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.

Support us today.

Laura Tivendale

“My diagnosis of Functional Neurological Disorder turned my life upside down. I found myself hospitalized with severe physical symptoms as well as a huge amount of emotional pain as the life  I had known dissolved around me. I had to find a new way forward, a way to live, a way to be, and my journey with Breathworks has been central to that.

Breathworks has opened my world. It has given me vital tools to self-manage my condition and has helped me to regain my sense of self and self-confidence, feeling a valued member of society once again. The courses, retreats and teacher training I have participated in have brought meaning and purpose back into my life and a renewed sense of hope for the future.

All this has been possible thanks to the bursaries I received. I am sincerely grateful.’’

Tom Llewellyn

"I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2010. Since that time my condition has progressed, and I have transitioned from a fit and active marathon runner to struggling to climb the stairs. This has caused me a lot of emotional distress, accompanying the physical discomfort which my condition also presents. Despite this, I have learned how to react creatively in these challenging circumstances, from despair and despondency to acceptance and self-compassion. I credit this in no small part to the Breathworks approach.

I’m on benefits and access to the bursary fund to commence my teacher training was a big deal for me. I felt enabled and empowered - for the first time in a long time! I was able to embark on the training pathway to not only take my discovery deeper but also to enable others to do the same.

I started in February 2018 after finishing full-time employment and am looking forward to completing the programme within the year. I’m excited about what the future may bring!’’

Caron Jones

“I first came to mindfulness as a Buddhist practice after a huge and sudden loss. I came to it because I wanted a way of coping with what life throws at us. My family all suffer with mental ill health (generations) and also addiction. I wanted healthy resources to cope with my own difficulties around anxiety and depression. I have been studying Thich Nhat Hanh for many years which brought me to Jon Kabat Zinn’s mindfulness as it is in the West.

I am a qualified yoga teacher and taught mindfulness through that route but two years ago I decided to gain a ‘proper’ qualification and Breathworks were recommended. At the time I was out of work and had just moved countries, so would not have been able to do the training without the bursary. Having never asked for help with anything before, it was quite a difficult thing to do.

My work for most of my life has been in supporting survivors of domestic abuse. I did my practice course (Mindfulness for Stress) for workers and volunteers of Rape Crisis andWomen’s Aid, this was a truly wonderful experience, I felt so lucky to be able to work with these amazing women. I use bits of mindfulness with women I work with and also with families. I’m planning a free eight-week course for women on our waiting list for support at the domestic abuse charity where I currently work, this will include transport and childcare costs being covered by the charity, as well as room hire. I teach privately too and always offer discounts and free spaces on my courses to pay back the support and kindness I received. My main interest is in trauma and I have been studying this for my yoga teaching over many years and more recently for the mindfulness teaching too. I did the ‘teaching yoga in prisons’ training many years ago through The Prison Phoenix Trust.

I hope to work more with refugees and asylum seekers as I come into contact with many of them in the city I live in and through my work. Breathworks feels like a very kind organisation, and this is needed in our world, more than ever.”

Dawid Faron from Poland

"I’d already been a Buddhist for a few years when a friend (and accredited Breathworks teacher) introduced me to Breathworks and encouraged me to teach mindfulness. This came at a time in my life in which I wanted to make some changes, particularly in my professional life.

Being given a bursary to train was very important to me. My job at the time was not very profitable and I was penniless when I started my introductory teaching course — the discrepancy between Poland and the UK and the wages people get meant I would have been unable to train without a bursary. The bursary basically enabled me to start the training and become a teacher, and really accelerated the process.

I now teach drop-in mindfulness classes and eight-week courses in Krakow, reaching about 20-30 people every 8-10 weeks and am fully committed to leading and propagating the Breathworks mindfulness approach in Poland."

Read Dawid's blog about teaching Breathworks in Poland here

Dhammamegha (Annie Leatt) from South Africa

"When I decided I wanted to do some mindfulness training – Breathworks was the obvious choice. I’d heard excellent things about the training and the trainers. I wanted to learn how to use mindfulness approaches that were also based in an ethical practice and where I trusted that the people that were teaching had their roots in Buddhist practice as well as secular mindfulness. I trusted the depth of their practice more than way. Breathworks was more streamlined than the training available in South Africa which was restricted to clinical psychologists and medical doctors. I was working as a coach and university lecturer at the time.

I would never have been able to afford to come to the Breathworks training without support from the Bursary. The South African Rand is weak, so paying for training in British Pounds would have been an impossible stretch, even though I was working in a professional role. The training more than met my expectations, and I made connections with people who were on the course that continue today.’’

Vibha Donne

Breathworks Foundation Recipient Vibha Donne"I'm Vibha, living in East Sussex and am a single mother to two teenagers. I am self employed as a Doula, Reflexologist and Massage therapist, and now as a teacher of Mindfulness Meditation. I came to mindfulness meditation to manage myself more resourcefully with my children, to increase calm and reduce stress. I realised how much anxiety I have and how much life I was losing to it, even though I would never have described myself as an anxious person!

I came to Breathworks first through a recommendation of the 8-week course, then on completion, through research for a reputable training organisation with connections to the NHS.

The bursary meant that I too could access the training which has enhanced my own practice powerfully, and now means I can share these life enhancing practices with others. Since being accredited, I am running a small group and 1:1 courses and plan to work with women in pregnancy and for menopause.

The bursary truly supported a life changing experience for me and therefore hopefully, others.”

Laura Evans

‘‘I am from a working-class background, my father being a miner in the South Wales valleys. I work for a social prescribing project based largely in underprivileged areas in South Wales.We signpost patients to projects and most of them can’t afford or access classes for a variety of reasons.

When I completed the Breathworks eight-week course some years ago I couldn’t afford it and was lucky to have a funded, bursary place. I also had a grant for the first part of my training and my employer funded the second part. I couldn’t have afforded to pay for any of this.

I am now able to bring Breathworks to other working-class people through my job and will begin doing this in January as a pilot project. I feel that now I can make mindfulness accessible to many other people. Thank you Breathworks.’’


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