What is Mindfulness Meditation?
Mindfulness: A Medically Sound Practice for Learning, Growing, and Healing
In 1979, Jon Kabat-Zinn founded the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts to bring a form of meditation known as mindfulness into the medical mainstream.
Mindfulness is a basic human quality, a way of learning to pay attention to whatever is happening in your life that allows you a greater sense of connection to your life inwardly and outwardly. Mindfulness is also a practice, a systematic method aimed at cultivating clarity, insight, and understanding.
In the context of your health, mindfulness is a way for you to experientially learn to take better care of yourself by exploring and understanding the interplay of mind and body and mobilizing your own inner resources for coping, growing, and healing.
More than three decades of scientific research at medical centers all over the world suggests that training in mindfulness and MBSR can positively and often profoundly affect participants' ability to reduce medical symptoms and psychological distress while learning to live life more fully.
How to Choose an On-line Course
I am an ex-pat and while living in different countries has bought me a very full life full of experiences, it has also bought its challenges. The greatest for me was in working on my personal and professional development. Often the only way possible for me to complete courses and gain qualifications over the past 20 years as an ex-pat has been via on-line courses. I have now completed a Masters degree in Education on-line, Parenting Education training on-line, International Baccalaureate training on-line and more recently Mindfulness training on-line, as well as others.
Due to the fact that I have a lot of experience with on-line training I have learnt what an on-line course needs to be worthwhile.
First and foremost I am looking for an on-line course that will:
Give me the closest experience to the one I would receive if I was taking the course in person.
Offer high quality content, matching the standards of the material and content I would receive if in person.
Give me full access to the training notes and videos after the training has been completed.
Full on-line support if I need it to access the portal or ask any follow up questions
My review and experience of the MBSR On-Line Course
Along my journey to learn Mindfulness and Meditation I have attended many different in person courses with a variety of teachers and I have also read a vast array of books and watched many hours of videos of some of the world leaders in Mindfulness and Meditation. However, what I really wanted was to complete the 8 week training in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and it would have been my dream to complete this with the founder of the course, Jon Kabat-Zinn.
As I knew this would not be possible for me, I searched for the closest on-line version to doing the MBSR course with Jon Kabat Zinn as I could, this was where I came across The MBSR Online Course.
It is the only complete online training in MBSR and follows the same, well-respected method taught at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. This eight-week course offers the curriculum and methodology developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn and is taught by Center for Mindfulness Executive Director Dr. Saki Santorelli, and senior instructor Florence Meleo-Meyer.
So I believed that it would tick all my boxes, and so I signed up for the course and completed what turned out to be the most wonderful two months of further learning and growing. While I was not a Mindfulness beginner, this course was able to further support and strengthen my own practice, but I know it would also have been a wonderful place to start at as a beginner.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Course
Why this course?
As I researched more about this particular course I discovered that since its inception, more than 22,000 people have completed the MBSR training program at The University of Massachusetts (UMass). They have been referred by more than 6,000 physicians, by hundreds of other health care professionals, and through self-referral. There are more than 750 MBSR programs around the world. So MBSR is becoming a very mainstream course as more and more people discover the many benefits of learning Mindfulness.
The course is offered by Sounds True. In case you are not aware of Sounds True this is their vision:
At Sounds True, we have created the world’s largest living library of transformational teachings that support and accelerate spiritual awakening and personal transformation. We make this living library available on multiple media platforms and in multiple languages for people of today and for future generations.
We partner with the leading spiritual teachers on the planet to make their teachings accessible through books, audio programs, online learning experiences, and in-person events.
We bring people together to connect and accelerate the journey of personal growth and awakening.
We provide a trustworthy and safe online home for spiritual explorers, where you can show up with authenticity and meet others on the path. We warmly welcome beginners while remaining true to the depth and challenges of the spiritual journey.
The course is access via the Sounds True platform, so you just need to log into you account with Sounds True and course will be available for you indefinitely. The course is in my digital library which I can access via my computer, as well as via the Sounds True app which I downloaded from I-Tunes. I liked being able to have the course on my phone, so I could listen to some of the downloads with more ease and not need to be near my computer.
The interface is very easy to use and follow and I could do the course at my own pace. However to keep me motivated and feeling connected I received an e-mail at the start of each week which related to the course work for the week. This personal touch from the teachers definitely helped me to feel connected and part of a wider group, as well as supported by the teachers. It also helped me to feel accountable to completing the necessary course work for each week.
I will say that it is essential that you choose 8 weeks where you will be willing to dedicate at least one to two hours each day to the course to gain the full benefit from it. You also need to be able to dedicate one full day during the course to be able to do a self-guided Mindfulness retreat day.
Each week offers videos from the teachers as well as audio files that I could choose listen to instead of watch. The course offers detailed material and asks you to fill in responses and save them in a prompted workbook on line. As I proceeded on the course there was a circle graph which highlighted how much of the course I had completed which helped with motivation and keeping tabs with where I was up to in the course. There is also excellent overviews you can switch to when needed.
The course included:
More than 16 hours of downloadable video and audio instruction on mindfulness meditation, stretching, mindful yoga, and guidance for enhancing awareness in everyday life
Four hours of audio guided mindfulness practice
Elements from the in-person MBSR course workbook available in PDF format
Online journal to record and reflect about your experiences
Completion graph to track your progress through the course
A Self-Guided Retreat—A Day of Mindfulness
Plus I also received three bonuses:
Free Audio Practice On Kindness, presented by Florence Meleo-Meyer
A Year of Mindfulness: Weekly Practice Suggestions for Living More Mindfully
Discount of $50 off a purchase of $95 or more of selected mindfulness-based learning resources from Sounds True
I found the course to be extremely valuable and a total companion to the many other Mindfulness courses I had already completed. I felt it gave me full and in depth coverage of the MBSR and now I have this course for life and I am able to dip back into it and take myself on a refresher whenever I need. There would be no need to do any other course as this is the full and complete Mindfulness practice training.
I loved this course and have been recommending it to people for years, especially others in my same situation who are looking for an on-line course. This would be the only on-line MBSR course I would recommend due to it being one that followed the curriculum and methodology developed by Jon Kabat-Zin .
Please note that like all the recommendations on my website and blog this is genuinely a course that I have completed myself and highly recommend. If you have found my review helpful in guiding you on your way then please do click through to Sounds True via this link, as Sounds True will then donate some money to Mindful Ed via this link. This will be of no extra cost to you, but it will support me in my work spreading the message of Mindfulness and conscious living to others.
Please also share this link and pass it on to others. I know you will not be disappointed in this course but if you are Sounds True does offer a 100% refund if you are not. So therefore you have nothing to loose by trying it for yourself.
Thank you for working on yourself and becoming more Mindful in thought, word and deed. This makes the planet a warmer, lighter and more peaceful place for us all, one person at a time.
Thank you for your support.
Meet the teachers of the MBSR On-line course
The Core Sessions in the 8 week MBSR On-line Course
This introductory session will acquaint you with the practice of mindfulness as taught at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. You will learn how this secular, scientific, evidence-based practice has become an accepted part of mainstream medicine, and discover how it can positively affect the quality of your everyday life.
Here you will receive an overview of the course and establish the learning context for the rest of your experience. You will learn the theory and evidence of mind-body medicine and how to apply it in your life. You'll be experientially introduced to mindful eating, mindful breathing, and the body-scan method, with a special emphasis on what it means to be fully engaged in the present moment.
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. You will learn to use the body-scan practice to cultivate a greater degree of awareness of how you react to stressful situations. Changing the way you perceive and respond to difficulties and challenges will impact the short- and long-term effects of stress on your mind and body.
In this session, you'll practice several distinct yet interrelated mindfulness practices—mindful hatha 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.
By practicing mindfulness, we cultivate curiosity and openness to the full range of our experience, and through this process our ability to pay attention becomes more flexible. This week, your practice will focus on the development of your ability to concentrate and systematically expand your field of awareness. You'll learn about the physiological and psychological bases of stress reactivity, and experience mindful strategies for responding in positive, proactive ways to stressful situations.
At the halfway point in this course, you should now be familiar with the foundations of mindfulness and able to focus on applying it 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. You will also learn how to 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.
Resilience or “stress hardiness” is our ability to return to equilibrium after stressful situations. This week, you will focus on transformational coping strategies to broaden your inner resources and enhance your resilience through mindfulness practice. You'll also learn the fundamentals of interpersonal mindfulness—applying awareness and presence at times when communication becomes difficult or fraught with strong emotions. You'll gain direct experience of a variety of styles for more effective and creative interpersonal communication.
This day-long guided retreat will take place between weeks six and seven. The intensive nature of this six-hour-plus 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.
Mindfulness is most effective when it is a lifetime commitment. This week, you will explore the many ways that you can integrate mindfulness more fully and personally into your life. While having a dedicated regular practice for mindfulness meditation is important and beneficial, it is just as important to bring a broader sense of awareness and presence to every moment in your life, and to use non-judgmental mindfulness in your self-reflection and decision-making processes. You'll learn how to maintain the discipline and flexibility of daily practice as circumstances change over the course of your life.
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. You'll learn about resources available to you to pursue mindfulness in new directions as your life and practice evolve, as well as the support systems that exist to help you continue to integrate, learn, and grow. The final lesson creates a satisfying closure by honoring both the end of this program and the beginning of the rest of your life.
The Center for Mindfulness Executive Director Dr. Saki Santorelli, and senior instructor Florence Meleo-Meyer define Mindful living and explain 'what is Mindfulness?' in an insightful way. They are the teachers on the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) on line course