Stefan Zijlstra, MA, RYT 500, is the founder and current director of the â€˜Alaska Center for Mindfulness.Stefan has been practicing mindfulness meditation and yoga since 1996, and has trained with a wide range of yoga and meditation teachers. He has been teaching Mindfulness Meditation and Mindfulness Yoga in Alaska since 2005.
Stefan is passionate about introducing the â€˜Mindfulness-based Stress Reductionâ€™ (MBSR) program to Alaska, offering classes for the workplace, the healthcare system, and to the general public.He seeks to empower individuals with an understanding of the important role they themselves play for their own health. He believes that through â€˜compassionate awarenessâ€™ individuals are able to utilize the best resource they have available: their own inner wisdom.
A taste of â€˜Mindfulnessâ€™
Sit back, take a moment to become aware of the surroundings you are in, the sensations in your body, the thoughts in your mind and the feelings in your heart. Are you feeling curious, excited, skeptical, hopeful or bored? Are you aware of physical sensations of tension, pain, warmth or numbness? Can you hold all of the amazing and varied things in your awareness for a moment without having to change them, get rid of them or get lost in them? Can you experience this very moment for the precious, fleeting and beautiful thing that it is?
You have just tasted some of your own ability to be mindful and we invite you to cultivate it further through participation in one of the Mindfulness programs that we offer at the Alaska Center for Mindfulness!
The â€˜Mindfulness-Based Stress Reductionâ€™ program merges mindful awareness training and gentle yoga exercises. Mindfulness practice is ideal for cultivating greater awareness of the unity of mind and body, and of the ways our unconscious thoughts, feelings, and behaviors can undermine emotional, physical, and spiritual health.
Our MBSR program is an 8-week intensive training in various mindfulness practices, based on ancient healing traditions, to empower participants to take an active role in the management of their health and wellness.
The mind is known to be a factor in stress and stress-related disorders, and meditation has been shown to positively effect a range of physiological processes, such as lowering blood pressure and reducing overall emotional reactivity. In addition to mindfulness practices, MBSR uses simple yoga movements to help reverse the prevalence of disuse atrophy from our cultureâ€™s largely sedentary lifestyle, especially for those with pain and chronic illnesses.
Our program consists of a 2-hour orientation session, eight weekly 3-hour sessions, plus one all-day session on the Saturday or Sunday of the 6th week of the program.Weekly classes are a balance of didactic teaching, experiential practice, and small and large group processing. The all-day session is primarily an experiential session where we are practicing mindfulness together for a sustained period.
Students are asked to practice approximately 30-45 minutes daily at home, which includes guided relaxation & meditation practices, reading, and written reflection exercises. It is important to understand that your success in the program, whether that is to diminish your pain levels, stabilize your mood, or be less stressed, is directly related to your commitment to fully engage in the entire 8 week process, inside and outside of the classroom. The teaching and learning environment is designed to be highly supportive of each participant.