December 1, 2019

Stress Reduction Classes at the Chicago Botanic Garden

We offer our stress reduction classes in partnership with the Chicago Botanic Garden. Through this partnership, we are able to help participants manage their stress levels by incorporating mindfulness, yoga, movement, and nature.

Stress Reduction Movement and Practice

Upcoming Dates

Experience a soothing blend of movement, mindfulness, and stress reduction techniques designed to support your body’s innate self-healing ability. Guided practice will help calm your mind and body, while giving you tools to manage stress at home and work. Open to all levels of fitness and ability.

Winter 2020

5 Saturdays, February 22 – March 21, 2020, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.

Spring 2020

5 Saturdays, April 4 – May 2, 2020, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction

Americans are stressed out. We are working longer hours, constantly distracted, exhausted by politics, becoming parents and caretakers at the same time, constantly bombarded by notifications,  and struggling to meet stressful deadlines. If day to day stress is getting harder to manage, you’re not alone. More than 80% of Americans identify with experiencing mild to severe stress creating adverse effects on our bodies and emotional state.

This is an eight-week stress reduction course based on the principles of mindfulness to help participants gain skills to manage life problems such as stress, anxiety, challenging thoughts, and difficult emotions. The MBSR program is designed for beginner meditators and no prior mindfulness or meditation experience is required.

During the course, we will learn techniques to:

  • Identify what happens in our body when it is stressed.
  • Live in the present moment rather than get caught up in the past or future.
  • Create grounding practices when our emotions or thoughts are too difficult to handle.
  • Integrate simple daily practices to build a foundation of mindfulness.
  • Reflect on lifestyle and communication choices and how they support or day to day life.
  • Engage with difficult emotions or challenging thoughts.
  • Take care of ourselves compassionately.
  • Build resiliency
  • Practice mindfulness meditation

Who Should Take the MBSR Course

The MBSR Course is ideal for those experiencing:

  • Mild anxiety
  • Work, family, or financial stress
  • Sleep problems
  • Fatigue
  • Pain management

The MBSR program is a complement to traditional practices and should not be used as a replacement for any medical practices related to the above conditions.

Who Should Not Take the MBSR Course

During this course, we ask students to learn how to work with the difficult sometimes turning towards it. Sometimes, this is not always appropriate during our phase in life in this particular format.This course is not recommended for people experiencing:

  • Suicidal Thoughts
  • PTSD
  • Schizophrenia
  • Acute depression
  • Psychosis
  • Severe social anxiety
  • Currently experiencing a life crisis such as cancer, divorce, immediate loss of a loved one, or other extreme life change or event.

Assessment Interview

We do require that everyone complete an assessment interview prior to the start of the training to ensure the program is right for them. During the course, we will learn how to work with difficult emotions or thoughts. For those experiencing certain life events or mental health-related conditions, for the safety of the individual and other participants other means of support may be safer and better suited.

Dates and Location

Chicago Botanic Garden

8 Thursdays, April 23 – June 11, 2020, 6 – 8:30 p.m.
Optional Retreat: Saturday, June 6, 2020, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Required Orientation: Introduction to Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction

Interested participants must attend either session below or complete a one on one consultation if a current Mindful Yoga Chicago student.

Orientation Date

Thursday, April 9, 2020, 6 – 7:30 p.m or optional paid private session

Program Fee

The MBSR course is $549 for Chicago Botanic Garden Members or $689 for non-members. Please contact us for sliding scale rates based on income. This course may potentially by covered your employers FSA (Flexible Spending Account)  or your HSA (Health Savings Account). Please check with your employer FSA or HSA prior to signing up so we can determine the documentation you need.

What to Expect from the Course

This course is an 8 Week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course. It follows the University of Massachusetts (UMASS) outline for an MBSR Program. Students can expect:

A small group setting with no more than 7 participants.
Sessions where one class builds upon the next.
Recordings and journaling exercise to complete at home.

About the Instructor

Melissa Leger is a Level 2 MBSR Instructor and Mindful Yoga Instructor.  She has been practicing mindfulness for 8 years while practicing yoga for 20. Currently, she leads yoga teacher trainings and retreats as well as mindfulness and stress reduction classes in Chicago. Her goal is to help make mindful more compassionate communities through yoga and meditation is an easy to understand format for today’s lifestyles. Melissa has completed training programs through Mindful Yoga Academy, Mindful Yoga International, Blooma Prenatal, Connection Coalition, Sunlight Chair Yoga, and Yandara Yoga Institute. She is a combat veteran, recovering corporate professional, and entrepreneur. In her spare time, she likes gardening, hanging out with her husband and dogs, and traveling.

*Register direct through the Chicago Botanic Garden website