Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction
with Robert Bonazoli, LICSW
at the Leggett Group
Frequently Asked Questions
1) What if I can’t make all eight classes?
The MBSR curriculum is sequential and each class builds on the prior class and the individual work you do in between. So, it’s important to at least have the intention and availability to attend all 8 classes. That said, things come up, and sometimes people really want to take the class but have a conflict with one date. If you know before starting the class that you are going to miss a week, let us know and we can talk about it. If you are ill or something comes up at the last minute and you miss a class, then I will always contact you and go over what was missed.
2) What happens in each class?
MBSR classes are both experiential and didactic. Each class will have formal practice including meditation and mindful movement as well as inquiry around the actual experience of doing these practices. The inquiry helps to clarify the students’ own experience; and since most people in a class discuss their experience, you learn from everyone else as well. The didactic portions of the class are about specific meditation techniques, stress reactivity and response, communication, nutrition and more.
3) I already meditate—Do I need to stop when I take this class?
It depends on the type of meditation you are doing already. We recommend following the curriculum, which involves some very specific meditation practices. But we can answer this question more fully in person. Many experienced meditators take this class because while they have learned to meditate, they might not have yet found a way to incorporate meditation and/or mindfulness into their every day lives.
4) I can’t attend the orientation, is this essential?
The orientation is useful but not essential. If you can’t make it, we will need to have a separate phone interview with you before our first class. You cannot begin the class without either attending the orientation, or having this separate phone interview.
5) How much time is needed to do the work between classes?
One hour per day, which includes 30 minutes of formal meditation and 30 minutes of informal practice. Informal practice means bringing a different kind of awareness to activities you are doing anyway—eating, washing the dishes, answering the phone, etc.
6) What is the half–day retreat?
The half-day retreat is a day of practice. It is optional but highly recommended and allows the opportunity to really deepen one’s meditation. For many, it is known to be very transformative. Prior to the event, we discuss this in more detail during the class.
7) What results can I expect?
You will develop increased awareness of the interplay of mind and body in health and illness. You will also discover and develop the ability to help yourself and move towards greater balance, control and peace of mind, whatever your circumstances. People who participate in MBSR have found it to be helpful in dealing with Job/Career stress, Family stress, Financial Stress, digestive issues, heart disease, fibromhyalgia, cancer, headaches, chronic pain, sleep problems, high blood pressure, fatigue, asthma, anxiety and panic, skin disorders and many other issues. Important: Nothing is guaranteed and what you get out of this class depends on how much effort you put into it.
8) Why types of meditation are taught?
The primary formal meditation practices include body scan, sitting meditation, walking meditation and mindful movement. As well, we discuss numerous informal mindfulness practices
9) Is it religious or spiritual?
The basic answer is no. These practices are based on and similar to Buddhist meditation practices that have been around for over 2500 years but spirituality and or religious ideas/beliefs/presentations are not part of the curriculum. A practice can be explored independently from a belief system or worldview. This curriculum is taught in a number of public institutions (education, healthcare, justice, etc), precisely because it is totally secular and does not conflict with participants’ existing religion/spirituality, if any.