What is mindfulness meditation and training?
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is an eight-week program, developed by Jon Kabat- Zinn, that assists people who want to learn to use their own internal resources to respond more skillfully to stress, medical and psychological conditions, and promote healthy living.
Mindfulness is paying attention on purpose to present-moment experiences (body sensations, emotions, thoughts) in a relaxed and non-judging way.
Intentional present-moment awareness, developed through mindfulness meditation practices, helps us experience whatever is happening in our life as it unfolds with curiosity, non-judging attention, and compassion for ourselves and others. Engaging with our life in this manner helps us to become more skillful and creative in our responses, while gaining insight into how to free ourselves from habitual patterns of reacting.
This course consists of a free introductory session followed by eight weekly classes and one day-long workshop.
This highly participatory course includes:
Guided instruction in mindfulness meditation practices
Gentle stretching and mindful yoga
Group dialogue and discussions aimed at enhancing awareness in everyday life
Daily home practices for integrating mindfulness into daily life
Guided audio recordings of the various meditation practices
These workshops are suitable for all levels of experience.
To see course dates and reserve a space see Upcoming Courses.
More on Mindfulness Practice
Mindfulness is a normal human capacity. However, it can be developed much more than most people realize, and to great benefit. Mindfulness is an executive function of the brain, the ability to know, in real time, where attention is, and to be aware of physical sensations, thoughts and emotions as they arise. Jon Kabat Zinn, an early pioneer in applying mindfulness practice to healthcare, also defines mindfulness as a “moment to moment nonjudgmental awareness to the present unfolding of experience.”
When developed, this ability brings a spaciousness around the usual stressors in life while at the same time a more direct immersion in whatever is happening. We learn to notice more fully what is actually happening in our body, heart, mind, with others and our situation, instead of getting lost in thoughts and emotions. So, instead of being on automatic pilot or in a reactive state of mind we are able to be more present for our lives.
This allows us to live from a more stable and resourceful place. A place of calm and of caring. Our happiness, well-being, and effectiveness are strengthened. With practice we can come to live with more joy, even in the midst of all the inevitable ups and downs of life. People who undertake mindfulness training are often surprised by the nuances, the heart, and the depth of these capacities of heart and mind. All this takes is practice.
Benefits are seen with just a few minutes of meditation practice each day together with bringing the practice into normal daily activities.
The field of neuroscience has begun seriously studying this approach, finding significant benefits and observable changes in the brain. This is why we are seeing these practices being applied in healthcare, business, education, sports, and even the military and government. For example, twenty percent of England's Members of Parliament, so far, have taken a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course.
This capacity of mindful attention and care is best learned face to face in a class series from a qualified teacher. It is not so much about learning information, but more a practicing in different ways and situations.
Mick's main interest lies in making deep rooted mindfulness
practices accessible, relevant and helpful to those engaged in modern life.
He's been practicing and studying mediation for 25 years, is married, has raised two children and works as a physician. This has afforded plenty of opportunities to apply this practice to daily life.
Mick has been trained to teach meditation through Spirit Rock Meditation Center, one of the most respected meditation centers in the world. He has graduated from their two and a half year CDL teacher training program, and leads a Spirit Rock affiliated meditation group in San Luis Obispo on Wednesday evenings at the White Heron Sangha.
He has also been trained to teach secular Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) through the University of California San Diego's Mindfulness-Based Professional Training Institute and is a Qualified Teacher of MBSR.
Additionally, Mick trained at the University of Rochester with Ronald Epstein and Mick Krasner, learning to lead mindfulness practices for healthcare professionals. He has graduated from their Mindful Practice Facilitator Training.
In collaboration with University of California San Francisco surgeon Carter Lebares, Mick leads a modification of MBSR called Enhanced Stress Resilience Training (ESRT) which is designed for healthcare professionals. Mick is an instructor with the UCSF Center for Mindfulness in Surgery. He has led ESRT sessions for resident physicians at UCSF, UCLA and Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria California. He also leads ESRTsessions for practicing physicians.
Mick leads three different mindfulness activities:
1. Traditional Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Courses. These are available to anyone who is interested and are offered several times a year. To find out more see upcoming courses or contact Mick.
2. A modification of MBSR called Enhanced Stress Resilience Training (ESRT) which is specifically designed for health care professionals.
3. A meditation practice group called Mindfulness for Everyone every Wednesday evening at the White Heron Sangha in Avila Village. All are welcome to attend. There is no registration or fee for this practice group. Feel free to drop in any time. Contact Mick with any questions.
Mick's guided meditations can be found on the free app Insight Timer.