1. What is Mindfulness?
So, what exactly is Mindfulness? In a nutshell, mindfulness is the practice of paying attention and focusing awareness, while setting aside any kind of judgments or evaluations of our experience. Being mindful means being fully conscious of the present moment, the ‘here and now’, without any mental or emotional filtering.
2. What is Mindfulness good for?
With mindful awareness we gain more clarity and greatly decrease our stress! By being mindful of our thoughts, feelings, and body sensations, we can learn to recognize signs of stress earlier, and respond more wisely, so that stress doesn’t even build up in our lives.
3. Can anyone learn to be mindful?
Yes! Absolutely. Mindfulness has been practiced for thousands of years by people from all walks of life. Children from as young as 6 and adults well into their 80s can all learn and benefit from meditation.
4. Is there any proof that Mindfulness helps with our well-being?
Yes! Mindfulness is a buzzing field of scientific research and the evidence suggesting how mindfulness can benefit many areas of everyday life has been growing rapidly over the last ten years.
To see some examples of the research behind these benefits, have a look in our ‘Resources‘ section.
5. What’s the difference between Mindfulness and ‘Relaxation’ exercises?
Relaxation and mindfulness meditation tend to be used interchangeably, but they’re actually pretty distinct.
Mindfulness meditation can be accompanied by varying degrees of relaxation. But when you meditate, relaxation isn’t the goal, but more of a wonderful side effect. With meditation, you also achieve better self–knowledge, clarity of thought, focus and well-being, among numerous other benefits.
On the other hand, there are many different ways to relax — either through specific techniques designed to achieve just that, and others where you simply find yourself feeling relaxed through doing something pleasurable, like sitting in the sun, walking in the park or listening to music.
6. Is Mindfulness a ‘religious’ exercise?
Not really. Mindfulness meditation has evolved over thousands of years, rooted in various spiritual disciplines. But at its core, it’s a deeply practical set of techniques that can benefit anyone, without having to affiliate itself with any particular religion.
The ‘Mindfulness for Stress Relief’ program draws on the essence of these tried and tested techniques of mindfulness meditation, but without any spiritual agenda whatsoever. It is founded on Western scientific research into mindfulness meditation techniques and their scientifically proven effects for stress-reduction and overall well-being. Our program is completely practical and absolutely non-religious.
7. Every time I try to meditate I can’t stop thinking. What’s wrong with me?
There is nothing wrong with you at all! Thinking is simply what our mind does. And there is nothing wrong with thinking! Thinking is wonderful! Without thinking we would be inanimate objects incapable of doing anything! Meditation is the acceptance of thinking, the witnessing of thinking and the letting go of attractive of difficult thoughts that might otherwise linger. So, it’s important to know that nobody is saying that thinking is ‘bad’ or that you need to ‘stop’ thinking to properly meditate
But it’s also important to recognize that we cannot be lost in a daydream and experience the present moment at the same time. One is asleep and the other is awake – in terms of awareness. So, the question to ask yourself is “do I want to live life fully?” If the answer is yes, then it is really quite straight forward. As good and attractive as those daydreams may be, they do not even come close to the experience of living one moment after the other.
8. I am not very flexible. Can I still do the Mindfulness Yoga part of the program?
Most certainly! The Mindfulness Yoga that is part of our program is very gentle and consists of some simple movement exercises, which are appropriate for any level of flexibility. The emphasis of the Mindfulness Yoga part of the program is primarily on developing mindful awareness, not so much on ‘stretching’ or ‘exercise’. Our instructors are certified yoga instructors and can help modify some of the mindful yoga postures or movements on an individual basis if need be.
9. What should I wear to class?
Whatever you’re comfortable in. You don’t have to dress in anything special! Loose, comfortable clothing is generally helpful for any of our classes. We do recommend long pants and long-sleeved shirts, since there is very little movement involved in our classes, and we’d like you to stay warm and comfortable.
10. Do I have to bring anything to the class?
You will receive all class materials at your first class. Please, bring the ‘Practice Manual’, the ‘Mindful Journal’, and a pen to each class, since we will be doing some writing exercises throughout the program. You might also consider a separate note-pad for taking notes.
11. What is the cost for the ‘Mindfulness for Stress Relief’ program?
The current fee for the 8-week program is $649.00, which includes 34 hours of instruction and all the class materials. We often offer discounts throughout the year, so sign up for our mailing list to stay up to date with ongoing offerings.
12. I can’t make all the class dates. Is it okay to miss a session or two?
While we recommend that participants attend all eight sessions, we certainly understand that life sometimes gets in the way. It’s no problem if you miss a couple of classes during the program. However, if you end up missing more than three classes or the all-day session, it might be beneficial to take the entire program from the start again.
13. Do you offer private one-on-one classes?
Yes, we do! Private one-on-one classes are generally taught at a student’s house or at a local yoga studio that we can rent out hourly. We provide any necessary supplies, like mediation cushion/bench and/or yoga mat. The hourly rate for one-on-one mindfulness class is $125.00/hr. Please note, we only offer private classes within Anchorage city limits (not including Eagle River or Girdwood).
Private classes can function as a great introduction to the full 34-hour Stress Relief program. In addition, they also offer an opportunity for students who have particular areas of interests or specific questions about mindfulness or stress reduction that they would like to address in a one-on-one session with an instructor.