Mindful Stress Reduction Program

at Island Health & Fitness

in partnership with Cayuga Medical Center

The Mindful Stress Reduction Program is an 8-week class that teaches mindfulness meditation and stress reduction techniques in a supportive group environment. It is closely based on the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) curriculum developed by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in 1979. The MBSR program’s effectiveness has been proven by extensive research, and it is the most widely replicated stress reduction program in the world.

What Happens in an 8-Week Class?

Mindfulness is our innate ability to be aware of what is happening in the present moment. In contrast to mindlessness, or reacting on “autopilot,” mindfulness enables us to more consciously choose our responses during stressful situations. By cultivating mindfulness through regular meditation practice, we experience relaxation and become more aware of creative ways we can respond to the challenges in our lives. At home, participants practice the meditation practices daily, both formally, using audio recordings, and informally, by bringing greater awareness into daily life. The formal meditation practices that are instructed include body scanning, sitting, and walking meditation, and gentle yoga.

Based closely on MBSR, and taught by MBSR qualified teachers, the Mindful Stress Reduction program differs from the official MBSR curriculum in two main ways. First, the daily home meditation practices are 30 minutes, instead of 45-60 minutes. Second, the Mindful Stress Reduction program offers exercises to support participants practicing mindfulness in those areas of life which are currently most stressful for them.

How Does Stress Reduction Help?

According to over three decades of published research, people who completed the eight-week stress reduction program experienced positive results including: ·

  • Reduced pain levels
  • Reduced levels of anxiety and depression
  • Increased ability to relax
  • Increased resilience to both short-term and long-term stress
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Increased ability to act effectively under high levels of stress
  • Increased sense of ability to positively influence one’s own health

An overview of this research can be found at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center’s website: http://www.umassmed.edu/cfm/research/mbsr-research

Who Should Take This Class?

The Stress Reduction Program has helped people facing stress related to work, school, relationships, parenting, grief, sleep, time, food, and the sense of being out-of-balance. The program has also helped individuals respond to a variety of physical and psychological health issues, including cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, headaches, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, fatigue, sleep disturbance, depression, anxiety, and mood disorders. The practices taught are useful and beneficial for anyone.

Stress Reduction Program Graduates Have Said

“The techniques I learned, particularly meditation, have proven so powerful and helpful.”

“I became aware that when I was acting on impulse, I could stop and not just react. It changed my life.”

“One of the best gifts I’ve ever received… Real tools for a healthy, vibrant, mindful life.”

“I never thought once I started living in constant pain that I would ever be able to have peace of mind and enjoy life again. Thank you for proving me wrong.”

“This is the first time I have been relatively pain-free in five years.”

“The problems and issues haven’t gone away, but the way I choose to handle them has changed… I feel so much more positive about this life.”

About the Instructor

Nick is a qualified teacher of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, having received his training from the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. He has taught the MBSR program at schools, universities, hospitals, and health centers since 2007. He is also certified as a meditation teacher and a yoga teacher through the Integral Yoga Academy in Buckingham, Virginia.


The Stress Reduction Program meets for eight consecutive weekly 2-hour sessions. The next session start dates are listed in the footer below. The cost of the program is $400. This fee includes a set of compact discs and other supporting materials. Extended payment options are available in cases of need. To register, please send a $100 deposit check payable to Nick Boyar to 105 Rachel Carson Way, Ithaca, NY 14850. I will email to confirm receipt of deposit and your registration.

If you have questions or would more information, please call or email Nick at 607-279-4769 or nickboyar1@yahoo.com.