Online Classes After 3 Weeks: Surprising comments and experiences of students.

Dear Folks;  As you know there has always been a generous willingness to meet you where you are in my courses, workshops and coaching.  This term has been no exception though the changes in modes of teaching and booking classes is revolutionary and, as you know, is now all online.  Many dozens of you continue booking and attending classes.  I feel blessed with your presence and commitment.  

You may also know that I listen deeply to you.  I just sent out a week-3 survey to students who have been attending class this term to learn how to improve and acknowledge what works. Here is what I learned from dozens of folks who responded:

  • 95% were satisfied to very satisfied with their experience
  • All suggestions for improvement are being implemented as best I can; sound quality, breakout group improvements, video enhancements, etc.)

 

You have my commitment to continue to support you all in the best ways possible.  Especially now as our lives and society are transforming.  Reach out when I can support you further.    Brant

Below are some of the dozens of surprising comments and experiences folks offered:

  • Thanks for all you do. Your class always brightens my days.
  • Even in silence, it’s just so good to connect with others in the mindful container class provides.
  • The classes help to break up the day with self care, both mental and physical during these difficult times.
  • There is a feeling of community in the live classes, and scheduled sessions help to keep a focus on caring for ourselves that can be lost in worry and busyness.
  • Thank you for all your work to make the courses so accessible and in keeping us connected.
  • The noon-time class really helps me reset my day and my week! Not having the 30-40-minute driving time means this mindful yoga time is much more within my day, and that has been interesting.
  • It’s been a wonderful way to connect with others and keep my yoga practice going. A huge encouragement during this time of separation.
  • I appreciate that these classes are available to us during this time, even though we have to adapt to a different way of doing our classes.
  • Having something to show up for, a place to be at a certain time has given order to my days, structure to otherwise endless activity of a busy house. I am gaining fitness and strength as well.
  • I’m surprised, although I needn’t be, how therapeutic the virtual class is. Good connection and practice makes for a great day.
  • Now more than ever it is important to be mindful and gentle with ourselves. These classes are a brief respite from the grim news that bombards us daily.
  • Community is essential for us now— belonging to any group is essential for our wellbeing and sense of humanity. This is a delightful and healing way to do that!
  • Great to have the consistent accountability of the evening daily meditation class
  • I really enjoy the opportunity to sign on wherever I am where I can get a good internet connection. I have family around the NW and I know that when I make travel plans 
  • It’s just a good way to stay connected with Brant and fellow students and to be reminded that we’re all in the same boat and doing our best.
  • I’m currently in the evening meditation class. I find I am able to clear the chatter, which allows me to be more mindful as I determine my next steps. The poems that are shared are timely and profoundly impactful.
  • It’s a way to turn away from the din of the news cycle, and the feeling of physical confinement, by attending to the interior landscape.
  • I’ve found that the classes help me focus on being in the moment.
  • In the presence of your own home, you can experience a lovely hour of movement and meditative practice that nourishes both your body and spirit. This is the best thing to do for those you love, including yourself!
  • Love online classes with Brant. Excellent to be in your home & join others as a group. Easy to use technology.
  • It’s a wonderful lifeline to my friends in the yoga class. It’s great to see someone, talk to them at the beginning and end of class, and a joyous constant to see Brant each week.
  • The evening meditation sessions are a good way to bring perspective and peace into the close of the day.
  • Helps to provide a focus in these strange times. Meditation evenings are a perfect way to let go of the day’s thoughts, worries and challenges, and center myself before sleep.
  • Brant’s directed Mindful Yoga at home provides the same clear step-by-step instructions that we get in his studio. We get to work in the comfort of our own home and also have the opportunity to briefly interact with our fellow students both before and after class.
  • I did not expect this, but it turns out I focus in a little better when doing the yoga class at home. I finish class feeling relaxed and energized.
  • It’s good to stay connected with my class mates, do yoga with Brant and be able to keep some semblance of normalcy in this chaotic world.
  • Thank you thank you thank you 🙂
  • I’m very grateful we’ve been able to adapt to the challenges of our current situation and offer classes online. I took my first class last week and I felt great after.
  • I miss seeing all the other students in my class but there is something very calming about doing the class in my own family room.
  • You have done a wonderful job helping us all translation to this new technology and on-line community!
  • The extra intimacy of seeing our peers at home is a plus–and we get to see the yoga assistance animals occasionally make an appearance!
  • I prefer the zoom classes to in studio classes! Much better than I had hoped for! I do wish you would find some better resting music.
  •  It’s the difference between sanity and anxiety for me right now.
  • Definitely a great way to learn and grow in stressful and uncertain times.
  • During these extraordinary times, the online classes are a lifeline through which we know that we are all in this together. The opportunity to see and interact with others is a blessing. 
  • At the start of the first week my energy was scattered. By the end of the week despite many uncertainties and turbulence I felt peaceful acceptance and moments of stillness. I attribute much of this sense of calm to Shared Meditation Evenings each night at 9pm. Heartfelt gratitude ❤️
  • It gives me a deliberate time to pause and focus on something other than the COVID situation, to breathe, to know it’s possible to find the center again.
  • The weekly yoga class  is a great way to release anxiety and tension, especially in the present circumstances. 
  • A scheduled quiet time to focus on something other than world troubles.
  • This way of bringing 75 minutes of community to my week is an important lifeline.
  • It’s a refuge into a place of gentle motion and self-care.

 

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction: Staying-at-Home (MBSR-SH) online this April

Dear Folks;  Adapting to the times I have reconfigured MBSR to meet the challenges of time and to make it very accessible and effective with the tools we have today.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is an extremely effective way of learning to care for ourselves by moderating the those sharp edges of stress. It has a large library of research proving its effectiveness.  This online version MBSR-SH preserves that effectiveness using todays tools appropriately.

If you have been thinking about the MBSR course there is still room this spring as folks begin registering online. Set aside concerns about tuition if you have been laid off or having trouble with funding. Just reach out to me and we’ll make this work for you; scholarships, payments over time, discounts.

Here is a link to this spring’s MBSR-SH online course details..

Kind Regards  —  Brant

Benediction by Laura Sawyer

Students share their interests and passions in many ways.  Laura Sawyer, a long time student, shared this rich and beautiful poem, a meditation on her connection with herself and nature’s elements in the forest at the Hoyt Arboretum in Portland.

Recited

 

BENEDICTION

Sunday mornings find me hiking
through a million shades of green,
in a soaring cathedral of sequoia and redwood, ferns gentle on the ground.

Praying
my way through the forest, every step
a meditation,
coolness and the scent of mingled vegetation, a sheltering surround.

Breathing in the sacred silence,
broken only by the sound of my dog huffing quietly beside me
and the wind singing through the trees, restoring what was missing deep inside.

Sharing peace
on the faces of strangers on the trail, fellow travelers
through the echoes of the holy
in this church of the arboretum, unfailing mender of my soul.

Spring Online Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Course (MBSR): Starts Thursday April 16th with free Orientations April 9th & 11th


Dear Folks;
I hope you are all well as we lean toward the immense challenges around us. Over and over I am hearing and reading about the necessity for caring for ourselves and softening the sharp edges of stress during this time. To cultivate what we can do for ourselves and those in our lives.

Over and over in these podcasts or articles when the recommendations for self-care become specific, a generous contemplative practice, a mindfulness practice in some form is central especially now as our external activities of stress relief are out of touch; skiing, swimming, gathering in groups, restaurants, etc. Likewise, I am finding Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) at the center of those specific recommendations because it is so extremely effective in mitigating stress and has a rich base of research.

If you have been thinking about the MBSR course there is still room this spring as folks begin registering online. Set aside concerns about tuition if you have been laid off or having trouble with funding. Just reach out to me and we’ll make this work for you; scholarships, payments over time, discounts.

With your registration you’ll be included in a number online yoga classes of your choice: See Schedule as well as the Shared Meditation Evenings at 9pm each night and certain workshops as a way of doing and sharing home practice.  Also, once the stay-at-home order has lifted you wil be my guest at a subsequent, in-person All Day MBSR Retreat.

Here is a link to more about MBSR with a link to details and ways of applying for the course starting on Thursday April 16th at 6pm

Kind Regards  —  Brant

How to Book Classes Here Online

Dear Folks;  The desktop booking process for classes here is now set up with a reliable and simple to use booking service.  Booking this way  is straight forward though I wanted to give you a look to help a bit as you begin.  After you’ve registered for booking this will be a very friendly process each time you want to book a class.

Below is the general sequence of booking and then paying for your classes online via PayPal or credit card.  Once registered you may want to use the booking services ‘Momoyoga’ phone or tablet app.  Available at the App Store or Google Play.

Short of all this if you need to register in a different way or more directly please  contact me and register via email or phone  to make that happen in a way that supports you best.  I do prefer that you register online but I’m here to support you as best I can.

  1. On each of the calendar descriptions of my classes, workshops and series you will se a link to Book Online.  You can find that link also  under my website’s Contact and Registration tab.  Once you open the Book Online page you will see a page that looks like the one below with classes and Book now buttons near the list of classes.
  2. Click the Book now button for the first class you want to book and you will land on a page that asks you to register for booking and it looks like this below. It will ask you if you are already a registered booking member or if you want to register with the booking service.  You’ll only have register once for all your subsequent online booking here.  Just enter your first and last name and email address which are necessary and then, only if you wish, fill in more details.  Then click on Register. –
  3. Once you’ve clicked the Register button you’ll receive an email to verify your registration and instruct you to add a password to your account and then to be able to book and pay for your classes. Once registered you can then choose a class to book and you’ll see a screen that looks something like this so you can book your class.
  4. Log in with your email address and password to be able to book the class.  And you’ll come to a confirmation page for your booking.   During your registration you’ll be given options for paying for the class via PayPal or credit card.  Just follow this instructions.
  5. If you want to manage your classes and payments click the upper right hand menu button, My Schedule, and you’ll go to a page that allows you to see and manage all your registered classes and passes or memberships.
  6. From that screen you can cancel classes and choose which passes and memberships you want to purchase, etc.  Each pass and membership gives you access to specific courses as described in your registration process.I hope  this has been helpful!  If you become lost in there reach out to me and I can help sort things out from this side.  Kind Regards  —  Brant

Some Encouragements for You in Uncertain Times: Videos of students acknowledging balance, healing, and clarity through mindful yoga and mindfulness practice

Late last year my MBSR Intern, Stephanie, and her dear husband, Brian, were willing to interview and film the comments of a dozen students willing to share their experiences of transformation in the face of life’s challenges as they learned and practiced mindful yoga and mindfulness practice through the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course.

In these voices I hope you find encouragement to find your path and to share your path of growth hand-in-hand with those near you during this difficult era.  I certainly have and am deeply thankful for this gift  —  Brant

Here are their video comments, about 7 to 10 minutes each:

Mindful Movement in Psychotherapy – Book Review & Invitation to Learn More

My dear friend and long-time colleague, Dr. Paul Salmon, recent published a seminal book for those in his field of psychotherapy: Mindful Movement in Psychotherapy.  So much of therapy tends to be from the neck up and Paul, a clinical psychologist, researcher, university instructor, athlete, exercise physiologist, and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) instructor brings together heart, mind and body in this superb and ground-breaking work fashioned to help psychologists, therapists, physicians and other clinicians.

I met Paul a number of years ago at one of the annual scientific conferences for MBSR researchers and instructors.  Since then we have co-taught course at conferences as well as co-taught here and talked weekly about the themes of his research, clinical work, teaching, and my work here with students in many different settings; my classrooms and organizations around the region.

I will review Paul’s book further over the months ahead and post my comments here.

Perhaps you’ll be interested in the online course, Mindful Movement in Psychotherapy, we are assembling for this spring term.  Details, time, date and other details soon.

Kind Regards  —  Brant

 

Radical Acts of Love & Sanity

Dear Folks;  My teacher, Jon Kabat-Zinn, on a number of occasions and in his writings has talked about the quality of open and attentive presence as a ‘radical act of sanity’ in a fairly insane world.  I think that is so very true today as global and personal health, economics, and relationships strain in so many ways.

I had the distinct privilege yesterday to spend part of the day at the Hoyt Arboretum near the zoo where there were so many people sharing the trails and open air.  Families, friends, pets less concerned about COVID-19, politics or the stock market and able to share the ‘radical act of love and sanity’ of simply being attentive and present to the experiences of one another and nature’s gifts;  fresh air, bright colors, sounds, fragrances, even snow!

In these challenging times let’s continue to lean toward these acts of love and sanity the ways we can.  Perhaps in classes here this spring, outdoors shared with loved ones, safe and well cared for venues of learning and sharing, home with those dear to you. One workshop which will emphasize this will be the Transforming Fear & Anxiety into Joy & Ease in early April.  Let’s continue to support ourselves and one another generously in the face of these challenges.

The Flu, Colds, Corona: Practice is Caring for Ourselves and One Another Effectively & Generously When Here

Dear Folks;  Most of you may not know that my academic and early career background was in  biology and ecology.  As this flu and corona virus season has unfolded I have been very interested and mindful about global and local situation, our classroom space, our presence with one another in the classrooms, and the ecology of contagion in a science-based way.  While it is true that we cannot isolate ourselves into hermetically sealed units, we can minimize our exposure to the these difficulties in very effective and common-sense ways.  What I am doing in our classrooms and recommending for you in this post are based on the best science, medical advice, and epidemiology from the Washington County Health Department, the Oregon Health Authority, and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  You can be assured that I continue to be up-to-date on all this as a way of supporting us when we are in our classrooms.   I invite you to care for yourself and care for all of us in class by learning and modifying your way of life in a positive and caring way during this challenging time.

CLASSES HERE WILL BE ONLINE THIS SPRING AS WE DEAL WITH THIS CHALLENGE BEFORE US.  

  • Governor Brown’s Stay-at-Home Order is now in place as of March 23rd
  • One of my students, Jani, provided this excellent and thorough perspective on the jog ahead for people around the globe manage this difficult disease.  Corona Virus Can Be Stopped.

Encouragements from Recent Research:  A recent comprehensive study published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine found that the lethality of the corona virus, COVID-19 is less than had previously been thought.  As we learn more there will be less fear and panic and more effective ways to meet this challenge.  We have become accustomed to and learned how to live full lives in the presence of the seasonal flu which results in tens of thousands of fatalities each year in the US and we will learn and live with corona virus and find ways to live and work well with this new challenge in the months ahead.  Let’s support one another.

Very recent and credible research notes that folks who have few symptoms or no symptoms may carry the virus without knowing it.  This makes it doubly important for all of us to practice hygiene that is very proactive; wash hands often, sanitize if you can’t wash, wipe down restroom fixtures after use, and the notes below.

MEETING THIS CHALLENGE AS PRACTICE

Can this be another opportunity for practice?  Rather than pushing to get, avoiding reactively, fighting without need, can we meet this difficulty honestly and face-to-face and lean forward to live generously, openly and be actively engaged?

I have been preparing our classroom spaces and teaching methods for common sense, science-based, and effective cleanliness and interpersonal safety.  Likewise I am asking that we all learn how to take care of ourselves and one another during this season of uncertainty.  Here is what I am asking of myself and every student so we can meet the challenges together in a effective and caring way this spring term:

SANITATION IN OUR CLASSROOMS WHEN IT IS TIME TO RETURN TO IN-PERSON CLASSES: 

  1. Before my classes I sanitize the frequently touched surfaces; switches, door knobs, bathroom fixtures, hard surfaces.  Check with your teacher to see what they are doing in this regard.  Fortunately most flu, cold, and similar viruses generally live only a short time outside the body.  They can remain viable on hard surfaces listed above for more than a day in cool temperatures hence those are sanitized frequently here.  
  2. Research has shown that dry, porous materials like fabric at warmer temperatures (60 degrees and above) are generally very inhospitable to such viruses and they will generally perish in minutes or at most a day.  Blankets, yoga straps, blocks, and even the fabric-based yoga mats here are porous and the classrooms are kept at 60 to 75 degrees.  I be miming the use of props here and, moving classes from upstairs to downstairs to minimize exposure and modifying my teaching methods so props are unused for at least 72 hours between uses.  As I mentioned above, I advise that you bring your own yoga set (Here is a highly rated and affordable yoga set at Amazon).   
  3. There are numerous hand sanitizer/tissue stations in the classrooms.  Feel free at anytime before, during, or after class to use them.  Likewise, the restrooms have hand soap and sanitizer always available. 
  4. I am setting up options to pay online and via my new credit card device. I prefer that you pay with check though don’t be concerned if that is inconvenient.  Just pay electronically or when you have your checkbook with you.  I will gladly accept cash and keep a supply of crisp, new unhandled bills to provide change. As usual, I will not be concerned if you happen to forget your payment and we’ll take care of it later in some kind way. 

TEACHING METHODS:

  1. SOCIAL DISTANCING:  Class size will be limited to 10 students and spacing between students will be generous and in line with CDC and WHO guidelines (do our best to keep 6 feet distance with a minimum of 3 feet always.  Folded blankets will mark the wide spaces between mats.
  2. During this season of uncertainty I will omit partner-supported and close contact or touching activities.  This will not effect the vitality of learning with one another and will reassure you that your time here will be appropriate, safe, and helpful.
  3. This term I will focus more generally on stress reduction, softening the sharp edges of anxiety and fear as well inviting a generous sense of openness and extension outward from the tensions that my hold us inward as we encounter the difficulties around us;  politics, financial system uncertainties,  COVID-19, and more.  Liberal applications of emotional and practical assurances as I speak the cues in class as well as a generous application of guided progressive relaxation for stress relief. 

TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF & OTHERS: This will require all of us to change many of our unconscious behaviors in daily life.

  1. If you have cold or flu symptoms stay home to recuperate, consult your doctor, and minimize exposing others.  You will be credited all classes you miss without question.  I will provide you with a link to my recordings of yoga class so you can practice at home.
  2. While here in the classrooms make ample use of the many hand sanitizer/tissue stations.  When you wash your hands do so for at least 20 seconds as health authorities suggest.
  3. When you use the restroom wipe down those fixtures (knobs, faucet, sink, switch, etc) you touch with the nearby sanitizer or wipe.
  4. Before you flush put the lid down.
  5. If you sneeze or cough do so into a tissue or your clean shirt sleeve and dispose of the tissue.  Many of us simple turn our head or cough into our hand.  That will not work to halt the spread of these viruses.  There are tissue boxes all around the rooms.  I recommend wearing clean long-sleeved and long-legged garments as an added layer of cleanliness for you and others.
  6. Practice patient social distancing when arriving or leaving.  Shoe can be placed on the shoe shelf, beneath the bench, or on the floor nearby as you practice social distancing of 3 to 6 feet as the World Health Organization and CDC advise.
  7. Bring your own yoga props or a full set; mat, yoga towel, strap, blocks. (Here is a highly rated and affordable yoga set at Amazon).   If you borrow one of the classroom’s mats use a yoga mat towel.  There will be some here if you need one.  The available props to borrow have been untouched for at least 72 hours by rotating classes upstairs and downstairs and setting aside used props after each class so they are not touched for those 72 hours.
  8. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. These are the principle routes of these viruses into our bodies.  We do this unconsciously and many times an hour so good practice can include noticing the tendency and choosing another mode of action perhaps with a tissue or a cleansed hand.
  9. When greeting one another substitute a handshake or hug with firm, reassuring eye contact or verbal greeting.. 

Winter MBSR Courses Begin on Thursday, January 23rd & Saturday the 25th: Saturday is excellent for commuters

 

 

I have opened registration for winter’s Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) courses  Thursday evening  starting January 23rd as well as the January 25th  Saturday afternoon MBSR Program.  The Saturday, 2pm training is an excellent choice for greater Portland area commuters with good traffic and Max nearby.  

Also, my classroom is an easy 2-block walk from both downtown Hillsboro Max stations.  There are a number of excellent restaurants, shops, and parks downtown near my classrooms.  Here are more general details about MBSR.

A rich background of scientific research and books has made MBSR one of the most effective and respected methods of helping people though the most stressful challenges of life: heart disease, cancer, fibromyalgia, anxiety, depression, asthma, multiple sclerosis, sleep problems and much more.  Read a summary of my MBSR program’s clinical results.  You may want to read the review paper about my MBSR program and mindfulness in the Journal of Participatory Medicine coauthored by my colleagues, 15 local referring physicians, therapists, teachers and MBSR participants: Mindfulness in Participatory Medicine Context & Relevance.

Learn more background about MBSR training here at this link:  MBSR at the Stress Reduction Clinic.  Please feel free to contact me with any and all questions about MBSR and my trainings:  Contact Brant.