Mindfulness FAQ

What is Mindfulness?

According to Jon Kabat Zinn, the Founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally.”

Is there a difference between mindfulness and meditation?

Yes, the difference is that meditation is a formal seated meditation practice whereas mindfulness can be practiced formally (during meditation) or informally anywhere at any time and with anyone present. With mindfulness, you are noticing and paying attention to what you are doing in the present moment.

What is meditation?

Meditation is an intentional practice where you focus inwards to increase emotional balance. There are many different types of meditation. During meditation one practices mindfulness.

Do I need prior meditation experience?

No. This is a course for beginners and you don’t need prior experience.

How do you learn mindfulness?

You learn mindfulness through intentionally bringing your attention and awareness into what you are doing in the present moment during daily activities.

I have a difficult time with meditation. My mind wanders and I can’t stop thinking. Why is this happening? Is there something wrong with me?

There is absolutely nothing wrong with you! This is happening because you have a brain and it is doing exactly what it is supposed to do. We want our brain to produce thoughts and to be thinking.  Mindfulness is about noticing, being open, and accepting your thoughts without getting hooked on them.

What does mindfulness feel like?

Mindfulness does not have a particular feel.  It is experienced differently with each person and it will change throughout your practice.  You might have moments where you feel comfortable physically and/or mentally and you might have moments where you feel uncomfortable physically and/or mentally. Mindfulness is about changing your relationship with your current experience.  It is not about changing your experience.

Can you learn mindfulness without practice?

With mindfulness, you have to practice just as you would if you were learning how to play an instrument or if you were training to get into better physical shape.

What if I don’t have time to practice?

Finding time to practice can be challenging. It can sometimes be helpful to have a set time to practice every day. The nice thing about mindfulness is that it is an informal practice which means that you can practice while you are doing everyday activities such as eating or walking. You may need to ask for support from friends or family so that you can set aside time and space for practice.

What are the benefits of mindfulness?

There has been a tremendous amount of research done on mindfulness and it has a wide range of positive benefits.  It has been shown to reduce anxiety and stress, it increases emotional balance and reduces emotional reactivity, it helps calm the mind and our thoughts so that we don’t ruminate, it lowers blood pressure, it helps with improved memory function, psychological flexibility, empathy, relationships, and overall life satisfaction.

How does mindfulness work?

Mindfulness will help you physically relax so during your practice your breathing will slow down, your heart rate will slow down, and your blood pressure will lower (just as it does when you are relaxing at home or in a comfortable place). In your brain, mindfulness will reduce the reactivity of the amygdala which is the fight or flight part of your brain. This will help you to become less emotionally reactive and in turn, can help you feel more open and accepting of what is showing up in your life.

Will I be able to stop taking my medications after taking this course?

No. Never make any changes to your medication regime without consulting with your doctor first.

How will mindfulness help my symptoms?

When we are faced with unpleasant situations, thoughts, and/or feelings we often do what we can to resist facing these issues.  We engage in unhelpful behaviors and thoughts processes in an attempt to gain control so that we can avoid negative experiences.  Avoidance and control are forms of resistance and they create tension. With an increase in tension, we tend to experience more negative thoughts and emotions. and then they cloud our perception of “what is.” Mindfulness enables us to be more psychologically flexible and to be more resilient.  It helps us to see things as they really are and it allows us to take a step back and unhook from unhelpful thoughts and emotions. The byproduct of mindfulness is often symptom reduction. When you are able to “go with the flow” and be more flexible there is less stress and tension.

Are there risks with practicing mindfulness?

The risks are low with practicing mindfulness but there are some possible physical and emotional risks.  There are some types of mindfulness practices that involve movement so you need to be aware of your limitations and know what is healthy for your body. Emotionally, in the beginning, feelings of anxiety, sadness, and or anger may increase as you will be paying closer attention to emotions that you normally push aside. Occasionally, people discover aspects of themselves that they don’t like and sometimes issues from the past that you have not dealt with can arise.  If you have any history of trauma, abuse, addiction, or suicidal thoughts/ideation then it would be good to talk with me to make sure this is the right time for you to take this course.

Is mindfulness a religious practice?

No, my course is completely secular and it is not a religious or spiritual practice. Mindfulness can be traced back to the East and has its roots in Hinduism and Buddhism (although some experts say that mindfulness also has roots in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (Trousselard et al., 2014.)  In the West, the introduction of mindfulness and meditation can be traced back to particular people and to secular institutions.

Where are your mindfulness classes held?

All mindfulness classes are taught in Columbia, MD.


What should I bring to class?

You should wear comfortable clothes.  Make sure you are not hungry and that you have taken all of the medications you normally take. Bring a notepad and a pencil/pen. And finally, bring your sense of curiosity and wonder and congratulate yourself for your commitment and courage in moving towards what you value and for taking care of yourself!

Can I get a refund once I sign up for classes?

If you are unable to take the course and you have paid for the class in full then you can receive a full refund (including the deposit) as long as you cancel 7 days before the class begins. If a class is canceled due to low registration (at least 3 participants are required for the class to be held) you will receive a full refund (including the deposit.) If you cancel 6 days prior to the class then there are no refunds. In some situations, you may receive a credit to use towards a future class.

What happens if I miss a class?

If you are unable to attend any of the classes then you can receive private instruction for an additional $65 per class missed. If you need to miss more than 2 classes then I recommend you sign up for a later class. If classes need to be canceled due to inclement weather then they will be made up at no additional cost at a later date.


7350 Grace Drive
Columbia, MD 21044

(410) 709-3974

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