Since I have been practicing mindfulness and writing my blog, I share insights much more often with family, friends, and acquaintances. I have had a couple of people I have met that have been teaching mindfulness for several years and are now becoming a Certified Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Teacher. When researching mindfulness there are several organizations that teach mindfulness programs. I wanted to research what steps to take to become a Certified MBSR Teacher.
I read numerous online conversations from the mindfulness community and ended up visiting the University of Massachusets Medical School (UMASS) as my starting point. In 2001, the Oasis Institute was created as a mindfulness program to integrate with different disciplines and communities. You don’t have to be certified to teach, but if you do wish to be certified there are four phases in the process that include daily practice, mindfulness retreats, body-centered awareness, and professional education and training.
Phase 1 is referred to as the First Steps. This is the introduction to practicing mindfulness and an 8-week MBSR course is required to experience the class directly and to participate with other class members. There are many of these courses in the U.S. and you can utilize the Oasis Institute to find a class that is convenient for you.
Phase 2 is the Foundational Study and Training (Next Steps) that requires mindfulness essential studies to broaden mindfulness knowledge. Two silent retreats need to be attended along with the completion of the following three classes:
- Practicum in MBSR
- MBSR in Mind-Body Medicine
- Teacher Development Intensive
Phase 3 is similar to that of student teaching. You are required to teach four MBSR courses with one of them being supervised. Through this process, you all are continually developing, deepening, and refining MBSR practices and methodologies along with personal and professional mindfulness development.
Phase 4 is the final step to become certified. You must complete all three phases above, practice daily, teach a minimum of eight MBSR courses, attend four mindfulness meditation retreats, and obtain a professional graduate degree (or equivalent). Most of all you need to be able to commit to your personal MBSR so that you are able to mentor and teach others the practice.
After reading about the phases and how you can help others in learning mindfulness, the choice to be certified is going to be based on each individual. The first three phases are very important to not only develop your own mindfulness based practice but to also understand the dynamics and MBSR principles to mentor and teach others.
“Cultivating wisdom is the teacher’s path. It is an unfolding odyssey – a way of living into what is deepest and truest in our lives. And, because we are teachers, it is our invitation to those we teach to make contact with and live into what is deepest and truest within them…and together be transformed” ~Saki Santorelli, EdD, MA, Executive Director, Center for Mindfulness
If you have been practicing mindfulness, is teaching an MBSR class something you would consider doing? When learning the principles of MBSR, would a certified teacher be a pre-requisite for you to take the class?