MBSR Curriculum

purple and green lavender in redmond east of seattle is calming and eases anxietyDr. Butterfield offers the MBSR course 3x/ year, in January, April, and September. This scientifically proven program, developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, has been shown to reduce stress and increase overall well-being

In the 8-week MBSR course, you’ll practice techniques and develop skills based on the latest neuroscience, to effectively manage and reduce stress in your life. Research findings indicate when practiced regularly, skills developed in this course can literally rewire the brain resulting in improved health.

Following is the curriculum and homework for each week’s class:


Class #1

Home Practice to Engage in this Week:

  1. The formal meditation practice this week is the Body Scan Meditation.
    Experience it 6 days/week using guided recordings posted on the University of California San Diego Center for Mindfulness (UCSD) website. Explore the different body scan meditation recordings to find the ones that work for you. You can download them onto your phone free of charge! Link to UCSD Center for Mindfulness website
  2. Eat or drink at least one food item with full awareness this week.
  3. Track your daily practice this week on the Home Practice Record-Form for Session #1.
    Home practice record form

Assignments to Complete and Bring to Class Next Week:

    1. Nine Dots Puzzle   
  1. Complete the Needs Assessment Questionnaire. This is for your personal use and will not be shared in class.  Needs Assessment questionnaire

wispy flower in redmond garden outside seattle makes me feel hopefulReadings:

Full Catastrophe Living, Introduction and Chapters 1, 2, and 5.
Body ScanAutomatic Pilot  by Zindel Segal, MD   
Tips for the Body Scan by Zindel Segal, M   
Mindfulness by Jon-Kabat-Zinn, MD   
Growth in Bodymind by Ken Dychtwald   

Poems Read in Class:

Beginning to Begin by Gunilla Norris
Mind Wanting More by Holly Hughes
Stopping and Starting by Gunilla Norris

Additional Resources for Week #1:

Mindful yoga gentle stretches
Mindfulness quotes
Model of Mindfulness Practice
Mindlessness Mindfulness
Attitudes of Mindfulness Practice
Past-Future Preoccupation


Class #2

Home Practice to Engage in this Week:

  1. The formal meditation practice this week is the Body Scan Meditation. Experience it 6 days/week using guided recordings posted on the University of California San Diego Center for Mindfulness (UCSD) website. Explore the different body scan meditation recordings to find the ones that work for you.  You can download them onto your phone free of charge! Link to UCSD Center for Mindfulness website
  2. In addition to the body scan meditation, try the Sitting Meditation, 3 – 5 minutes each day, coming to your breath at work, home or wherever you can. Do this at a time separate from the body scan.
  3. An informal practice this week is to pick a daily activity to do it mindfully each time. Suggestions for daily routines to engage in mindfully include: putting feet on floor first thing in AM, washing hands, brushing teeth, showering, combing hair, buttoning shirt, , washing dishes, stopping at red lights, opening office/home door, drive slowly…intentionally, opening car door, tying shoes, walking, etc.

Assignments to Complete and Bring to Class Next Week:

    1. Complete the Pleasant Events Calendar noting at least one event each day.  You may find it easier to notice unpleasant events, for now focus on the pleasant! Be sure to bring it to class next week. Pleasant events calendar
  1. Track your daily practice this week on the Home Practice Record-Form for Session #2. By doing this you will gather data about when daily formal practice best fits into your schedule. Home practice record form

pink rock rose in redmond near seattle reminds me to be present and practice mindfulnessReadings:

Full Catastrophe Living, Chapter 3 – 4 and 6 – 10 if you have time.

Poems Read in Class:

Tasting Mindfulness
Allow by Danna Faulds
Listen by Brenda Butterfield

Additional Resources for Week #2:

Growth in Bodymind by Ken Dychtwald
9 tips for meditation practice
Attributes to practice embodying


Class #3

Home Practices to Engage in this Week:

  1. The formal meditation practice this week is to alternate between the Body Scan Meditation and Mindful Yoga/Movement  6 days/week. Use the guided recordings posted on the University of California San Diego Center for Mindfulness (UCSD) website to practice (use the additional tab for Guided Yoga Audio and Video clips) and/or the illustrations in the manual. Link to UCSD Center for Mindfulness website
  2. Awareness of Breath Meditation for 10 – 15 minutes every day.
  3. Practice Mindful Breathing two or three times a day, stopping, pausing, feeling your breath.
  4. During the week make an effort to “capture” your moments during the day. Be mindful of when you go on “automatic pilot” and notice under what circumstances it occurs. Notice what pulls you off center.

Assignments to Complete and Bring to Class Next Week:

  1. Complete the Unpleasant Events Calendar noting at least one event each day.  Be sure to bring it to class next week. Unpleasant events calendar
  2. Track your daily practice this week on the Home Practice Record-FormHome practice record form

white trillium flower near seattle reminds me of how nature can relieve anxiety and depressionReadings:

Full Catastrophe Living, Chapter 11 – 13

Poems Read in Class:

Being Present by Dana Faulds
Stopping and Starting by Gunilla Norris
Until One is Committed by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Additional Resources for Week #3:

Breathing Space Basic Instructions
Additional Breathing Exercises


Class #4

Home Practices to Engage in this Week:

  1. This week alternate the Body Scan Meditation with Mindful Movement/Yoga each day of the week. The University of California San Diego Center for Mindfulness website: Link here
  2. In addition, try the Sitting Meditation each day for 10 – 20 minutes. Focus awareness on breath and then feelings/sensations. Do this at a time separate from the body scan/mindful movement.
  3. Pause frequently to feel what you’re feeling. Try the STOP practice
  4. Be aware of stress reactions including physical sensations that accompany them without trying to change them. Notice feeling stuck, blocking, avoiding, shutting off from experience.

Assignments to Complete and Bring to Class Next Week:

Track your daily practice this week on the Home Practice Record-Form for Session #4. By doing this you will gather data about when daily formal practice best fits into your schedule. Home practice record form

purple hibiscus in garden on seattle's eastside calms my anxiety and reminds me of the importance of mindfulness

Readings and Additional Resources:

Poems Read in Class:

The Guest House by Rumi 
Accepting What Is by Eckhart Tolle 
Learning to Pause by Gunilla Norris 


Class #5

Home Practices to Engage in this Week:

  1. This week alternate the Body Scan Meditation with Mindful Movement/Yoga each day of the week. The University of California San Diego Center for Mindfulness website: Link here
  2. In addition, try the Sitting Meditation each day for 15 – 20 minutes. Focus awareness on breathe and then feelings/sensations. Do this at a time separate from the body scan/mindful movement.
  3. Bring awareness to moments of reactivity, exploring them and using the breath to slow things down before responding if possible. If not, notice being caught in the reactive moment and see if it is at all possible to offer a mindful response even though one is the middle of it all.

Assignments to Complete and Bring to Class Next Week:

  1. Complete the “Stressful Communications Calendar” and bring it with you to class next week.  Stressful communications calendar
  2. Complete the “Hole in the Sidewalk – Self Reflection Questions.” This is for your own learning, no need to bring it to class with you next week.  Hole in the sidewalk reflection
  3. Track your daily practice this week on the Home Practice Record-Form for Session #5. By doing this you will gather data about when daily formal practice best fits into your schedule. Home practice record form

blue hydrangea in a redmond garden outside seattle makes me pause and release anxiety

Readings and Additional Resources: 

Poems Read in Class:

The Way to DO is to BE by Lao-Tzu
Autobiography in Five Short Chapters by Portia Nelson
Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr                                                       


Class #6

Home Practices to Engage in this Week:

  1. This week alternate Sitting Meditation with the Body Scan Meditation or Mindful Movement/Yoga each day of the week. The University of California San Diego Center for Mindfulness website: Link here
  2. In addition, continue to practice the STOP method Link here or  Mindful Breathing for 2-3 minutes at least once a day. Focus awareness on breathe and then feelings/sensations. Do this at a time separate from the sitting meditation/body scan/mindful movement practice.
  3. Practice bringing awareness to how you take care of the body/mind by expanding this inquiry beyond food to what notice what is taken in through the eyes, ears and nose. Look at the diet of TV, newspapers, internet, movies, smart phones and other reading materials being ingested each day.
  4. Bring awareness to moments of being with other people and how you are relating to them. Is it possible to extend kindness towards people you know and people you don’t know as well as towards yourself?

Assignments to Complete this Week:

  1. Track your daily practice this week on the Home Practice Record-Form for Session #5. By doing this you will gather data about when daily formal practice best fits into your schedule. Home practice record form
  2. Complete the Communication Quiz  Link to quiz here 

purple and yellow iris in redmond wa makes me pause for a peaceful mindfulness moment

Readings and Additional Resources:  

Poems Read in Class:

Before You Know Kindness by Naomi Shihab-Nye
Claim Your Birth Right by Danna Faulds
Wild Geese by Mary Oliver


Class #7

Home Practices to Engage in this Week:

  1. Formal Practice: meditate 6 days this week for 30 minutes without listening to a guided meditation.  Instead, explore what it’s like to guide yourself.
  2. Informal Mindfulness practice in daily life: take a few moments at the beginning of each day to notice the body, notice the breath and then do this at the end of the day.

Assignments to Complete this Week:

  1. Track your daily practice this week on the Home Practice Record-Form for Session #7. By doing this you will gather data about when daily formal practice best fits into your schedule. Home practice record form
  2. Please complete the MBSR Course Evaluation and bring it to class with you next week.

green and red dogwood flower in redmond seattle garden reminds me of nature's ability to ease anxiety and depressionReadings and Additional Resources:  

Full Catastrophe Living, Chapter 33 – 36

Poems Read in Class:

Look Within by Jacob Needleman
Self-Care
The Small Ruby by Kabir & Practice Entering into the Life of the Heart by Saki Santorelli


Class #8

Poems Read in Class:

Freedom Through Metamorphasis
Our Deepest Fear by Marianne Williamson
Unconditional by Jennifer Welwood

blooming purple dahlia flower in redmond reminds me of the importance of mindfulness

Learn more or Register for the next MBSR class »