Mindfulness Courses

Upcoming Mindfulness Course in Bristol – 17 March 2015

What is the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course?

MBSR is an 8-week course that instructs participants in mindfulness meditation and stress reduction practices. The course was developed by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn of the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, USA, in 1979, and has since been completed by thousands of people worldwide. MBSR has an extensive research basis and is the most widely replicated stress reduction program in the world.

How can MBSR be helpful?

According to over two decades of published research, people who completed an eight-week MBSR programme experienced results including:

  • Reduced pain levels
  • Reduced levels of anxiety and depression
  • Increased ability to relax
  • Lasting decreases in physical and psychological symptoms
  • Increased resilience to both short-term and long-term stress
  • Increased self-esteem and sense of self-in-relationship
  • Increased ability to act effectively under high levels of stress
  • Increased sense of ability to positively influence one’s own health

What Happens in an 8-Week Course?

Mindfulness is our innate capacity to be aware of what is happening in the present moment. In contrast to mindlessness, or the sense of living on “autopilot,” mindfulness is being awake and experiencing the fullness and complexity of our lives. By cultivating mindfulness, through regular practice, we become more aware of creative ways of working with and responding to the stress and challenges of our lives.

Each week, course participants learn mindfulness meditation practices in a supportive group environment. Classes engage in group discussion to develop awareness of our bodies, emotions, belief systems, and how stress operates in our lives in order to learn how to better work with our challenges.

At home, participants practice mindfulness meditation daily, both formally, using guided audio CD’s, and informally, by bringing greater awareness into daily life. It is essential to be able and willing to find time to practise between sessions, as home practice is seen as the main vehicle of transforming our outdated habitual ways of relating to our experience.

The formal meditation practices that are instructed include body scanning, sitting, and walking meditation, and gentle, mindful yoga. Participants are also asked to reflect on your experience during the week in simple recorded form. Handouts are issued each week – so there is no need to take notes during the sessions.

Although discussion of experience of mindfulness practices takes place in the group, this is not a form of group therapy. Nor is it – specifically – training in relaxation, although most people do report that their ability to relax is definitely enhanced. The training is in awareness.

Is this course for you?

The MBSR programme has helped people facing stress related to work, school, money, relationships, grief, sleep, time, food, or the sense of being out-of-balance. The programme has also helped individuals address a variety of physical and psychological health issues, including high blood pressure, headaches, IBS, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, fatigue, skin disorders, sleep disturbance, depression and anxiety. It does not, however, constitute a replacement of therapy or medical treatment for a specific condition.

The course is also suitable for those with a personal interest in meditation, including people who may already have (or have had) a meditation practice and would like the support of a group programme to re-establish their practice or explore further. However, no previous meditation experience is necessary.