Mayo Clinic Health System will offer an eight-week “Living Life Mindfully: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction” course from 5 to 7:30 p.m. starting Tuesday, Sept. 16. The course also includes an all-day retreat on Oct. 25. Taught by Elizabeth Power Hawkinson, Mayo Clinic Health System licensed independent clinical social worker, the course introduces the fundamental techniques of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), a clinically proven, complementary medicine program used to reduce stress and promote overall health and well-being.

The “Living Life Mindfully: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction” course is modeled after the pioneering and highly successful work of Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts Medical School. The MBSR course meets weekly and includes the all-day retreat, practice CDs and Kabat-Zinn’s book, “Full Catastrophe Living.”

Students practice seated meditation, body awareness meditation and moving meditation (i.e. gentle yoga) while exploring mindfulness in one’s daily life. They learn to become aware of their surroundings and how to find balance and peace of mind. Recognizing their inner wisdom, students develop an attitude of mindfulness, which includes purposefully accepting situations in a composed, curious and non-judgmental manner.

Today, hundreds of medical institutions use the MBSR model to help patients. According to Hawkinson, the MBSR course can benefit anyone who wishes to better cope with health challenges, life changes, stress and the fast pace of modern life. “These issues can negatively impact people’s immediate and long-term health,” says Hawkinson. “I teach students how to counter the damaging effects of stress by calming their minds.”

Hawkinson has taught the MBSR course for eight years and trained approximately 200 people. Her class typically includes 15 to 20 students and occurs twice each year. After completion, many students reinforce their training through mini-practice sessions with Hawkinson at Mayo Clinic Health System in St. Peter.

The cost to attend the “Living Life Mindfully: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction” course is $350. Flexible payment and financial assistance is available. Pre-registration is recommended, and orientation takes place from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 2 at Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato Eastridge, located at 101 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. For more information and to register, call 507-931-2110, ext. 5178.

Customer Service Representative and Editorial Assistant for the Le Center Leader, Le Sueur News-Herald, St. Peter Herald and the Waseca County News.

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