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Friday, March 2, 2012

What is MINDFULGym?

INDFULGym is a mindfulness-based stress management program specially designed for relaxation and wellness. Locally developed by consultant psychiatrist Dr. Phang Cheng Kar (Dr. Zhen-Phang) in 2010, it is based on ancient spiritual wisdom and state-of-the-art scientific research in mindfulness, cognitive behavior therapy, and positive psychology. MINDFULGym is similar to the 8-week Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) programs developed in the United States and the United Kingdom respectively. The program adheres to the UK good-practice guidelines for conducting mindfulness-based courses.

This first structured mindfulness-based mental health program in Malaysia is conducted in a group of 15-20 participants over a period of 5 weeks. In each week, there is a 3-hour group session followed by daily simple self-help exercises, which are supported moment-to-moment by a WhatsApp group. The sessions are conducted in an experiential approach to ensure maximum learning and benefits. Upon completion of the course, continuous practice is enhanced by bonus and regular booster sessions. The community-based mental health program is brought to you FREE by Kuala Lumpur Buddhist Mental Health Association (BMHA) and Malaysian Health Promotion Board (MySihat).

* Only 15-20 participants will be accepted for each MINDFULGym program. In view of the popular demand for the program, priority will be given to those who could fully commit themselves to the program. An intake interview may be held to select suitable participants for the program.

Outline of MINDFULGym program: 

Week 1:      Introduction to Mindfulness

Introduction to stress, anxiety & depression
ABC of Mindfulness
Story: Emperor's 3 Questions
Mindful Body Stretching
Multitasking & NOW-ing (attention to physical actions by 'labeling')
MINDFULGym workout I (home training) 

Week 2:      Living in the here-and-now

Review of home training
Song: Happiness is here-and-now
Mindful-S.T.O.P: Log on to mindfulness at anytime
Contacting the present moment with 'H.T.C.'
Mindful Breathing: Deepening the NOW
MINDFULGym workout II (home training)

Week 3:      Appreciating the present moment

Review of home training
Mindful Eating & Beginner's Mind
Story: A better tomorrow chocolate
Savouring the Present Moment & Mindful Photography
Mindful Walking
MINDFULGym workout III (home training)

Week 4:      Observing & transforming thoughts

Review of home training
Mind-Scan: Identifying the ‘demons’ (thinking errors)
Taming and transforming the ‘demons’ (thinking errors)
Gratitude Workout ('Google-WWW-Yahoo')
MINDFULGym workout IV (home training)

Week 5:      Spreading the fragrance of kindness

Review of home training
Body-Scan & Kindness: Refreshing the NOW
Heart-Scan (cultivating loving-kindness) with 'Rasa Sayang'
A review of MINDFULGym tools
MP3 – Mindfulness 'Personal Practice Plan'

Bonus session (week 6):     Befriending challenges
  • Mindfulness & Self-Compassion
  • 'AAM' - Accept, Adjust & Move On
  • Mindful Vitamins for stabilizing mood
Booster sessions (quarterly):     Mindfulness for now & forever
  • Mountain & Lake Meditation
  • Movie sharing & discussion
  • Mindful Parenting, Mindful-TEENS
  • Mindful Family Camp
  • Week 6 is the bonus session. This is followed by regular booster sessions for all MINDFULGym graduates.

  • FREE* - only for the community programs supported by MySihat & Berjaya Foundation grants.

To date, MINDFULGym sessions have been introduced in the following organizations/events: University Putra Malaysia (UPM), Department of Psychiatry, UKM Medical Centre, University Sains Malaysia (USM), University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC), University Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR), Taylor University, Help University, International Medical University (IMU), Hospital Serdang, Kasih Hospice Care Society, Than Hsiang Temple, Nalanda Buddhist Society, Ti Ratana Lumbini Garden, Brickfields Maha Vihara, Buddhist Gem Fellowship of Malaysia (BGF), Young Buddhist Association of Malaysia (YBAM), Kinta Buddhist Society, Teluk Intan Buddhist Society, Mahindarama Temple, Taiping Buddhist Society, Ipoh Buddhist Dhamma Association, Bodhi Buddhist Society, Perlis Buddhist Society, Kuen Cheng High School, D'home Mental Health Association, Malaysian Mental Health Association (MMHA), Malaysian Chinese Counseling Conference, KL Mental Health Conference, Singapore Buddhist Conference, Institute of Mental Health (Singapore), Berjaya Care Foundation, Wing Tai Clothing Sdn. Bhd., Young President's Organization (Malaysian Chapter), Menara Sunway, Malaysian Hospice Congress, Knowles Electronics, IJM Corporation Berhad, OMESTI Bhd., ForeFront International, Hoeh Beng Zen Centre, Psoriasis Association of Malaysia, Roche, Sunway Medical Centre, MAKNA (Kepala Batas), Baker Tilly, 

For a more detail write-up on MINDFULGym, kindly click on HERE.
MINDFULGym in The Star Newspaper - HERE.
MINDFULGym in Nanyang Newspaper - HERE.
MINDFULGym at BFM Business Station - HERE.


The next intake of a free MINDFULGym program for the community will tentatively be in April & October 2020. Registration for the APRIL intake will open on 1st March 2020 - Register HERE.
MINDFULGym is a community project. Seats are limited (maximum of 25 participants per intake). Kindly notify Jasmine Chiam ( upon submission of registration. Acceptance into the program is on first come, first served basis and subjected to the decision of MINDFULGym trainer. 

Note: Please register only if you're sure that you could commit to ALL 5 Saturday sessions (April 4, 11, 18, 25 & May 2; 3 pm to 6 pm) at Subang Jaya Buddhist Association (SJBA). 

 For those who can't commit to ALL 5 sessions,  you may consider these options:

1. Take an online version of the program - HERE.
2. Join the 1-day program at Sunway Medical Centre - HERE.
3. Speak to your HR manager to bring the program into your organization - HERE.

Venue: Subang Jaya Buddhist Association (SJBA)

Help us to spread this good news through Facebook by sharing this website on your Facebook wall, lots of love, thanks.

Community MINDFULGym April 2016 Intake

8-week MINDFULGym organized by KL Buddhist
Mental Health Association (BMHA) & Kasih Foundation

1-day MINDFULGym workshop at 8th Malaysian
 Chinese Counseling Conference (2010)


MINDFULGym sharing at Teluk Intan Buddhist Society (2010)



Mindful-Gym Audio CD: Guided Mindfulness-based Relaxation & Wellness  (Available HERE)

 Progressive Muscle Relaxation Made Clear & Simple  
(Available in video format: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) or HERE.


3G-Gratitude: Card Game For Cultivating Happiness   
More information - HERE or NOW.

Mindful-Gym Home DVD: A Self-Help Stress Reduction & Wellness Program.

This DVD contains more than 500 PowerPoint slides that will guide you through the program step-by-step. Upon acceptance for the program, all participants will receive a copy of the DVD FREE.

Other Resources on Mindfulness for Mental Health


1. Kabat-Zinn, Jon. Full Catastrophe Living: How to Cope with Stress, Pain and Illness Using Mindfulness Meditation. London: Piatkus, 1996.

2. Williams, Mark. The mindful way through depression: freeing yourself from chronic unhappiness. New York: Guilford Press, 2007.

3. Williams, Mark & Penman, Danny. Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World. London: Piatkus, 2011.

4. Stahl, Bob & Goldstein, Elisha. A mindfulness-based stress reduction workbook. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, 2010.

5. Harris, Russ. The Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling and Start Living. Boston: Trumpeter, 2008.

6. Neff, Kristin. Self-compassion: Stop Beating Yourself up and Leave Insecurity Behind. New York: William Morrow, 2011.

7. Tan, Chade-Meng. Search inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace). New York: HarperOne, 2012.

8. Marturano, Janice. Finding the Space to Lead: A Practical Guide to Mindful Leadership. New York: Bloomsbury, 2014.


Centre for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care & Society

Oxford Mindfulness Centre

Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy

Dialectic Behavior Therapy Self Help

Acceptance & Commitment Therapy Speical Interest Group

UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Centre

UCSD Centre for Mindfulness

Mindful Schools

Mindfulness in School

The Still Quiet Place: Mindfulness for Children & Parents

Transformative Mindfulness

Dr. Christ Mindfulness Homepage

Mindful Self-Compassion

Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute

The Institute for Meditation & Psychotherapy


Do you have any MINDFULGym experience to share with us? Send us your stories and/or photographs, and we will add them to our website to benefit others. You may also drop your feedback at the chat box below. Thank you. 

“I find that Mindful Body Stretching helps to reduce my body aches and tension on the face. Using Mindful-S.T.O.P. technique, I can focus more on daily work without getting frustrated or stressed-out. As for deep and mindful breathing, they help me to think more wisely before acting, especially when I’m facing students who are noisy and not behaving well.

Au Yeong Su Lyn – Teacher at St. Mary Secondary School.

“Whenever I’m stressed-out or has too many things to do, I’ll immediately take a Mindful-S.T.O.P. and practice mindful breathing for a minute or two to calm my mind and body. I’m grateful that I have these strategies that can help me to cope with stress. Besides that, I’ve been suffering from numbness on my fists when I wake up in the morning. I find Mindful Body Stretching exercise (those involve squeezing the fists) good for reducing the numbness.”

Matron Hee Kim Lan – Nurse, Malacca General Hospital.

“I had a really wonderful time in the MINDFULGym program. The exercises introduced are simple and can be done just about anywhere and at any time. These exercises help me refocus my attention when I’m having a stressful day at work. I’ve also learned to change my perspectives and view things/situations in a more positive light.”

Chin Xiu Li - Administrative Executive,
Centre for Psychological & Counselling Services, HELP University.

"It has been a few years ago since I last felt really positive; glad that I regained it after attended the MINDFULGym course recently. The psychological tools taught in the course are relatively easy to apply in our daily life. It is very helpful for coping with stress at work. I would strongly recommend my family and friends to attend this course. I’m grateful that I had the chance to attend this course, as it definitely has a positive impact in my life!"

Jenny Tee Chen Nie – Accountant.

Thank you so much for arranging the necessaries for us to participate in MINDFULGym. Both my wife (Emiko) and I benefit a lot from the program. Although all participants carry their own set of problems, through their cheerful face, I know everyone was enjoying each session. Emiko is touched with the story that Jasmine shared with all. It has given her the courage to step forward. Thank you very much.

Yeo Eng Ming & Emiko (Husband & Wife). 

I decided to join the MINDFULGym workshop to help me cope with the stress of private medical practice and to improve my sleep. The workshop was conducted well and in a friendly manner by Dr. Phang and his team. A lot of material was covered, but I found the progressive muscle relaxation, mindful breathing and gratitude exercise most useful for my daily life. The trainers encourage the participants to adapt and modify the techniques for personal daily use. I have recommended the workshop to my colleagues and patients, and would recommend it unreservedly!

Dr. Muhammad Azrif Ahmad Annuar - Oncologist.

"I personally feel I have learned a great deal after having attended your workshop. I have yet to practice more. I hope to achieve better as time goes by. I would like to thank Dr. Phang, Sis. Mi Yen and Jasmine for all your hard work, kindness and patience in guiding us. May all of you be blessed with good health, happiness and all the good things in life. May all your dreams come true as well."  ~Yeoh.

"Although I notice my progress is slow, but I'm grateful to MINDFULGym to have created the awareness in me of my own bad habits. I know that I have the sole responsibility to readjust my life in order to have a healthier body and mind." ~Yong

"Thank you for all your kind effort in helping me to reduce my stress. I find if we contemplate and be grateful for whatever we have, we will be happier"  ~Lee

"Tactics for instant calmness or to overcome nervousness.~Vic

"I find the Mindful Body Stretching really relaxing after a tired working day. Besides this, the deep & mindful breathing has helped me much during my meditation practice. Thanks so much to Dr. Phang and team." ~Gan

*You may send your email to anyone in the 'Contact us' page, e.g.

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Research is ongoing to support and enhance the effectiveness of the MINDFULGym program. Thanx to the research team, we now have scientific data to show that participation in the program is associated with significant improvements in the following measures:

Increment: Mindfulness, subjective happiness, life satisfaction, gratitude, and self-compassion.

Reduction: Anxiety, worries, depression, perceived stress, stress, and anger.

We would like to thank all the MINDFUL-Gymers who have participated in the research project. This enables us to upgrade the program and better serve our community. We are expanding the MINDFULGym program to children (Mindful-KID), adolescents (Mindful-TEEN), parents (Mindful Parenting), and working women (Mindful-SPA). If you are interested in research collaboration related to MINDFULGym /Mindfulness, feel free to contact Dr. Phang Cheng Kar at

The effectiveness of MINDFULGym program is supported by the following research papers:

1. Phang, C. K., Mukhtar, F., Ibrahim, N., Keng, S.-L., & Mohd. Sidik, S. (2016). Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS): Factorial Validity and Psychometric Properties in a Sample of Medical Students in Malaysia. Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, 11(5), 305-316 - HERE. 

2. Phang, C. K., Mukhtar, F., Ibrahim, N., Keng, S.-L., & Mohd. Sidik, S. (2015). Effects of a DVD-delivered mindfulness-based intervention for stress reduction in medical students: a randomized controlled study. Education in Medicine Journal, 7(3) - HERE.

3. Phang, C. K., Mukhtar, F., Ibrahim, N., Keng, S.-L., & Mohd. Sidik, S. (2015). Effects of a brief mindfulness-based intervention program for stress management among medical students: the Mindful-Gym randomized controlled study. Advances in Health Sciences Education, 20(5), 1115 – 1134 - HERE

4. Keng, S-L., Phang, C.K., & Oei, T.P.S. (2015). Effects of a Brief Mindfulness-based Intervention Program on Psychological Symptoms and Well-being among Medical Students in Malaysia: A Controlled Study. International Journal of Cognitive Therapy: 8(4), 335-350 HERE.

5. Phang, C. K., Chiang, K. C., Ng, L. O., Keng, S.-L., & Oei, T. P. S. (2016). Effects of Brief Group Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy for Stress Reduction among Medical Students in a Malaysian University. Mindfulness7(1), 189-197 - HERE

6. Hee, K.L, Subramanian, P., Rahmat, N., & Phang, C.K. (2014). The Effect of Mindfulness Training Programme on Reducing Stress and Promoting Well-being among Nurses in Critical Care Units. Australian Journal of Advance Nursing, 31(3), 22–31 - HERE

7. Phang, C. K., Keng, S.-L., & Chiang, K. C. (2014). Mindful-S.T.O.P.: Mindfulness Made Easy for Stress Reduction in Medical Students. Education in Medicine Journal, 6(2). doi:10.5959/eimj.v6i2.230 - HERE

8. Phang, C. K., & Oei, T. P. S. (2012). From Mindfulness to Meta-mindfulness: Further Integration of Meta-mindfulness Concept and Strategies into Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. Mindfulness, 3(2), 104–116 - HERE

9. Gnanavisuddhi, R. (2015). A study on a brief mindfulness-based intervention for stress reduction and wellness among school teachers. Counseling Master Thesis, Help University, Malaysia.

10. Ng, L. O., Ting, P.L., & Phang, C.K. (2015). Brief mindfulness-based intervention: a comparison study of its effects between quantitative and qualitative measures. Research poster presented at the 2nd International Conference of Applied Psychology (ICAP), Colombo, Sri Lanka.

11. Maher, D.F.F., Munn, S.L., Normala, I., Siti, IFI, & Phang, C.K. Effect of a one-day mindfulness intervention on stress, anxiety, and depression among pre-clinical medical students: A randomized controlled trial. Editorial review (PLOS ONE) in progress.

12. Woo, C.S. (2016). The Effects of Mindful Breathing for Reducing Emotional Distress and Enhancing Quality of Life Among Patients with Cancer. Clinical Psychology Master Thesis, National University of Malaysia.

13. Tan, S.W. (2016). Effects of a 2-week Gratitude-Based Intervention for Stress Reduction and Psychological Well-being Among Nurses in UKM Medical Centre. Clinical Psychology Master Thesis, National University of Malaysia.

14. Leng, B.S. (2016). The Effects of Loving-Kindness Intervention on Psychological Distress and Psychological Well-Being among University Students. Clinical Psychology Master Thesis, National University of Malaysia.

For a description of MINDFULGym in research - HERE.

We'll tell you more about the research once you have been accepted for the program.


Frequently Asked Questions:

 1.    Who will benefit from MINDFULGym? 
  • MINDFULGym is designed for those who wish to apply mindfulness principles in coping with stress in a hectic city life. 

  • It will be beneficial for various conditions that are associated with or worsen by stress: sleep difficulties, headache, high blood pressure, gastritis, asthma, eczema, premenstrual syndrome, chronic pain, anxiety, depression, anger, etc.

* Please do not stop your medications without prior discussion with your doctor. MINDFULGym program is not intended to replace medication; it is only helpful to complement whatever ongoing medical or surgical treatment.

2.    When will MINDFULGym program be conducted? 

All sessions are held on Saturdays (3-6 pm) at Sentul Sri Jayanthi Buddhist Temple (map) 
A compulsory briefing session will be held on the same day of the first session at 1 pm.

Tentative dates for 2017:

MINDFULGym Batch 15 - April: 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
MINDFULGym Batch 16 - August: 5, 12, 19, 26, 2//9

The venue is subject to changes. At times, it's held at Brickfields Maha Vihara (map)
Registration will only be accepted by 6/2/2017 (Batch 15) & 1/7/2017 (Batch 16).

3.    Can I attend a combination of sessions in different MINDFULGym groups?
NO, you must attend all sessions of the same 5-week program/group.

4.    Is the content of the program similar in different groups?

YES, it is similar. Click HERE for the latest program outline.

5.    Will there be any prayers or religious ceremonies? 

NO. This is a secular mindfulness-based program.

6.    Who will NOT benefit from the program? 
  • Having suicidal thoughts or behavior (past 6 months) 
  • Experiencing psychosis, e.g. hearing voices, paranoid delusion, disorganized speech and behavior (past 6 months) 
  • Abusing substances, e.g. alcohol, ecstasy pills, cannabis (past 6 months) 
  • Difficulty in committing to full attendance, i.e. 5 sessions 
  • Language barrier – the course will be conducted in English 
7. Do I need to pay for the program?

NO, the program is offered free to the community with support from public donation, Malaysian Health Promotion Board - MySihat/Ministry of Health (2012-2015), and Berjaya Care Foundation (2015-2016).

8. How do I register for the program?

You can register HERE. 
Registration will only be accepted by 6/2/2017 (Batch 15) & 1/7/2017 (Batch 16).

The closing date for registration is 1 week before the commencement of the program.
Acceptance of participant is based on first-come-first-serve basis, ability to commit to full attendance, and subjected to the approval of MINDFULGym trainers.

9. Will I get a certificate for the program?

YES, you will be given a certificate of completion.
(only with 100% attendance)


For further information, kindly contact
Ms. Jasmine Chiam ( or
Dr. Phang Cheng Kar (


Dr. Phang Cheng Kar (B.Sc., M.D., Dr.Psych.)

Dr. Phang Cheng Kar (Dr. Zhen-Phang) is a consultant psychiatrist and mindfulness-based therapist. Inspired by Buddhist teachings, his clinical and research interest is on mindfulness-based therapy. He has received mindfulness training from extensive sources: International Mindfulness Conference (Rome, 2013); Mindfulness in Education Conference (Phuket, 2012); Mindful & Awakening Relationships (MARS) for Therapists Workshop by Dr. Eng-Kong Tan from Australia (Kuala Lumpur, 2011); Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) workshop by Professor Dr. Mark Williams (Singapore, 2010); Transformative Mindfulness Facilitation Training by Deyki Lee (Kuala Lumpur, 2008); Metta Clinic (Sydney, 2008). He has also received training from meditation teachers, e.g. Venerable Sujiva, Ajahn Brahmavamso, and Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh. 

Dr. Phang is the developer of MINDFULGym, which is a Malaysian mindfulness-based stress reduction and wellness program. To date, he has conducted more than a hundred talks/workshops related to mindfulness. The Ministry of Health (MySihat) and Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) have given grants to support his efforts in free mindfulness education for the community and medical students. He is a certified teacher of the .b Mindfulness in Schools Project, a course designed for introducing mindfulness to teenagers. Besides being an avid speaker, he is also a prolific writer. Books authored by him include "I’m StillHuman: Understanding Depression with Kindness," "Should a Person with Mental IllnessMeditate?" and "No WORRY-Lah, Be HAPPY – A Medical Student’s Motivational &Inspirational Guide." He is also the founding president of KL Buddhist Mental Health Association (BMHA).


Thursday, March 1, 2012


BMHA will be conducting its 4-week Mindful-Gym course FREE for the community starting from 2012. The program is supported by the Ministry of Health (MOH) through the National Health Promotion Board (LPKN). For those of you who are interested to participate in the program, kindly look out for further announcements.

Preview of Mindful-GYM.

Contact us

For further information about MINDFULGym, feel free to contact me:

Dr. Phang Cheng Kar (M. D.)