivate nonjudgmental moment-tomoment awareness. The course is based on Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program offered at UMass Worcester and described in his book, Full Catastrophe Living.
The program consists of eight-weekly two and a half hour classes and one full day retreat. Participants are given instruction in formal meditation methods including a body scan, gentle yoga, and both sitting and walking meditation. There is also instruction in informal mindfulness practices, which can help us evaluate unskillful habits and reduce anxiety in our everyday lives. The classes include group discussions oriented around home
assignments. Participants are asked to commit to a daily exercise of both formal and informal practices
Meditation Instruction: Participants are given instruction in four formal mindfulness meditations:
- body scan meditation (a directed tour of attention through the body),
- gentle hatha yoga,
- walking meditation, and
- sitting meditation (mindfulness of breath, bodily sensations, feelings, thoughts and emotions, and choiceless awareness).
There is also instruction in informal mindfulness meditation (mindfulness in everyday life) which includes awareness of pleasant and unpleasant events and deliberate awareness of routine activities.
Home Practice:Participants are asked to commit to a daily exercise of both formal and informal practices.
Other class instruction: The classes include group discussions oriented around home assignments including exploration of obstacles and difficulties and development of self-regulatory skills and capacities. Some class time is devoted to communication skills with in-class practice sessions.
Course materials: Participants are given CD's of guided meditations by the teachers, and other instructional handouts.