What is Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program?Click here for next scheduled workshop
What it is and isn't:
At the core, Mindfulness-Based programs involve intensive training in Mindfulness Meditation techniques. These techniques are comprised of a systematic and progressive set of exercises designed to cultivate two fundamental life skills: the ability to be more focused; and the ability to maintain a relatively deeper state of calm and relaxation (equanimity), even in the midst of challenging circumstances. Much like building muscular strength, these skills can be built up through regular exercise by bring awareness to:
< the breath
< physical sensations in the body
< thoughts and emotions
< situations in the world around us
Why do it:
Everything we experience and have ever experienced - all our memories, emotions - our concept of who and what we are - comes to us in only two ways: physical sensations in the body, and thoughts in the mind. All of our senses of sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch, are made up of the same two components: physical sensations in the body, and thoughts in the mind. As we cultivate the ability to be more attentive or focused, we can direct that ability towards the observation of our own mind / body process without interfering with it (equanimity). As we do this, blockages and limiting beliefs come into awareness, are observed with detachment and are released. We begin to respond to life rather than simply react to it. This is why Mindfulness is sometimes referred to as "The Art of Living".
The Benefits of Mindfulness:
< Dramatic and permanent reduction in stress levels
< Increased Appreciation of Life
< Reduced Suffering (physical & emotional)
< Elevated Performance Levels
< Positive Effects on Health & Well-being
< Improved Interpersonal Relationships
< Increased Emotional Intelligence
< Accentuated Inner Growth
Goals of 8 week program:
Participants will come away with a clear understanding of what Mindfulness is and isn't, why and how it works, an array of techniques for their continued use during and after the program, supporting audio-cassette tapes, guided meditations providing direct experience of the techniques, as well as instruction of how Mindfulness may relate to specific situations in their lives. It is also a hope that participants will begin to experience real change in their lives over the course of the program. The extent to which this will occur depend on their willingness to do the assigned exercises.
A typical class consists of some explanation; guided exercises to help participants gain familiarity with assigned exercises and to facilitate a more productive experience; group discussion to clarify issues of common concern and to provide an opportunity for individuals to raise more specific questions. Participants are expected to practice at home daily for forty five minutes each day. Participants are also expected to attend a full day session in week six or seven of the program, the purpose of which is to provide the opportunity for a deeper experience of meditation as well as for using the newly learned skills in a variety of new ways that are a bit closer to day to day life.
Lou Carcasole's Personal Mission is to make a positive contribution in this world by continuously striving to become the best that he can be, and by helping others become the best that they can be.
As I look back over the seemingly diverse range of experiences in my life, I realize that the above personal mission has been a consistent theme throughout - it is who I am. I have gone from engineer to business consultant, to Human Resources professional, and lastly, to Mindfulness Teacher. In a way, these shifts reflect a deeper, personal evolution - from the more mechanistic, to the behavioural and psychological, and finally, to that of self-exploration. I have come to regard Mindfulness as one of the most powerful and effective tools for positive change available - whether pursued on its own, or as a complimentary practice to other forms of care and learning. I can think of no better way to fulfill my personal mission in life than to practice and teach Mindfulness, and to do so in a way that makes it more accessible to greater numbers of people in mainstream western society.
Qualifications: I have been studying and practicing Mindfulness since 1987 with renowned teacher Shinzen Young who also continues to be my primary mentor. I have also been exposed and influenced by other prominent writers and teachers. I completed a formal intensive eight day workshop for professionals interested in teaching Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programs with Jon Kabat-Zinn . And, I have been teaching Mindfulness now, for over three years. This background together with my other formal training and work experiences (Organization Development - M.Ed. Human Resources Development, MBA and B. Sc.), equip me with the ability to present programs like Mindfulness in ways that are easily understood and seen to be relevant in a wide variety of settings.
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