MBSR reminds me to be more present.
Without one, you cannot have the other.
Yoga has taught me to “breathe into life.”
“It was around the 5th week of my MBSR class experience that I entered that place of stillness without hesitation. “Go there… sit in your vast interior world of stillness.” Brant’s calm and reassuring voice lead us in a guided meditation that offered the nudge to go there and explore. I did. I connected to my awareness through breath and said hello to Stillness, for the first time. I did it! I felt that feeling of sitting without judgement while being full of ease in the moment. A deep sense of acceptance and love washed over me in that stillness, an unplugged, fully present stillness.
My MBSR experience with Brant and the other students was a discovery of what mindfulness meditation is and what it is not. Each week brought another layer of practice and understanding of who I am in this very distracting, reactive world. It’s about practice. Daily practice. The supportive phrase that Brant shared with us, class after class was “do the best you can.” Those words encouraged me to be kind to myself, to notice reactivity and to keep practicing! Simple but not easy. Sitting meditation is now a part of my life and daily routine, like exercise and eating well. The practice I did during this 8-week course changed my life and has opened me up to a more beautiful, fuller life. I fell in love with my life as my awareness and sense of presence expanded. I am so thankful to my teacher, Brant Rogers, for sharing this practice with me and all of his students. Brant is walking awareness with sensitivity and compassion. I have learned so much from his depth of practice and teachings on how to say hello to Stillness.”
“The quieter you become the more you are able to hear.” – Rumi
One of my MBSR Students recently told me about a delightful and surprising conversation with her sons. They had commented “Mom, the class is working!” I couldn’t resist asking her for their testimonial. She graciously offered to provide this video. “I guess the people around you can see the subtle shifts” she said in the video.
Donna started practicing yoga as a foundation to transition from her hectic work schedule into retirement. She reports that yoga is helping her to focus on the present, develop an appreciation for life-balance, redefine her parameters in terms of the possibilities as a retiree, and inspire new adventures.
Earlier this year, Donna and her husband traveled to Peru, where they hiked part of the Inca trail near Machu Picchu. She attributes her success in hiking this ancient path of the Incas to her yoga practice. The high altitude required that she manage her breathing, and climbing over the large boulders on the trail drew upon her improved core strength. We’ve enclosed a picture of Donna in “Warrior” pose as she reached the Sun Gate above Machu Picchu.
Donna also lived aboard a dive vessel this past summer in the Marshall Islands, where she was further inspired by others who share her passion for yoga. “Seeing women in their 70’s and 80’s maneuvering heavy dive gear, maintaining “Tree” pose out in a choppy ocean, and leading our group on island explorations reaffirm the tremendous power of a lifelong yoga practice,” says Donna. She’s excited about the person she is becoming in retirement–and looks forward to new adventures on the yoga mat…and in her travels. – Archive Yoga Hillsboro Newsletter Article, 2006.
“The MBSR program has helped me to be more mindful in every way. The meditations help me to stay centered and manage my anxiety. As a Pilates teacher, I am more confident and have been able to connect intuitively with my students in ways I hadn’t before. My husband and I have been meditating with our children, which has become a wonderful way to grow as a family.” —
Owner, Trio Pilates in Hillsboro
“I’m a 70 year old woman who has practiced yoga on and off for 20 years. I was in one of those “off” periods and seeing a psychotherapist about a year ago when she suggested I get back into a group practice since I was having issues with aging. The issues were around the physical, emotional and spiritual changes that happen as we age. At almost the same time, I had injured my knee while walking my dogs and started physical therapy. My P.T. also recommended renewing a yoga practice for flexibility and a way to keep active and strong. Two professional people in my life telling me to practice yoga! I didn’t know where to start but my psychotherapist recommended Brant’s classes at Hillsboro yoga. She had heard about his gentle yoga classes. I signed on immediately and I’m very happy to be in the Wednesday morning Gentle Yoga class. Gentle yoga has been a great way for me to get back into a routine of caring for my body and soul.” – Sharon
“I took the MBSR course three years ago and use the skills everyday. This amazes me because so often I try to apply and “keep” new learning from a book, advice from a person or information from a class and my mind is like a sieve and I lose it. Brant’s gentleness and positive approach were a kind of loving and validation that I still receive comfort and encouragement from. An example is Brant’s imploring us to “just notice that” as we would share about a worry or a fret about something we find intolerable. To actively notice my breath, body, environment and “life as it is” helps diffuse the judging and built-up energy, that are the hallmark of stress and reactivity, so a kind of settling and relaxation can happen. This will be a lifelong practice as I try to accept “life on life’s terms.” I still use the MBSR CD with the guided meditations and take myself on field trips from Portland to Hillsboro to take a Yoga class or participate in an MBSR retreat. This experience continues to enrich my life.”
Natasha Spoden, Portland, Oregon
“The mindfulness practice I learned in the MBSR class has allowed me to access the calm space that lives below my constant stream of thoughts and emotions with more frequency. Living moment-to-moment more regularly has made me a less reactionary in my personal and professional relationships, and has allowed me to truly engage with the things I enjoy. The picture is of me on the approach to the summit of Thompson Peak in Idaho. Awareness of my walking and breathing has allowed me additional mental capacity to enjoy walking up hill for many hours on end (but hasn’t made it any easier). Many thanks to Brant for sharing this gift with me. Jeff W 2015″