Highlights from Vidyamala Burch’s conference speech

At this year’s Sussex Mindfulness Centre conference, we had the privilege of hosting Vidyamala Burch as our keynote speaker. For those who couldn’t attend, Anna-Maria Frastali shares some insights from the talk.

The landscape of mindfulness has evolved significantly in recent decades, transitioning from a surge of hype to a more nuanced exploration of its future trajectory. Amidst this evolution, Vidyamala advocates for a dual approach: ascending to new heights for broader perspectives while delving deep within ourselves to confront what we’ve avoided. This balanced approach, she suggests, fosters a refreshed outlook and provides the emotional space necessary for contemplation and innovation.

Benefits of mindfulness

In popular psychology the human brain is often compared to a monkey mind, jumping all over the place. How would we be more present, like elephants, grounded, strong and still? Meditation can offer the path to that as studies have shown. The benefits of extensive meditation go beyond becoming more grounded and include enhancement of equanimity and compassion.

Mindfulness, however, isn’t just a solitary pursuit; it manifests in our actions. In light of concerning statistics regarding mental health among young adults and escalating health conditions, Vidyamala emphasises the urgency for creative integration of mindfulness and compassion in to contemporary needs.

New programme for chronic pain, fatigue and illness

Enter HEALS, a new programme designed for those grappling with chronic pain, fatigue and illness. HEALS stands for Healthy Nutrition, Engaging with movement, Awareness, Love, and Sleep, and it underscores the foundational role of mindfulness in effecting behavioural change. Vidyamala’s own transformative journey, intertwined with mindfulness, serves as a testament to the efficacy of this approach.

HEALS spans 10 weeks and is accessible online. Its holistic curriculum, ranges from self-awareness and compassion to nature connection and movement. It has garnered impressive outcomes, with participants reporting improved symptom management and enhanced quality of life.

Mindfulness caught not taught

Vidyamala’s parting words were a reminder that mindfulness is not taught but “caught”. As practitioners, our commitment to nurturing our own mindfulness practice is paramount, while embodying the essence of mindfulness and kindness in our daily lives.

You can see a short summary of the speech from Vidyamala here. And check back as we will be posting the whole speech shortly.

Find out more about Breathworks here: https://www.breathworks-mindfulness.org.uk/