Frequently Asked Questions

Below are answers to questions on the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program.

Do I have to be able to sit cross legged?

No, several posture options are introduced to allow you to engage in any of the practices. Participants are allowed to sit in chairs or even lay down if necessary.

How much does MBSR cost and where is the program offered?

Please refer to these studio websites for cost. Payment is made through their sites.

What if I cannot make all the sessions?

Keeping in mind that unexpected things do come up, but if you know your schedule requires you to miss more than one scheduled session it would be best to consider a different time.

Can I sign up for individual sessions?

No, MBSR works best by committing to and attending the entire program. In addition, your full participation in the program helps create a supportive group environment.

What should I bring to each session?

If you have a yoga mat and meditation cushion it is helpful to bring these with you. But, the studios I teach at have mats to borrow, chairs, and cushions.

How should I dress?

It is best to wear comfortable loose fitting clothing (athletic wear/leggings/sweatpants, etc). Also, the temperature in the room can fluctuate and what is hot for some may feel cool to others so dressing in layers is recommended.

What if I am late, can I still come to a session?

Although being on time is encouraged since this allows you to participate fully, if you are late it is best to come anyway. Just know that you will likely be entering during a meditation, discussion, or presentation. Be respectful of the environment and simply take your place.

Are the yoga and movement parts of the program strenuous?

The yoga and movement exercises are gentle by nature and are designed to be accessible to most people. If you are unable to do a posture or if it is not right for your body it is not required.

What if I am uncomfortable speaking or sharing?

While sharing about your experience can be helpful to both you and others during the program, this is purely voluntary. Vulnerability can be part of the experience, but only you can decide what is right for you. The MBSR environment is one that should be safe and non-threatening.

Is this a confidential program?

Yes, confidentiality is of utmost importance. The teacher will never disclose what you share and the other participants are asked not to share information about what is said in the program.

* If a person were to disclose the intention of physically harming oneself or others this may warrant the teacher to disclose information.

How do I know if this is the right time for me to take MBSR?

This is largely a personal question and one that only you can answer. But, after reading through the information about the program, schedule and themes you likely will have the answer. If you are experiencing suicidal ideologies, thoughts, or making plans for self harm this is not the right time. You would be better served by reaching out to emergency services or a trained counselor skilled with helping you with your unique situation.

What qualifications and training does the teacher hold?

Tom has taught meditation in a group setting and has studied and practiced meditation with various teachers. He received his MBSR Qualification Status after taking the MBSR Teacher Training Intensive through the University of California San Diego Centers for Integrative Health.

Is MBSR a type of therapy?

No, MBSR is an experiential and learning program designed to guide people how to meditate and use the skill of mindfulness to help reduce stress caused by a host of conditions and situations.

Isn’t meditation really just Buddhism?

Although many of the practices presented in MBSR do have roots in Buddhist tradition it is secular in nature. All major religions, and spiritual practices have some sort of contemplation, meditation, ritual, or reflective aspects. As a participant you are not asked to change your current religious or spiritual practice.

Do I need to take notes during the program?

No, actually you are encouraged not to take notes. This enables you to fully engage in the practices and practice with moment to moment awareness.

Will I be provided a workbook or other materials?

Yes, there is a workbook with supporting materials. Even so one should use it only as a reference and not a substitution for practice. There is no requirement to complete lengthy written assignments.

What if I am a therapist and want to get qualified to teach the program or just learn some of the concepts of MBSR?

It would be an honor for you to consider taking the program. Taking the MBSR program is the first step of the qualification/certification path. At the end of the program you will be given a letter certifying that you have satisfied the requirements of the MBSR program and attended the required sessions.* Even though therapists and other professionals may have an understanding of some of the concepts presented in MBSR it is important that they engage the program fully as a participant. This is a time to experience the program for your own benefit and the benefit of your co-participants.

* You may not miss more than two program sessions and must attend the silent day in order to receive a letter of completion.

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