Overwhelming stress, anxiety, grief and loneliness is a serious problem

as we have been sheltered-in-place during the COVID-19 Pandemic and we are facing the realization that we must create a new normal life.

The goal is to live a well-balanced life, have a higher quality of living and better health.  Our online mindfulness meditation classes offer the positive side effect of meeting new friends and acquaintances who can offer new lens and perspectives to the problems and challenges, the ups and down in life, we all may experience.

When we're caught up in the business of adjusting to life as it is,

we can easily lose sight of what's most needed in the moment. It becomes easy to feel overwhelmed, and we may add to our own suffering. 

We invite you to join us on our weekly sessions to cultivate spaciousness in your mind and body, explore "on-the-spot" practices that help us discern what's called for when we find ourselves stuck in automatic reactivity. Learn to practice responding skillfully, even when life is moving fast or in unexpected directions, and develop cognitive and emotional"muscle memory."

Jeanne Vargas and the Mindfulness Institute of NW Illinois joins you in being deeply concerned about the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. Jeanne is offering  free  weekly mindfulness meditation clasess online via Zoom to support the community as we manage the challenges of living with chronic illness and cancer during the pandemic.  Jeanne encourages everyone to take advantage of the free access to the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction classes offered online via Zoom. Learn practices and tools, build resilience and strength, and stay grounded and centered. We are in this together, and you are not alone. 

We offer two programs for you to participate in:


 If you have received a cancer diagnosis, you know the emotional toll it takes on you. Research shows that if you learn how to manage your stress and anxiety, you can improve your quality of life and become an active participant in your own recovery and survivorship.

Created by leading psycho-oncologists, the Mindfulness-Based Cancer Recovery (MBCR) program is based on Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), a therapeutic combination of mindfulness meditation, gentle yoga, and simple practices designed to let go of fears and concerns and focus on getting well.  To help you stay grounded and centered, we are offering free online programming via Zoom. You will receive the value of human connection and learn mindfulness practices and tools to help you navigate these difficult times.

The program is open to all cancer patients, survivors, and caretakers. Persons managing chronic illness are also invited to attend. There is no cost to attend, but pre-registration is required.  The Zoom link and details will be e-mailed to all registrants  each week. Once you have received the link to register for the weekly session, please register so that you can participate.


The Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction is an alternative and complementary program that augments medical and behavioral health care plan. The goal is to have balance in your life, a better quality of living, better health, and the ability to find joy in living. Jeanne Vargas offers the trauma-sensitive approach to teaching Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction

The program is:

 - A challenging and effective practice of engaging in your life with curiosity and care. 

-  Designed to introduce Mindfulness practice as a way of reducing stress, and developing greater balance, ease and fuller participation in your life. 

- Invites people to be active participants in caring for themselves, using their internal resources to cultivate health and well-being.

The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program (MBSR) is offered throughout the world in medical institutions, educational settings, businesses, the military and correctional systems. Scientific research supports the benefits of mindfulness practice.

Research suggests that mindfulness practice can positively affect stress resilience, physical and mental health, academic skills, self-regulation of emotional reactivity, interpersonal skills, general well-being and happiness.

Some reasons people come to the group include, but are not limited to:

  • Chronic pain
  • Hypertension, heart disease
  • Attention deficits
  • Enhancement of quality of life, happiness
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Mild or situational depression
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Wellness and self-care
  • Cancer or other illness
  • Anxiety, panic
  • Anger-management, life transitions
  • Family issues
  • Job
  • School

Intentional, present-moment awareness, developed through mindfulness meditation practices, helps you experience whatver is happening in your life as it unfolds with curiosity, non-judgment attention, and compassion for ourselves and others.

Engaging with your life in this manner helps you become more skillful and creative in your responses, while gaining insight into how to free ourselvs from habitual patterns of reacting such as anxiously anticipating the future, chronically focusing on the past, or just going through the motions of living, missing what is actually occurring right now, including when things are pleasant and joyful.

Focusing on what is happening right now, cultivated by the practice of mindfulness meditation, enables you to wake up to the pleasures in your life and enhances your ability to tap into your wisdom and internal resources in difficult times.

The practice of mindfulness is accessible, universal, and can be practically integrated into your everyday living. he program is modeled after the well-known Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program (MBSR) developed at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD. in 1979.

Jeanne Vargas teaches the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness Based Cancer Recovery Program in northwest Illinois since 2016. In 2017, Jeanne founded the Mindfulness Institute NW Illinois nfp in 2017 .  She  taught the eight-week MBSR program at Sacred Heart Catholic Church Sterling in January 2016.  Jeanne began offering weekly mindfulness meditation sessions to the public in the lower level of the United Way of Whiteside County in Sterling, Illinois in Spring 2016 .  In 2018, Jeanne opened a Center for Mindfulness in Rock Falls. The need for online classes. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Center for Mindfulness is currently closed. Weekly sessions for Mindfulness Based Cancer Recovery and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program are offered via Zoom online.

Jeanne A. Vargas, MA

Mindfulness Institute NW Illinois nfp

Box 345

804 E. Humphrey Avenue

Rock Falls, Illinois 61071


Are you ready?

Do you drive your car to the store or to work and have no memory of the journey because you are so lost in thought?

Do you often lay awake at night anxiously worrying about the things you need to do the next day, wondering if you'll be able to accomplish them at all, let alone well enough?

Perhaps you feel burdened with a sudden or chronic pain or illness. Maybe you are stuck trying to think your way out of depression, anxiety or addiction.

Do you have a nagging feeling that there should be more to life than checking things off the "to do" list, going through the motions of living?

Are the ways that you react to strong emotions such as anger, fear or sadness causing more problems for you and your relationships than the feelings themselves?

It may be you are someone who is basically healthy, happy and grateful for the many gifts of life and you want to continue to foster this attitude. The MBSR Program will show you how to integrate mindfulness into your life.

Are you ready to learn how to cultivate lifelong tools that will help you maximize your life, even when facing stress, illness and pain? The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program is for you! Throughout the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction  (MBSR) Program you will be consciously and systematically working with the challenges and demands of your everyday life. Your instructor will create a safe and supportive environment for this work and learning through:

  • Guided instruction in mindfulness meditation practices
  • Gentle stretching and movement
  • Group dialogue and discussion aimed at enhancing awareness in everyday life
  • Systematic instruction in formal MBSR meditation practices, with opportunity to check in with teacher
  • Daily home practice

If you want to learn how to take better care of yourself and discover a deeper sense of ease and peace of mind - and if you are willing to actively engage in your own health and well-being, we welcomes your participation in the eight-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program (MBSR). 

Each class is a combination of practice, instruction and group discussion in a  supportive environment. Our instructors has years of experience practicing and teaching mindfulness and comes from professional fields that include education, medicine and mental health. 

The MBSR Program is committed to intentionally welcoming people of all races, faiths, ethnic backgrounds, gender expression and sexual orientation. Financial assistance is available upon request.  

 Mindfulness meditation is the art of paying attention, of listening to your heart. Rather than withdrawing from the world, mindfulness can help you enjoy it more fully, effectively and peacefully.  

See REGISTRATION page to register the MBSR Programming session date and times.


Course Structure & Commitment


The MBSR and Mindfulness Based Cancer Recovery Programs

  • Modelled after the eight-week program originally designed by Jon Kabat-Zinn in 1979,  the MBSR and Cancer Recovery Program is a nine-week program meeting once weekly for nine consecutive weeks. Each weekly session builds upon the last. 
  • One  daylong virtual retreat will be offered.
  • Home practice


YOU MUST BE WILLING TO MAKE A STRONG COMMITMENT TO ATTEND ALL CLASSES and to practice daily home assignments for eight weeks.


Easy Steps To Get Started

  1. Go to the About the Program and research the program information.  
  2. Click on Registration. Look at the online class schedule to determine day and time class sessions are offered online.
  3. Complete the Application form online on the Registration page (go to the top of the page and click on Registration). 
  4. After you have submitted your online registration form, you will receive an email with a link to meet Jeanne Vargas for a consultation prior to the beginning of the Program.

Get in Touch

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Jeanne Vargas, MA

P.O. Box 345, Rock Falls, Illinois 61071, United States



Monday - Friday: Online via Zoom platform by appointment