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Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction

What is Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)?

Mindfulness is about developing a moment to moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations  – without judging. In short, mindfulness is about being fully present in our lives rather than living in the past or the future. Research shows that the practice of mindfulness meditation can reduces stress, boost the immune system, strengthen areas in the brain that improve focus and attention skills, and help reduce anxiety and depression. The 8-week, medically evidenced based program, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn, has helped tens of thousands of people worldwide.

MBSR Classes We Offer

Introduction to Mindfulness

Join us for this informative session on the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Program. You will learn how developing meditation skills can help you to manage pain, promote health and wellness, and develop a more positive response to stress.

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction class 

The Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program is a 9-week course (including Intro to MBSR). It is designed to teach people how to improve the way they care for themselves and to participate fully in improving the health and quality of their lives as they work with various types of “stressors” that may be limiting the life that they would like to live. This course is based on the program developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. You will learn effective strategies for working with ongoing stress and chronic pain. Instruction will involve mindful meditation practices, discussion, gentle stretching and yoga appropriate for all ability levels. The instructor is Mary Bitterauf, BS, CHES, Program Manager with MaineHealth Education & Training.

MBSR class expectations

Before you enroll in the 9-week MBSR course we ask that you please consider the following time commitments:

  • Participants are asked for a commitment to attend all classes and a day-long retreat.
  • We encourage 45-60 minutes daily meditation at least 6 days each week.

Your commitment is essential. It is the practice of mindfulness meditation that will enable you to realize its benefits. This commitment can be a challenging one, and may require a lifestyle change. You may have to rearrange your schedule to allow time for daily practice, carving out time from other activities. Once you experience the benefits of MBSR, you may find that maintaining a daily practice becomes easier and highly rewarding. 

MBSR Class Student Materials


Home Practice Manual – Handbook                        

Home Practice Manual – Workbook

Sound Tracks

Body Scan- 15 Minutes or 45 Minutes

Sitting Meditation- 15 Minutes or 45 Minutes

Yoga- Standing or Floor

Lake Meditation

Mountain Meditation


Mindful Yoga 1

Mindful Yoga 2

Chair Yoga 1

Chair Yoga 2

Mindfulness Class FAQ

Since 1979, more than 22,000 people have completed the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program (MBSR). Created by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, MBSR is now taught by qualified professionals including our instructor, Mary Bitterauf. By participating in an MBSR program, you will learn how develop meditation skills to help you manage pain, promote health and wellness and develop a more positive response to stress. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we receive from people who are interested in participating in an MBSR program.

Classes start at different times throughout the year.

You can check our class registration system to see if there is one coming up that fits your schedule. 

We offer a 4-week Fundamentals of Mindfulness class and the 8-week MBSR class. Each week, the classes are 2.5 hours. Click here for the expectations for outside of class time.
Not currently. The MaineHealth Learning Resource Center does not accept third party payees. However, some insurance companies have been trying to promote preventive medicine and have become more willing to reimburse members under wellness codes. Please contact your insurance company to see if it offers this option. In addition, the Learning Resource Center offers a scholarship of $100 per person per year for classes.
MBSR helps people with a wide variety of chronic conditions such as stress disorders, chronic pain, heart disease, anxiety, depression, sleep issues and fibromyalgia.

Yes. Watch this video on the science behind mindfulness 


Patients often report greater joy for the simple things in life, such as a shared moment with their child or partner or more aware of the change of seasons as flowers bloom and snow falls. We begin to realize that there is more “right” with us than “wrong” with us as we become more engaged in our lives. Many of the side effects of mindfulness meditation found in scientific research include decrease in psychological symptoms such as anxiety and depression as well as greater stability in physical symptoms such as blood glucose levels and blood pressure.

Mindfulness is a practice of present moment awareness. Mindfulness increases ability to see things as they arise clearly without judgment. Mindfulness facilitates both focusing and widening our attention as we become aware of ourselves and the world around us. The “goal” is to be more fully present in our lives.

There are many types of contemplative practices and we encourage exploration of practices that allow people to increase their well-being. Many other contemplative practices have a specific focus such as building concentration, one-pointed awareness, or a relationship with a higher power. If mindfulness does not match your interest you may wish to explore other forms of contemplative practices.

No. The class is open to a wide variety of individuals who may have a wide variety of abilities. The yoga is designed to be gentle and the focus is more on giving attention to the movement (even if imagined) than to the particular posture. Participants are encouraged to let their teacher know if they have any physical challenges. This will allow the teacher to fully support the participants as they engage in the mindfulness practices such help modify the practices to fit the individual. There will always be the encouragement to take care of yourself in the best way possible.