Class Descriptions


Various Teachers

This is the foundational class for developing a mindfulness meditation practice. You may have heard reports of the power of mindfulness to help you be more present in your life, tame anxiety, and develop the capacity to respond rather than react to the challenges in life. Whether you are looking for instruction in how to begin a mindfulness practice, wanting to refresh an existing practice or seeking more training in the basics of mindfulness after taking an applied mindfulness class, please consider joining us. We will explore developing and incorporating an effective and ongoing mindfulness practice in your life. Topics include:

  • An overview of mindfulness
  • Mindfulness of the body
  • Obstacles to mindfulness
  • Working with anxiety and difficult emotions
  • Cultivating positive emotions
  • Working with difficult thoughts 
  • Bringing mindfulness into daily life


Allyson Pimentel

This class is designed for people who have taken an Introduction to Mindfulness course at Mindful USC or elsewhere or those who have some meditation experience and wish to deepen their practice.  In this 5-week series, we will explore the cultivation of kindness, compassion, equanimity and joy – qualities of the heart that are directly linked to happiness.  Through didactic instruction, guided meditations, and group discussion, we will actively take up the investigation and practice of these “heart qualities” so that we can experience and apply them on personal, interpersonal, community and societal levels.


Megan Heiser

This class series is designed for people who have taken an Introduction to Mindfulness course at Mindful USC or elsewhere or those who have some meditation experience and wish to deepen their practice of mindfulness.  In this 5-week series, we will learn the basics of Mindfulness and how to establish a regular meditation practice at home along with some wisdom for taking your practice on the road. 

We all have periods of inspired meditation followed by boredom, disinterest, and distraction. Together we will look at how to support ourselves when we inevitably feel disconnected from what once felt like a vibrant, nourishing practice. 

Just like you befriend the breath as a home to return to when your minds wander – you’ll have the opportunity to become more intimate with your home practice – cultivating a place to come back to no matter what life’s circumstances. 

This class will include: 

  • Finding unique rituals and habits to support your on-going practice.
  • How not to burn out on meditation. “Walk slowly, go further.”
  • Answer more deeply the question, “Why do I meditate?”
  • Deepening the basics of Mindfulness; the body, emotions and thoughts.
  • Deepening of Loving Kindness practice and Self- Compassion.


Stephanie Renee Payne

This course, inspired by Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings at Plum Village, is a guided exploration of the practice of Five Earth Touchings used to offer an opportunity to contemplate what has been transmitted to us by our blood ancestors and spiritual ancestors. We can practice to celebrate the positive and transform what needs to be transformed.


Jim Burklo 

 This class is designed for all who teach anything at USC, at any level.  We will learn and practice contemplative and meditative modalities of teaching and learning, based on best practices from the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education.  


Robert Lurye

This 5-week class focuses on mindfulness practices which support skillful responding to stressful challenges of everyday life. You will learn how to begin unwinding unhelpful automatic habits such as anxiety, smartphone overuse, stress eating and procrastinating through awareness and compassion practices that help foster resilience, wellbeing and social connection. Topics will include:

  • Overview of Mindfulness and Meditation Practices
  • Overview of the Habit Loop and Reward Based Learning
  • Enhancing Mind / Body Connections
  • Perception and Creative Responding, How You Perceive is How You Respond
  • Understanding Stress and Anxiety; Reducing and Recovering More Quickly
  • Negativity Bias and Cultivating Positivity
  • Mindful Communication

This course is appropriate for beginners and anyone who would like to develop the habit of a daily mindfulness practice. Each class will include a variety of formal and informal meditations, mindful movement, discussions, and experiential learning.


Amy Spies

Mindful Writing Journey explores the use of mindfulness within the context of creativity and writing.  The class consists of:

  • Mindfulness & Mindful Writing Talk/Open discussion
  • Mindful/Mindful Writing Meditation practice.
  • Creative writing exercises.
  • Optional sharing of individual written work and developing projects.

Please note: this is NOT a writing class. There will be space to explore our own work and share—a safe place to explore one’s own connection to the “muse.”


Amy Spies

This class explores the use of mindfulness within the context of writing for one’s profession or field.  We will explore the nuance of writing within one’s field (professional, science, or creative) from the deeply connected space of mindfulness. The course will consist of: 

  • Talks/Discussions About Mindfully Writing In One’s Field 
  • Mindfulness Meditation Practices
  • Mindful Writing Exercises
  • Sharing of Individual Written Work and Developing Projects. 

 Please note: this is NOT a formal writing class, but rather a journey into mindfully practicing self-expression in one’s work. The writing can be based in any field (professional, scientific, creative). There will be space to evolve our own writing—a safe place to explore one’s connection to the “muse.” We will compassionately build and support our emerging authentic writing voices. The practice of Mindful Writing in one’s field can lead to increased satisfaction, well-being, and productivity. 


Various teachers

Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) teaches you how to:

  • DECREASE anxiety
  • DECREASE depression and stress
  • INCREASE relationship satisfaction
  • INCREASE healthy habits like diet and exercise
  • INCREASE emotional wellbeing

Mindful Self-Compassion, a researched-based program, is an adventure and an experiment in self-discovery and self-transformation. You will learn over 25 simple ways that will enable you to call on your own inner resources to soothe yourself in times of stress or pain.


JD Lloyd

Learn the skills we all need to meet life’s challenges with more wisdom and kindness. Research has shown that self-compassion greatly enhances emotional well-being. It boosts happiness, reduces anxiety and depression, and motivates you for life-long growth, while avoiding burnout.

The six-week Short Course in Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) will teach you how to hold yourself with tenderness and compassion when you need it most — when you fail, feel inadequate, and are suffering. Learn MSC’s key informal practices, as well as brief practices in mindfulness right from home.


Angelike Dexter

Parenting is a path which brings challenges, joys, and countless opportunities to both teach and learn. In this interactive class community, we focus on the broad strokes of intentional and caring parenting, clarifying “what am I doing here?” and creating space for and reflection on the ways we would like to show up in our families and in our lives. Our weekly themes include cultivating a spirit of optimism (about your child(ren) and yourself), creating a vision for your family, compassionate speaking and listening, understanding and balancing needs, and planting seeds of joy and gratitude. This class includes supportive meditation practices and is appropriate for anyone at any point along the parenting adventure, whether or not you have prior meditation experience.


This mindful eating class will bring awareness to influences in your relationship with food. We will have experiential exercises to practice awareness and to get a sense of what happens when we are less aware. There will also be exercises to put you in touch with your hunger and satiety and help you learn about different types of hunger and fullness. Usually, however, we approach our relationship with food is how we approach other areas of our lives. This class will be illuminating and beneficial for those who attend.


Using mindfulness, meditation, and visualization, as well as creativity exercises, this class invites students to experience limitless creativity for application in whichever medium of expression they choose. The focus of the class is to open the channels of creativity through mindfulness and meditation, while learning to overcome self-judgment, and develop skills to use in practice.

Students who are involved in the performance arts (actors, musicians, singers, dancers) as well as other artists (painters, illustrators, designers, and writers) will find this class useful as a way to get in touch with their “instrument” and deepest sense of self-expression.

This class will engage and inspire while encouraging individuality and sharing.


We all know that we can take great photos thanks to the latest digital technology of phones and cameras. It is easy to snap off hundreds of pictures, edit a few, and then send them out to post. And photo technology keeps getting better and better.

But what happens when we add mindfulness, meditation, and awareness to our practice of taking photographs? Is it possible to actually use our deeper, inner vision to take images a different way while capturing ideas and emotional content through the medium of photography?

This class goes beyond the basics of photography into the insights of considering the eye of the camera, meditating on the image, and connecting to how we really feel about what we are capturing – and how we can deepen that inspiration using mindfulness and more. We will also look at how we find pictures, attune our senses to find different ways of looking at and photographing subjects, and stepping out of our normal comfort zone.

This is not a photography class, though you will be invited to take photographs, share them, and explore how mindfulness can change the way we look at our world. This class is for all students of all levels of meditation and photography. No experience is required.


This class invites you to experience the essentials of mindfulness through sound. We will learn practical tools to increase feelings of connection, wellbeing, focus, and creativity in our daily lives.  You will learn sound as an anchor, sound and the body, sound and emotion, sound outside and sounds and thinking. Some classes will include an experiential sound bath.