Online Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
This online MBSR training course is 100% free, created by a fully certified MBSR instructor, and is based on the program founded by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
I’m so glad you found this website! Here you will find a complete MBSR course, designed for people who are not able to take a live MBSR course for financial or logistical reasons. All of the materials used in the live courses I taught, including guided meditations, articles and videos, are freely available here. – Dave Potter
Offering something for nothing does seem a little suspicious these days and I get many emails about this free online MBSR course, many of which ask one or more of the following questions:
Is this online MBSR course really, truly, 100% free?
The short answer is “yes”. There is no catch: no fees, no spam, no cookies, you don’t even need to identify yourself or give an email address. I receive no income personally from the site, not even indirectly. Contributions make the course even more accessible to people around the world, but this is not expected nor required – see About Contributions. (NOTE: Some of the videos have advertising, but the ad revenue goes directly to the creator of the videos and not to me or Palouse Mindfulness.)
What are your credentials and why don’t you charge for the course?
I am fully certified as an MBSR instructor by the University of Massachusetts Medical School and I taught live, in-person MBSR classes in my community for 12 years. I’m also a retired professional psychotherapist who has had a daily meditation practice for over 30 years, and when I discovered MBSR, I wanted to offer it to my clients and my community. I started teaching my twice-yearly in-person classes in 2004 and, as a service to my students, began to put some parts of the class online. I soon realized that with a little work, the material could be useful to people who are not able to attend a live MBSR class, either because of financial or geographical limitations..
Creating and incrementally improving this resource has been a labor of love, and I’m happy to provide these materials without asking for a fee, something that is made possible given the economies of the internet, how the course is structured, and the generosity of other teachers* who have given their permission to make their teachings freely available on this website. It pleases me to know that anyone with an internet connection, whether they live in Moscow, Idaho or Moscow, Russia, can find and use the rich set of materials here. There is even a way for people without internet to have access to the course.
How does the Palouse Mindfulness course compare to a live MBSR course?
After reading the letters of completion and practice sheets of more than 6,000 online students from over 100 countries (see Map of Graduates) and having previously taught MBSR to 400 people live and in person, I’ve concluded that students who complete the Palouse Mindfulness course typically have just as deep an experience as those who complete a live MBSR course (see Testimonials / Gallery of Learning).
One of the reasons Palouse Mindfulness can be as effective as a live course is because you are not limited to eight weeks of learning since you can take as long as you like to fully absorb the teachings and practices of each “week”, and much more material is available.
Also, a live course, even one taught by a single gifted teacher, will necessarily be limited in range in terms of teaching style and content, but with the Palouse Mindfulness course, you will be taught, through videos and readings, by a variety of world-renowned teachers such as Jon Kabat-Zinn, Thich Nhat Hanh, Pema Chodron, Sylvia Boorstein, Tara Brach, Jack Kornfield, Sharon Salzberg, Kristin Neff, and Shauna Shapiro (see the NOTE about other teachers* at the bottom of this page).
That being said, you can expect to receive everything Palouse Mindfulness has to offer only if you to complete the entire course. This is challenging because it’s easy to start a self-paced online course but difficult to finish without regular, live, encouragement. It is for this reason that, for those who can afford it and can fit it into their schedule, a live MBSR course may be a better option than the Palouse Mindfulness course because a regular live MBSR course increases the odds that a student will finish what they have begun (see Live MBSR Courses for alternatives to Palouse Mindfulness which are taught by qualified instructors).
What if I have questions while taking the course?
A distinct advantage of the Palouse Mindfulness course is that you don’t have to wait for a once-a-week meeting to ask a question or share a concern. In addition to the Palouse Mindfulness Facebook group, there are optional weekly and monthly zoom meetings (see Zoom Meditation & Discussion Meetings) where students can join a zoom meeting that includes a live meditation and time for sharing experiences and/or asking questions about the practices that are part of the course. There are experienced graduates and senior students in all the Palouse Mindfulness forums who can answer specific questions.
Whether or not you plan to participate in any of the online forums, be sure to check out the Frequently Asked Questions page (see FAQ on menu above). The questions on the FAQ page are the ones that have been asked most often in the online forums.
If English is not your native language…
If your native language is represented by a flag in the upper-left corner of this page (Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, or Chinese), you are in luck! All of the core readings, worksheets, subtitles for videos, and audio recordings have been carefully translated by Palouse Mindfulness graduates who are native speakers of that language. By clicking on the row of flags, you will be given an option to go to one of these translated versions.
If your native language is not one that we have translated, it’s possible to use Google Translate to convert the course to another language, but the translation is not perfect, especially since the concepts presented in a mindfulness course are subtle and present a challenge even for experienced human translators. That being said, if you’d like to use Google Translate with this course, go to Other Languages for suggestions about how best to do this.
To get more of a sense of what the course is about…
The Introduction is designed to give you a sense of mindfulness and an idea of how this course is structured. For each of the eight weeks, videos, readings and practices help you build a base of both knowledge and experience. MBSR “At a Glance” provides a brief outline of the MBSR course.
All of what you will need is accessible through this website, and whether or not you actually take yourself through the course, the wealth of material here, including videos and writings by the teachers mentioned above and others, is freely available to you.
No registration required – begin whenever you’re ready
This course is completely self-guided (there is no registration and only you will be monitoring your progress, using the provided practice sheets). If you successfully complete the eight weeks of practice and study and send the materials indicated in Requesting a Certificate of Completion, I will send you a personal note of congratulations along with a certificate of completion. There is no cost for this. You simply submit your practice sheets and a one page description of what you’ve learned and how you will be incorporating what you learned into your life.
If you are ready to begin, or if you’d just like to know more about mindfulness or this program, go to the Introduction.
Jon Kabat-Zinn, Thich Nhat Hanh, Tara Brach, Shauna Shapiro, Kristin Neff, Michelle Maldonado, Vidyamala Burch, Lynn Rossy, James Baraz, Ann Weiser Cornell, Daron Larson, and the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
All videos needed to complete the course, including the guided meditations, have accurate closed captions, with the exception of some that are in the “supplementary” sections or on the “Graduate” pages. [The captioning on this site thanks to Caption Access .]
* NOTE about other teachers: Much of the material in this course is drawn from the public works of other teachers and writers who share my passion for making mindfulness available to all. I’m grateful to them for helping to make this free Online MBSR course possible. Those who have given their explicit written approval of how we’ve used their materials includeand the