9 Great Mindfulness Courses You Can Take Online

Mindfulness and meditation, to some, still sound like pseudoscientific, New Age, hippie snake oil. In reality, however, research from Harvard University suggests that there might be some mental and physiological perks after all. Specifically, that practitioners might actually sport a little more grey matter (which is a good thing) than their peers who shy away from trying. While a little more testing is in order to see exactly what all mindful meditation can and cannot accomplish, it’s possible for the curious out there to hit the Internet and take some classes to explore the potential benefits on their own.

Please do keep in mind that while we share these online classes with you, we also know that they are not to be taken as a complete substitute for medical attention in situations where such measures might be needed. If you are currently working with a healthcare provider or nurse and possess an interest in pursuing mindful exercises, consult with them on how to best incorporate them into treatment plans.

  1. Be Mindful Online:

    University of Oxford and the Mental Health Foundation both studied the efficacy of the latter’s research-based mindfulness curricula offered through the Be Mindful Online program, to startlingly positive results. Participants’ stress levels dropped by a startling 39%, which they believe puts it on par with traditional psychotherapy. The self-paced course costs £60 ($95 in the across the United States, from the West Coast to Rhode Island) and provides 10 online class sessions, five audio meditation guides, handouts, homework, and digital measuring tools to push mindfulness as a healthy lifestyle habit. And they even include a certificate of completion! Prior to the investment, would-be mindfuls can take their free, registration-less stress test to gauge whether the online course might benefit them.

  2. Mindfulness at Work:

    Anyone curious about taking part in eMindful’s Mindfulness at Work program needs to contact their sales representative for information about scheduling and pricing. Unlike many online classes, this one unfolds through live sessions, involving 12 weekly sessions of one hour each and an additional two-hour “experiential workshop.” Like the title states, the Mindfulness at Work course focuses on stress-busting in the workplace using meditation and behavioral shifts requiring moment-to-moment living. Since offices so often export anxiety at a higher rate than most facets of human existence, experimenting with the tenets of mindfulness as they apply to such settings might very well prove positive in a major way.

  3. Mindsight Institute:

    Mindsight Institute tailors its programming to mental health professionals, educators, parents, coaches, “mindfulness practitioners,” and the general public. So, to put it bluntly, they offer a little something for everyone curious about what the discipline can do for them. Classes cover an impressive number of topics, represent the three most common skill levels, and cost varying amounts depending on the amount of time involved. Do keep in mind whilst browsing, however, that some of the courses offered are only available in person, and most involve enrollment deadlines.

  4. Mindfulness Online Course:

    University of Hawai’i's Dr. Than Huynh specializes in radiation oncology and also happens to boast considerable expertise in the realm of mindful meditation. His online course, whose enrollment and start dates vary throughout the year, covers how the practice might positively impact medical and non-medical scenarios in all sorts of medical fields, like women’s health and general practice. Participants do not have to pay anything to seek Huynh’s counsel, but he does highly recommend they donate to Doctors Without Borders or Vipassana Hawaii. Classes last six weeks and require a computer (of course) with audio and printing capabilities. Daily meditation using the included guidance is a must, as well as interaction with other students and the three instructors via forum.

  5. Vipassana Fellowship Meditation Course:

    Three sessions for 2013 are currently open, and Vipassana Fellowship emphasizes Theravada Buddhist techniques meant to infuse users with “tranquility” and “insight” to get them through their day-to-day life. Despite pulling from the meditative traditions of a major world religion, individuals enrolling in the course do not have to subscribe to its core tenets either starting or finishing its offerings. Twelve weeks of sessions, which include guided audio for seeking mindful relaxation and clarity in addition to worksheets and an extremely handy glossary of Buddhist terms, cost $125.

  6. Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation:

    Gil Frontsdal at the Insight Meditation Center offers several different meditation courses for beginners through Audio Dharma. Not all of them center around mindfulness, however, but all are available as audio downloads for self-directed learning. Best of all? All the coursework here costs zip. Zilch. Nada. The instructor also provides homework assignments, but be forewarned that the open nature of the class means he probably won’t be around to grade progress.

  7. Mindfulness E-Course:

    Mindfulness for Dummies author Shamash Alidina doesn’t require anyone who signs up for his free email-based meditation course, but he highly recommends it because of the accompanying CD. For those opting to take the class solo, a daily e-mail gets sent out with instructions on the day’s lessons over the course of four weeks. Once everything wraps up, participants automatically wind up on the newsletter list for regular advice on staying mindful through varying trials. And, every once in a while, a special deal or offer floats in for consideration.

  8. Mind the Moment:

    Harvard Pilgrim Health Care’s mindfulness offerings come in the form of six completely self-directed learning modules, each of which take roughly a week to master. It’s all free, too, and takes a rather broad stance in approaching the … well … broad subject. Suitable for beginners, the classes cover stress reduction, eating habits, yoga, and the benefits of walking while meditating. Simple stuff, and zeroing in on a more secular, rather than spiritual, vantage point.

  9. Practicing Mindfulness: An Introduction to Meditation:

    Mark W. Muesse of Rutgers University sells the class materials for his introductory course on meditative practices via The Great Courses in four different formats – audio or video for either online streaming or downloading or a CD or a DVD. Prices vary depending on the format, but without any sort of special offer the Internet-based versions go for $214.95 for video and $129.95 for audio. The physical and philosophical components of mindful meditation receive a full academic analysis here, along with practical information about incorporating it into daily life.

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