We sat down with Bodhilila, who is one of our new Teacher Trainers, a Breathworks Associate and Chair of the West London Buddhist Centre, for a conversation about her upcoming retreat 'Finding Your Still Point'. 

1. Among your impressive list of credentials you have been a classical musician, massage therapist, counsellor and primary school teacher. What drew you to becoming a Breathworks mindfulness teacher? 

Although I discovered meditation and mindfulness in a Buddhist context, I was drawn to secular mindfulness because I wanted to share the benefits of mindfulness with a wider range of people. Around that time, I attended a retreat led by Vidyamala and was blown away by her teaching and what an amazing, totally awesome human being she is. That led to me reading her book, ‘Living with Pain and Illness', exploring the Breathworks approach and then deciding to do the Breathworks teacher training. I qualified as a Breathworks teacher in 2015 and have been teaching both the Mindfulness for Health and the Mindfulness for Stress courses ever since. I love how Breathworks combines a compassionate yet practical approach to mindfulness and I continue to be both moved and inspired by how the courses empower people to make positive and creative changes in their lives.


2. We are looking forward to your day retreat, Finding Your Still Point on 15 October. You have been leading retreats for a long time (since 1990!), what was your inspiration for the theme of this retreat and why did you choose it?

The title of the retreat is taken from a TS Eliot poem I love called Burnt Norton which has the line, ‘at the still point of the turning world, there the dance is….'

This links to my own personal experience of my mindfulness practice being really helpful whenever events happening in the world and my personal life leave me feeling unsettled, anxious, angry, upset or overwhelmed. It was a revelation to realise that in the midst of any challenges and difficulties I might be struggling with it is possible to experience an inner stillness and spaciousness, even a sense of joy. Over many years I’ve found that through mindfulness practice I am able to resource and nurture myself, to not only have a greater emotional resilience but to access a calm, quiet and still place which then helps me engage with life feeling more grounded and with a more positive perspective.

3. I'm sure many other can relate to this sense of their 'still point'. How do you like to find your stillness?

There are a few ways I find my still point and they all involve creating more time and space in my life for the things I most enjoy and that help me connect more deeply with myself. Meditation is one way I can often find that still point, especially when I relax my body and stop trying to change my experience. Listening mindfully to music that moves me, without any distractions is another way or pausing to take in beauty wherever and whenever I see it. Sheltering under an old tree, going for walks in nature, swimming, gardening these are all activities where I’ve found that still point.

I think stillness is very interesting because we can experience stillness even when there may be movement present. Standing still, sitting still our bodies are still breathing and we can be aware of subtle movements and sensations at the same time as being still.  We can also experience a stilling of mental restlessness and anxiety while carrying out activities - anytime we become totally absorbed in an activity, even just for a moment we can let go of whatever may be troubling us.


4. With more and more being held online these days, do you have any tips for how people can prepare for an online retreat? 

If possible, create a little more space in your day and try to cut down on activities in between the retreat sessions. So rather than getting busy with tasks allow yourself time to sit quietly with a cup of tea or go for a walk. If you live with other people, maybe let them know that you are doing a day retreat and ask them to support you by allowing you more time to yourself that day. And see if you can take some time away from texts and social media! The most important thing is to allow yourself to take some time for yourself- self care is not being selfish or self-indulgent and if you are able to access that still point it will not just benefit you but also the people around you.

Thanks Bodhilila, we are looking forward to finding some stillness with you in October! 

Thank you. Me also.



WHEN: There will be an introductory session on 14 Oct, 7- 8pm. The Main retreat will be on 15 October, 8.30am - 5pm