Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction workshop begins April 21
By Mike Cook
Las Cruces Bulletin
“Mindfulness is my personal experience to settle more with thing as they are, things I can’t change – like who’s running for president or dealing with terrorism,” said Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) instructor Gerri January.
January will offer her third MSBR workshop series beginning Thursday, April 21 and continuing each Thursday evening for the following eight weeks. All classes will be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. in the Rotary Room at Mesilla Valley Hospice, 299 Montana Ave.
The course will also include a daylong silent retreat, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., on Saturday, May 28, also at the hospice.
Classes are “highly participatory, supportive and structured,” January said, and provide support with guided instruction in mindfulness meditation practices, gentle stretching and yoga, group dialogue and communication exercises to enhance awareness in everyday life, individually tailored instruction and daily home assignments.
The cost of the course is $89 per person, which includes a manual and fourdisc CD. All proceeds benefit the hospice.
MBSR is now utilized in more than 750 medical centers worldwide, January said, and major multi-national corporations like Google and Facebook use it for their employees.
“MBSR is based on a form of meditation known as mindfulness,” according to www.redwillowlearning.org/MBSR, the website of the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine Center for Mindfulness. “Mindfulness is a basic human quality, a way of learning to pay wise 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 comping, growing, and healing.”
“Nearly three decades of scientific research at UMass and at medical centers all over the world suggest 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,” according to www. soundstrue.com.
“It has been confirmed through research that what we think and feel impacts our immune system via chemical messages from the brain,” said Jennifer Wolkin, a licensed clinical health and neuropsychologist, writer, speaker and professor in New York City. MBSR increases activity in “the areas of the brain acting as our immune systems’ command center,” she said. “When these parts are stimulated through mindfulness, the immune system functions more effectively.”
“Mindfulness is all about accepting the present moment,” January said. MBSR also helps those who practice it to get to know their bodies better, she said. “Your body gives you all this information, and MBSR helps you learn to use it. MBSR opens up possibilities for people to think and live in different ways.”
MBSR is “totally secular,” January said. “There is no religious aspect to it.”
January is a clinical nurse specialist with 40 years of experience in health care. She is qualified to teach MBSR by the UMass Center for Mindfulness. She also recently completed an MBSR training program in California, and is the only qualified MBSR teacher in the Las Cruces area. January has been practicing MBSR for more than five years.
January’s class is limited to 24 participants. To register, send a check for $89 to Mesilla Valley Hospice, 299 Montana Ave, Las Cruces, New Mexico 88005.
For more information, contact January at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.umassmed.edu/cfm and click on research.