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Come as you are

Find more ease, authority and vitality in your life
Learn mindfulness with Openground
As seen on Catalyst TV

Openground Courses, Workshops and Retreats - for you

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Foundation course

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)

Australia-wide | Term 3 | late July

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction is the original, evidence-based, user-friendly program that brings the principles of mindfulness meditation into everyday life by teaching specific skills and practices. This learning cultivates mental and physical resilience and helps break cycles of stress, anxiety and unhappiness. Come and see how this inspiring course can help you develop more mental, emotional, physical and psychological resilience and well-being.

Openground is proud to be endorsed by Professor Jon Kabat-Zinn – who developed MBSR at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 1979.

Book early as our courses fill up quickly.

8 weeks
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Graduate course

MBSR II - Living with Wisdom and Compassion

Sydney | July 31 (start)

Living with Wisdom and Compassion is an eight-week follow-on course from MBSR to help digest past hurts, meet current difficulties with courage and wisdom, and cultivate more connection and peace. We will explore how compassion is a natural and empowering response to stress and distress.

8 weeks
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Workshop

All parts are welcome - befriending difficult bits

Sydney | 10 and 11 August
Melbourne | 26 and 27 October

In this workshop, we will draw on Internal Family Systems practice to get to know some habitual parts of ourselves that arise in practice and in life, and to learn how to hear their story, and do some healing so that they do not have to dominate the system any more. This can open up our meditation practice – making it more comprehensible and useful.

2 days
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Foundation course

Distance MBSR - no matter where you live

Live Online | 14 August (start)

We offer Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction by distance education and we think you will find it radically different to apps or other online options or even live shorter courses. We believe that mindfulness training is best done through a live relationship with a teacher and a group - taking the time to hear about your practice so that that the work can be responsive to your situation and integrated into your life.

8 weeks
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Retreat

Mindfulness Weekend Retreat - Hepburn Springs

Hepburn Springs, Vic | 13 - 15 September

So often we have to override our tiredness and “push on,” feeding into what Michael Leunig suggests are pervasive states of anxiety and restlessness. Retreats are a unique opportunity to give ourselves permission to stop, rest and restore the mind, body and heart. Join us for a beautiful weekend of nature, meditation, movement, delicious food and connection.

2 days

Openground's MBSR program on ABC TV

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In late 2018, ABC's Catalyst team invited a group of 15 ordinary Australians to take part in a mindfulness experiment to see if undertaking the MBSR course could help treat conditions like chronic pain, stress, anxiety and depression that effect millions of us.  This course was  taught by Timothea Goddard - the Director of Openground.  Watch their journey here to see how the eight week MBSR course changes people's lives and brains. Or check out these shorts giving an overview of MBSR and an excerpt following Erin's journey with MS and chronic pain.

ABC SCIENCE: What is MBSR?

ABC Science - Erin's story with MS and chronic pain

Testing the waters - a free consultation for you



You have probably tried a lot of things.

And while an in-depth mindfulness training can be transformative, it is not a panacea or a quick fix. You might be wondering how the scientific evidence about mindfulness can be applied to your specific situation.

You are welcome to speak with an experienced and knowledgeable teacher to explore what you are grappling with and discuss whether doing some in-depth mindfulness training would be useful or not.

Book your free consultation here

Mindfulness for your organisation


Inspire a workplace where employees experience improved
job performance, relationships and well-being.

We offer:
~ a range of customised in-house mindfulness programs for all levels, to build more intelligent and effective organisations,
~ cost-effective packages for organisations to offer individual staff a timely, effective external mindfulness training for acute stress and burnout - when and where they need it.

Speak with Elizabeth Granger for an enriching conversation about your workplace needs.

Book your appointment now

Why learn with Openground ?

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Personal attention and skilled teaching

Learning mindfulness with an experienced teacher can’t be compared with using an app. We take a genuine, personal approach and our highly trained and dedicated teachers go the extra mile to help you engage with your practice in ways that can bring real transformation.

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Evidence-based program

MBSR is an authentic, evidence-based program of mindfulness training, grounded in 39 years of research. Unlike many shorter mindfulness courses, which have no evidence of benefit, MBSR is globally recognised as the gold standard for mental and physical health in the field.


 
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Excellent value

Our immersive, eight-week courses include 28 hours of personal mindfulness training. Many short courses only give you a taste of mindfulness, and are actually more expensive than MBSR on an hourly rate basis. Our courses offer significant value, and we can also arrange serious discounts if you need a helping hand.

mbsr australia wide
MBSR Australia-wide

NSW - Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong
VIC - Melbourne, Albury-Wodonga
QLD - Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast
WA - Perth
SA - Adelaide
TAS - Hobart

 We also offer including by Distance education.

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Openground for all

We do like to offer discounts to Health Care card holders and others in genuine financial difficulty (eg for those with disability, unemployment, chronic pain, students with very little support from their parents, or other constricting circumstances). To keep the books balanced, we appreciate you paying the full fee if you can afford it! In some locations you can book in early to get a significant early bird rate.

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Understanding mindfulness

Mindfulness practice offers an invitation to move towards greater balance, choice and participation in life.

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Focus and presence

Cultivate more concentration and capacity to be in the moment with what matters to you most, here and now.

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Emotional calming

Reduce reactivity, learn to befriend your emotions and to express them in ways that set clear and caring boundaries.

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Clarity and wisdom

See your patterns and values with more clarity so that your actions can be more beneficial to yourself and others.

Through mindfulness training we learn how to bring acceptance and curiosity to all of our experience – sensations, thoughts, emotions and actions, and the situation we are in. 

This way of seeing can free us up to respond with more clarity and wisdom, rather than acting out of habitual patterns. 

It opens up the possibility of working more wisely and compassionately with difficulties in life and to choose what is nourishing for ourselves and others.

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"Understanding mindfulness has changed my life"

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Come as you are

Mindfulness training has changed the lives of millions of people around the world. People with challenges, people with different interests and backgrounds. People just like you.

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Vicki

At the time of joining I was suffering a lot of grief after losing our first baby. Through this course I learned how to get comfortable with painful emotions. How to witness them in my body and not try to ‘get rid of’ or ignore them.

Vicki's Story

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Betty

Finding MBSR has been life changing. Since my teens I’ve experienced periods of depression and anxiety. I tried many different approaches, always desperate to find something to relieve the suffering....

Betty's Story

Shane

Shane

During the course I experienced an enormous shift in what I thought I knew about myself, particularly with regard to my emotional and stress responses.  

Shane's story

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Your questions, answered

  • I've tried meditation and can't do it.

    Yes, we know! Everybody has this experience when they first start mindfulness practice, and most people in your class will feel the same way. Don't worry – it won't prevent you from developing more ease and peace in your life through MBSR training.

    We all need to start with the mind we have, and if that is a busy and preoccupied mind, then that’s the perfect place to begin. Initially, mindfulness practice is about becoming familiar with your own mind and body, and exploring ways to soothe, calm, and simply explore how you tick.

    Step-by-step throughout the course, you’ll be offered different ways of practicing so you can bring more of this way of being into your life. By exploring the science of mindfulness, you’ll also discover why so many of us have such jumpy, 'jack-rabbit' minds and learn what you need to do to cultivate a calmer and clearer mind.

  • Who is MBSR for and what does it involve?

    Our MBSR course is for anyone who wants to reduce work, family or health-related stress, bring a greater sense of balance and meaning to their lives, and learn how to manage challenges more skillfully.

    The MBSR course involves:
    - an individual phone interview with your teacher
    - a 2.5 hour class, once a week for eight weeks, plus one full retreat day
    - yoga and body awareness training
    - an exploration of your own patterns of thinking, feeling and action, and how to transform them
    - brief lectures and discussions
    - individual feedback and support
    - scientific rationale for the practice
    - your commitment to daily homework practice using audio tracks and a course book.

  • What are the benefits of MBSR?

    Over 39 years of research into the MBSR program, evidence has been established for the following outcomes:
    - greater capacity to deal with stress
    - increased sense of wellbeing and balance
    - lasting decrease in physical and psychological symptoms of stress
    - increased energy and productivity; feeling more engaged with life
    - stronger immune system
    - increased levels of attention and concentration
    - more creative problem solving and greater focus
    - increased sense of connection, meaning and purpose.

  • Why is it important to practice?

    Mindfulness is not just a good idea – it’s a practice!

    A with any new skill – like learning to swim, do Pilates or play golf – just hearing or reading about mindfulness can only take you so far. Experience and practice are the two things that will lead to lasting and profound changes.

    To fully benefit from the program, ask yourself if you are willing to make a commitment to undertake some formal practice each day over the eight weeks of your course. This will make all the difference to your satisfaction with the course, the benefits you experience, and your life.

    Training in mindfulness will equip you with a very portable set of skills that you can practice anywhere, anytime. Give it a go and let's see what happens!

  • Why not just use a mindfulness app or do a short course?

    We may not like it, but real change takes time. This is why your MBSR training unfolds over eight weeks of 2.5-hour sessions plus a whole day retreat – a total of 28 hours of training, as well as your home practice.

    Promises of a quick fix are always tempting. There are many short, 4-6 week courses that offer a few hours of training and claim to be based on MBSR or 'the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn'. Often these courses also inaccurately draw on the MBSR research base, when this is not evident in the structure of the course or the experience of the teacher.

    Mindfulness involves changing the habits of your mind and body. Change happens through practice, and evidence suggests that eight weeks is the optimum time for new cognitive, emotional, neurological and behavioural changes to become embedded. Our experience is that practice develops most effectively and sustainably when there is an ongoing personal relationship with a teacher who really knows their stuff.

    We encourage you to do some research of your own. If you are quite stressed, or you’re facing some big challenges, you may find greater benefit in an in-depth, evidence-based MBSR program.

  • I am a health professional. How will MBSR help me in my work?

    MBSR is a wonderful program for people working in helping professions. It assists with our capacity for listening, empathy, compassion and genuine curiosity. It can also help us see into our own patterns that can get in the way of being truly helpful.
    However, MBSR is not a professional training program for using mindfulness with clients. We welcome you to join the course as a participant, leave your professional hat at the door, and immerse yourself in mindfulness practice. Our MBSR course presents an opportunity to learn about mindfulness from the inside out, by engaging in the group process and learning from your fellow participants.

    There are good ethical and professional reasons to develop an in-depth understanding of your own personal mindfulness practice before teaching others. A sustained mindfulness practice, including completing an MBSR course and a teacher-led silent mindfulness retreat, is a pre-requisite for training to teach

  • I can’t afford the full course fee. Do you offer payment plans or discounts?

    We’re committed to making the MBSR program accessible to as many people as possible. So, we offer some heavily discounted places and payment plans for our courses for people who genuinely can't afford the full fee.
    Please email us and request a concession form. We will ask you to complete a Concession Form. We are proud of the fact that we have never turned anyone away from doing the program just because they couldn’t afford the full fees.

  • Someone else is offering a mindfulness course for $395. What's the difference?

    There may be no difference. It is important to know what you are engaging in so check it out!

    For over 39 years, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) has been the gold standard of teaching mindfulness in a secular setting for the relief of physical and psychological suffering. It is taught by people who have committed themselves, over many years, to training, doing retreats, and having a personal practice.

    Many people are now offering ‘mindfulness’ courses ‘based on MBSR’ or ‘based on the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn’. Often, these teachers have very little personal experience and immersion in mindfulness practice, and little or no training in MBSR. These courses are often shorter, perhaps six 1.5-hour sessions (nine hours total) or six two-hour sessions (12 hours total) for around $400. This works out to be more expensive than the MBSR program, which is 28 hours, including a silent retreat day, plus email and phone contact with your teacher if you need it during the eight weeks.

    You might like to ask the teacher of these courses if they have specific training in teaching mindfulness, have completed retreats and if they adhere to the Good Practice guidelines.

  • What if I need to miss a class or the Day of Mindfulness?

    In some locations, there are a few courses happening simultaneously, so you could arrange to attend one of the other locations for that week. If that is not possible in your area, the course book is quite detailed in terms of covering the material each week, and you will be able to keep practicing and arrange to check in with your teacher by phone or email about your process that week.

    Missing the Day of Mindfulness is also sometimes inevitable. However, this day-long retreat is held every quarter, so you can always attend next time.

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Find Mindfulness Training near you.