Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
Mindfulness is based on yoga philosophy and practice and comes from ancient Indian. Meditation, the root word, comes from Medicine. That which cures. That which heals. That which restores balance and harmonises the system (of mind, body and spirit). It has been preserved and practiced for thousands of years by the Buddhists and is a growing philosophy in the west.
Clinical research carried out by Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn in recent years at the University of Massachusetts Medical School USA has demonstrated that it has a profound effect on ones ability to regulate the mind effectively, and by so doing can effect the emotions and to a significant degree, physical sensations. It has been re-branded and marketed in the West as Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).
The techniques focus on the development of a non-judgmental approach of our moment-to-moment experience, teaching us patience, trust, acceptance and letting go of daily worries and anxieties. Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction offers a powerful chemical free approach to health and well-being. It enables us to work differently with our daily physical, emotional and psychological stress, as well as offering powerful coping tools for dealing with a variety of cognitive problems e.g. depression, anxiety. For many, this training provides a solid foundation for deep emotional healing, inner strength and resources.
About the Practice of Mindfulness and Yoga
Mindfulness can be described as a mental discipline, enabling us to deliberately pay attention to the present moment without being pulled into the mind’s usual debates in our internal dialog / self talk and the emotional reactions they trigger. It teaches us the skill of being able to stay with the experience of the moment with gentle compassion and a strong disciplined intention to simply stay present with whatever is happening in that moment, allowing space for the experiences to come and go without engaging with them or reacting to them. It allows us just to be ourselves.
On this course, you will learn to come into, and remain in awareness of the present moment. We will focus on bringing your attention to the breath, physical sensations, thoughts, feelings, tastes and images through a variety of meditation techniques including mindful yoga, postures, sitting, walking and eating meditation as well as mindful speaking and listening.
How will it help to reduce my stress?
The skills learned through MBSR training can help reconnect us with our sense of inner self, of wholeness regardless of what challenges we are facing. We can experience greater equilibrium in our lives regardless of how chaotic things may appear from the outside. These techniques can be helpful to those living with work or family stress, relationship issues, mid-life transitions, emotional and psychological challenges, or physical illness.
Mindfulness is a way of paying attention, of being deeply attuned to yourself, your environment and those around you. It sharpens your sensory acuity and becomes a natural state of mind, focused and aware. Although known in the East for centuries and practiced by Buddhists, it is fairly new to our Western culture, in the last 30 years. Mindfulness can be learned and practised by anyone, no matter what their age, religion or cultural background, it is easy to learn, even children can learn it.
Over many years, mindfulness skills have been taught with great effect in behavioural medicine and mental health settings, in corporations, schools, professionals, prisons, government agencies and voluntary sector organisations.
Those who practice Hatha Yoga meditation and mindfulness techniques, commonly report experiencing:
- A relaxed awareness of the present moment
- Enhanced psychological flexibility
- Letting go of unhelpful attachment or emotions
- Greater tolerance to stress and more control over reactions
- Clarity and awareness of thought patterns
- Greater insight
Clinical research findings related to MBSR and other Mindfulness-Based programs over the past 20 - 25 years are very encouraging. Those completing these programs consistently demonstrate and report long-lasting improvements such as:
- Improved health-related quality of life
- Increased sense of life meaning and manageability
- Reduced anxiety & depression
- Enhanced self-esteem and activity levels
- Reduced chronic pain and physical distress
- Fewer panic attack type experiences
- Strengthened immunity
- Increased social activity and vitality
- Reduced tension, anger, and fatigue
- Improved sleep quality
- Reduced pain-related drug use
- Improved emotion regulation, reduced anxiety
- Halved rates of depression
- Decreased blood pressure
- Optimal states of relaxed alertness
- Decreased psychiatric hospitalisations
- Reduced harmful behaviours
- Reduced substance abuse
- Decreased interpersonal problems
- Fewer and less intense headaches
- Brain activity associated with positive emotion
- Improved concentration
- The theory and practice of mindfulness meditation and how it can be effectively shared with clients in a variety of clinical settings.
- A variety of meditation practices involving the senses (sight, taste, touch, smell and sound as well as basic Mindful Hatha Yoga) and specific techniques for teaching them.
- Tips for practice and integrating it more fully into one’s personal and professional life.