Why You Should Listen to Your Body

Jon Kabat-Zinn, the pioneer of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), explores the relationship between mindfulness and body awareness, and the benefits of giving the body our full attention. Plus, explore a guided body awareness meditation.

Joshua Simpson

In 1979, Jon Kabat-Zinn, a microbiologist working at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, MA, started a modest eight-week program called Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction—inviting patients to take some time for self-care down in the hospital’s basement. Forty years later, MBSR is taught the world over and has become the gold standard for applying mindfulness to the stresses of everyday life and for researching whether mindfulness practice can improve mental and physical health. 

Kabat-Zinn has emphasized that mindfulness is not a mental trick. Rather it is a basic human inheritance that is essential to life. We need to be optimally aware of who we are, where we are, and how we are in order to survive individually and as communities, and even as a species, in Kabat-Zinn’s view. 

In these excerpts from a recent series of books, he offers his understanding of how mindfulness practice enhances our very understanding of how we inhabit our own body as we make our way through life.

Body of Knowledge

They carry us through the world, but how often do we really listen to our bodies? A whole universe of wonder awaits when we do.

We know that it is possible to…

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About the author

Jon Kabat-Zinn

Jon Kabat-Zinn is the founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) as well as the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He is author of Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness; Wherever You Go, There You Are; Coming to Our Senses; and Mindfulness for Beginners. He trains, teaches, and lectures throughout the world on applications of mindfulness and is Professor of Medicine Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

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