In A Nutshell
Miami Mindfulness is dedicated to making accessible and affordable the world-renowned Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, as developed by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, both directly to students of all ages and by training future MBSR teachers.
Early years: Ferris, Valerie, Johan and friends, 1998, UMass CFM.
The early years: A Mindfulness retreat in California.
Reunited: “Old Teachers Retreat” February 11, 2018 with Ferris Buck Urbanowski, Jon Kabat-Zinn, et.al., at Mt. Madonna in California.
Enjoying Orangeville, Ontario Centre with (left to right) Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Zindel Segal, and colleagues during first MBCT Training Retreat, 2002.
Valerie York-Zimmerman with Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn at Spirit Rock Meditation Center near San Francisco in 2009.
Inner Journey at Miami Mindfulness – Starting Out in 1998
Valerie York-Zimmerman introduced the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Program to Miami in 1998. She taught under Inner Journey, Inc., her first organization, because the practice of mindfulness is indeed a journey inward. As Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn says, “mindfulness is a journey into the last frontier – the inner landscape.”
Valerie continued to operate under Inner Journey but added “at Miami Mindfulness” to identify with her Miami community.
Miami Mindfulness and Mindful Kids Miami
In 2011, in order to bring the life-transforming and often life-saving benefits of mindfulness practice to school children Pre-K to 12, Valerie created a new non-profit, Mindful Kids Miami, with her husband Leonard A. Zimmerman, M.D., a dedicated family practice physician.
Through Miami Mindfulness, Valerie continued to bring MBSR and other adult Mindfulness-Based programming to busy people with stress-related illness and psychological symptoms, some with difficult and life-threatening diagnosis – professionals such as healthcare providers, therapists, people in institutional settings, ministers, lawyers, judges, law enforcement, people in business, finance, public policy, etc..
After four years of teaching principals, teachers, and counselors in individual public schools, at the discretion of their school principals, educators began to take note.
Following the very successful “A Mindful Miami Conference,” an academic symposium featuring Mindfulness in Healthcare, Education, Criminal Justice and Mental Illness in October 2014, Valerie was invited to address the November, 2014 Miami-Dade School Board Meeting about Mindfulness in Education and the benefits of her training programs.
She and then-MKM Board Member, Trudy Novicki, former Executive Director of Kristi House, addressed the School Board. Unanimous approval was granted. As a result, a highly successful district-wide Pilot Program was launched with the Miami-Dade County Public School Professional Development Department featuring Valerie’s Mindfulness-Based adaptation entitled ” Inner Journey ~ Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (IJ-MBSR) Program for Public School Educators.”
Serious practitioners and experts attest that it is this indirect experiential approach based on the embodiment of teachers learning and developing mindfulness in their personal and professional lives that is the most effective way of teaching children. This method reflects the non-didactic embodiment of teaching which has a much more powerful impact on kids.
The success of this 2015-2016 year-long M-DCPS Pilot Program for teachers led to the district’s approval for Mindfulness in Education training at M-DCPS which continues to include the MBSR Program for educators and the inclusion of Mindful Teachers Training Program designed by Valerie to train adults how to teach mindfulness skills/practices to children Pre K to 12.
Miami Mindfulness, LLC — Today
After five years at Mindful Kids Miami as founder, executive director, and senior teacher, Valerie left in May, 2016.
In June 2016 she launched Miami Mindfulness, LLC , to dedicate herself to:
- the integrity and rigor of Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn’s work.
- the intention of a gold standard of practice and teaching.
- help those committed to learning and becoming skilled MBSR teachers by teaching the MBSR Practicum, Mentoring teachers-in-training, and leading 5-Day Silent Retreats so that the Pathway to MBSR Certification is accessible and more affordable to people in the South Florida community.
- introduce leading national and international Mindfulness-based programs to South Florida.