Mindfulness for Beginners
Grounded in the Buddhist tradition, mindfulness, or Insight meditation, is a centuries-old practice that has been updated to serve the needs of busy people from all walks of life. Whether we identify as students, parents, wage earners, business owners or professionals, we all face the challenges of strong emotions: fear, anger, anxiety and depression, brought on by the ups and downs of life.
While mindfulness practice has been supplemented by the efforts of philosophers, psychologists and scientists in the 60 years since it was brought to the West, the practice remains, a simple yet profound way of learning how to be present in every moment of your life. Short periods of regular practice have been proven to alleviate stress, promote mental clarity and emotional balance, while allowing a more wise and efficient response to life’s challenges, wherever and whenever they occur. Often, long-term practice results in subtle shifts in our consciousness that allow for the opening of our hearts and minds, resulting in joy and compassion for both ourselves and others.
Since 2002, the teachers of InsightLA have provided the people of Los Angeles with:
- classes to help students establish a sitting practice;
- community sits to support that practice;
- daylong and residential retreats to deepen their practice;
- specialized classes led by therapists and medical professionals aimed at alleviating symptoms of stress, depression, and maintaining sobriety;
- workshops that help apply mindfulness to their relationships at home, work, and serve to enrich their lives.
For those looking to begin a mindfulness meditation practice at InsightLA, we offer two multi-week courses:
Named “Best of LA” by Los Angeles Magazine, our popular Six Week Essentials of Mindfulness class introduces beginners to the basics of effective practice, including:
- how to connect deeply with your body and breath,
- how to work with difficult emotions, and develop a healthier relationship with your thoughts
- how to integrate your practice into your daily life so you can more fully realize the benefits of practice
- sitting and walking meditation and developing mindfulness in daily life.
- explanation and discussion of the teachings central to insight meditation
For those of you looking to deepen your practice, we offer a place, indeed a community, for seasoned practitioners to sit together, soak in Dharma teachings, and connect with other practitioners about how the Dharma is expressing itself in our lives. We welcome you into the deep silence supported by such long-term practice. Sanity inherently means being in this world, as it is. So when stress arises, as we know it will, how do we stay present, sane? How do we practice a path that truly allows ongoing rest and peace with full engagement in the world? We will explore the practice of taking refuge, exploring tried and true ways to cultivate a resting place whatever the moment in time, whatever place or the circumstances.
Originally developed in the late 1970’s by UMASS Professor Emeritus of Medicine, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., our Eight-Week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, has been taught in dozens of institutional and professional settings, including clinics, hospitals, schools, higher education, corporations, prisons, the legal profession, and professional sports, worldwide.
Whatever path you take, we invite you to support and develop your practice at our donation-based community sits, where we offer guided practices, and deepen your practice at our daylong and multi-day residential retreats.