Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., is internationally known for his work as a scientist, writer, and meditation teacher engaged in bringing mindfulness into the mainstream of medicine and society. He is a professor of medicine emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and the author of numerous books, including Full Catastrophe Living, Arriving at Your Own Door, and Coming to Our Senses.
Kabat-Zinn was first introduced to meditation by Phillip Kapleau, a Zen missionary who came to speak at MIT, where Kabat-Zinn was a student. Kabat-Zinn went on to study meditation with other Buddhist teachers, such as Thich Nhat Hanh and Seung Sahn. He also studied at the Insight Meditation Society and eventually taught there. In 1979 he founded the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where he adapted the Buddhist teachings on mindfulness and developed the Stress Reduction and Relaxation Program.
He subsequently renamed the structured eight-week course Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. He removed the Buddhist framework and any connection between mindfulness and Buddhism, instead putting MBSR in a scientific context. He subsequently also founded the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. His secular technique of Mindful Yoga, which combines meditation and yoga as exercise, has since spread worldwide.