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Lake Landscape
Who Are We

"How are you?"

There are many answers to that question but most of them don't resemble a person at peace.


 Busy. Stressed. Overwhelmed. Struggling to carry it all. Fine.

Any of those sound familiar?

We live in a world of perpetual noise. Stress has become a constant rather than a seasonal experience tied to specific challenges or circumstances. We are suffering, physically and emotionally, at the rigid grip of the hands of stress with no tools to equip us to reduce it.

We are slowly becoming poisoned, mind and body, by the toxicity of our stress.

And we're tired.

We crave peace, rest, and quiet.

But how do we obtain that?

Try yoga, they say. Go on a vacation. Give meditation a try. And while alone those are great ideas, they don't address the root of the problem in a way that empowers you to operate from a place of peace permanently, rather than temporarily.

But there is something that equips you with everything you need to reduce your toxic stress...


Mindfulness Based
Stress Reduction

an 8 week course to reduce your toxic stress by 35%

Image by Kolya Korzh

8 weeks of intentional, authentic living

Although stress is at the cause of many physical illnesses and psychological disorders, it is not often diagnosed or treated at the root level. There are very few resources that effectively treat stress as a condition.
MBSR is an 8-week intensive, non-sectarian course, backed by over 40 years of research, proven to reduce the symptoms of stress and anxiety. Taught by a certified MBSR instructor and utilizing curriculum developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD at UMASS Center for Mindfulness, this non-clinical (i.e. not group therapy) course is designed to teach mind-body awareness, recognize and put to use our inner psychological resources to respond to toxic stress, increase stress hardiness, focus, creativity, regulate emotions, and allow a greater sense of self-care and well-being.
No prior mindfulness or meditation experience is necessary to enroll.

It is open to adults, 18 and over, who are committed to self-exploration and self-care.

What is MBSR?

Mindfulness Based Stress reduction sits on over four decades of research. It is based in experiential learning, meditation, and teaches how to respond more wisely to stress. It is taught in a universal, secular, group setting.


MBSR is the most scientifically researched mindfulness program available.



MBSR may lead to structural changes in the brain that can increase mental performance.


Respond wisely rather than react habitually to stressors and difficulty.



Cultivate self-awareness, improve communication skills and improve self-analysis skills.

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction

Fall 2024 Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program

Required Orientation: Tuesday, September 3, 2024 6:00-7:30pm

Class Dates & Times: Tuesday evenings 6:00-8:30pm: Sept 10, 2024 - Oct 29, 2024 (Sept 10, 17, 24, Oct 1, 8, 15, 22, 29)
Location: Central Fellowship Hall: 3829 Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50312

Day of Mindfulness Silent Retreat: Sunday, October 20, 2024 – 9:00am-3:00pm

Retreat Location October 20th: Raccoon River Nature Lodge: 2500 Grand Ave, West Des Moines, IA. Guest yoga teacher: TBD

Class Overview

Classes focus on the experiential cultivation of both “formal” and “informal” mindfulness practices such as gentle yoga, mindful movement, and meditation as a foundation for the cultivation of psychological and emotional resilience that can be effectively utilized across the adult life span. The group meets once per week for 8 weeks for 2.5 hours.  Each participant is expected to complete assigned home practice on their own, such as meditation, body scan, yoga, the other 6 days per week for about 30-45 minutes per day. Attendance is taken each class meeting. One teacher lead, silent Day of Mindfulness retreat experience is included to deepen the practice of seamless, meditative awareness (approx. 6 hours: 9am-3pm). This is held on a weekend day following week 5 or 6 class. Learn more below under FAQ’s.


$395 per person (approx. $14 per class time hour – 26 total hours class time.) 

Continuing Education Opportunities

Teachers in Iowa:  15 contact hours – 1 License Renewal Credit through Heartland AEA 
Mental Health Professionals, Social Workers: 20 contact hours – 20 CEUs 
Clergy, Spiritual Directors:  20 contact hours – 2 CEUs

Who Should Enroll

The reasons students choose to enroll in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction vary greatly but a few common reasons include...

job Stress
School Stress
Family Stress
life transition
emotional reactivity

As long as you have a desire to take a more proactive role in your greater overall health and well-being and ready to use your inner psychological resources to take better care of yourself, you'll be a great fit for this course.




The group meets once per week for 8 weeks for 2.5 hours.  Each student is expected to complete assigned home practice on their own, such as meditation, body scan, yoga, the other 6 days per week for about 30-45 minutes per day. There is also a “retreat class” where the students are silent and put to use what is learned in class. It is usually held on a Saturday between week 5-7 that is approximately 6 hours long. There is a total of about 26 hours of in-person class time during the course. The bar is set high, but is NOT unreachable if you view this as a challenge you can meet with acceptance and some discipline. Please make sure you can devote time with and for yourself to get the most out of this program as there is much to learn from the daily, consistent practice.



No. When Allison first took the course for personal reasons, she had never practiced meditation before. (The time at the end of community yoga classes during “Savasana” when one lies down on the mat to be still for a few minutes was excruciating for her because she didn’t know how to be still. Her mind was wild and it was uncomfortable because she didn’t have tools to work with her mind. This course changed her perception of the importance and requirement of stillness.) This class is for complete beginners and those that have meditation experience. You can be skeptical. What’s important is that you come with an open heart and mind, ready for self-exploration.



• How to stabilize and focus attention to use internal psychological resources for greater well-being. 
• Identify Automatic Habitual Stress Reactivity and Mindfulness Mediated Stress Responding, to respond more wisely to stressful events. 
• How to work skillfully with difficult emotions, thoughts, and unpleasant physical sensations. 
• Techniques to respond more wisely to stressful events and difficult communication. 
• Recognize judgement, bias, negative thought patterns and reactivity in a more non-judgmental, engaged manner by cultivating self-compassion, embodied presence, empathy and acceptance. 
• Create a personal, on-going mindfulness meditation and/or self-care practice.



Short answer: Yes. Because of the participatory nature of this training, it is imperative that you be present for all of it. Of course, life situations arise, but as you enter the training, please ensure that you have cleared your schedule so you can participate in all sessions of the training. Each class builds on the one prior, both in practice and in content; if you miss one or more classes, it can be difficult to keep up, so it’s expected that you attend as many as possible. However, I understand that emergencies happen. We work on absences on a case-by-case basis. In my experience, students that commit to themselves by attending all classes, especially the retreat, and completing the home practice assignments have the largest reduction of perceived stress and a greater increase overall well-being than students that miss classes.



No. MBSR is taught in a non-sectarian, universal and mainstream manner. Mindfulness is being purposefully aware of what is arising in your experience, moment by moment, without being hijacked by mental content. People of any (or no) religion, gender, and lifestyle are respected and welcome.



 Mindful yoga is not a “workout”… it’s a “work-in”. It’s not about getting more flexible or attaining a special mind state….it’s a very gentle practice. It’s a vehicle for self-discovery; how to live in your body more fully, rather than living from the neck up. Through mindful movement, we learn to listen to the body’s communication style and be aware of physical tension more readily so we can tend to ourselves fully, without being overly aggressive. You are the expert of your own experience, so postures can be modified or skipped depending on your condition. Allison offers as many modifications as necessary.



  • You receive a hard copy Home Practice Journal to support your practice. (Electronic version is available as well for those outside the US.) 

  • Full access to Allison during the course via email, phone and/or text for questions about how your practice is going. 

  • You fill out a stress self-evaluation before and after the course to see how it helped you. 

  • During class 8, you write a reflection based on your learnings and discoveries. After you send it back to Allison, she keeps it for a few months and mails it back to you (US only) as a letter to yourself, from yourself. 

  • Once you become an MBSR graduate, you're invited back to future all-day silent MBSR retreats. Other graduate opportunities include book study, refresher courses, and half day silent retreats.



Allison Peet is a certified Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Instructor trained at UMass Center for Mindfulness, founded by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD and the Mindfulness Center at Brown University. She is trained through Mindful Schools and is a certified Buteyko Breathing Method instructor and registered yoga instructor (RYT200).

She’s taught since 2015 and hundreds have graduated from her MBSR program. Based on a pre and post self-evaluation, 85% of grads lowered their perceived stress, and reduced stress levels an average of 35%. Allison completes multiple week-long silent meditation retreats and has a regular practice. The cultivation of mindfulness transformed her relationship with stress and anxiety which motivated her to start her own business in 2015, From Within Wellness, to benefit others. 
A note from Allison

I know it can feel like a big step to enroll in a course like this. You know something needs to change but you're unsure if this is the right catalyst for you.


I get that. I've been there too.


But for me, this changed everything and I believe it can do the same for you.

I spent many of my adult years being disconnected from my body. Abusing it with over-exercising, overworking, alcohol to “take the edge off,” stuffing food into it out of nerves or habit, not allowing myself time to recharge and relax for fear I would get behind or be seen as lazy or not productive.  I got to a point in 2013 that my body started to revolt against my mind, bullying it all the time.  The whispers turned to yelling, then screaming – acute neck and back pain, heart palpitations, chest pain, sweating, acne, overreacting to situations, insomnia. I knew an intervention was needed and decided to take the class.  I couldn’t find a teacher in Des Moines at the time, so I took it online. 


I laughed at myself at how difficult and uncomfortable it was to slow down and notice things in the present moment. I was in such a hurry with the meditations and aggravated at how slow they were that I began to ask myself:  “If I can’t be present and patient enough to mindfully eat ONE RAISIN, where else am I just going through the motions on autopilot in my life?” 


During the Body Scan, which literally teaches you to experience what it feels like to have a body (sounds weird, but many of us live in our heads, not in our bodies), I felt very confused, and couldn’t feel much of anything when I first started.  The best advice I got was that it’s totally ok to not “feel” anything…there’s no such thing as doing this incorrectly, which was very refreshing. To quote JKZ (the creator of the MBSR method), “You don’t have to like it, you just have to do it.” 


I kept following along, and over a couple weeks, with consistent practice and discipline, I started to feel very subtle sensations in my hands and feet first – prickling, tingling, pulsing, almost felt like ants crawling on my skin. Then I started to realize what the word embodiment actually meant and how useful it is, especially in times of distress and anxiety.  I came to class needing stress reduction, and came out realizing it was more about relating to my life more skillfully – teaching myself how to be more present with loved ones, colleagues, friends, and most importantly, myself. It wasn’t one more thing to add to my “To Do” list – it became integrated as a way of being and living more deliberately.

The outcomes I've seen in my students' lives over the past 7 years of teaching this course have been incredible (get to know a few them a bit more below) and they are the reason I keep offering this year after year.

I want you to know that peace, living in the present moment, and reducing your stress are possible.

Let's get you there together.

Allison Peet

Certified MBSR Instructor
Certified Buteyko Instructor

Allison Peet

Catch our story:
Channel 13 with Erin Kiernan

Student Features

Meet past Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program graduates and learn more about their reasons for joining along with their experiences with the course.

Claire Richmond

Learn More About Claire

Claire Richmond

What brought you to MBSR?

My history of generalized anxiety, depression and insomnia started when I was a young teenager. At the same time, my body started experiencing intense neurological symptoms including severe pain that left me bedridden for weeks. I danced ballet growing up, but in my early teens I could no longer sustain the physical exertion. I started down a dark spiral of pain and mental illness. My condition eluded specialists for 19 years, until I found myself hospitalized at Mayo Clinic and finally, finally received a rare disease diagnosis of acute intermittent porphyria (AIP) at age 32. AIP impacts my autonomic nervous system and causes anxiety, but it was important to me to try and gain some sense of control over my condition. AIP also impacts my central nervous system, leading to unspeakable pain, paralysis and neuropathy, so when I was diagnosed, I numbed out from my physical being in order to survive. I was told my symptoms were in my head, so I started believing it. Learning mindfulness was a way for me to connect to my brain back to my body, and take my power back.


What did you discover about yourself during and/or after the course?

In connecting back to my body, I discovered that I was in far more pain than I ever realized. Body scans were terrifying for me initially, I did everything I could to avoid being with my body in stillness. Now, I am able to listen and respond to the sensations of my physical being. Additionally, I learned to identify the emotional causes of my racing heart beat and define the thoughts around the feelings. I learned the awareness of my anxiety is not an anxious feeling.

Learn More

Keith Patagonia.jpg

Learn More About Keith

Keith Knapp

What brought you to MBSR?

There was time in my life where I was that perfect example of the human doing. Success was measured by that next win and things were always running in fast forward. It was a situation of holding and using everything. Attempting to control that which was uncontrollable. A coil-wound heart – getting tighter and tighter. But there was always a realization that these things, these doings, were always a cover. Then one day, out of desperation, I leaped into what at the time was the unknown. I walked away and slowed, in the desert and on the mountain trails of New Mexico. I sat in contemplation, although at the time I didn’t know its name. "My path must change," I said, "or it will literally be the end of me." I recall the exact time and location, forever held as a sacred place for me now. The change is within me and how I interact with the world. My journey began there, without my knowing it. But I needed help. I started saying “yes” where a “no” would have occurred in the past and took a local mindfulness class and purchased some resources that led me to the “process” of MBSR and ultimately to the “community” created practice of good friend, Allison. I am forever thankful.

What did you discover about yourself during and/or after the course?

There were several personal characteristics that MBSR helped me see with more clarity. One of these characteristics was my tendency toward worry and anxiety or maybe more correctly, the thoughts and stories that I connected to these emotions and their physical impact on my being. How they were very often drawing me out of the present moment. The practice of mindfulness helped cultivate this awareness and observe how these thoughts can come and go. When observed in a non-judgmental way, they shift, change, and more often than not, dissolve into nothingness. So, one answer was to do nothing, or what often appears as nothing. I also found that I'm often not fully present with people. MBSR has assisted in shifting my management style and has become incorporated into mindful movement in a natural manner. I have noted that it comes up in airports regularly. Lastly, and related to the others, was my lack of embodiment. The practices in MBSR have provided me the opportunity to increase this exponentially and this has led to greater empathy and compassion. It is said that we don’t just practice for ourselves but also those around us. I have seen this and agree. This practice has led to deeper and more meaningful relationships with people in comparison to the past.

Learn More


Learn More About Ginny

Ginny Malcomson

What brought you to MBSR?

Not that I couldn’t have benefited from it long before I started, but my tipping point was after my daughter suffered a traumatic event. Even though she was a young adult at the time, I had an urge to ‘parent’ her and had no idea how to do that. It seemed like every step I took to help backfired. I felt unprepared and ill equipped to effectively guide her through her healing and really, my healing as well. Parents naturally want to take their children’s struggles and pain as their own burden as a way to protect them. It isn’t helpful for anyone. MBSR gave me tools to cope with all the emotions that I was feeling. I discovered a patient, caring and present parent in place of the lost soul that was created by the trauma.

What did you discover about yourself during and/or after the course?

Being my best self by letting go of expectations that cause stress, being present and nonjudgmental, allows for a more companionate, loving and supportive parent and frankly, person. I am more loving of myself and that translates into being more compassionate with others.

Learn More


Especially during these challenging times of COVID-19, when we are separated by space and the unknown, Allison Peet’s MBSR course creates a place to come together in the spirit of mindfulness. Her creativity in providing the course content safely via zoom has been invaluable to our group. This course is for anyone who has even the slightest inclination to explore non medicinal ways to cope with the anxiety, stress, and even the physical pain of a cancer diagnosis and its treatment. It is for anyone who wants to feel better in their own skin. It is for those who seek a greater sense of calm and peace in their life. I did not expect it to be so impactful! Thank you Allison!


Spring 2020 Graduate

Out of all the wellness classes I have taken, I’ve never felt like my time and money was more well spent on this class! Thank you!


Summer 2018 Graduate

“As a fellow at the University of Arizona’s Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine, I learned a bit about MBSR and the profound effect mindfulness can have on health and healing but never had the opportunity to experience the class itself. As 19 others and myself gathered for our first class there was a clear sense of anxiety in the air. “Is this right for me?”, “I feel so anxious.”, “How can I sit quietly for 20 minutes?”, “Will this really impact my life?” Fast-forward 8 weeks and the feelings are totally different. There is a palpable sense of collective calm and a completely different perspective on the true meaning of living. No longer are the people in the class constrained by their self-defeating thoughts and beliefs. They now exude a sense of calm, peace and control of their lives. They now understand how to turn stress from a threat to their lives into a challenge to be embraced. This course is a must for anyone who wishes to reframe how he or she thinks about themselves as well as the world around them. Truly life changing.”

- Dr. Andrew Nish,

Medical Director of the 

John Stoddard Cancer Center 

Spring 2020 Graduate

I am a multiple myeloma patient. Multiple myeloma is a blood cancer that affects the bone marrow. Living with cancer is never easy. MBSR provides tools to cope with the new reality of life with cancer. MBSR helped me establish a personal practice of mindfulness, meditation and yoga to deal with the cancer and its treatment. The mindfulness and meditation helped reduce the anxiety and pain associated with cancer. The gentle yoga helped me restore my body from the side effects of treatment. 


Summer 2019 Graduate

I took the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course with Allison and discovered safety within my own body, for the first time since my painful, chronic illness took hold. Over an eight-week period, she guided walking meditations, body scans and other mindfulness practices that I will use long after the class is over. I cannot recommend her and the MBSR course enough!


2020 Graduate

Research Findings

MBSR is as effective as Lexapro (anti-anxiety medication) in reducing symptoms

A study published in JAMA Psychiatry  "took 276 adults diagnosed with untreated anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety, panic disorder, or social anxiety, and split them into two randomized groups. One group received a 10 to 20 mg daily dose of Lexapro – a standard beginning dose and the other half was assigned to weekly two-and-a-half hour mindfulness classes at a local clinic — using an approach called Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction — plus 45 minutes of daily meditation homework for eight weeks, as well as a day-long retreat around week five or six. The study participants who took the drugs and those who participated in the meditation program were evaluated at the end of eight weeks using the same clinical scale, and both groups showed about a 20% reduction in the severity of their symptoms."

Click here for the NPR article covering this study

Click here for the study findings



Dr. Richard Davidson, Dr. Jon Kabat Zinn, and colleagues examined the effects of the 8-week MBSR program with employees at a biotech company. The electrical activity in each participant’s frontal area of the brain was measured before and after the course and 4 months later. Research found that the meditation group had significant increases in activity in the left side of the brain’s frontal area that is associated with positive affect (experiencing positive emotions) and emotion regulation. This allows people to recover more quickly from a stressful event. At the end of the MBSR program, all participants were given flu vaccine. Those who meditated had significant increases in antibodies compared to the control group, suggesting that mindfulness meditation can help boost the immune response.

Read more here. 



Using MRI brain scans, Dr. Sara Lazar and colleagues found thicker regions in the frontal cortex, an area responsible for reasoning and decision making, in those that had a consistent meditation practice compared to those who didn’t. She also found a thicker insula, which is involved in sensing internal sensations and thought to be critical in perceiving emotional feelings. She suggested that because the cortex and insula normally start deteriorating after age 20, mindfulness meditation may help keep the brain younger. She believes “meditation can have a serious impact on your brain long beyond the time when you’re actually sitting and meditating, and this may have a positive impact on your day-to-day living.”

Read more here.



“This randomized clinical trial found that this brief mindfulness-based intervention was an effective and feasible means to reduce stress in health care professionals.”

Read more here. 




“Mindfulness-based interventions were associated with a reduction in anxiety and depression in adults with cancer. ”

Read more here. 



“Mindfulness-based stress reduction did not improve migraine frequency more than headache education, as both groups had similar decreases; however, MBSR improved disability, quality of life, self-efficacy, pain catastrophizing, and depression out to 36 weeks, with decreased experimentally induced pain suggesting a potential shift in pain appraisal. In conclusion, MBSR may help treat total migraine burden.”

Read more here.

Cancellation and Refund Policy

Cancellations made 7 or more days prior to date of first class: Full fee is transferable for use within 6 months from session start date. 
Cancellations made 24 to 72 hours prior to date of first class: 50% of full fee is transferable for use within 6 months from session start date. 
Less than 24 hours notice prior to date of first class, no shows, and withdrawing mid-class: Full fee is forfeited. 

We must have at least 8 participants to host a class and no more than  14 (If minimum is not reached, and the class needs to cancel, students will get a full refund.)
If you pay via the online credit card system and you request a refund, From Within Wellness, LLC will refund you the total amount less a 3.5% surcharge fee for credit card processing.

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