Frequently Asked Questions
LENGTH OF EACH WEEKLY CLASS?
The course is delivered as a series of eight weekly 2 ½ hour classes, plus a longer day "retreat" session after week six on a weekend. In total, there are ten sessions including a pre-course orientation. Approximately 36 hours of classroom time.
WHAT IF I HAVE TO MISS A CLASS?
You are encouraged to attend all classes as each class builds upon the other but of course life happens in unforeseeable events. If so, I will try my best to catch you up on what was missed. If you feel you are going to miss more than two classes I would suggest you join a future course.
IS THERE HOME PRACTICE BETWEEN CLASSES?
Between each session, ideally on a daily basis, participants practice at home what they have been exploring in class. This home practice is an essential part of the course. It develops and strengthens your ability to experience mindful awareness in daily life and to access the strength and wisdom that lie within. Handouts, a workbook and recorded guided meditations (MP3s) will be provided to support this practice.
DO YOU OFFER SUPPORT BETWEEN CLASSES?
Yes, I offer a one-time free private support of one 1/2 hour over the eight week period. Beyond that there will a charge of a minimum of $25.00 for each additional half hour.
IS THERE A MINIMUM OR MAXIMUM AGE TO ATTEND COURSE?
Minimum would be 12 years of age and no maximum age limit.
WHO WOULD BENEFIT FROM MBSR?
Anyone experiencing being ‘stuck’ in their life. All genders, sexual identity, faiths, and cultural backgrounds are welcome to learn about mindfulness and meditation and how it might be beneficial in their life.
WHO WOULD NOT BENEFIT?
An individual would not benefit if they were not committed to attending all eight classes and the home practice. Also, if you are struggling with either substance abuse, suicidal tendencies or struggling with trauma, a pre-screening conversation will be required with the teacher.
WILL MINDFULNESS OR MEDITATION BE IN CONFLICT WITH MY PERSONAL FAITH?
Mindfulness is not a religion. It is not linked to a particular belief system or spiritual framework. You don’t have to be a Buddhist or Hindu; you can meditate and still practice your own religion or no religion at all. In fact, it has been reported to me that the practice can help you stay in touch with your religious values. The techniques you learn in meditation practice can be done within any faith tradition. They can also be done in an entirely secular way.
DOES MEDITATION REQUIRE SPECIAL SKILL OR BACKGROUND?
Meditation isn’t only for certain talented or already serene people. You don’t have to be an ace at sitting still; you don’t have to wait until you are calm and decaffeinated. You don’t need to study anything before you begin. You can start right now. If you can breathe, you can meditate. Beginners welcomed.
DOES IT REQUIRE A HUGE CHUNK OF YOUR TIME?
That depends. To develop a routine you will be invited to put in about 40 minutes of guided practice a day to acquire the most benefit in your day-to-day and also to achieve a long-term impact well after the course is over. Think of it as paying the rent so to speak. However, you could also start with five minutes a day and work your way up. You’ll probably want to lengthen your practice sessions on your own, because you’re going to like the sense of well-being they generate. Establishing a consistent practice, whatever the length of the session, is more important than striving to devote hours to it each day. Your intention and quality you bring to your practice is quite important regardless of length.
WILL MINDFULNESS ELIMINATE SADNESS OR ROUGH PATCHES FROM YOUR LIFE?
You’re still going to have ups and downs, happiness and sadness. But you’ll be able to roll with the punches more and feel less defeated, because meditation teaches us new ways of coping with difficulties.
IS IT LIMITED TO SITTING ON THE FLOOR?
No. You are welcome to sit in a chair for every class or bring a cushion. You will be introduced to various ways of practicing. You are free to choose what posture is best for you at any given time.
DO I HAVE TO BANISH ALL THOUGHTS FROM MY MIND AND INSIST ON POSITIVE THINKIING?
That’s not humanly possible! Meditation is a way to recognize our thoughts, to observe and understand and relate to them more skilfully… So there’s skilful and unskilful human behaviour. Unskilful actions are those that lead to pain and suffering; skilful actions are those that lead into insight and balance. We learn with practice and time to be more skilful.
WILL I HAVE TO RENOUNCE MY OPINIONS, GOALS, PASSIONS AND FUN?
Someone once said to me, “If I start meditating, do I have to give up wanting things? “No”, I told her. “You just have to relate differently to the wanting - pay attention to it, investigate it, understand what’s behind it.” Adding meditation to our lives doesn’t mean withdrawing from the real world of relationships, responsibilities, careers, politics, hobbies, and celebrations. In fact, it frees us to be more engaged with the things that interest us, often in a healthier way. ☺
IS MINDFULNESS MEDITIATION NAVEL-GAZING?
Meditation isn’t self-indulgent or self-centred. Yes, you learn about yourself-but it’s knowledge that will help you better understand and connect with people in your life. Tuning into your self, is the first step toward tuning into and understanding others.
IS MEDITATION ABOUT FALLING INTO A TRANCE?
Mindfulness is about falling out of the trance you may be locked into. It is about falling awake to your life. In time you’ll start to feel more energized in the course of your day.
CAN THIS COURSE BE PARTIALLY COVERED BE PROVINCIAL OF PRIVATE HEALTH PLANS?
Not at this time. I hope soon Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction will be considered and recognized as an essential service to be covered for health care maintenance.
DO YOU OFFER PRIVATE CLASSES OUTSIDE OF THE 8 WEEK MBSR COURSE?
Yes, I teach MBSR informed mindfulness instruction one-to-one. Customized to your needs. See page on this site for more info. Also available for workshops and introduction talks.
WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING TO CLASS?
Please wear comfortable clothing, bring a yoga mat, water in a container and a pillow or blanket for comfort.