WHAT IS MINDFULNESS?
Mindfulness is about waking up and living life off “automatic pilot.” Mindfulness means deliberately paying attention to present experiences with complete acceptance. Mindfulness
meditation practices enhance concentration, clarity, insight, and resilience. By bringing an open-hearted, non-judgmental curiosity to the present moment, mindfulness practitioners experience
reduced stress, an improved sense of well-being, and a greater capacity to meet life’s challenges. Mindfulness practice is a profound way for an individual to take care of self and cultivate
compassion for others. Mindfulness also expands the practioner's capacity for gratitude and joy.
Although mindfulness practices originated in the East, they have been assimilated into Western culture over the past 40 years. Mindfulness is for everyone, regardless of age. Mindfulness is not a religion. Anyone, with any belief system or religious tradition, can enjoy the benefits of mindfulness practices, without conflict. A substantial body of research has shown that mindfulness practices positively impact an individual's experience of everyday stress, anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and physical symptoms related to stress or disease. Medical practitioners increasingly embrace mindfulness practice for its therapeutic benefits, connecting reduction in stress to physical resilience and recovery.
Since the late 1970's, more than 1000 publications have documented medical and psychological research on mindfulness, demonstrating its validity and breadth of application. For further information on research related to mindfulness meditation practices, the link below to MindfulNet provides a comprehensive collection of information, research reviews, and resources.
In 1979, Jon Kabat-Zinn adapted centuries-old meditation practices and developed an 8-week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program (MBSR) at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. His work was featured in a Bill Moyers’ documentary, Healing & The Mind. Since its inception, this program has been replicated in hundreds of hospitals, clinics and other settings around the world, helping those with an array of medical and psychological conditions. Twenty years later, Mark Williams, John Teasdale and Zindel Segal adapted the MBSR program to help people suffering from depression. Integrating techniques from cognitive therapy with mindfulness meditative practices, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression Relapse Prevention (MBCT) is now recognized as a “treatment of choice” for recurrent depression by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE).
MINDFULNESS-BASED STRESS REDUCTION COURSES
The course includes eight weekly evening sessions with one extended weekend day of mindfulness prior to the last weekly session. The course provides instruction in well-researched meditation exercises such as the body scan, sitting meditation, walking meditation and stretching exercises based on Yoga. Recordings of guided meditations are provided to support practice between sessions (usually 45 minutes daily) and for practice after the course. Guidance in “informal” practices to help integrate mindfulness into everyday activities is another important component of the course.
MBSR is intended to helps individuals:
Dr. LaValle also offers individual and small group instruction in mindfulness meditation practice.