I recently finished the 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course, developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn. At week 1, there were 18 students, and by the end of the course, there were 12 remaining. I imagine it is very typical to have a certain drop-out rate, as some people just are not ready for the ‘work’ or resist it for various reasons.
You can read what MBSR is in the first post I wrote when I started the course.
Even though I knew and have practiced mindfulness for years now, I wanted to take the course to formally have it ‘under my belt’. I’m glad I took it. It deepened my understanding and let me expand my practice, which in turn, helps me appreciate life even more.
My observation #1: How it helped the class
I want to share with you some of what the other students said as the instructor asked ‘What was the 1 thing you are taking away from this course?’
- “It’s been life-changing. I am seeing and experiencing things that I never noticed before. I can get joy from even the smallest of things.”
- “My life is so stressful and busy. By practicing what I’ve learned I am finally taking some time for myself and it’s made a big difference in my life.”
- “I used to dread taking the long bus ride home after a stressful day at work, and now I love it. I use the time to practice meditation and I look forward to the bus ride now.”
- “This has been huge for me. I just feel lighter and happier these days.”
My observation #2: It’s not just sitting about and being lectured
There is a perfect mix of ‘lecture’ (learning), discussion (but you don’t have to say anything at all if you don’t want to), yoga to promote body awareness, and a few types of meditation (sitting, lying down, walking). There is homework assigned between classes, which basically asks you to practice what you’ve learned. No pressure to do it though, and no judgments on how anyone is doing.
In summary, I believe MBSR can really help those who want to be helped, and who have a lot of stress and worry in their lives. For those who aren’t super stressed, it can still open up doors for more joy in your life. The techniques are very simple but it takes ‘work’ to incorporate the teachings into your daily life. It was challenging for me to commit to 8 weeks (just 2 hours/week, plus a 1 day silent retreat), but I see that this duration is necessary to give people the time to learn and practice.
The cost was $370, and if you are interested in learning MBSR but don’t want to pay the $370, my recommendation is to read some of Jon Kabat-Zinn’s books. That’s how I learned it years ago. You won’t get the full experience but I would say I got about 80% of the learnings through his books.
I hope this series of my MBSR learnings has been helpful to you. Here are the links below that touch on some learnings. Have a lovely day!
- Post #1 – Follow my experience taking the MBSR course
- Post #2 – Mindful Eating
- Post #3 – Think of your life as having ‘Visitors’
- Post #4 -Observe your run-away thinking
- Post #5 -Observe your reactions and emotions
- Post #6 – Persevere through minor discomforts
- I just did a silent retreat
- How my friends and I discovered Mindfulness