Oxford Mindfulness Centre
The Oxford Mindfulness Centre (OMC) is a collaboration between the University of Oxford Psychiatry Department and the Oxford Mindfulness Foundation (OMF), a UK-registered charity.It has been at the forefront of MBCT research, teaching and training since it was founded by Professor Mark Williams in 2008.
The OMC vision is a world in which there is universal access to mindfulness. It would be integrated into everyday life with teachers and champions in all areas of society, using mindfulness to support well-being both explicitly (via courses and training) and implicitly (in their everyday work and way of living). The OMC works with international partners and operates around the world to deliver teaching and training programs informed by the University’s research.
Leuven Mindfulness Centre
The Leuven Mindfulness Centre, affiliated with KU Leuven, investigates how the use of mindfulness, a simple form of meditation whose effectiveness is scientifically well-founded, can be used in various populations and contexts with the aim of improving the mental well-being of those involved.
The benefits of mindfulness in preventing major depression and emotional distress are clinically proven. Equally important, mindfulness has positive effects on a wide range of people, helping them to better cope with stress and the constant demands of our modern world. Research has shown that, by investing a few minutes every day, anyone can learn this form of mental training and apply it in everyday life and thus improve their mental well-being.
One of our central goals is to investigate the effectiveness of mindfulness in various target groups who often experience difficulties and cannot afford standard training in the commercial circuit, or who need extra attention. It concerns specific groups such as people with financial difficulties and in socially precarious situations, such as refugees. There is also a lot of interest in the application of mindfulness with children and young people at school.
These applications are too important to be developed haphazardly – prevention requires a scientifically based and strategic approach. If we want to use mindfulness in various contexts so that its full potential can be realised, then a development and implementation based on a strong scientific basis, as well as a thorough training of trainers, is the only sustainable way. The Leuven Mindfulness Center is committed to achieving this goal.
The center, founded in 2019, is an international center of expertise. What sets us apart is the multidisciplinary nature of our approach and the diverse ‘real life’ contexts in which we operate.
What we do: At Breathworks we run 8-week courses which teach people how to use mindfulness and compassion to manage pain, stress, illness, and to live a happier and more fulfilled life. We also run teacher training, so that these skills can be shared all around the world, as well as retreats, professional development events, masterclasses, online events, and more.
Our courses have been scientifically researched and proven to be highly effective in dozens of published studies, yet the core of what we teach is remarkably simple and timeless.
Our history: 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.