What Exactly Is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is about paying attention to the present moment, with intention. It is not a spiritual philosophy, it is a practice. It means experiencing the emotion of the moment with gentle compassion, non-judgment, and a strong, disciplined intention to simply stay present with whatever is happening:the good, the bad, and the ugly. We accomplish this by bringing our attention to our breath, physical sensations, thoughts, and feelings through a variety of techniques such as sitting, walking, and yoga, as well as mindful speaking and listening.
Studies Show:Mindfulness Practice Reduces Stress

By cultivating mindfulness, we learn to relate to our experiences differently. We can handle difficult situations with more ease, patience, and authenticity. By practicing the acceptance of what is, we begin to understand that all experiences shift;no feeling, thought, or sensation is permanent. Once we actually experience the concept of “this too shall pass”, we build greater compassion for ourselves and our situations. Reactive and repetitive habits lessen, and we begin to normalize what feels most intolerable, creating a larger space for perspective and forgiveness.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction

MBSR is an experiential program developed and popularized by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 1979. MBSR has been shown in clinical research to have a profound effect on one’s ability to effectively regulate one’s mind, emotions, and, to a significant degree, physical health. It is used in complementary and alternative medicine programs at a number of universities, including University of Massachusetts, Stanford University, Duke University, University of Virginia, and U.C. San Francisco, and hospitals such as Kaiser Permanente. MBSR offers a powerful, integrated approach to working with our daily physical, emotional, and psychological stress, as well as offering powerful coping tools for dealing with chronic pain and debilitating illness. For many, it facilitates a greater ability to relax and maintain enthusiasm for life.

I am gathering participants for my upcoming 8-week MBSR group held locally in Berkeley. If you’d like further information, or would like to register for my class, please contact me.

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