The Breathworks Foundation has a small but dedicated team who enable bursaries, partnership and research.

Mindfulness Expert Vidyamala Burch - Founding Director - Breathworks Vidyamala Burch, Breathworks Foundation Founder

The Breathworks Foundation is a fruit of the life and work of Vidyamala Burch. 

Vidyamala has lived with chronic spinal pain all her adult life due to surgeries and accidents in her teens. When she was 25 she learned to meditate and for the subsequent 30 years she has honed the skills of mindfulness and compassion to manage her pain and cultivate a rich and fulfilling life. In 2001 she decided to offer all she had learned to others. She founded Breathworks and there are now teachers offering Mindfulness-based Pain Management (MBPM) in 35 countries.

Vidyamala knows how pain and disability can eat away at financial resources. She had to give up her promising career in the New Zealand film industry when she was just 25 and has struggled to earn a living for most of her life. She knows that many people could benefit from the Breathworks' approach but can't afford to pay for courses and training.

The Foundation was established in part to solve this problem by providing a fundraising wing to Breathworks, so people who have some spare funds could enable people with very little funds to learn all the skills that Breathworks offers. This is very dear to Vidyamala's heart. Neither she nor the Trustees of The Foundation want anyone to be excluded from Breathworks simply due to costs.

Vidyamala became an Honorary Member of the British Pain Society in 2018.

 

Read Vidyamala's Blog

 


Mindfulness Charity The Breathworks Foundations Head of Development - Karunatara Rachel GreenKarunatara Green, Head of Development

I took on the role of Head of Development for The Breathworks Foundation in August 2018 to raise much needed funds to realise Breathworks Co-Founder, Vidyamala’s long held vision to share mindfulness with as many people who suffer through pain, illness or stress as possible, whatever their financial circumstances.

Working alongside the Breathworks CIC team, I have responsibility for facilitating communication and relationships between the Foundation’s Trustees and the people, projects and organisations they support through bursaries and partnerships.  In my first year we have an exciting target of £100,000 to raise, which will come from personal donations, fundraising challenges led by the Breathworks community and support from Trusts & Foundations.  

My background is in client relationship, business development and fundraising.  For the last eight years, I worked with both corporate clients and individual donors who generously enabled the biennial arts organisation, Manchester International Festival, with the last six as Director of Development.

During my first few months in this new post, I have been inspired and moved as I’ve learnt more about The Foundation and the people it has supported. You can read more about my heart-opening experience here.

 

Read Karunatara's Blog

 


Mindfulness Researcher Shannon Phillips Breathworks FoundationShannon Phillips, Part-Time Researcher

I first came to Breathworks on a three month internship as part of my University of Leeds undergraduate psychology degree. At that point, I was unsure what I wanted to go into as a career, but had recently become really interested in mindfulness meditation. So when the opportunity came up to be a research assistant with Breathworks I was thrilled. 

During my internship, I learned about Breathworks' special interest in chronic pain, an area which I had never previously assumed could benefit from mindfulness meditation. However, through my internship work analysing pre- and post-course questionnaire responses, I found the course to significantly improve a huge number of outcomes, everything from pain severity to quality of life. My excitement in finding these results sparked a light-bulb moment for me - maybe I should go into a research career!

Since completing my internship, I now work for Breathworks part-time as a researcher. My role includes gathering and analysing data from online surveys, which we invite all out course participants to complete. The questions we ask in these surveys are guided by an overall research question which is decided by asking 1) what can we add to the academic literature on mindfulness? and 2) what do our course participants want to know about our courses? 

I am currently working towards my masters degree in psychology, with the hope to one day apply for a PhD - it would be a dream come true to one day I publish my own academic paper on the therapeutic effects of the Breathworks courses.