When it comes to combating stress, Carmel Valley’s Jacquelyn Schwartz has long turned to meditation.
Now, with the launch of San Diego’s Balanced Mind Meditation Center, Schwartz hopes to share the benefits of meditation with others in the community.
“It’s really exciting,” Schwartz said. “This is a wonderful opportunity for the community to really learn more about the benefits of meditation. I’ve developed so much as an individual from my own mindfulness practice that I want to share it with people.”
Schwartz will be teaching the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course, which is one of several evidence-based mindfulness courses being offered at Balanced Mind Meditation Center, a new non-religious meditation studio at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center in La Jolla.
The course schedule consists of eight weekly classes and one daylong class on a weekend. The course includes guided instruction in mindfulness meditation practices; gentle stretching and mindful yoga; inquiry exercises to enhance awareness in everyday life; individually tailored instruction; group dialogue; daily home assignments; and a workbook as well as guided audio files for home practice.
The eight-week course starts Oct. 19 and runs through Dec. 14. It costs $400 for members and $480 for non-members.
“There’s a lot of science that has proven to help relieve stress, pain illness,” said Schwartz, noting that the course was developed in 1979 by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. It is now taught in every state in the U.S. and in more than 30 countries.
“Many participants report improvement in managing stress, anger, anxiety and depression in their personal lives, relationships and their workplace,” she added.
A Carmel Valley resident since 1995, Schwartz is a licensed marriage and family therapist with a private practice in Sorrento Valley. She specializes in working with individuals and couples under stress. She is also a family business consultant at Schwartz Advisors in San Diego.
In 2011, Schwartz took the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course through Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas. After completing the course, she enrolled in an advance course and began to develop her own daily mindfulness meditation practice.
Today, Schwartz teaches mindfulness-based approaches to wellness and stress management to private and corporate clients. She is a trained teacher of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction from the Center for Mindfulness at UC San Diego Health.
“Personally, it’s been life-changing,” said Schwartz, who holds a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University in San Diego. She continued her postgraduate studies at the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family in Washington, D.C. and earned a certificate in family business advising from the Family Firm Institute.
“I want to share what I’ve learned and really help people be happier,” she added. “It’s very meaningful to see how other people benefit from the practice. That’s really what makes it most rewarding for me.”
Schwartz is one of 10 instructors at the Balanced Mind Meditation Center, which is opening with a special kick-off event from 1-5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25 at Mandell-Weiss Eastgate City Park. The free event will feature a series of sample classes.
“She’s a fabulous Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction,” said Julie Potiker, founder of Balanced Mind Meditation Center. “She’s got this beautiful, calm, happy presence about her.”
After years of training and working with clients, Potiker, a mindful self-compassion teacher and longtime practitioner of mindful meditation, founded the Balanced Mind Meditation Center, which offers a variety of drop-in classes, special courses and workshops. The center was created in memory of Potiker’s mother, the late Ruth Jacobowitz, a women’s health advocate, author and lecturer.
In an effort to gauge community interest for a center, Potiker started teaching drop-in guided meditation at the Jewish Community Center last winter.
“There was a huge interest,” Potiker said.
Classes begin Monday. Sept. 26. Drop-in classes will be free for members and non-members throughout October. For a full list of drop-in classes, courses and workshops visit balancedmindmeditation.org.
“That will give people an opportunity to really check it out,” Potiker said. “Even somebody who has never meditated before will be incredibly comfortable at every single class.”