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Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Distance Learning

Can’t come to a class every week? Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction comes to you!

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a method of using meditation and yoga to cultivate awareness and reduce stress. It is based on the ancient practice of mindfulness, which is about waking up, being fully alive, and being present for the richness of each moment of our lives. Within this awakening, we gain access to our deepest inner resources for living, healing, and coping with stress.

Our program challenges participants to practice present moment awareness, deep relaxation, and gentle movement. Through the use of these techniques, a person learns to discover and observe his or her reactions to life’s stressors and to choose how to respond. With practice, one can apply these skills to everyday situations and connect more fully with one’s self, loved ones, and the life one is living.

MBSR can help people who are coping with medical problems, job or family-related stress, and anxiety and depression. The majority of participants report lasting decreases in both physical and psychological symptoms. Pain levels improve and people learn to better cope with pain that may not go away. Most people also report an increased ability to relax, greater enthusiasm for life, improved self-esteem, and increased ability to cope more effectively with stressful situations.

In the MBSR Distance Learning course participants “meet” with their instructor and classmates once a week via web conference, from wherever they may be.  This program is designed to deliver the same teachings and opportunity for group learning as our on-site MBSR program to those who are unable to visit our facility on a weekly basis, for reasons of scheduling difficulties, distance, or physical limitations.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn about the roles of stress and reactivity in health and healing.
  • Cultivate mindful awareness through several different types of meditation practices.
  • Establish a daily meditation practice.
  • Recognize negative patterns of reactivity triggered by stressors, and utilize mindfulness to develop alternative responses to stress.
  • Apply mindfulness to cultivate a deeper connection with your body, emotions, and relationships with others.

What to Expect


The MBSR Distance Learning program consists of eight weekly sessions, each 2 hours long; and one optional intensive, the Day of Mindfulness.

  • Session 1: Orientation and welcome to MBSR.  Meet your classmates, instructor, and review logistics and expectations for the course.  Introduction to the council process (mindful speaking and listening), and the Awareness of Breathing meditation practice.
  • Session 2: Bringing awareness to present-moment experience, and introduction to the Body Scan practice.
  • Session 3: Responding versus Reacting, introduction to walking meditation.
  • Session 4: Expanding your field of awareness to “choiceless”, open awareness, introduction to mindful yoga.
  • Session 5: Introduction to Loving Kindness Meditation.
  • Session 6: Mindfulness and awareness in your communication, mindfulness research.
  • Session 7: Review of mindfulness practices through the lens of experience.
  • Session 8: Acknowledging progress, the ongoing process, and how to sustain a mindfulness practice going forward.
  • The Day of Mindfulness (typically occurring between Sessions 6 and 8): This is an optional session (included with your MBSR Distance Learning registration) for any of our local or regional participants who are able to travel to the Durham area.  This is an opportunity to experience a longer-form and deeper meditation practice in this silent retreat.  This session allows you to put into practice all the skills you have learned so far in a supportive community environment, together with other students from the onsite MBSR courses.


The learning in your weekly class sessions is supported by an online course site containing electronic written material and audio tracks with guided meditations.  Access to these materials are included in the course fee.


Attendance is important.  By registering for this course you are committing yourself to attend each of the eight (8) weekly sessions, and to practice at home 45-60 minutes every day for the duration of the course.

To facilitate the strong group learning environment that enriches each class experience, we do not permit participants to “make-up” missed sessions with a concurrent or later course.  If you know in advance that you will miss a session, let your instructor know.  If you have to miss a session unexpectedly, see your instructor about what you missed.

To protect the confidentiality of you and your classmates sessions are not recorded.

In order to obtain a certificate of completion, attendees must attend 8/9 weekly classes plus complete the evaluation OR attend 7/9 weekly classes plus attend the Day of Mindfulness plus complete the evaluation.

Best Fit for Success

We strive to provide a positive learning environment so that all participants have the opportunity to achieve the best possible results from the course.

It is wonderful that you are making a commitment of time for self-care. You will be learning meditation and relaxation methods, as well as gentle stretching (yoga). It is assumed that by registering for this course you understand that if for any reason you are unable to, or think it unwise to, engage in the techniques and exercises of this course, you are under no obligation to do so.

The Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course is a psycho-educational group learning activity, focusing on personal development.  It can be an influential practice and have a positive effect on many conditions contributing to stress, but it is not group therapy and is not a substitute for treatment by a health professional for serious conditions such as addiction or substance abuse, anger, depression, PTSD, or suicidal thinking.

If you are planning to enroll in an MBSR class, you should know in advance that things may feel like they become more stressful before they become less stressful and this is a common experience for some participants in MBSR.  This is not because mindfulness causes stress but things may seem more stressful as you become more mindful–especially in the early weeks of the course– because your awareness has grown and you are beginning to sense more deeply, and understand more clearly, how much stress you are actually facing, and how intense it really is. Read more about possible risks associated with MBSR.

Becoming wiser, more factual, and more authentic about the degree and causes of stress in your life is a very good thing, because it can help you begin to make constructive and sustainable changes that can lead to more joy and better health. Please be assured many participants with major sources of stress in their life have found success with the MBSR program.  The program is designed to benefit people living with exactly these kinds of stresses!

If you have any questions about whether MBSR is right for you at this time, before registering please contact us at:

Financial Aid Information

Duke Health and Well-Being has limited funds available for partial financial assistance for Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and MBSR Distance Learning courses. The funds may cover up to 50% of the registration fee. To be considered, please submit your financial assistance application prior to the early registration deadline for your desired course. Please click here to submit a financial assistance application.

Upcoming dates and deadlines

September 2023

Registration Open!
Early Registration Deadline: August 12, 2023
Last Day to Register: September 6, 2023


    • Tuesdays (12-2 PM EDT) September 12 – October 31, 2023 w/Julie Kosey
    • Thursdays (6-8 PM EDT) September 14 – November 2, 2023 w/Riitta H Rutanen Whaley
    • Day of Mindfulness: Saturday (9 am- 4 PM EDT) October 28, 2023 (via Zoom)

January 2024

Registration Open!
Early Registration Deadline: December 8, 2023
Last Day to Register: January 4, 2024


    • Mondays (2 – 4:30 PM EDT) January 8 – March 4 w/Ron Vereen
    • Tuesdays (5 – 7:30 PM EDT) January 9 – March 4 w/Julie Kosey
    • Day of Mindfulness: Saturday (9 am -4 PM EDT) February 24, 2024 (via Zoom)

Click here to meet the MBSR Instructors

Accommodations Statement

Persons with disabilities who anticipate needing accommodations or who have questions about physical access should contact us in advance of the program.

Continuing Education Credits Available

NBHWC - Approved CE - Seal_3 (3)The National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching (NBHWC): This course is an NBHWC-Approved Continuing Education course. Those who successfully complete all the course modules and requirements will earn a Certificate of Completion and National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching (NBHWC) Continuing Education Credits. The National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching designates this course for 19 credit hours.

In order to obtain credit hours, attendees must attend 7/8 weekly classes plus complete the evaluation OR attend 6/8 weekly classes plus attend the Day of Mindfulness plus complete the evaluation.

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