Specialisms and Experience

Breathworks was established in 2001 and has become the international field leader in secular mindfulness training for pain management, long-term conditions and stress with an emphasis on experiential rather than academic styles of learning. 

Founded by expert trainers and practictioners Vidyamala Burch, Sona Fricker and Gary Hennessey, the Breathworks programmes are based on four decades of mindfulness and meditation experience as well as Vidyamala's own journey with pain and illness. 

A unique part of the Breathworks programme is the important and explicit emphasis on Compassion alongside mindfulness and cognitive strategies in our courses, which makes a huge difference in how people are able to respond to their own suffering, and the suffering of others, with kindness. (In contrast, approaches such as MBCT and MBSR focus more on mindfulness and cognitive strategies, where compassion is implicit.) At Breathworks, we support people to accept each moment of suffering so that they may meet it like they would a person they love who was in pain. From this place of acceptance and love we learn to respond, rather than react, to suffering.

Membership and Teaching Community

Breathworks is a founding member of the UK Network of Mindfulness-based Teacher Training Organisations and today has accredited over 450 teachers in over 35 countries with over 600 current students in the training programme. A large proportion of our teachers and trainers have come into Breathworks through their own experience of pain, health conditions, anxiety, stress or difficulty, meaning they are teaching from their own experience of the transformative effect of mindfulness and compassion.

APPG Mindful Nation Report and Health Statistics

Following recent NICE recommendations (The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) and the findings of the 'APPG Mindful Nation Report 2015, there is currently a growing need for mindfulness teachers with the expertise to deliver high quality mindfulness programs. 

Additionally with 15 million people in England alone suffering with a long-term condition and 14 million people with chronic pain, there is a real need for effective low cost, long-term sustainable health management programmes.

Mission, Accessibility and Partners

As a social enterprise, Breathworks mission is to help as many people as possible live happier and healthier lives regardless of circumstances.  Some of the ways we try to further our achievment of this is with subsidised places for those in financial hardship through the Breathworks Foundation, making our courses accessible to different abilities through face to face and online courses as well as award winning books and resources and through working with many public service partners and clients.

Research and Social Value

At Breathworks, we aim to continually evaluate the clinical effects of our mindfulness-based pain management programme and to maintain an ongoing programme of research partnerships and collaborations. 

In 2016 we were also awarded the Social Value Quality Mark - Level 3 which demonstrated that for every £1 invested in Breathworks courses produces savings of at least £5.76 in reduced costs to health and other public service needs, employer costs and increased community contributions.

Being an inclusive community

One of Breathworks' core values is inclusion, whereby everyone in our diverse training community is treated with respect, their voice heard and their experience valued. We ask all our trainees to uphold a  common commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.

If you become aware of any conduct during a training event that is in breach of this commitment, whether it affects you or another person, please speak to a senior trainer.

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