What is Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)?

Developed by author/researcher Jon Kabat-Zinn, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction practices reduce the physical and emotional symptoms of stress. Participants typically report lasting improvements in their relationships at home and at work and a greater sense of inner calm and confidence when facing life’s challenges. During the course of an eight-week series, students will learn practical, user-friendly skills to deepen relaxation and improve health and resilience in the midst of everyday life challenges. You will also be given lots of guidance and support for establishing your own home practice in a schedule that suits your lifestyle.

Research Related to MBSR

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) has been extensively researched in many settings since its launch in 1979 by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. MBSR has been found to be a helpful adjunct to conventional treatments for a variety of medical and psychological conditions and symptoms, including:

  • Stress
  • Heart disease
  • Gastrointestinal distress
  • Chronic pain
  • Cancer
  • High blood pressure
  • Anxiety and panic
  • Headaches
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Depression
  • Addictions

Mindfulness Classes and MBSR at Sellwood Yoga

We offer the MBSR course several times a year. Since 2009, MBSR has been an integral part of what we offer at Sellwood Yoga.  With so many MBSR graduates, we are happy to offer MBSR alumni the invitation to attend the quarterly day-long MBSR retreats free of charge. This provides regular opportunities to reconnect and practice with Portland’s ever-expanding MBSR community. In addition to MBSR, mindfulness related courses and classes are offered at Sellwood Yoga throughout the year.

Be sure to check the schedule to see what is currently offered.

About the Instructor - Denise Gour

Denise Gour’s therapeutic focus helps people reduce their stress and learn to navigate adversity with more self-compassion, clarity, and ease. She has over 15 years of experience working in Portland with adults and families facing complex issues related to parenting, family and relationships, adult children of impaired parents, recovery from addictions, aging, grief and loss, career shifts, physical injury and illness, and the associated symptoms of depression and anxiety. She also offers presentations and trainings for health care providers, schools, and businesses interested in using mindfulness and stress reduction skills in the workplace.

Denise completed her Mindfulness Based Professional Training with MBSR founder Jon Kabat-Zinn. She has also trained with the researchers who developed Mindfulness-based programs for addiction and depression counseling. As a licensed clinical social worker and certified yoga instructor, she offers a richly integrated approach to teaching stress reduction.

She is deeply inspired by the courage and perseverance shown by the wonderful people she is privileged to work with. She finds purpose and connection in life by joining with all who are willing to face life’s challenges with a compassionate heart and the abiding strength of a good sense of humor.

What Previous MBSR Participants Have to Say

100% of participants say they would recommend this workshop to a friend
, found the information and skills from the course helpful in changing their patterns of automatic reactions
, and said the facilitator was well-organized, thorough, warm and understanding.

What did you find the most useful in the course?

  • “The discussions that Denise lead and the handouts that reinforced her talks and meditating in a group setting.”
  • “Practical tools.”
  • “Learning about different types of mediation and which ones work the best for me.”
  • “Knowing others have the same struggles.”
  • “The retreat was awesome–I totally enjoyed it and found it really helpful.”
  • “Be curious; learning to bring the practices into daily living.”
  • “Your audio recordings were extremely useful and well-done, and made practice really enjoyable.”
  • “Accessibility and support of instructor.”
  • “Group meditation.”
  • “Really appreciated the brain-based information.”
  • 
”I felt safe enough to share and felt understood.”

What differences did you notice in your experiences with stress over the 8-week course?

  • “I was able to notice when I started ruminating instead of being present—little by little, more aware.”
  • “I’ve gained more self-compassion and self-acceptance in the face of difficult situations.”
  • “Stressful moments don’t seem as intense anymore.”
  • “I have noticed and become more aware of how stressed I get at times and have become more aware of how focusing on the breath really helps me.”
  • “Greater awareness of stressors that can trigger reactions physically and emotionally—focus more on acceptance and compassion and less on judgment.”
  • “Moments of noticing the moment—morning air, birdsong, changes in flowers on my way to work. Was there rather than projecting into the workday before I even hit the work doors. Started many days at a calmer level, more confident I’d handle the day (than I was before the class).”
  • 
”I was able to bring my stress level down, calm a racing heart, acknowledge irrational thoughts, and accept frightening emotions.”
  • “I’m able to take a pause and NOTICE the stress as opposed to making decisions from emotions.”