Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)

Held live via Zoom or in-person, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is an 8-week, evidence-based, experiential program providing in-depth training in mindfulness meditation and movement practices. The program also helps participants integrate mindfulness into their daily lives. Created by Jon Kabat-Zinn in 1979, MBSR is based on ancient contemplative practices integrated with western medical approaches. This program harnesses our inner resources and has been demonstrated to enhance emotional resilience.

MBSR has been researched for over 40 years and consistently delivers benefits associated with increased self-awareness, and attentional and emotional regulation. In addition, outcomes have included reductions in symptoms for various physical and behavioral health conditions such as:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety and Depression
  • Chronic pain
  • Hypertension

The University of Minnesota's Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing has offered mindfulness classes for individuals, organizations, businesses, and communities for more than two decades. Your Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction experience with the Center includes high-quality instruction from expert teachers who are passionate about your health and wellbeing.

Learn more and register

Questions or comments? Please reach out to the Bakken Center's community relations office if you have questions about our mindfulness programming ([email protected], 612-625-8164). We welcome the opportunity to connect with you! 

To view this program's refund and make up session policies, please visit this page

To make disability-related accommodations, please contact the Bakken Center's community relations office ([email protected], 612-625-8164).

Program Overview and More

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What You Will Learn / Class Topics


The orientation session is a required, interactive, hour-long session where you will meet the program facilitator, learn more about the MBSR program's benefits, and understand the program scope and expectations.

Week 1

In this session you will receive an overview of the program and establish the learning context for the rest of your experience. You will learn the theory and evidence for MBSR and how it will be applied throughout the eight week program, as part of and in between the weekly sessions. You'll be experientially introduced to mindful eating, mindful breathing, and the body-scan method, with a special emphasis on what it means to be fully engaged in the present moment.

Week 2

Perception is key to mindful awareness. How we see things (or don't see them) - determines our actions and responses to our daily life circumstances. This week's session and practices will ask you to examine your perceptions, assumptions, and the way you view the world. You will learn to use the body-scan practice to cultivate a greater degree of awareness and understanding of how you react to stressful situations. Changing the way you perceive and respond to difficulties and challenges will impact the short and long-term effects of stress on your mind and body.

Week 3

In this session, you'll practice several distinct yet interrelated mindfulness practices—mindful hatha yoga, sitting meditation, and walking meditation. This is an ideal time to share your insights about your experiences with formal practice and integrating mindfulness into your daily life. You will discover that there is both pleasure and power in being present—you'll directly attend to and investigate how mindful awareness can impact sensations and experiences of both pleasure and discomfort in the mind and body.

Week 4

By practicing mindfulness, we cultivate curiosity and openness to the full range of our experience, and through this process, our ability to pay attention becomes more flexible. This week, your practice will focus on the development of your ability to concentrate and systematically expand your field of awareness. You'll learn about the physiological and psychological bases of stress reactivity, and experience mindful strategies for responding in more positive and skillful ways to stressful situations.

Week 5

At the halfway point in this program, you should now be familiar with the foundations of mindfulness and able to focus on applying it more rapidly and effectively to specific challenges and stressors in your daily life. This week, you will begin to pay attention to the places where you might get stuck, or be repeating conditioned or unhealthy patterns. You will learn how to compassionately apply mindful awareness at the critical moment when you experience a challenging physical sensation, intense emotion, or a maladaptive response. Special attention will be given to exploring the effects of stress reactivity on one's health and overall wellbeing.

Week 6

Resilience or “stress hardiness” is our ability to return to equilibrium after stressful situations. This week, you will focus on mindfulness practices and transformational coping strategies that can enhance your resilience.  You'll also learn the fundamentals of interpersonal mindfulness—applying awareness and presence at times when communication becomes difficult or fraught with strong emotions. You'll gain direct experience in applying mindfulness to your interpersonal communications, and in your daily relationships.

All Day Retreat (typically between week 6 & 7)

This day-long guided retreat will take place between weeks six and seven. The intensive nature of this 6.5 hour session is intended to help you integrate all that you have learned to date in the MBSR program, and support you in establishing a personal mindfulness practice.

Week 7

Mindfulness is most effective when it is a lifetime commitment. This week, you will explore the many ways that you can integrate mindfulness more fully and personally into your life. While having a dedicated regular practice for mindfulness meditation is important and beneficial, it is just as important to bring a broader sense of mindful awareness and presence to every aspect of your daily life. You'll learn how to more confidently develop and apply mindful awareness to the changing circumstances of your life.

Week 8

In the final week of the program, you will have a complete review of everything you've learned over the past eight weeks, with an emphasis on carrying the momentum you've built forward into the coming months and years. You'll be provided additional mindfulness resources, including Bakken Center resources and other community support to help you continue to integrate, learn, and grow your mindfulness practice. The final lesson creates a satisfying closure by honoring both the end of this program and the beginning of the rest of your life.

Who This Class is For

This class is appropriate for anyone wishing to improve their general health and wellbeing through a regular and consistent mindfulness practice.

The 8-week MBSR program provides comprehensive training in developing and sustaining a mindfulness meditation practice. It is not a teacher training program and completing the program does not qualify the participant to teach MBSR. Completion of the 8-week MBSR program is, however, a prerequisite for beginning a standardized MBSR teacher training program or certification process.

What to Expect

These highly participatory, practical sessions will include individual, tailored instruction in mindfulness meditation practices, as well as group discussions, gentle yoga and stretching, daily homework, and related class materials. You will also receive a link to access a MBSR portal that allows you access to all necessary handouts. 

The MBSR program involves a significant commitment of time. In addition to the weekly sessions and retreat, you will be given instructions for daily practices between sessions. Please note that you will be asked to practice at home for roughly thirty to forty-five minutes per day, whenever possible. 

Please note, consistent with the in-person Mindfulness-Based Stress reduction (MBSR) program and curriculum, the online MBSR program focuses on experiential learning where participants gain awareness and insight through both completing the practices and sharing experiences in a supportive learning community. For the online program, you will engage with the facilitator and interact with other participants through your computer screen and video camera. At a minimum, please plan to have your video camera on during each session's attendance, group discussions, and breakout sessions. It is important for the psychological safety and wellbeing of the entire group that cameras are on during these elements.


Your MBSR experience with us includes high-quality, cutting-edge instruction from expert facilitators who are passionate about your health and wellbeing. All Center MBSR facilitators are committed mindfulness meditation practitioners who received extensive MBSR teacher training through either the UMass Memorial Medical Center/Center for Mindfulness or Brown University’s Mindfulness Center. In addition, all Bakken Center MBSR facilitators completed an MBSR Teaching Online program offered by Brown University’s Center for Mindfulness, supporting our facilitators in offering the 8-week MBSR program online program, with skill, ease, and interactivity.

Learn More

Is Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction right for me?

Is Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction right for me?

What Will I Learn in an 8 Week Mindfulness Class?

What Will I Learn in an 8 Week Mindfulness Class?

Meet Mindfulness Instructor Mariann Johnson

Meet Mindfulness Instructor Mariann Johnson