Mindfulness can transform your life and be profoundly healing. Science has shown how systematically practicing awareness can affect the entire body, including the DNA and the brain, in ways that enhance well-being and clarity. It can reduce depression and anxiety, help to improve interpersonal relationships and enable us to act effectively under stressful conditions. We can be free from the suffering brought on by our automatic thoughts and assumptions.
Awareness is a way of connecting with your life and involves a cultivating of attention in a particular way. JKZ defines it as “paying attention on purpose in the present moment non-judgmentally as if your life depends on it.”
Mindfulness is a way to live your life as if it matters and involves being present moment to moment with open-hearted attention and kindness with yourself. Paying attention allows us to navigate our lives and to know what is happening or not happening. It allows us to be in a wiser relationship to the things going on in our lives, where we might otherwise be at the mercy of our emotional reactions and thoughts.
Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction Course
Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is an evidence-based intervention that we can use to improve our health and well-being, and particularly when faced with stress, pain, and illness. Created in the late 1970’s by John Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. at the UMass Medical Center, this eight-week program is designed to teach you how to apply mindfulness in everyday life, and to the range of challenges arising from medical and psychological conditions and life stresses.
What will you learn?
This MBSR course teaches meditation in a non-religious context. You will receive instruction and guidance in various practices including sitting and walking mediation, gentle yoga, body scanning and awareness, and mindful eating. You will learn about stress physiology, constructive responding to stressful situations, and bringing awareness to many areas of life, including monitoring your thoughts and feelings, communication styles, relationships, and making healthy choices.
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.
Who should attend?
Research has shown that Mindfulness helps people cope with a range conditions and life stresses, including:
- Medical conditions such as chronic pain, cancer
- Psychological problems including anxiety, depression, sleep disorders
- Stress related to relationships, school, finances
- Healthcare providers, educators, first responders, corporate workers
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
The eight-week program will provide you with:
- Experiential learning of formal and informal practices to bring mindfulness into everyday life.
- 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.
This is a list of selected publicly available research reviews that report on the evidence base for mindfulness-based clinical studies.
Free Introduction/orientation Workshop
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 introduction workshops. 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.
Our classes are highly supportive of each participant. This MBSR course is offered by Charmaine van Niekerk, founder of Life’s a Gift, Mindfulness Teacher, Ayurveda Health Educator & Practitioner, and Certified yoga teacher.
For more about the MBSR program watch the 10-minute video below (excerpted from the Center for Mindfulness DVD)
A Taste of Mindfulness – try this!
We invite you to pause a while and experience Mindfulness for yourself.
- Take a moment to become aware of your surroundings. Now notice any physical sensations, thoughts, and the feelings. Any of the following may present to you:
- Sensations of tension, pain, warmth or numbness in the body?
- 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. We invite you to cultivate it further by joining one of our Mindfulness-Based programs