Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT HAPPENS IN EACH CLASS?
MBSR classes are both experiential and didactic. Each class will have formal practice including meditation and mindful movement as well as inquiry around the actual experience of doing these practices. The inquiry helps to clarify the students’ own experience; and since most people in a class discuss their experience, you learn from everyone else as well. The didactic portions of the class are about specific meditation techniques, stress reactivity and response, communication, nutrition and more.
HOW MUCH TIME IS NEEDED FOR PRACTICE BETWEEN CLASSES?
It is recommended that students engage in formal practice for at least 15mn per day, or as long as their schedule allows. Studies have shown a relationship between frequency of practice and enhanced ability to focus attention and to navigate challenges. Students are also instructed to engage daily in 'informal practice'- which does not take additional clock time - and means bringing a different kind of awareness to activities you are doing anyway—eating, washing the dishes, answering the phone, etc.
I CAN'T ATTEND THE ORIENTATION, IS THIS ESSENTIAL?
The orientation is useful but not essential. If you can’t make it, we will need to have a separate phone interview with you before our first class. You cannot begin the class without either attending the orientation, or having this separate phone interview.
WHAT IS THE RETREAT DAY?
The retreat is a day of guided practice. It is optional but highly recommended as it allows participants to practice for a few hours at a time (approximately 5 hours) and in a setting conducive to quiet contemplation and reflection. The instructor will lead practices that have been introduced over the previous weeks as well as additional exercises, including a mindful eating practice at lunch. Many students have found this experience to be transformative. Logistical details will be provided during the preceding class.
WHAT IF I CAN’T MAKE ALL EIGHT CLASSES?
The MBSR curriculum is sequential and each class builds on the prior class and the individual work you do in between. So it’s important to at least have the intention and availability to attend all 8 classes. That said, things come up, and sometimes people really want to take the class but have a conflict with one date. So if you know before starting the class that you are going to miss a week, let Laurence know and we can talk about it.
WHAT TYPES OF MEDITATION ARE TAUGHT?
The primary formal meditation practices include body scan, breath awareness, sitting meditation, walking meditation and mindful movement. We also practice and discuss a wide range of informal mindfulness practices.
I ALREADY MEDITATE — DO I NEED TO STOP WHEN I TAKE THIS CLASS?
It depends on the type of meditation you are doing already. We recommend following the curriculum, which involves some very specific meditation practices. But we can answer this question more fully in person. Many experienced meditators take this class because while they have learned to meditate, they might not have yet found a way to incorporate meditation and/or mindfulness into their every day lives.
WHAT RESULTS CAN I EXPECT?
You will develop increased awareness of the interplay of mind and body in health and illness. You will also discover and develop the ability to help yourself and move towards greater balance, control and peace of mind, whatever your circumstances. People who participate in MBSR have found it to be helpful in dealing with job/career stress, family stress, financial Stress, and chronic conditions such as digestive issues, heart disease, fibromyalgia, cancer, headaches, chronic pain, disrupted sleep , high blood pressure, fatigue, asthma, skin disorders as well as anxiety and depressive conditions. Important: Nothing is guaranteed and what you get out of this class depends on how much effort you put into it on your part.
IS IT RELIGIOUS OR SPIRITUAL?
The basic answer is no. These practices are based on and similar to Buddhist meditation practices that have been around for over 2500 years but spirituality and or religious ideas/beliefs/presentations are not part of the curriculum. A practice can be explored independently from a belief system or worldview. This curriculum is taught in a number of public institutions (education, healthcare, justice, etc.,) precisely because it is totally secular and does not conflict with participants’ existing religion/spirituality, if any.
CAN ANYONE ATTEND YOUR CLASSES?
The answer is yes! Both the MBSR & Mindful Eating classes are open to all individuals. No prior meditation or yoga experience necessary. If you would like to know if this class meets your needs, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.