Karl Baker, Wellington
Karl is a founder and director of Mindfulness Works. He has been practising mindfulness and meditation for over 10 years. During that time, Karl has worked one-on-one with a key mindfulness and meditation teacher and has attended numerous multi-day silent insight meditation retreats. Karl was involved in assisting establishing the Wellington Insight Meditation group. His principle teachers have been Stephen (Nyanaviro) Archer, Shard Rogell and Jeremy Logan.
Karl has an honours degree from Victoria University and has helped found three successful businesses. He lives in Upper Hutt with partner Claro and two cats, Nico and Shanti. He has a sweet tooth, a sweet personality (yes, he did write this) and likes craft beer.
Jan Rivers, Wellington and Lower Hutt
Martin Wilson, Wellington and Petone
Martin is the principal of and a personal / leadership coach with Selfmade Coaching (selfmade.co.nz). He’s also an Associate for the Mental Health Foundation of NZ’s Working Well Programme.
Previously, Martin was a partner in a large commercial law firm and then established his own legal practice.
Juggling the challenges of being a busy lawyer, a parent and an over-thinking, over-achieving self, contributed to Martin’s first ‘foray’ into meditation 20 years ago. From there he developed a broader interest and participation in mindfulness work and related self-awareness growth practice, much of which he engages in as a coach.
His principal mindfulness / meditation experience comes from the Vipassana tradition and yet he is a keen explorer of other approaches.
Martin lives in Wellington, is married to Chris and has three younger adult children. Being in nature, travelling and growing self-awareness are his ‘things’.
Catrina Bengree, Wellington and Lower Hutt
Catrina has been eating mindfully for 20 years. She founded Nourish ‘N Nurture in 2009 when she realised it was her ‘true purpose’ to share mindful eating. Catrina is a motivational speaker and offers three courses which enable her clients to develop a healthy relationship with food.
Her business is based on her own personal journey of 20 years of yo-yo dieting and excessive exercise, culminating in a six-year battle with depression and bulimia. Since learning to eat mindfully in 1996, she has remained slim and healthy without starving, depriving or fighting herself. She no longer diets, exercises excessively or feels guilty about what she eats. Eating mindfully has enabled her to simply eat when she is hungry and stop when she is satisfied.
Catrina has been married for 17 years and has two teenage boys. She loves walking, reading, sports, travelling, personal development and meditation.
Catrina is also the Regional Manager for the Venus Women’s Business Network in Hutt Valley and Wellington.
Lucy Schwabe, Wellington and Porirua — MBSR Qualified Trainer
Lucy has a bachelor of health science, is a certified Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction teacher, qualified acupuncturist and traditional Chinese medicine practitioner.
She has been practising Taiji since 1987 and meditation since 1995, and is passionate about mind-body interventions as a holistic approach to health and well-being.
Lucy started Wholistic Health Works in 1997, enjoys working with people in the community and offering mindfulness-based interventions for individuals and groups. Lucy’s website is www.wholistichealthworks.co.nz.
She is inspired by being in nature, is often seen practising taiji in the Wellington Botanic Garden and loves exploring the path of open-hearted mindfulness with others.
Rachel Tobin, Porirua and Kapiti
Rachel has been practising meditation for over 25 years and is a qualified teacher in a varety of fields including the moving mindfulness practices of qi gong and feldenkrais. She is the director of the art of mindfulness, working individually with adults and children, teaching mindfulness in organisations and to the general public, and regularly running one-day and residential mindfulness retreats. She is also a facilitator for the 8-week mindfulness programme, Pause Breathe Smile, which she teaches privately and in schools.
Rachel lives in Paekakariki, on the lovely Kapiti Coast. She is also a poet.
Glenda Irwin, Auckland
Glenda has taught mindfulness to families and individuals for six years in the Auckland region. She studied under international teachers and has trained in modules of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy here in New Zealand. She wrote ‘Mindful Me’ and co-wrote ‘Resilient Me’, both mindfulness trainings for children and teens.
She keenly follows research in the field of neurological patterning and combines this with her personal practice of mindfulness to create mindfulness instruction that is highly practical and experiential for her participants. She is a senior Mindfulness Works facilitator and facilitator trainer for Auckland.
Glenda is the mother of one boy (raised mindfully). She credits her 14 years of Qi Gong practice under her Auckland-based teacher as supporting her journey of mindful living
Chris Irwin, Auckland
Chris is a New Zealander. He ordained as a Buddhist monk for over 10 years, practising meditation with teachers in Thailand and Europe. On returning to New Zealand, he trained in Gestalt psychotherapy and post-graduate psychology. He has been in counselling, psychotherapy practice for the last 15 years seeing individuals and couples.
Chris blends an in-depth knowledge of mindfulness meditation practices and approaches of psychotherapy and psychology to help people manage and resolve personal issues — ultimately, to create wellness in people’s lives. It is from this experience that Chris has evolved his approach to mindfulness meditation that is both accessible and compassionate.
As well, he has worked extensively in the corporate world supporting culture and organisational change.
Chris has also run a number of businesses and in so doing, understands that we all face the task of balancing demands of work, family life and getting some ‘me’ time.
Vikki Baird, Auckland
Vikki is a registered and practising Counselling Psychologist. She uses mindfulness, ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) and relational approaches to work with both groups and individuals.
Graduating with Honours in Fine Arts in Scotland, Vikki has been resident in New Zealand since 2003. She has a background of working in the hospitality, retail and banking industries where her love of working with and for people inspired her to retrain as a Counselling Psychologist. Holding a Post Graduate Diploma in Counselling Psychology and a Masters with Honours in Psychology from AUT University, Vikki facilitates mindfulness-based programs for high schools and has co-written a workshop with Glenda Irwin on Mindfulness for youth.
Outside her role as a secular mindfulness teacher, Vikki practises her philosophy within the teaching of a socially engaged lay Buddhist group with a focus on peace, culture and education. She credits the daily struggles and challenges of life as ‘valuable opportunities for building deeper meaning, fulfilment and resilience in our lives.’
Vikki offers individual therapy, mindfulness consultation and presentations for public, educational and corporate sectors, a local Monday evening sitting group based in Henderson, and advanced level mindfulness courses. To find out more about these services, Vikki can be contacted via the following websites: http://counsellorauckland.co.nz/vikki/ and www.facebook.com/VikkiBairdPsychology/ or alternatively via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Teagan Fea, Auckland
With over 15 years of experience as a Yoga Teacher and Therapist, Teagan inspires and educates people how to change and transform their lives through the power of mindfulness. As an international teacher, she has taught in Australia, New Zealand, Peru, and Mexico and has assisted hundreds of people to find inner peace through yoga, meditation and counseling.
As a Coach and Counselor, Teagan has pioneered a holistic approach that assists people to transform their lives, using Yoga Therapy and Somatic Psychotherapy. This work has been recognised for assisting and affecting positive change in hundreds of people, particularly those who suffer from anxiety and depression disorders.
Teagan only recently arrived back in NZ after 20 years living abroad, including the past 2.5 years in México.
Linda Daniell, Auckland
Linda moved to New Zealand from the UK in 2000 and until recently, facilitated teachers in higher and tertiary education to engage in the finer points of learning and teaching. She incorporated mindfulness into her professional teaching practice and noticed that as she was more present, so were her students. LNow she is able to follow her heart and focus on teaching mindfulness to as many people as she can reach – and it’s exciting!
Her yoga practice brings together mind, body and spirit, all of which strengthen her mindfulness practice.
Linda has completed Level I of the training in the MBSR course for adults through the Mindfulness Training Institute – Australia-New Zealand.
Liana Johnson, Auckland
Liana works as a shamanic and sound healer. She has facilitated holistic women’s networking for many years and is also a funeral celebrant. She has a particular passion for the emotional well-being of children and families and tells how the raising of her own children has been profoundly transformative in her own personal development.
Liana has practised meditation most of her adult life. Combined with her 15 years of holistic training and retreat experiences, Liana credits mindfulness practice as the element of self-acceptance and self-compassion that has transformed both her personal and working lives.
Wimal Wickramasuriya, Auckland and Orewa
Wimal (Wim) was born into an Eastern Buddhist culture in Sri Lanka and moved to New Zealand as a teenager to begin a life of Western culture at Gisborne Boys’ High School on the east coast of the North Island. The cultural difference made the blend of East meeting West a cognitive experience as he progressed through life working in the engineering field, selling real estate and owning a business.
Navigating mistakes along the way was the teacher of trading creative freedom for fear. If you knew an effective way to bring about change, would you do it; then guide others to do the same?
“Mindfulness Practice has helped me sharpen my awareness and transformed the way I conduct life now. Although there is so much goodness around us, admittedly some things can be better. Seeing how receptive individuals are as they begin to practise mindfulness and trust their own style of learning to develop how life unfolds for them, is an inspired injection that is intriguing and different. By learning to let go of desired outcomes, I see a world of endless possibilities unfolding within each individual attending the course; these are unique moments in the classroom.
I embrace the challenge of communication in each workshop where I’m privileged to witness individuals taking deliberate action; going to places often not seen, but felt.
Knowing this is another journey beginning, I’m excited to facilitate this enriching wisdom so others can cultivate their own experiences, see life through “new eyes” and have a better appreciation of life and living – a new life skill.”
Attending to life with more self-compassion and gentleness, Wimal is drawn into Mindfulness as a rich basis for living life fully and being more in tune with himself and others.
Wimal has three daughters and two granddaughters.
Sitara Morgenster, Far North, Palmerston North & Whanganui
Sitara recognises mindfulness among the best “methods” to prepare for and live a life of real and raw authenticity. She appreciates the clarity of mind and peace of heart a regular mindfulness/meditation practise has inspired her own life and continues to grow.
Besides working as a mindfulness trainer for New Zealand’s largest mindfulness education organisation, Mindfulness Works, Sitara is a mosaic artist working from her home-based studio located in native bush near the Far North’s Mount Maungataniwha. Her work is exhibited and collected throughout New Zealand, as well as sold overseas, and she teaches mosaic classes and workshops from her studio and through REAP in Kaitaia.
Sitara holds a Degree in Social Communication Studies from the Hanzehogeschool Groningen (The Netherlands), a Counselling Skills Certificate from the University of Aberdeen (Scotland) and is also a certified creativity coach after training with Eric Maisel (USA). During her first decade in New Zealand, Sitara worked for Lifeline Taranaki, Healthcare and Rehabilitation and at the former Pippal Wellness Centre.
Originally from the Netherlands, Sitara’s lived in five different countries including the Middle East, and has previously worked in PR, journalism, translating and caregiving. Her reasons for settling in New Zealand after moving here in 2001, was her meeting with the New Zealand-born living spiritual Master Yanchiji, whom she continues to study with. Sitara writes and makes music and whoopee in her spare time, which she loves to share with animals.
Sitara’s mindfulness website is www.preciousattention.com
Dr. Heidi Douglass, Hamilton
Dr. Heidi Douglass is an American-trained Clinical Psychologist who provides psychological assessment and treatment services in Hamilton, New Zealand. She also provides a science-based, Mindful Eating Coaching service. You can obtain consultation in person, via Skype or on the telephone.
Heidi has been fortunate to study, work and train at some of the coolest places in America such as: Harvard, Columbia University in New York City, Boston University and hospitals within the United States Veterans Administration system.
At the moment, Heidi’s two main passions within her work life are providing awesome, top-notch professional supervision that people look forward to and her work on Mindful Eating.
Heidi runs evidence-based Mindful Eating groups and also coaches individuals who struggle with their weight, emotional eating and binge eating. As a highly skilled weight management expert, Heidi can help clients to identify their own individual triggers to over-eating and the obstacles to change that stand in their way. Heidi coaches her clients in the use of clinically proven skills and strategies so that they can make the changes they have hoped for. If you have been unable to reach your goals alone, Heidi may be able to help you finally get there.
When Heidi is not working, she likes to hang out with her family and friends, do yoga, meditation, walk along the seaside and grow yummy organic food.
To learn more about Heidi, her training and credentials, and to see her in a video which is only slightly embarrassing, please visit her web site: www.drheididouglass.co.nz
Christine Balzer-Gibbs, Whakatane
Christine has been a yoga and meditation practitioner and teacher for over 28 years. She studied with teachers in India and has a great love for and connection to the spiritual culture there. In recent years, Christine has deepened her meditation at silent mindfulness retreats and continues to develop and enjoy this daily practice.
Christine is a naturopath and kinesiologist and runs her Lifesource Yoga and Naturopathic practice from Bay Osteopathy and Natural Health Centre in Whakatane. She is passionate about using her skills and experience in assisting people to reach their health and wellbeing goals and to find happiness and inner peace.
Christine recently moved with her husband to live at Ohope Beach in the sunny Bay of Plenty. She enjoys walking and swimming and is about to take up paddleboarding. Christine loves to travel and run yoga and meditation retreats at home, in India and in Bali.
John Fletcher – Tauranga
John has 15 years experience working with mindfulness in a variety of settings.
John first experienced the effectiveness of mindfulness when he attended a Breathworks mindfulness-based pain management programme in Manchester (UK) for his chronic back pain. He went on to become accredited as a trainer in the Breathworks mindfulness programme in 2006.
John lives in Tauranga and is an Educator for the Pause, Breathe, Smile Programme — teaching mindfulness in primary and intermediate schools. He also provides bespoke mindfulness training for groups and individuals with particular focus on health and wellbeing, chronic pain, children and families.
John is an experienced Clinical Supervisor and works with a variety of organisations around the Bay of Plenty region. His previous work experience includes senior roles in NGOs in the Disability Sector, Community Development and Children’s Services Development in the UK and NZ.
He enjoys being in the wilderness, reading science fiction and practising Taoist Tai Chi — a moving meditation. John is an Instructor for the Taoist Tai Chi Society of NZ.
Charlotte Yarnton – Mt Maunganui and Tauranga
Charlotte works as a dietitian in Tauranga, supporting people with long-term health conditions (diabetes, obesity and heart disease) to improve their lifestyle and wellbeing.
A few years ago she attended a Mindful Eating course run by Dr. Heidi Douglass which motivated her to complete training to deliver courses for her patients in the Bay of Plenty. She has noticed how her patients’ relationship with food and their bodies can improve after becoming more aware of their habitual patterns of behaviour, particularly around food.
Charlotte has a passion for cooking and sharing great food with her friends, mountain biking and yoga.
Pete Kershaw, Havelock North
Pete started teaching mindfulness eight years ago as a teacher of the Gawler Foundation Lifestyle-based Wellness program. This evolved into a program called ‘Living Mindfully’.
He retired from General Practice in 2006 and is at present completing on-line training as a wellness coach.
Pete sees mindfulness as an integral part of personal and corporate well-being.
Pat Alexander, Napier
I came to New Zealand eight years ago and since then, I have consolidated a passion for mindfulness. This personal journey came about from different life events, but significantly from the disconnect I felt when I was dealing with the impact of a big change in my life.
This challenging time brought a lot of self-doubt and emotional vulnerability into my life. However, I have found that mindfulness practice has enabled me to engage and rejoice in the complete person that I am and connect with the very being of me.
This journey has been in both my personal and professional life. It has been enabled through attending training, retreats and teachings and through the development of my own practice which has been a personal commitment to my journey and that at times has brought feelings of fear and trepidation. It has enabled me to connect with like-minded people and to receive guidance and mindfulness supervision through my teachers to whom I am very thankful.
As a clinician in mental health, I can see the great potential mindfulness offers and use it in my work. I observe the benefits it provides people – developing awareness and gaining a better understanding of what limits their lives and living to their full potential and freedom of choice.
I completed the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) teachers practicum in 2012 and provide mindfulness-based interventions in my private practice.
I enjoy being part of the Mindfulness Works team and providing the Intro and Mindful Eating courses in Napier. With the Mindful Eating courses, we explore our relationship with food with openness, kindness and curiosity and allow ourselves more insight, understanding and compassion.
For more information and contact details please go to mindfulnessmind.co.nz
Helena Keenan — MBSM Qualified Trainer
Helena’s personal experience with meditation began in 1992, developing for her a deep interest in the wellbeing benefits of meditation. Further studies and reading into mindfulness meditation created a goal to pursue formal studies in this area. Eventually the opportunity to study Mindfulness Meditation Teacher training with Dr Ian Gawler arose and in 2009 Helena completed her first training course in this field. More recently she completed further studies with Ian Gawler and Ruth Gawler in Australia in the practices of Guided Imagery and Contemplation.
Now settled in Rotorua, Helena brings a diverse and extensive skill set to Polynesian Spa. She is excited to share some meditation and mindfulness tips at the Retreat to help women switch off from their busy lives.
Meegan Care, New Plymouth
I have practised meditation for 25 years, and am a registered Craniosacral Therapist (BCST) and Psychosynthesis Counsellor. I have worked with individuals in private practice for around 15 years and regularly facilitate retreats and workshops in New Plymouth.
In clinic, I specialise in working with individuals experiencing anxiety, stress and chronic pain conditions, and I love to teach my clients mindfulness-based approaches that support their health and wellbeing.
I live in central New Plymouth with my husband, two daughters, dog, cat, and two happy roaming chickens.
Here is the link to my website: meegancare.co.nz
Blair Bowker, Hamilton and Tauranga
For the last 25 years my passion for kayaking and exploring has taken me around the world. It was during these travels, back in 1996, that I first came into contact with meditation and mindfulness in Kathmandu, Nepal, where I attended my first 30 day meditation retreat – the first of many. Hooked, I spent the next several years in India learning the art of meditation under various teachers.
My deep interest in how meditation could be more fully integrated into my daily life took me around the world practising meditation and living in retreat centres. I spent two years living at the Insight Meditation Society in Massachusetts, USA, set up by Jack Kornfield and Joseph Goldstein, where I studied with a variety of teachers as well as doing longer meditation retreats for up to two months.
I practised mindfulness for 15 years, yet something was still missing. Somehow deep patterns remained unmoved. This drew me to Psychosynthesis, a holistic therapy with mindfulness at its heart. Working with a Psychosynthesis therapist, I started to uncover these patterns and drives and integrate what I had learnt through meditation.
Some of my other working background includes setting up and running projects for isolated and homeless youth, training organisations in social networks and communication, life coaching, and working within the mental health sector. I also work with sports teams and athletes, teaching them mindfulness to help improve their performance.
I am a qualified counselor working in private practice and training as an Psychosynthesis psychotherapist with the Institute of Psychosynthesis New Zealand. I have also just recently completed an eight-week Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) course with Dr Russ Harris and regularly attend workshops and courses so I can continue to better myself and stay updated with the latest research and practices.
I aim to help people transform and accept themselves deeply. I am interested in how we can be fully alive and present to all of life, even its challenges, while staying connected to a sense of ease.
My website is at Mindfully Alive.
David Wakeling, Nelson, Motueka and Blenheim
David has practised and taught mindfulness for 29 years. He lived as a Theravadin Buddhist Monk for 18 years in Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand leaving the monastic order 11 years ago to pursue a secular approach.
David now teaches mindfulness for Mindfulness Works and The Cancer Society and privately runs regular practice groups and workshops. He also focuses on meditation, daily life practice, yoga, stress reduction, trauma recovery, interactive mindful enquiry and residential courses.
Jaime Howell, Nelson — MBSR Qualified Trainer
Jaime has a Masters in Education and has spent much of his adult life teaching and developing educational pathways that lead to wholeness. Jaime’s background involves teaching Health and Outdoor education. He has spent the last ten years developing mindfulness courses in community settings. In 2006 Jamie began facilitating rites of passage events for families and communities. This has resulted in a lot of work exploring functional relationships between fathers and sons.
Jaime began studying mindfulness through the Burmese Tradition of Insight practice. Later he studied in the Thai Forest Tradition. In 2007 he graduated from a three-year study into living dharma. He has spent many a month in solo retreat putting theory into practice; it has been challenging, beautiful and an extremely valuable experience.
Currently Jaime is the director of Opening minds (www.openingminds.co.nz) an organisation dedicated to developing mindfulness and education. Jaime has developed mindfulness programmes for primary school children, teachers and parents. He is currently contracted by the Mental Health Foundation to deliver the Mindfulness in Schools programme. He is a trained to deliver the MBSR programme.
Having said all this, Jaime explains that he has had his fair share of struggles; burning out in the workforce, ten years of RSI, amputation of a number of fingers, building a house, surviving a MEd Thesis, relationship highs and lows… the full catastrophe. Through it all, it is mindfulness that gives him a sense of belonging, a refuge, a pole star to navigate the beauties and challenges of living in a modern age.
Lin Ong, Christchurch — MBCT Qualified Trainer
Lin, like you, is a human being who encounters the ups and downs of life and the universal wish to be in contact with happiness and peace. She has experienced moments of this in mindfulness practice. She invites you to embrace this path of discovery in the ongoing journey. Her first formal encounter of mindfulness practice begun about 15 years ago. Her search for a way to understand suffering in the mental mind began with observation and then studies in psychology, social work and coaching.
This led her to various explorations and adventures that brought her eventually to Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). Through the Oxford Mindfulness Centre (OMC), UK-supervised pathway, she is certified to deliver MBCT. She is thankful to her supervisors Marie Johansson and Dr Christina Surawy and to Prof Mark Williams. Her training stems from retreats conducted by members of the team at OMC; Melanie, Ann, Antonia, Mark and Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn.
She has found that what we cannot escape from is that knowledge remains mere knowledge until we integrate the practice into our own lives. Lin has a strong interest in research-based approaches that bring together the strength of modern science and ancient wisdom to help empower people, be familiar with the mind-body and to access the natural spring of well-being in people.
Lin is deeply grateful to developers and teachers of MBSR/MBCT, and her other precious teachers and friends from various walks of life. She is touched by those whose lives she has encountered.
Her motivation is to work alongside you in a way that enlivens and empowers, so that you can continue to benefit yourself and others around. She is open to working to make this possible through means that fits. www.naturenurturesparks.com
She is very happy to join Karl Baker and Mindfulness Works and to journey together with the community towards deeper awareness and joy.
Neave Ross-Wallace, Christchurch — Mindfulness Coach and Parent Mentor
Neave began her career as a therapist in 1991 when she joined the telephone counselling service, Parentline. During her 5 years with Parentline, she became the senior trainer and President of the organisation and began her mindfulness-based psychotherapy training at the Gestalt Institute N.Z. For the next 12 years, she worked in both private practice and at the Home and Family Counselling and Education Centre where she saw clients and ran adult education classes. In 2007 Neave went on to gain a Bachelor of Teaching and Learning from Canterbury University.
Neave has been practising mindfulness since 1992, and currently delivers a science-based mindfulness programme to school children on behalf of the Mental Health Foundation of N.Z as well as offering this programme in an after-school format for parents and their children to attend together. Neave is also training in the MBSR course for adults through the Mindfulness Training Institute of Australasia.
Neave says “Mindfulness has been at the centre of my life for over 25 years and I am continuously humbled at how this practice helps me find solid ground when life throws me curve balls. I can honestly say that mindfulness has shown me how to move towards letting go of unhelpful thinking (what I call “the crazies”) and come back to being able to respond to what is happening rather than react and then regret what I’ve done or said. I’m very much looking forward to being a part of the Mindfulness Works team and running the intro programme in my local communities.”
You can find out more about Neave at www.mindwise.co.nz.
Kate Brandram-Adams, Rangiora — Registered Mindfulness Teacher and MBSR Teacher
Kate has a love for practising and teaching mindfulness. She has her home in rural North Canterbury. Her passion is to offer professionally led mindfulness workshops, retreats and courses to groups and workplaces in the area https://mindfulnessnorthcanterbury.wordpress.com/
Mindfulness is a fundamental part of Kate’s life. She has a daily meditation and yoga practice, attends regular meditation and mindful living retreats and has done personal development work with mindfulness therapists. It is a value of hers not to teach anything that she is not willing to experience herself, allowing her to teach with authenticity and compassion.
Kate is a Registered Mindfulness Teacher with MTIANZ and is trained to teach the worldwide evidence base course Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) that she offers as a follow up course in Rangiora. She is committed to ongoing training in mindfulness teaching and has recently completed her yoga teacher training too.
She is also a Registered Mental Health Nurse who specialises in addictions and holistic approaches (integrating body, mind and spirit for wellbeing) including training in naturopathy, nutrition and massage.
Kate has a passion for the integration of ancient wisdom with modern day neuroscience, thus uniting the art and science of supporting people to discover their own source of wisdom, wellbeing and healing; connecting with their own “inner teacher”.
Kate is grateful to the many mindfulness teachers in her life that include the animals and the nature around her.
Kovido Maddick, Dunedin
Kovido has over 35 years’ experience in mindfulness and meditation and spent 10 years training as a Buddhist monk in the Thai Forest tradition under Ajahn Sumedho.
Kovido has been teaching Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction programmes since 1996. He is co-facilitator of the Dunedin Men’s group and is a Hakomi Graduate. Although his training is primarily Buddhist he is very eclectic, drawing on the wisdom of many different traditions and contemporary teachers including Rumi, Osho, Ajahn Chah, Ram Dass, Jeff Foster and Thich Naht Hanh. Probably his greatest teachers have been his two foster children, Mason and Savannah, who can take him to love, joy, delight and rage and frustration and despair on a daily basis.
For many many years, Kovido tried to get enlightened, improve himself, get better at meditation but constantly failed. Gradually his focus has changed to more self-acceptance, trusting his own intuition and being with life as it is on this wonder-full and mysterious journey as a human being.
Heidi Ombler, Dunedin
Heidi has been a teacher, masseuse and meditation practitioner for more than 25 years in several countries. Spending a few years living in a Thai forest monastery learning meditation inspired a solid foundation in, and love of mindfulness.
She has spent time with the senior disciples of Ajahn Chah doing three-month-long retreats in the outbacks of Thailand, Switzerland and California under their guidance. Exploration of the Heart of Living is her passion. Giving massage, doing Tai Chi, teaching communication and awareness skills to people of all ages and nationalities, has enabled a deep exploration of our common human states.
Heidi seeks to share the richness of mindful living that her teachers have so generously given her. She enjoys living in her hometown Dunedin, in a quiet cottage complete with woodland garden and husband.
Rene Frey-Jennings, Invercargill
Rene’s motivation for becoming involved in Mindfulness Works is to offer a wider population an understanding of emotional health and a practical means to improve mental wellness.
She enjoys sharing with clients how new developments in neuroscience show the significant impact of mindfulness and how it can create healthy changes within the adult brain.
Rene became interested in meditation/mindfulness through attending yoga classes in the 90s and went on to study yoga through IYTANZ to become a yoga teacher in 2005. She holds a Masters in Advanced Psychotherapy through AUT and has a private psychotherapy and professional supervision practice in Invercargill.
Originally from Canada, Rene met a New Zealand sheep farmer who inspired her to settle in Southland twenty-three years ago. She spends her spare time walking amongst the sheep and doing informal online study in neuroscience, mindfulness and different approaches healing. She endeavours to participate in extended silent retreats regularly as a means of supporting her daily practice of mindfulness.
Annie Chapman, Whangarei
Annie’s main career was as the home-educating mother to her two, now astonishingly adult children! She trained in massage therapy and Yoga teaching for her “second life”.
She has practised Yoga and meditated fairly consistently for much of her adult life and has had a daily practice in both for over ten years since embarking on her Yoga teacher training in 2003.
Annie has co-lead Yoga and Meditation workshops and a Nature and Mindfulness workshop with Stephen Archer; and taught “Heartfelt Yoga” at “Yoga Unlimited” studio in Wellington. She is the conservation trustee for Te Moata Retreat Centre in the Coromandel Peninsula, and knows no greater pleasure than sitting in a remote hut in Te Moata, with the stars and silence, and hearing the evocative cry of kiwi.
Annie recently completed a training in Mindfulness-based Movement Therapy. She is currently based in Whangarei.
Annie sees her greatest attribute as a mindfulness facilitator to be someone who has gradually transformed from a person prone to anxiety, depression and low self-esteem, now consistently waking up in the morning with a cellular joy and wonder at the great miracle that “I exist at all”. This comes with a deep gratitude for all the lineages of wisdom that have so generously aided this transformation. If her relationship to fearful and restrictive thinking patterns can change, then it is also possible for any human being.
Andy Spence, Waiheke
Born in England in 53, I always loved life and the natural world. I went on to study zoology and teaching. I worked as a park ranger for 16 years and now run my own business as well as enjoying theatre and singing with my wife, Maya. We also have a very active border collie that likes swimming at the beach.
I’ve been interested in love and the heart from a very early age. Spiritual teachers were my childhood heroes. I dabbled in the Spiritualist church, divine light and alternative medicine before turning to the teaching of the Siddhartha Gautama Buddha. I could be called a non-religious Buddhist but prefer to acknowledge the lineage of teachers and the understandings that I have realised as a result of following their instructions, which are both utterly simple and profound.
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What people say about the trainers and the courses…
“I had never done meditation before and already had preconceived notions of what it would be like such as “religious and a bit airy fairy”. Surprisingly, this course was the opposite. I found Karl very relatable when he talked about our thoughts. Like a lot of people, I tend to overthink everything from past events to future, or simply beating myself up. Karl helped me to take a step back and recognise I’m not my negative thoughts and they do not define me. I now feel a sense of peace. The mediation itself is relaxing and helps you de-stress from the day’s events. I highly recommend this course to anyone who is looking to de-stress and gain inner peace.” – Summer
“I love working with Karl. His ability to guide and help me find my own answers and truths has been phenomenal. He is also very caring and not judgemental. I have grown as a person, businessman and practitioner, and the work we have done has been critical for my personal evolution over the last six months. I look forward to every session and always feel better after each one.” – Gareth Rapson
“I have been working with Karl for several months now and have found out so much about myself and making choices that are best for me. I have spent my life thinking I need to please the world and that has left me lost and confused, not knowing what I really want in life for myself and my family. Having Karl teach and support me has helped me be me and make some hard but great choices. I am genuinely happier within my day-to-day life and know how to cope with the hard times better.” – Bridget Adair