Breathworks grew out of the life’s work of Vidyamala Burch. Vidyamala sustained spinal injuries as a young woman. This required multiple surgeries and left her with partial paraplegia and severe chronic pain.

She began to explore mindfulness and meditation in her twenties to manage her pain and found them profoundly life-changing and transformative.

She became passionate about helping others and in 2000 started running mindfulness-based ‘Peace of Mind’ courses with a Millennium Award. In 2004 she changed the name to Breathworks and co-founded a Social Enterprise (Breathworks CIC) with Sona Fricker and Gary Hennessey - both highly experienced mindfulness practitioners and teachers. In 2005 they developed a Teacher Training pathway so more people would be able to access Breathworks courses.

Out of these seeds Breathworks has grown to become a flourishing and dynamic international organisation with over 600 accredited teachers in over 35 countries.

Keenly aware that its very often the people who are most in need of mindfulness training are those that are least able to pay for and access it, Vidyamala went on to set-up the charity, The Breathworks Foundation.  With a desire and commitment to reach all people who are suffering, The Breathworks Foundation raises funds to invest in course bursaries, research and partnerships.

In 2020-21 we brought both organisations together, and now operate entirely as a registered charity. Our surplus is used to invest in research and offer bursaries and scholarships to allow wide access to our programmes.

Mindfulness Charity Advisor Jenny Edwards - Breathworks Foundation Jenny Edwards CBE (past CEO Mental Health Foundation)

"Breathworks has a long track record of helping people use mindfulness to manage their pain that has changed countless lives for the better. Their commitment to evidence and feedback is very impressive. The Breathworks Foundation is an exciting initiative to help reach people and communities who haven't yet had the opportunity to benefit." 


Vidyamala has written three books: ‘Living Well with Pain and Illness’, ‘Mindfulness for Health’ (co-authored with Danny Penman), and ‘Mindfulness for Women’ (co-authored with Clair Irvin). All three books are available in several languages and have multiple 5 star reviews. You can find these in our shop.

‘Mindfulness for Health’ was awarded First Prize in Popular Medicine in the British Medical Association Books Awards in 2014. It has been endorsed by the Reading Well: Books on Prescription Scheme, selected by expert health professionals as the best self-help book in its category.

In 2018 Vidyamala was awarded an honorary membership to the British Pain Society. This was for her extraordinary contribution to the field of pain management with the development of Mindfulness-based Pain Management (MBPM).

Mindfulness Expert Ruby WaxRuby Wax, Mental Health Campaigner and Author of ‘How to Be Human’

"Vidyamala is an amazing woman. When I interviewed her, I never saw her flicker in pain, not once. She just sat there and glowed.”

Breathworks is a founding member of the British Association of Mindfulness-Based Approaches (BAMBA - formerly called the UK Network of Mindfulness-Based Teacher Training Organisations), dedicated to maintaining high standards of training for mindfulness teachers. Our teacher training is widely regarded as one of the most thorough and in-depth available.


We do thorough internal evaluations of our courses through feedback forms and follow-up questionnaires. Our courses have been the subject of a number of published academic papers. The results have consistently shown the benefits of all our programmes.  

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