Program Details

This is the original 8 session program developed in 1979 by Jon Kabat-Zinn. He first introduced the program at the Stress Reduction Clinic at UMass Medical Center. Since first being introduced tens of thousands of people have participated in the course throughout the world.

Some of the benefits of MBSR reported by past participants are:

  • Being able to approach life with more composure, energy, self-compassion, and enthusiasm.
  • An increase in the ability to handle both short-term and long-term stressful situations and nurturing the ability to respond rather than to react.
  • Skills in the ability to manage and reduce pain levels.
  • Improved focus, resilience, and capacity to recover more quickly when faced with challenging events or emotions.
  • The ability to access and cultivate a natural ability to actively care for yourself and find greater stability, ease and peace of mind.

The intention of MBSR is to guide program participants in the “how” of learning ways to practice mindfulness. These methods are introduced for the purpose of enabling participants to integrate and apply mindfulness to their everyday lives. The MBSR curriculum is used as a structured pathway to reduce stress (physical, mental, emotional) and increase wellbeing. The MBSR program is delivered over 9 weeks and includes 10 sessions.

Mindfulness Program

What is Mindfulness?

One definition might be “The awareness that arises from paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally.”

How might you define mindfulness for yourself?

The mindfulness training offered during MBSR is a complement to traditional medical and psychological treatments, not as a replacement. MBSR has proven to be effective in helping treat a wide variety of medical conditions including: stress disorders, major depression, mood disorders, sleep disturbances, chronic pain, hot flashes, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and others. You can find links to specific studies on the resources page.

Mindfulness Program

How is the Program Delivered?

The program is delivered live and in person at locations within the Vail Valley. Each meeting is in-person where you will be able to engage with the teacher and interact with other participants. There are home assignments and guided meditation audio files that you can access through this website or through SoundCloud.

Participants can expect to be welcomed as they are and are asked to respect others’ unique experiences, backgrounds, and perspectives. During the program you will be consciously and systematically working (within your comfort level) with the challenges and demands of your life. A safe and supportive environment is created to support learning.

  • Live in-person class sessions.
  • Instruction in formal and informal MBSR practices.
  • Gentle stretching, mindful movement, gentle yoga.
  • Discussions offered to enhance awareness in everyday life.
  • If desired, one-on-one check-ins with the instructor throughout the course.

This program also fulfills the pre-requisite for beginning the teacher training and certification pathway.

Mindfulness Program

What is the Course Structure and Commitment?

The MBSR program consists of:

Orientation (1 hour required for enrollment), scheduled for one or two weeks before your class. There will be an in person orientation session, but you can also schedule a phone call or video meeting to satisfy this requirement.
Eight weekly classes, 2 ½ hrs each (31 hours of direct instruction)
One All-Day (6 Hours) class one Saturday or Sunday
Daily home practice assignments for 45-60 minutes each day with recordings provided.
In order to receive a completion letter for the course, you may not miss more than two classes, and you must attend the All Day session.

Course Outline

Orientation Session

An Orientation Session is required of all participants before beginning the program.

During these sessions you will have the opportunity to:

  • Learn about the program, ask questions, and determine whether it is right for you.
  • Meet your program instructor.
  • Experience, first-hand, mindfulness methods and approaches you will be learning during the program.

Purposeful Attention

Mindful eating, mindful breathing and the body-scan method are introduced. Special emphasis is placed on what it means to be fully engaged in the present moment.

Seeing with Fresh Eyes

Perception is key in mindfulness – how you see things (or don’t see them) will determine in a large part how you respond. This week’s session and practices will ask you to examine your perceptions, assumptions, and the way you view the world. This ties with how people see their pain, illness, stress, and pressures in their lives. “It may not be the stressors per se, but how you handle them” that will influence short- and long-term health effects.

Mind Body Connection

In this session, you’ll practice several distinct yet interrelated mindfulness practices – mindful yoga, sitting meditation, and walking meditation. This is an ideal time to share your insights about your experiences with formal practice and integrating mindfulness into your daily life. You will discover that there is both pleasure and power in being present – you’ll directly attend to and investigate how your experiences create such reactions as pleasure or discomfort in the mind and body.

Habitual Reactivity

How conditioning and perception shape our experience. We learn new ways of relating to stressful moments and events, whether external or internal. You will learn about the physiological and psychological bases of stress reactivity, and experience mindful strategies for responding mindfully as a way of working with, reducing, and recovering more quickly from stressful situations and experiences.

Conditioned Patterns

Using the foundations of mindfulness and the ability to focus on applying them more rapidly and effectively to specific challenges and stressors in your life. This week you will begin to pay attention to the places where you might be stuck in repeating, unhealthy patterns that you can disarm through mindful awareness. Apply mindfulness at the critical moment when you experience a physical sensation, intense emotion, or condition, with special attention to exploring the effect of reactivity in health and illness.

Guided Retreat

This 6-7 hour guided retreat will take place between weeks five and six. This extended session is intended to assist you in firmly and effectively establishing the use of MBSR skills across multiple situations in your life, while simultaneously preparing you to utilize these methods far beyond the conclusion of the program. Being open to and exploring any experience whether you classify it as pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral.

Flexibility and Balance

Working with stressful communications. Knowing your feelings; expressing feelings accurately, developing greater awareness of interpersonal communication patterns. Remaining aware and balanced in relationships when faced with acute or chronic stress. Continuing with cultivating the capacity to be more flexible and recover more rapidly during challenging interpersonal situations.

Nourishing Choices

Becoming better attuned to the changing conditions in our lives and asking questions like:

“What is called for now/today/this moment?”

“What do I need to take care of myself?”

Exploring choices that are adaptive and self-nourishing as well as those that are maladaptive and self-limiting.

Momentum and Discipline

In the final week of the program, you will have a complete review of everything you’ve learned over the course, with an emphasis on carrying the momentum you’ve built forward into the coming months and years. The final lesson creates a satisfying closure by honoring both the end of this program and the beginning of the rest of your life. Information about local options for retreat, yoga, and other resources to support continued practice.

In addition, participants will have the opportunity to speak to the group and share what has been most helpful, challenging, and salient. “What are they taking away?” “What has been discovered?”. It is important for all participants to know that all comments are welcome. By example, it is possible that they were disappointed, did not gain much, or found the instructor defensive or unavailable. Not a time for testimonials but open and honest appraisal of their experience.

* Depending on the desires, and size of the group this class may go longer than 2.5 hours. This is designed to allow participants time for practice, introspection, discussion and sharing.

Find answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

Contact Tom Mullen for more information.

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