Thank you for your interest in our winter 2021 virtual MBSR course! The class is now full, but we hope to offer another class soon. If you would like to get on our wait list, click the NOTIFY ME button. Wait listers will receive advance notice and registration priority for our next MBSR class. 

MNPS is excited to offer another virtual Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course this winter. Here's how it will work:

  • The course will be live-online. While participants won’t physically be together, they will be together in a virtual environment via Zoom videoconferencing.

  • The course will be led by Vanderbilt Osher Center's Michelle Pearce and MBSR instructors Dr. Martha Shepherd and Bobby Russell.

Just like our past MBSR classes, this highly participatory, practical course includes:

  • Guided instruction in mindfulness meditation practices

  • Gentle stretching and mindful yoga

  • Group discussions aimed at enhancing awareness in everyday life

  • Daily home assignments


What is mindfulness and MBSR?

Mindfulness is a way of learning to relate directly to whatever is happening in your life, a way of taking charge, a way of doing something for yourself that no one else can do for you — consciously and systematically working with your own stress and the challenges and demands of everyday life.


MBSR is an evidence-based intervention used to increase awareness of your thoughts, body and emotions. MBSR uses meditation and gentle movement to encourage present-moment awareness and deep relaxation.


What are the benefits of mindfulness?

Mindfulness practice can help you heal and cope with many conditions, including:

  • Stress

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Fatigue

  • High blood pressure

  • Gastrointestinal (IBS)

  • Insomnia

  • Chronic pain

  • Headaches

  • Some autoimmune conditions


When is the class?

Registered participants will meet online via Zoom videoconferencing for nine Thursdays and one Saturday as follows:

Orientation/first class: Thursday, January 7 (5-7:30 p.m.)

Eight Thursdays:  January 14 - March 4 (5-7:30 p.m.)

Saturday retreat:  February 13 (9 a.m.-3 p.m.)

Who can attend?

All MNPS employees are eligible to register. Registrants who meet all course requirements will be accepted on a first come, first served basis until the class is full (limit: 50 participants). You’re encouraged to read and understand the commitments required of the course before registering.


What are course requirements?

To qualify for this course, you must:​

  • Have not completed a previous MNPS-provided MBSR course

  • Be able to meet the significant time commitments of the course, which include attending class approximately 2.5 hours a week, completing assigned homework and attending an all-day Saturday retreat

How do I register?

Register here. You will be required to provide your name, work location, email address and a well-thought-out statement about why you want to attend and why you think MBSR might benefit you (150-300 words). Because space is limited for this popular class, we encourage you to register early.

How much does it cost?

The typical cost at the Osher Center is $375; in some parts of the country, this highly popular course costs as much as $800! However, through this special collaboration with Vanderbilt, MNPS is offering the course at no cost to those who meet all registration requirements and feel they are able to meet the significant time commitment required of the course. 


Who teaches the course?

Michelle Pearce, DMIN, MSN, MA, LPC-MHSP, RN, director of mindfulness programs and outreach for the Osher Center, will facilitate the course. She is a licensed and nationally certified mental health service provider and advanced practice registered nurse. She is qualified to teach MBSR through the University of Massachusetts Medical School Center for Mindfulness, and has over 20 years’ experience developing and teaching mindfulness practices to patients, educators, students, health professionals and people in the community.

Bobby Russell, physical therapist in the MNPS Employee & Family Health Care Centers, will co-teach the course. He received his MBSR teacher qualification through the Mindfulness Center at Brown School of Public Health.

Dr. Martha Shepherd, medical director of the MNPS Employee & Family Health Care Centers, will assist with course facilitation. She is a board-certified Family Medicine physician at Vanderbilt. She received her MBSR teacher qualification through the University of Massachusetts Medical School Center for Mindfulness, and is delighted to share this evidence-based practice with the MNPS community.

What else do I need to know?
  • MNPS covers the cost of this course to make it possible for those who might otherwise not be able to attend. Only register if you feel you can meet the significant time commitments of the class.

  • Your registration information, including your statement, is confidential and will not be made public or shared with anyone outside Vanderbilt staff coordinating the course.


Send an email to 

What do past participants say about the course?


​Summer virtual MBSR participant and English teacher, Ed Lawless says, “I fit into the ‘doesn’t play well with others’ category...[but] this is a shared experience. Witnessing others go through the enlightening and comforting. I noticed positive effects after the first class. I was able to be more open and honest. Being in my own home and space fostered a level of comfort I seriously would not be able to attain if I was in a classroom or outside setting.”

Other participants say:

  • The course far exceeded my expectations. It opened my mind at to how my body reacts to stresses.

  • I honestly thought I was pretty good at dealing with the often-intense stresses of being an educator. But now I realize I only had one or two tools I was using to cope. Now my toolbox is full.

  • Before the course, I would bury the stress without realizing it – to the detriment of my body and mind. I can now handle the stress in a healthy way.

  • I have gained an overwhelming sense of “I can get through it” - whatever “it” is.

  • If you want to bring more awareness to your life and reduce stress, then take the course.

  • This is a wonderful introduction to mindfulness. Be prepared for a significant time commitment.

  • If you are open to meditation and reducing stress in your life, take it.

  • The time commitment is certainly worth it and it will change your life.

  • You won’t believe how beneficial it will be to your personal and professional life.


Vanderbilt Health at

MNPS Employee & Family

Health Care Centers



Connect with us

Twitter icon



Employee Wellness Center at Berry Hill


Two Rivers Middle


TaylorStratton Elementary


Mt. View Elementary


Bellevue Middle

Copyright © 2020 Metro Nashville Public Schools