21 December 2023

As the year comes to a close, we reflect on the year we have had at Breathworks. Like many charities, it has been a tough year for us. We have faced rocky financial challenges and a tough external environment threatening sources of income. Despite this, we pushed on, with our mission of transforming lives with mindfulness lighting the way. 

The year unfolded with high points and heart-warming moments we've been proud of. Here are some things we would like to cheer about...

22 years of Breathworks

2023 celebrated 22 years since Breathworks was born, created from a disability fund awarded to Vidyamala Burch. We marked the milestone with a mini documentary of Vidyamala's inspiring journey; from fighting her painful reality as a teen in New Zealand to flourishing as the Founder a two-decade strong organisation. 

Watch our documentary here:

Changing lives

We reached over 1,300 people across 81 events in 2023. The impact of our Mindfulness for Health and Stress courses across the year has seen 86% of participants felt better able to manage their health and 73% experience an increase in self-compassion.

Testimonials of lives changed and glowing feedback that we read daily is thanks to our amazing team of teachers, trainer and mentors; their commitment, humility and genuine care for helping others is the fuel of our engine.

Making mindfulness accessible

Our Bursary and Scholarship Scheme is a huge part of our work and mission to make mindfulness accessible to everyone. This year, we were thrilled to award 304 bursaries and scholarships to people in hardship facing challenges to their health and finances; this amounts to a whopping  £71,000 given in funding.

Individuals who were given places to attend trainings and courses described the opportunity as a 'lifeline' that has helped them better cope with their health conditions and challenges, you can read some of their touching stories here.

bursary recipients in 2023

Reaching more people 

Through our Training programme, we have now trained over 700 practitioners to teach Breathworks programmes worldwide, 25% of these teachers are generously offering their services free at the point of access in healthcare settings - crossing barriers to reach more people living with pain and illness.

This year also saw Breathworks courses taught in the world's second most spoken language, Mandarin. Our first Mindfulness for Health courses launched in China in the summer, led by our brilliant Associate Teachers Colette Power & Sophie Matthews. Next year we plan to expand further into China with in-person courses and teacher trainings. 

A screenshot of people in China joining a zoom call to learn about mindfulness-based pain management with Breathworks Founder, Vidyamala Burch OBE

Students in China learning about Mindfulness-based Pain & Illness Management with Breathworks Founder, Vidyamala Burch

New Training Programme

A lot of hard work, research and careful planning went into the re-crafting our Training programme. Listening to feedback from you, our new Training Pathways are designed to be buildable with more accessible and flexible ways to learn and share mindfulness. We were thrilled to see two of our brand new pathways, Going Deeper and Mindfulness Facilitator, received positively with bookings for 2024 filling up.

Learn more about our Training programme below, or ask questions are our free monthly Virtual Open Days.


This year, we piloted a new holistic health management programme, HEALS which has been developed in-line with the real lived experience of our community. Evaluation data has shown statistically significant improvements across anxiety, depression and pain catastrophising scales, with 89% reporting a better quality of life at the end of the course.

We are excited to be launching HEALS publicly for bookings next year. Watch this space for more information and find out more about the programme and its benefits.

Keeping the Community of Practice alive 

The beating heart of breathworks is our free mindfulness hub the Community of Practice (CoP). This year, we ran 90 free events and hosted a wide range of special interest groups for our 7,000 plus members. You have told us the CoP has helped you to feel more connected to others, improve your mindfulness practice as well as your pain and health. 

The cost of running this service is no small sum; to raise funds we launched our Community Patrons scheme in September inviting important regular donations that we need to sustain the platform. We were bowled over by the response, in a short period of time we have garnered 70 loyal patrons (and counting) whose support will go towards keeping our free mindfulness platform thriving. However, we are only half way to our fundraising goal and still need your help to reach it. If you want to become a Community Patron to support us from as little as £2.50 a month, you can sign up here.

Our amazing team

Breathworks team at their end of year party

The Breathworks team celebrate the end of year and say farewell to CEO Helen Sullivan 

A big shout out goes to our incredible team in the office, teachers, trainers and volunteers. Changes this year have seen longstanding team members move on, including Ollie Bray who transformed our marketing, systems and project innovations for 6 years and Helen Sullivan who went from volunteer to leading the team across her 9 years at Breathworks.

Lastly, we couldn’t finish this round-up without mentioning our brilliant community - all of you! Without you none of this would be possible, so thank you for your continued support and loyalty throughout the year.  

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday period with your loved ones. If a Christmas day 'time out' meditation sounds tempting to you, join us on the 25 December for our free Christmas Practice Session

Happy holidays!


The Breathworks Team