What is Mindfulness-based stress reduction?

Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) was created in the late 1970’s by John Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. at the Center for Mindfulness, University of Massachusetts Medical Center. MBSR is an evidence-based psycho-educational group intervention that we can use to improve our health and well-being while faced with stress, pain, and illness.

Mindfulness-based stress reduction This eight-week, nine-session MBSR training is designed to teach participants how to apply mindfulness in their everyday lives and to the range of challenges arising from medical and psychological conditions and life stresses. Groups meet weekly for 2.5 hours and an all-day session after week six. Each class builds on the previous lesson. The all-day retreat allows participants to immerse themselves in the mindfulness practice.


MBSR includes intensive training in meditation, mindful movement based on yoga, educational components of stress physiology, constructive responding to stressful situations, and bringing awareness to many areas of life, including communication, relationships, and making healthy choices.

Who should attend?

MBSR has been found to be helpful for people working with a wide variety of conditions, including:

  • Medical conditions such as chronic pain, cancer, heart disease, hypertension, and many others
  • Psychological conditions including anxiety, depression, sleep disorders
  • Stress related to relationships, career, school, finances
  • Healthcare providers, educators, first responders, corporate

Benefits of Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction

  • Increased energy and a sense of well-being, self-compassion
  • Ability to see more clearly the reality of situations
  • Reduced reactivity, stress, anxiety, and depression, lower blood pressure
  • Improved concentration, self-awareness, and ability to manage pain and distressing emotions
  • Increased ability to be fully present in our daily lives and during everyday activities

This eight-week experiential program will provide you with:

  • Experiential learning of formal and informal practices to bring mindfulness into everyday life.
    • Examples of formal practices include the guided body scan, various mindfulness meditations, gentle stretching or yoga, and group sharing of our direct experience with the exercise.
    • The informal practice involves bringing mindfulness to daily activities and stressful events.
  • Daily homework assignments
  • Guided meditation and mindfulness audio files for home practice
  • We discuss ways to cope more effectively with health issues, disturbing events, pain, and everyday challenges, and learn how mindfulness changes our relationship to thoughts, feelings, emotions, and pain.
  • Themes explored include the physiology of stress, perception, stress reactivity and responding, communication, self-care.

Free Orientation & introduction lecture

For questions about the content of the program or whether it may be appropriate for you at this time, you are invited to attend one of the orientation lectures. You have the opportunity to meet the instructor and learn how the stress reaction cycle affects our health. You get to try some of the meditation techniques and learn practical suggestions for applying mindfulness in everyday life.

Participants of the eight-week MBSR program must attend one of the introductory lectures and meet with the instructor.

Join one of our Stress-Reduction programs now and rediscover the healing wisdom within you. 

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Our classes are designed to be highly supportive of each participant. This MBSR course is offered by Charmaine van Niekerk, founder of Life’s a Gift, Mindfulness Teacher, Ayurvedic Health Educator & Practitioner, and Certified yoga teacher.

A Taste of Mindfulness

We invite you to pause a while and access resources deep inside yourself.

  • Take a moment to become aware of your surroundings. Now notice any physical sensations, thoughts, and the feelings.
    • Are you aware of sensations of tension, pain, warmth or numbness in the body?
    • Are you feeling bored, curious, excited, hopeful, nervous, or skeptical?
    • Can you hold whatever you find in your awareness without changing, eliminating, or getting lost in them?
    • Can you experience this moment just as it right now?
  • You have just tasted your personal ability to be mindful, and we invite you to cultivate it further through participation in our Mindfulness-Based programs