Breathing Space London

mindfulness for health

MBSR at Breathing Space

MBSR for managing stress

Upcoming courses:


Course March 24 - May 12 2020.   Thursdays 19:15-21:30.


Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction: 8-week course or 3 day residential retreat

We all have times when we experience stress, along with difficult physical sensations, feelings and moods. Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) can help us learn new ways of handling stress and all that comes with it.


MBSR can significantly change the way we relate to stress and difficulty, and enhance our capacity to cope on a daily basis. By developing more awareness, you can learn to deal more effectively with difficulties and take more pleasure in the good things in life.


MBSR was developed by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in the USA, and it is the base for later Mindfulness Based Approaches such as MBCT. It is taught in a supportive group environment


The core skill that you will learn is 'mindfulness' - a way of paying attention, on purpose and non-judgementally, to what goes on in the present moment in your body, mind, and the world around you. Mindfulness can enable you to see things differently, undoing mental and physical knots and tensions. It can increase your sense of personal confidence and help you feel that you have more options, giving you greater strength to face challenges in your life.


Some of the things that MBSR can be beneficial for include:

  • More energy and enthusiasm
  • A greater capacity for relaxation
  • More self-confidence
  • An increased ability to handle stressful situations 


An interesting recent study on participants in an 8 week MBSR course showed structural brain changes including increased grey-matter density in the hippocampus, known to be important for learning and memory, and in structures associated with self-awareness, compassion and introspection. There is now a very strong evidence base for the benefits of mindfulness, both neuroscientific and qualitative research. If you are interested you can find more information here.

For upcoming courses and how to book, please see the bookings page here.


What’s the difference between the retreat and the course?

We deliver our MBSR programme as a course over 8 weeks or as a 4 day residential retreat. Here are the main differences:



2.5 hours per week over 8 weeks

4 days

Non-residential at Breathing Space in East London

Residential at Vajrasana retreat centre in Suffolk (transport available)

Groups of up to 25 participants

Groups of up to 50 participants

Refreshments included

Accommodation and food included

Practices to do at home between sessions

Practices to do at home after the retreat


These retreats are suitable both for newcomers to MBAs and for people who have completed an 8 week Mindfulness course. They can help you learn in a more intensive way the practices and techniques taught on the courses - and function as a good refresher if you have done a course - helping you to stay well. Retreat dates and booking

What happens at Breathing Space retreats

Breathing Space retreats are held at our beautiful brand new retreat centre in the Suffolk countryside. They are for three days and three nights. There will be a balanced programme of activities including led meditation, teachings on mindfulness, group discussions, as well as time to relax, go for walks in the countryside, and get to know people.

Travel, accommodation and food

We will provide transport to and from our retreat centre. The retreat centre is in a very quiet part of rural Suffolk, surrounded by gently rolling countryside. Accommodation is in shared rooms. The retreat centre has pleasant gardens, a large lounge area and dining room and a purpose built meditation hall. All the rooms are centrally heated. All the food on the retreat is tasty vegetarian food prepared by the retreat team cook.


Breathing Space MBSR essentials Retreat Programme

Day One


19.00 – Arrive


19.30 – Supper


20.00- Introduction to retreat


20.30 – Restorative yoga and body awareness                     


Day Two


06.30 - Rise


07.00 – Posture workshop, body scan and mindfulness of breathing meditation  


09.00 – Breakfast


10.15 – Stepping out of autopilot, the three-stage breathing space   


12.00 – ‘Doing vs Being’                      


13.15 – Lunch


16.00 – Yoga


18.00 – Supper


18.45 – Team Meeting


19.30 – Sound meditation, exchanging self and other                                              


Day Three


06.30 - Rise


07.00 – Walking meditation, developing body awareness     


09.00 – Breakfast


10.15 – Thoughts are not facts   


12.00 - Acceptance   


13.15 – Lunch


16.00 - Yoga


18.00 – Supper


18.45 – Team Meeting


19.30 – Kindness meditation and communication exercise


Silence until after breakfast


Day Four


06.30 - Rise


07.00 – Mindfulness meditation


09.00 – Breakfast


10.00 – Exhaustion funnel, Sustainers and Drainers   


11.30 – Reducing stress: making an action plan   


12.00 – Check Out


13.00 – Lunch


13.45 – Clear Up until 14.45


15.00 - Depart