Mindfulness at Langara College

Mindfulness at Langara College


Langara College offers both Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT).

Both courses provide a solid introduction to mindfulness meditation while offering similar practices in which the participant can both learn in class and establish meditation in their everyday lives.  The practices taught in both courses include the body scan, mindful activity, sitting meditation practices of various lengths, hatha yoga,  and walking meditation. Offered in the same format of 8 evening classes, and one full-day retreat, each course is based on the research of Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn.Through his pioneering work at the University of Massachusetts Medical School where he is founder of its world-renowned Stress Reduction Clinic, mindfulness is finally being recognized as a highly effective tool for dealing with stress, chronic pain, and other illnesses.

Courses are 22-24 hours, and are offered over eight, 2 or 2.5 hour sessions one evening a week, plus a 6 hour retreat session on a Saturday or Sunday.

Mindfulness is usually offered three times a year (Fall, Spring, Summer). The offering of MBCT and MBSR depends upon demand and our instructor's availability. Schedule will vary so please check course listing to see what planned sessions are upcoming.

What differentiates MBCT and MBSR?

Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy are two very similar 8-week mindfulness courses. Broadly speaking they are roughly 80% the same (depending on who teaches them and how they teach) and for most people either course will provide the same benefit. The mindfulness component of the course, is identical with both utilizing the same meditation practices and both are aimed at learning to use mindfulness so as to ‘wake up’ to the beauty in life that is so easily missed; incorporating compassion practices and gratitude practices as it has been found both contribute to uplift happiness in the mind. 

Both courses also look in detail at the way in which difficult mental states (like stress or anxiety and low moods) arise in relation to life challenges, and teach ways of using mindfulness to learn how to ‘be with’ and manage difficult experiences so that we don’t make them worse than they need to be. In particular there is an emphasis on learning to ‘nip in the bud’ any tendency to ‘make a drama out of a crisis’.

Where MBSR and MBCT differ are around particular themes explored. MBSR is a course which has a wonderful holistic approach to helping its participants understand stress, its  effects on the body/mind, and individuals learn their personal stress triggers. The concepts of stress reactivity (negative coping) verses stress responding (healthier coping - such as mindfulness, and other beneficial practices - such as the diet of life)  are taught.  Each were originally designed to address specific conditions. MBSR was designed to help with the stress of illness, whereas the focus in MBCT is on helping participants identify the thinking patterns which contribute to low mood onset - and once identified - learning to step out of these ruminations and focus on something else.  For those who struggle with thinking patterns that can contribute to anxiety and depression, MBCT has the added benefit of learning CBT techniques to respond to such patterns with realistic and balanced thinking which can contribute to improvement in mood.  MBCT also has the added focus of exploring the development of a lifestyle which prevents low mood setbacks. 


If you are interested in becoming an instructor…….
These courses are intended for participants who are interested in learning about stress and ways to use mindfulness meditation for personal use. 

One of the prerequisites of becoming an MBSR teacher is taking the MBSR course, in addition to a personal mindfulness meditation practice. Several MBSR teacher trainings exist, among which is the one at the Centre for Mindfulness Studies in Toronto: https://www.mindfulnessstudies.com/pro-dev/mbsr-cert/

It is recommended that, if you are interested in taking the MBSR course, through Langara or any other institution, you take it as a personal program. It doesn’t guarantee acceptance into a mindfulness teacher training, but is a requirement to apply to become an MBSR teacher through one of the accepted training institutions. If you choose to take this course for this purpose, please understand that you will need to participate and attend all sessions in order to receive a certificate of completion.

There are several excellent programs available to prepare individuals to become instructors in this area. Many of our current instructors have trained in these institutions. Listed below please find two links to excellent programs that exist.
University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society
UC San Diego Health Center for Mindfulness