What are the risks associated with taking MBSR?

If you are unable to do yoga or movement practices because of a physical limitation the instructors will work with you and help you find another posture.  The yoga is very gentle and its main focus is on stretching and awareness of the breath during movement.  You are also not obligated at any time to engage in any practice you feel may be uncomfortable or unsafe.

It is a common experience for many participants in the early weeks of the course to feel more stressed.  They may feel this way because 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.

In our experience there are a few circumstances that may require additional support to manage this experience.  In some situations the stress an individual is carrying can take on a particularly painful and challenging character and in those cases we often strongly encourage that person to have an additional safe place, usually a therapist or counselor, where they can talk, process, and heal the difficulties that are being unearthed and illuminated by the light of mindfulness.

For example, if a person is carrying severe trauma and suffering from PTSD the flashbacks may become more intense, at least at first, and the need to process the experience in therapy of some kind may arise.  If a person struggles with anger issues, with growing mindfulness they may feel the intensity of their anger or the harshness of their angry thoughts more deeply.  In such instances the very intensity of the pain–made clear by mindful awareness–can be the doorway to healing if the person chooses to work skillfully with an anger management specialist or a skilled trauma therapist, and can use the authentic self-awareness developed by their mindfulness practice to inform their treatment.

Please be assured many, many, participants carrying one or more of these challenges have successfully completed the MBSR program.  The program is designed to benefit people suffering with exactly these kinds of stresses!  With good advance awareness and utilization of proper support remarkable healing is possible for anyone.

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