Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
Regular classes run for eight Tuesdays, March 21 - May 9, at 3:45-5:45,
plus a Mini-Retreat on Saturday April 29, 9:00 - 4:00
The MBSR program is a combination of instruction, mindfulness practice, and sharing, following a standard MBSR curriculum.
- Cost is on a donation basis.
- There is a $30 materials fee to cover a workbook with an audio CD of guided mindfulness practices, and other handouts.
About the instructor:
Jim French is the son of Bill and Tari French, very active Ashby Village members.
He began meditating in 1969, has a Master’s Degree in Counseling, and has been teaching MBSR since 2013. For his day-job, he is a Principal Geotechnical Engineer, recently completing work on the California Memorial Stadium and the new UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay.
He is now working on the design of the California High Speed Rail in Fresno, and studying how it may be affected by the fastest ground subsidence in the world.
Sample course review comments from previous participants:
- “I am more attuned to people’s needs, including my own.”
- “Very much more capable of living in the moment peacefully. This has done wonders for my anxiety.”
- “I am a lot calmer.”
- “Fewer Arguments.”
- “Class should be mandatory!”
Mindfulness is often described as “intentionally paying attention to what is happening, moment by moment, without judgment.”
In recent years there has been a flood of hard scientific research describing how this simple practice of mindfulness (and other forms of meditation practice) actually changes the brain’s structure.
It strengthens areas of the brain that help us to take in and process information while loosening the grip of the emotional reactions that can so easily lead to a range of unpleasant and unhelpful behaviors.
MBSR is one of the earliest, and now most widespread, mindfulness or meditation programs to make its way into the mainstream American medical community. It was pioneered by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, and colleagues in 1979 at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. In 1993, Bill Moyers featured Jon Kabat-Zinn's Stress Reduction Clinic in his series Healing and the Mind.
From the beginning, MBSR has held to an explicitly empirical approach (i.e., it is not faith-based and has no implicit or explicit religious content). It has been extensively researched using a broad range of western scientific methods, including its effect on immunological function (e.g., flu shots work better if you meditate); healing of stress-related disorders (e.g., psoriasis improves much faster when mindfulness is practiced along with UV light therapy); and recently a number of fMRI studies show that in 8 or 10 weeks of MBSR practice students have reduced the activity of the negative-emotion right prefrontal cortex and added gray matter to the more resilient left prefrontal cortex. Similarly, in the past few years the spinoff Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) has quickly become a preferred approach for the treatment of depression and anxiety.