Mindful Living

Why Mindfulness-Based (fill in the blank) programs have gone viral

By: Shastri Janet Solyntjes

When people learn that I teach Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction they often respond with an exclamation, “I could use that!” The recognition that one could use a little help navigating through “the full catastrophe” of life was what led me to attend MBSR teacher trainings at the Center for Mindfulness. Although I had meditated for many years before learning about MBSR, I still found myself mired in the ups and downs, the internal and external dramas of daily life. When attending my first training with Jon Kabat-Zinn and Saki Santorelli, I instantly loved the MBSR “package” that Jon created. Integrating mindful yoga and a slow scanning of the body into my repertoire of mindfulness practices made a significant impact.

I doubt that Jon could have imagined back in 1979 that the stress reduction program he developed at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center would spread around the world and inspire hundreds if not thousands of researchers, psychologists, physicians, school teachers, addiction counselors, and even a few members of Congress to integrate mindfulness into daily life. MBSR and all of the Mindfulness-Based (fill in the blank) programs have gone viral!

It’s been my honor to offer MBSR-inspired retreats at Shambhala Mountain Center for nearly 10 years now. People from all around the country have been introduced to the MBSR teachings and practices at SMC, offering them a taste or deep immersion (depending on the length of the program) into what often becomes a life-changing experience. That may sound a bit overboard but it’s not uncommon for participants to speak of the shift in their perspective on life – in particular their physical, emotional, and interpersonal stress – after one of these retreats.

What I love most about teaching at SMC is the powerful setting – a place where people can unplug, have direct contact with sun, wind, and snow fall, and step into the magical world where sky meets mountaintop and in-between life is buzzing.

I hope you’ll join me for an Introduction to MBSR weekend or for one of our 5-7-day MBSR-based retreats.

Warmest regards,


Click here to see information about Shastri Janet Solyntjes’ upcoming Introduction to MBSR weekend. February 15–17, 2013.


  1. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting
    my own weblog and was curious what all is needed to get setup?

    I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny?
    I’m not very internet smart so I’m not 100% sure. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.

  2. I write as a meditator and publisher of Mindful Money Magazine. I believe the “Mindfulness” has gone viral because it is something that everyone can relate to. In a speedy world, we can all appreciate the concept of paying attention to this very moment. Meditation has religious roots to it which can make it unaccessible to some-(even though it is for everyone).
    We need to find mindfulness techniques for stress reduction, financial decisions, medical care,etc. because it brings out skillful means to work with those areas of our lives and to bring about Enlightened Society. Warmly, Fern

  3. I appreciate the content of the article although it left me perplexed and slightly disappointed. As an MBSR instructor myself I was really intrigued to read what the article had to say about why MBSR has gone viral. However the article doesn’t offer any explanation or opinion as to why this has happened. It just says that it has and that you offer MBSR at Shambala.

    The subject would make for some very interesting discussion and commentary. The reasons are many and varied that mindfulness and meditation have reached a tipping point (gone viral) in the USA and beyond. I do give Jon a lot of the credit for starting the forward movement of this evolutionary wheel in western society.

    Janet? Anyone?

    • Lisa Johnston says

      As the Marketing Director, I pulled out the title from the content of Janet’s blog post because I find it interesting (and wonderful) that mindfulness has “gone viral.” I think Janet speaks of her experience with MBSR as well as her experience as a MBSR instructor and offers both as personal examples of why this is true.
      I agree that this subject would make for very interesting discussion and commentary. I appreciate your comment, as well as Fern’s below, and welcome blog submissions going more in-depth with this important topic.
      And I hope that this mindfulness trend continues to benefit many people in their lives.

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