12 Dec 2023

At Breathworks, our charitable mission is to make mindfulness accessible to everyone. One-third of places on events are given away as bursaries and scholarships; here we share touching stories from three individuals who have benefited this year.

We know people suffering the most are often those least able to afford support. Breathworks Founder, Vidyamala Burch OBE, relied on benefits for several years before a disability grant opened the opportunity to start Breathworks. This moment of support made everything today possible. 

It's our heartfelt mission to pay this forward. As a registered charity, we are committed to our accessible to all bursary & scholarship scheme, which is kept alive partly through donations from our community and funders.
This year, Breathworks awarded 304 bursaries & scholarships across our programmes, That's an incredible £71,000 worth of funding! 
However, there's still more work to be done. With rising levels of physical and mental health challenges paired with the cost-of-living crisis, people are struggling to cope. Mindfulness is needed more than ever.

We want to reach even more people in 2024, to do that we need your help. If you would like to give the gift of mindfulness, consider supporting us with a donation today

Anjali's Story - Mindfulness for Stress Bursary

Bereavement, trauma and ongoing misdiagnoses regarding my physical and mental health brought me well and truly to my knees last year. I had fought so hard for so long and then quite suddenly, I couldn't anymore. This was not the first time I had felt broken. But I felt overwhelmingly that it could be my last. This realisation shocked me into reaching out. I wasn't sure what I was looking for, I just knew it had to be something foundational.

After a lot of searching, I discovered the lifeline that is Breathworks. I knew then I had found something incredibly special but for the first few months, all I could do was hold on for dear life as all of these storms raged around me.

Eventually, I was able to attend the Mindfulness for Stress course with Stanter in June 2023 and recently I have started the Breathworks Teacher Training.

The life-changing way that mindfulness & meditation is taught at Breathworks makes it real,  accessible and irresistible! I am learning how to deal with even the most painful and distressing thoughts and feelings as well as physical pain. I can use awareness and wise choice and am starting to enjoy and appreciate my life again. These are the greatest gifts, and ones which I hope to pass on to others in the future.

None of this precious learning would have been possible without a bursary. The support offered is so true to Breathworks' mission and purpose and I sincerely hope I can repay this in the future so that someone else can benefit from this amazing, life-changing and life-saving organisation.

Before training with Breathworks, I couldn't even attend health appointments due to my crippling mental health conditions but now I am able to look forward at last. I am building new foundations.

Lizzie's Story - Mindfulness for Health Bursary

Picture of Lizzie Gumley, one of our Mindfulness for Health bursary recipients, with her catI came to Breathworks at the beginning of this year having been told by my consultant that there was nothing more, medically, that could help me with my pain as I am unable to tolerate opioids. I have severe osteoarthritis in most of my joints and many flare-ups. I find standing very painful and can only walk a short distance.

My physiotherapist suggested pain management and through my investigations into this I discovered Breathworks. I decided it was time for me to take control of my health problems and started initially with Space to Breathe with Vidyamala. She quickly became my hero, as the more I took part in her meditations, the better I felt.

When I saw the Mindfulness for Health course, I applied for a bursary. To my great joy, I was accepted. The course was amazing and I learnt so much, both of myself and meditation, which has absolutely transformed my life. I still have pain but I now have the tools to cope with it.

I became a Community of Practice Patron as I am keen to support Breathworks as best I can. I like the idea of being able to give something back for all the help and support I have received. I can honestly say I don't know how I would be coping if I didn't have Breathworks in my life. Thank you.


Steph's Story - Mindfulness Teacher Training Bursaryquote from Steph

I wanted to become a meditation teacher to help others deal with chronic pain, anxiety, compassion and acceptance — as I benefited so much from having a meditation practice, as someone who experiences chronic pain and anxiety.

I'm so grateful to have a bursary from Breathworks as this enables me to participate in the Teacher Training. Once I've completed my training with Breathworks, I'm excited to be able to work a flexible and accessible job around my own disability, whilst also helping others to live better with their pain and disability, through accessible online mindfulness courses.

I have nearly finished the Introductory Teacher Training (now Stage 1), which is benefiting and enriching my own mindfulness and meditation practice. From taking a deeper dive into the material that is taught in the courses, I am excited to share this knowledge and hopefully help people who are struggling with chronic pain or disability to help manage their conditions once I am accredited.

There are many more people ready to benefit from the opportunity that Anjali, Lizzie & Steph received. Help us reach them in 2024 by donating today.