The Breathworks Foundation

Making mindfulness accessible

We are a registered charity, with a mission is to make mindfulness accessible to everyone. Being an organisation that gives back has been important to us from the very beginning. Our Founder Vidyamala was living on benefits for many years before she was able to secure funding through a disability grant to start Breathworks. We know that many who benefit the most from our services are least able to afford it, so we are committed to help those in need through bursaries, scholarships, free resources and other funding initiatives.

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My problems started long ago – prior to coming to the UK – trauma of war in Kosovo and everything that brings.  I dealt with my trauma through my college years with counselling and using martial arts but then lost my Mum in 2003.   I’ve been carrying burdens for a long time. I got married, had kids and became super busy.  

Then I dislocated my knee doing martial arts.  I had an operation that went wrong and ended up having five operations in total to try and correct the injury.  The knee led to backaches and from this to disc problems. Everything piled up and up and up and I thought: I can’t do anything about this.

I had such difficulty.  I felt like a candle lighting everyone else but melting away myself.  I was so stressed.  

My brother-in-law said to me 'you look so stressed all the time. You just have to do something about it.'  He said 'your face looks like a camel’s back end!'

Then my sister went to a "Take Back Your Life" taster session at her child’s primary school.  She suggested I go to a taster myself. I went along and just broke down. I signed up for the course but still didn’t believe it would help.

But week after week I was seeing a difference. I started seeing things differently.

I still have some pain. I can feel it now but I have literally made friends with that pain. How nice it would be if the pain left, but it’s there and I can manage it now. I think it’s changed my life. I’m going to do this for the rest of my life. I know how to meditate and to use my breath and to think of myself for a change – to take rest and pace myself.

I think my children feel happier around me. Every time I complained about my neck before, my 8 year old daughter complained about her neck too. My negativity was rubbing off on them. My daughter hasn’t heard me complain about my neck for a while now. The tension and pain in my neck is gone. When I start to feel pain, I meditate.

I used to have acupuncture and the pain would go for a while but then I went right back to what I was doing and the pain came straight back. BUT with positivity, meditation, breathing, relaxation, and pacing, things have changed dramatically. Everything has improved. I used to take Ibuprofen all the time. Now I’ve reduced my use of Ibuprofen.

Now I can manage the pain in my neck, I’ve decided to go back to college and get my GCSE’s so I can become a classroom assistant.