Student Commentary: “. . . greater calm, patience, and kindness towards myself and those around me.”

Practicing yoga and mindfulness has not only given me greater strength, flexibility, and balance but also greater calm, patience, and kindness towards myself and those around me. As the stresses of life pile up, or the shorter days of winter descend, I am much better able to notice, to smile, and to respond in a positive way. I also find myself applying yoga postures throughout my day – when bending over or reaching for something, when gardening, even when just sitting. The payoff is well worth the practice!”

 Judy, 2017

Student Comments: “. . . actually transformed my life . . . relaxation, peace and internal joy . . .”

The MBSR training I received at Yoga Hillsboro has actually transformed my life.  I experience pain from a joint and tissue autoimmune disease, but somehow, I’m not always sure how exactly, but the pain does not bother or frighten me any longer and only very rarely does it interfere with activities I want to enjoy.  

Whenever I encounter a situation that begins to create feelings of anger, or sadness, or anxiety, I know I have the tools to quickly calm the feelings and allow me to think reflectively about how to deal productively with the situation.  

One of the surprising benefits has been the ability to become more of a practical support to friends experiencing difficult life changes.  One of my friends has been overcome in the last few years with several medical issues that now keep her bedridden and in almost constant pain.  By passing on some of the calming and hopeful viewpoints and practices of MBSR, I believe I have helped her cope with her circumstances.

I struggled for 50 years to find sustainable peace in a life filled with clinical depression, social and floating anxiety, and emotional suffering.  After learning the practice and philosophical ideas of MBSR, I now rarely have an experience that I cannot turn into peace or even joy using the tools I was given.  

I’ve taken yoga classes at several different studios with numerous teachers.  At Yoga Hillsboro, I found what I most needed — the relaxation, peace and internal joy of moving my body in a way that felt most right for me.  After class at Yoga Hillsboro, I can count on feeling happy and ready to face my “regular” life again.

Brant, thank you for impacting my life in such a wonderful way.  I wish joy and success for you.”

Pat Hartman

“The Feeling of Happiness was Amazing”

Last summer, the stress of life collided with my type A personality in a big way and I decided something needed to be done. I was frazzled,agitated, and feeling it physically. I found Yoga Hillsboro and signed up for Brandt’s “Beginning Mindful Yoga” series. I was fairly new to yoga, having only done a few poses on my own. I found his class to have a huge impact on my mental and physical well-being and bring his teachings into practice daily. A year later, I am much calmer, happier and better fit. During a recent bike ride, I would stop occasionally along the trail, in a patch of sunshine, and do a few poses before riding on. The feeling of happiness was amazing. I am thankful for Brandt and my yoga companions.”   –  Tina

Life isn’t something you possess. It’s something you take part in, and you witness. Louis C. K.

Practice: Savoring Joy & Difficulties as Vulnerability Ripens Toward Kindness

It was a lovely recent evening with my MBSR students.  We were pondering the consequences of  more than a month of daily practice and the many hours in silence on the recent retreat day.   One of the folks acknowledged that somehow he was able to savor both the difficulties and pleasures of life more these days.  Another, smiled sweetly as she said, “I am feeling joy.”

My students, colleagues and in my personal experience this seems almost universal as we persist in our mindfulness practice.  We become more sensitive, more vulnerable.  As we lean in toward our life as it is right now with more of a willingness to be open.

We begin to know and feel more directly that the  immense difficulties of life are nearby; diagnoses, arguments, loss, change.  Thankfully we find that they come hand-in-hand with life’s joys; affording to feel more of that assuring hug from a loved one, an unexpected resolution or acceptance of that problem, the simple savoring of this meal, acknowledging the miracle of your dear child even when cranky,  and so much more.

There is a great deal of personal power here as we become more open and direct about our life.  The gifted researcher, Brene Brown talks about this in her TED Talk:  The Power of Vulnerability.  David Whyte also delves into this as he reads his meditation about Vulnerability.  

As we talked further that evening there was an acknowledgement that perhaps we simply begin to unfold into kindness toward ourselves and those around us.  We listened that evening to Naomi Shehab Nye’s beautiful poem, Kindness.   And also pondered Derek Walcott’s lovely poem, Love After Love.

Be well my friends.  Practice with kindness.  —  Brant

Student Profile: “Hello, Stillness” – Kristin

“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

Video MBSR Student Comments: Mindfulness at Home, “Mom, this class is working!”

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.  

On YouTube:



Student Profile: Warrior Pose at the Sun Gate above Machu Picchu

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.

Student Profile: “I am more confident and have been able to connect intuitively with my students.”

“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.” —

Kelly Recktenwald
Owner, Trio Pilates in Hillsboro