“Are you breathing just a little and calling it a life?’ – Poet Mary Oliver
The Saratoga Stress Reduction Program is an eight-week stress reduction and pain management course taught by Dr. Selma Nemer, Caroline Russell Smith, and Pierre Zimmerman. Our program is grounded in both practice and science. Students learn multiple forms of mindfulness meditation as well as the latest neuroscience findings about the impact of mindfulness on the brain and our ability to heal. As our students discover they can experience a deeper sense of peace in the midst of a fast-paced, demanding and stressful life, they learn to navigate life’s challenges with greater ease. While the program is very personal and therapeutic, it is also solidly practical and offers concrete approaches to dealing with physical and emotional distress.
This course is based on the program created by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society) in 1979 and is now an international program. We have offered this program since 2005 and have over 1000 graduates.
The majority of our participants use their health insurance to help cover program costs.
To register or for more information, contact Dr. Selma Nemer at (518) 581-3180 ext. 307.
Our schedule & fees are listed on a separate web page.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness teaches us how to be in the present moment. The good news is that this is an innate ability. We have simply learned to override it. Mindfulness practices teach us to slow down inside, shift out of auto-pilot, and step into a more open, relaxed and focused state of attention. With mindfulness we can better see things as they are without judgment, self-criticism and overwhelming emotions. Mindfulness is a discipline that allows us to access greater clarity, insight and compassion.
This program teaches participants a structured way to carve out time each day for the cultivation of mindfulness. For many, the biggest challenge is actually making the time to practice, but we have found that the group format of our program really helps with motivation and support. Mindfulness helps unleash the body’s innate capacity to rest and heal, and just a few weeks into the program our students begin to notice significant changes.
Why do people participate in this program?
On the first night of class we routinely hear things like:
- I keep waiting for life to slow down but I am realizing it never will. I need to learn how to live differently.
- I’m afraid I will be controlled by pain my entire life.
- I’m always planning for what’s coming next or critiquing what just happened. I can’t focus on what is actually happening, let alone enjoy it.
- I feel exhausted and overwhelmed most of the time.
- My body is tense and I can’t relax.
What do our graduates have to say?
At the end of the eight weeks, SSRP graduates say the program has helped them:
- Improve sleep
- Breathe more easily
- Reduce anxiety, and for some, eliminate the need for medication
- Better manage physical pain
- Increase physical flexibility
- Change negative thought patterns
- Bring greater awareness to their eating habits
- Feel more connected to their bodies
- Improve immune system health
- Discover a sense of inner calm even during stressful situations
- Be in the present moment with greater ease