|Living with a chronic back condition due to spinal injuries and partial paraplegia, Vidyamala Burch knows the agony of trying to live with persistent pain. She knows the despondency of not coping and feeling helpless and hopeless. She also knows the joy and pleasure of finding a way to not only manage her pain but to live a full, happy and meaningful life.
Breathworks was born out of the Vidyamala's personal journey. She first injured her spine in 1977 when she was just 17 years old and she learned to meditate in 1985. In 2001 she started teaching meditation and mindfulness to people living with pain, illness and stress out of a desire to share what she had learned with others. Vidyamala is now an experienced meditation teacher who works internationally. She offers wise and practical guidance in how to bring mindfulness and kindness to experience - including difficulties such as pain and illness - so one can 'live well' with a free and relaxed mind, whatever the circumstances.
Today, Vidyamala is an internationally known author with her book Living Well with Pain and Illness published in twelve different languages. She has been interviewed on several radio stations, in such diverse parts of the world as the USA, the UK, Jamaica and New Zealand.
Her latest book Mindfulness for Health is co-authored with best-selling writer Danny Penman (Piatkus Press). Released in September 2013, it is destined to become a worldwide phenomenon with its easy to read, light and interesting approach to mindfulness for pain, illness and associated stress. The book also has a bonus CD so readers will benefit from a direct experience of Vidyamala’s valuable knowledge and understanding. She has also produced led meditation CDs and booklets available through Breathworks.
Vidyamala is an ordained member of the Triratna Buddhist Order. She regularly leads Buddhist retreats and is committed to promoting the Buddha's teachings directly through this work as well as within the secular context of Breathworks.
You can read more of Vidyamala’s story in Living Well with Pain and Illness: The mindful way to free yourself from suffering, particularly chapters one and six. Her story is also summarised in Mindfulness for Health: A practical guide to relieving pain, reducing stress and restoring wellbeing in chapter two. For an article on how she came to mindfulness you can read Being Here.
To visit Vidyamala's website please click here.
Articles by Vidyamala
Talk: Vidyamala tells her story: living with pain
She sees her life living with a painful body as having four phases: