NORTHAMPTON — Local residents are invited to participate in the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program, which begins April 26 and runs through June 14.
The program consists of eight weekly classes, which take place Tuesday evenings from 6:30 to 9 p.m. in the Dakin Conference Room at Cooley Dickinson Hospital. There will also be an all-day retreat on Sunday, June 5 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Dakin Conference Room at Cooley Dickinson.
Participants will be given instruction in formal mindfulness meditation methods that include body-scan meditation, gentle stretching and sitting, and walking meditation. They will also learn about informal mindfulness practices, which will allow them to reduce anxiety and assess ineffective habits in their everyday lives. There will be group discussions as well, based on home assignments.
Meditation lets practitioners be more purposeful about their actions and teaches them to respond, instead of react, to situations they encounter. Mindfulness, one type of meditation, is the practicing of focusing on the moment without letting oneself be distracted. Meditating has countless benefits, including decreased pain, lower blood pressure, improved mood and brain function, and improved immune-system function.
The classes are taught by Jeanie Erlbaum, a certified yoga, meditation, and stress-reduction instructor. The program cost is $400, which includes instructional materials, CDs of guided meditations from Valley Stress Reduction teachers, and a copy of Stahl & Goldstein’s “A Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Workbook.” A $40 non-refundable deposit is required to ensure a place in the program. To enroll, a phone interview with the instructor is required. To schedule an interview, call Erlbaum at (413) 230-1518.