Sunday, January 06, 2008

Breathworks in 2007

is an FWBO Right Livelihood based in Manchester, UK. They specialise in mindfulness-based pain management – specifically, in “offering strategies for living well to anyone suffering from chronic pain wishing to live a richer life and feel a greater sense of initiative and confidence”.

Sona, one of the Breathworks directors, has sent us a report on their activities in 2007 – a rich and expansive year for them. Read on for the highlights, or click here for the full report with pictures.

Over the course of 2007, four training retreats took the community of Breathworks trainers to 14 fully qualified trainers with 23 half way through their training by the end of the year. For the first time they led a training retreat outside the UK – specifically, for health professionals in New Zealand, on the spectacular Coromandel peninsula. Other international events included a weekend workshop in Stockholm, Sweden, and a conference on ‘Integrating Mindfulness-Based Interventions into Medicine, Health Care, and Society’ at the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts.

In the UK Breathworks trainers are now running courses in Cardiff, Brighton, Bristol, Stroud, Blackburn, East London and Leeds as well as Manchester. Narapa, representing Breathworks at the British Pain Society’s Pain Management Programme conference in Southampton in September, was expecting to run a short workshop for 20 or so people, but over a 100 turned up much to his surprise! Another important development was the introduction of distance learning courses. This makes the Breathworks’ approach available to people who want one to one coaching, as well as to those who are too ill to get to a class. We hope to expand this aspect of the business in the future.

Narapa's main focus is to develop Breathworks as a viable commercial enterprise (we are a Community Interest Company, known in the UK as a ‘3rd Sector’ or ‘not-for-profit’ organisation). He has been developing a proposal to run ‘Continuing Professional Development’ courses at Salford University. This will be a very important development as it will allow Breathworks’ trainers to offer training to many different types of health professionals as all, or most, health professionals working in the public sector have to maintain their level of competence by attending courses every year.

For the second year running, Breathworks met up with others who train trainers to deliver mindfulness in the fields of health and stress - a UK Network of Mindfulness Trainers. Apart from Breathworks all the other participants are connected with MBSR (‘Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction’) and/or MBCT (‘Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy’ – see FWBO News’ August 2007 survey of this complex field). The meeting was hosted by Mark Williams at the Warneford Hospital in Oxford. The purpose was to try to bring some kind of standards to how mindfulness in taught and practised by trainers, as well as sharing information about how the different groups and institutions are developing their work. Breathworks will be hosting the next meeting in Manchester in November 2008.

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapists have a magazine called ‘Frontline’ and in November they featured a substantial article on Mindfulness and pain management, with Breathworks having the highest profile. The cover image was of a huge Buddha which seemed to symbolise how much interest there is in mindfulness as the Buddha’s teaching within mainstream circles these days.

Vidyamala’s Book
Probably the most exciting event for Breathworks in 2007 was when Piatkus (now an imprint of Little, Brown Publishers) signed a contract with Vidyamala to publish her book. She had been working on a book about the Breathworks’ approach to mindfulness based pain management for two years, being helped substantially by Vishvapani for the past year. The manuscript will be with the publisher this January when it will go into the production process ready for delivery to bookshops in November 2008. Having her book available will not only make Breathworks and Vidyamala better known, but, more importantly, it will bring our work to those suffering long term pain and illness, as well as stress, in places where we have no trainers, as well as to those who are too ill to be able to attend a course. Jon Kabat-Zinn has kindly offered to have a very positive quote about Vidyamala and Breathworks on the front cover.

Given that Breathworks is run by a team of directors who only work part-time, Sona concludes by saying "We are very happy with what we managed to achieve in 2007".

All the above is just a summary, click here for the full report with pictures or visit Breathworks.



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