Meet The Mindfulness Works Teachers
All Mindfulness Works teachers have received Mindfulness Works teacher training. They come from a diverse range of backgrounds and all have an in-depth, experiential understanding of mindfulness. All Mindfulness Works teachers emphasise the importance of you learning to trust your own ‘inner teacher’.
Our teachers will never treat you as a problem to be fixed, but rather encourage you to tap into your innate sense of wholeness and self-acceptance. They recognise that you are already a complete and capable human being, and their role is to support you in discovering and cultivating your own mindfulness practices.
ANDREW RABA — BLOCKHOUSE BAY, AUCKLAND
Andrew is a long-term student, teacher and author within the heart of yoga who has spent the last five years studying with world-renowned yoga master Mark Whitwell — a student of T.K.V. Desikachar and Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, also known as the ‘father of modern yoga.’
After completing his 500-hour qualification in 2020, he undertook a one year ashram residency in Fiji to deepen his practice and teaching. A published author, Andrew has written extensively on the subject of yoga and meditation for many platforms, including Embodied Philosophy and Tarka Journal.
Andrew specialises in working with students to develop their personal daily practice. He now lives in Auckland where he facilitates classes in a range of settings including community centres, studios, libraries, schools, spiritual retreats and online. He is currently involved in a one-on-one mentorship program for aspiring teachers.
Andrew holds an MA in English literature. He is also an accomplished harpist and likes to bring his music to his teaching.
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.
ANTONIA FITENI — WHANGAREI
MSc, Post Grad Ed., BA (Hons) Humanities, MBSR, Yoga Teacher 200 hrs, Life Coach.
Antonia is Founder of The Mindful Coach and has been teaching meditation for 18 years. She delivers the internationally recognised MBSR Mindfulness Meditation program and has been formally teaching mindfulness courses to groups of children and adults for the last four years.
Her passion for mindfulness meditation was borne from a personal journey from a high stress working environment, wanting to move towards health and inner freedom.
Antonia’s meditation practice started in 1997 and she has since attended many and various meditation retreats. She runs the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course and online training courses as well as a private mindful coaching business supporting clients with mindfulness, life coaching and positive psychology.
She places a strong emphasis on supporting participants in developing their own mindfulness practice and delivers this with an engaging and encouraging style, skilfully combining neuroscience, neuroplasticity and positive psychology, coupled with her nearly 20 years of experience into her delivery.
Antonia is also trained in Hatha Yoga (200 hrs), Yin Yoga Teacher Training and Yoga Nidra Teacher Training.
BLAIR BOWKER — HAMILTON
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.
CHANI GRIEVE — NELSON
Chani has had a dedicated meditation practice for over 16 years, and has been teaching mindfulness classes, workshops and retreats in both New Zealand and Australia since 2012.
Chani works as a Feldenkrais Practitioner and Embodiment Trainer and is passionate about helping people connect with their bodies to access the evolutionary intelligence and strength we all possess as the foundation of our practice. She has particular experience and skill in offering trauma-integrating embodiment practice, and is the creator of The Embodiment Journey; a 5-month embodiment practice program.
Chani supports participants to connect with their inspiration, trust their own experience, and use their practice to contribute to a healthier, happier, saner world. She lives in Nelson with her partner and their young daughter.
DAVID WAKELING — NELSON
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.
GLENDA IRWIN — AUCKLAND
Glenda is a lead facilitator for Mindfulness Works and trains other facilitators in the Mindfulness Works Introduction to Mindfulness and Meditation course. She has authored numerous mindfulness courses and is the author of the official follow-on courses: Mindfulness 2.0 and Mindfulness and Relationships. She is also part of the Mindfulness Works for Organisations (MWFO) team of experts who deliver mindfulness as a professional competency within organisations.
Glenda came to teach secular mindfulness practices through her own parenting experiences and her commitment to a philosophy of mindful awareness. She studied with the USA teacher Amy Saltzman in 2010 and has continually pursued professional development throughout her teaching career. Trained in ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) and CFT (Compassion-Focussed Therapy), Glenda is also a student of Psychology at AUT University. Her level of coaching qualification is that of Trainer Master Coach whereby she supports ANZCAL coaches to use mindfulness in theirs, and their clients’ response to change.
During Glenda’s lengthy career in teaching and one-to-one support, she has trained literally thousands of individuals. She continues to see her work as a privilege and receives consistently excellent feedback.
HAILEY HOLLAND – INVERCARGILL
While my two children where young, I worked in reasonably high stress jobs ranging from public service roles with ACC and MSD to working in recruitment, I even had a go at HR at one stage. My passion has always been to work alongside people to help them achieve their goals, whether this be through gaining employment or recovering their independence. However, after a period of years I was burnt out and disenchanted with systems that were designed to help people but allowed no autonomy in the process.
I came to mindfulness quite by accident after attending a Bikram Yoga class in 2020. After a bumpy first class, I was adamant that I was not going to another. However, I woke up the next morning and knew something had fundamentally shifted in me.
Yoga has been instrumental to developing a sense of awareness of my body, my emotions, and my thoughts. I’m grateful that I can share this practice and its benefits with people every day. Yoga is wonderful because people get to experience the benefits when their body, mind and soul is ready. I love that Yoga is not a prescription, or one size fits all approach and allows people to work through trauma, physical and mental conditions on their own timeline and gives them autonomy in their healing journey.
In 2021 I completed a 300-hour Bikram Teacher Training, and shortly afterwards was presented with an opportunity to purchase the studio in Invercargill. Since owning the Yoga studio, I have completed 50-hour Yin Teacher Training and Yoga Teacher Training for Trauma, Anxiety and Depression via Udemy to weave these practices into the classes that I teach. I have also come full circle and opened a massage room at the studio after completing a Diploma in Sports and Therapeutic Massage in 2003.
DR. HEIDI DOUGLASS — MINDFUL EATING BASICS WORKSHOP
Dr. Heidi Douglass is an American-trained Clinical Psychologist with over thirty-five years of experience in the field of psychology. This Scientist-Practitioner is an expert in the treatment of obesity, emotional eating, binge eating and behaviour change. She is the lead trainer of the Mindfulness Works Mindful Eating program.
Dr. Douglass uses the power of scientifically-proven behavioural strategies, mindfulness skills and talk therapy techniques to help her clients regain control of their eating behaviour and to feel more at ease in their body and mind.
Clients who work with Dr. Douglass get their eating behaviour back under control, increase self-compassion, self-care and motivation to exercise, while decreasing their negative thinking. Her clients also learn how to manage their weight safely; without dieting, without counting calories and without food restriction. Dr. Douglass is able to break down complex behavioural change into easy to follow steps and she delivers her training materials with an emphasis on science, kindness, compassion and fun.
Dr. Douglass understands that the mind and body are intrinsically linked and that the health and wellbeing of one impacts the other. Inspired by the research literature on how yoga can help her clients keep weight off, decrease anxiety and improve body image, Dr. Douglass became a registered yoga teacher at the age of 50. She has now completed over 540 hours of Yoga Alliance approved yoga teacher training.
Over the years, Dr. Douglass has held clinical and research positions at some of the most prestigious American Institutions including: Harvard University, Columbia University, Boston University, Mt Sinai Hospital in NYC, Brown University and three Hospitals of the American Veterans Administration, and within New Zealand at the Otago Medical School. For two and a half years, she worked as an obesity expert for the public health system in New Zealand.
Dr. Douglass has a very thorough understanding of the scientific literature regarding the health benefits of a Whole Foods Plant Based Diet (WFPBD) and she is certified in plant-based nutrition through the T. Colin Campbell Institute at Cornell University in the USA.
Dr. Douglass is currently based in New Zealand and she works with clients in person and online. www.drheididouglass.co.nz firstname.lastname@example.org
Helen has been practising meditation for about 10 years. Her lifelong enjoyment of yoga led to her becoming curious about the benefits of meditation and taking a beginner class. She soon experienced how regular practice improved her wellbeing.
After initial training from her yoga teacher, Helen’s mindfulness journey then included further meditation courses and group meditations at Auckland Buddhist Centre. She followed this with retreats at Sudarshanaloka Retreat Centre, Mahamudra Centre for Universal Unity, and online via FDCW webinars (Foundation for Developing Compassion and Wisdom) and Mindfulness in New Zealand.
In her 30 years as a librarian, Helen loved sharing knowledge and information with others, and training and coaching became a passion. She is delighted to now be in a position to share her very real and positive experience of mindfulness. Her other passions include: theatre, kayaking, cycling, reading and writing.
DR. INI GUNN — INVERCARGILL
Dr. Ini-Isabée Gunn holds a PhD in cell and molecular biology and has worked in scientific research to understand the development, diagnosis and treatment of chronic illnesses such as cancer. Beyond her interest in science, she loves teaching yoga, functional mobility, and mindfulness to help people with chronic illness improve their quality of life.
Ini became a yoga practitioner in 2003 and started studying mindfulness, based on Jon Kabat-Zinn’s mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) teachings in 2012. Her personal experience had a profound and positive effect on her life, helping her with stress and health-related issues.
With a passion for teaching, she completed her 200+ hr yoga teacher training in 2019 and is advancing these studies towards her 500 hour qualification. She continues to deepen her mindfulness practices and knowledge through her own personal practice and study, and by attending silent retreats and MBSR courses.
Ini set up her business Ini Gunn Yoga & Mindfulness Practices in 2022 and particularly enjoys teaching small groups and one-on-one classes to help individuals modify the practice to suit their bodies and their needs. She also loves to take the opportunity to dive deeper into particular topics by offering workshops and retreats at Southern Coast Lodge in Southland.
JAKE HARVEY — PALMERSTON NORTH
Jake first encountered meditation and mindfulness as a teenager studying martial arts, before joining the Army at 19. He spent 15 years in the Army and while there, encountered psychology through his extramural study. This reignited his passion and interest in people and growth, and for the past six years he has been delivering rehabilitative programmes and teaching mindfulness to people attending programmes in the Department of Corrections.
Since reconnecting to his mindfulness journey, Jake has completed a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Māori studies and continued to actively pursue his study of te reo Māori/the Māori language and mātauranga Māori/Māori knowledge.
Jake currently lives in Palmerston North with his wife and enjoys exploring the local region, reading and spending time with his friends and family.
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.
JAN RIVERS — WELLINGTON & KAPITI
DR. JO BATTYE — CHRISTCHURCH
Jo and her two 6 and 7 year old boys learned to meditate shortly after the devastating earthquakes affecting their hometown of Otautahi, Christchurch.
Jo has found the principles of mindfulness have helped with some big bumps in the road — responding more rather than having a knee-jerk reaction to situations has been a game changer. It was a big realization to find out that peace was a choice she could take right now, rather than needing for it to be postponed until the kids had grown to a certain stage or the mortgage was paid off. We can have peace with our thoughts and emotions and it’s as simple as moving attention to what we would prefer instead. The “What we focus on grows” attitude to life is life changing. The liberation from seeking and perfecting was huge for Jo and she was able to move away from a destructive long-term relationship. Realizing that happiness is an “inside” job, not the result of material accumulation was huge. Increasingly Jo has shared techniques that enhance mindfulness as part of a normal day in groups and one to one. Sitting in traffic can be a great time for open eyed mindfulness.
As a GP, Jo has tried to offer more than medication to fix symptoms and rather observe possible root causes for dis-ease. She has become increasingly interested in the mind-body connection and the possible mind-based root causes of illness.
Over the years, Jo has studied interpersonal psychotherapy and mental health coaching and is a qualified Calmologist, Reiki Practitioner, Mind Calm Master Coach and Mind Detox master Practitioner. She is currently studying the effects of trauma on the body. Jo is offering Befriending Menopause – Life Detox time programs along with Befriending our Bodies – Diet Detox programs. More information about these modalities are available via https://minddetox.co.nz and https://wholehearted.world. She also works collaboratively with her artistically talented son Jake offering sound and art healing journeys.
Jo loves yoga, skiing, walks in nature with dog Boris and more recently, creating chocolates with whole bean cacao.
JOHN FLETCHER — TAURANGA
John Fletcher 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.
KATE BRANDRAM-ADAMS — RANGIORA (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.
LEA GODFREY — NELSON BSc (psych), MBCT certified teacher (MTIA)
Lea has a Bachelor of Social Sciences in Psychology, is certified in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, is a graduate therapist in Integrative Psychotherapy (Hakomi) and is a certified Buddhist chaplain.
She has extensive experience using mindfulness, cognitive behavioural skills and psychotherapy for depression, anxiety, workplace stress, burnout and general mental health.
Lea has a long personal meditation practice, with seven years living in India and Nepal, she had the great fortune to meet meditation masters from the Tibetan tradition and to study and undertake retreats under their guidance. She also worked in the translation and publication of Buddhist texts.
Aware that meditation and mindfulness is a key to a healthy body and mind, she is passionate for others to experience the benefits of mindfulness practice and cognitive-behavioural skills training.
LIANA JOHNSON — TAUPO
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.
LIN ONG — CHRISTCHURCH
MSc (Psych, Otago), MBCT Trainer & Supervisor (Oxford Mindfulness Centre, Oxford University, UK) and Teaching Partner, Life Coach (LCA)
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 encounter of mindfulness practice begun about 25 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, including working as a psychologist and even a wildlife guide.
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, she is certified to deliver MBCT and related programs, through a supervised pathway. Lin is an OMC Associate, trainer and supervisor for MBCT and related mindfulness programs. She has deep respect and gratitude for Prof Mark Williams and her other mentors Prof Willem Kuyken, Marie Johansson, Christina Surawy and Antonia Sumbundu. Her training stems from members of the team at OMC; Melanie, Ann, Antonia, Mark, Chris, Ruth, and Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn. She facilitates mindfulness groups locally and internationally.
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 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.
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.
MARTIN WILSON — WELLINGTON, KARORI 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’.
MEEGAN CARE — NEW PLYMOUTH
I have practised meditation for 30 years, and am a registered Craniosacral Therapist (BCST) and Psychosynthesis Counsellor.
I have worked with individuals in private practice for around 20 years and regularly facilitate retreats and workshops in New Plymouth. I love to teach my clients mindfulness-based approaches that support their health and wellbeing.
I live in central New Plymouth with my husband, and am parent to two amazing humans, one dog and one cat.
MEG LOGAN — CHRISTCHURCH
Meg is a wellbeing practitioner and facilitator and has collaborated on and initiated therapy-based projects in clinical, private sector and non-profit organisations in New Zealand, the UK and Mauritius. She has developed an integrative approach to her practice, to find supportive solutions in a reliable and resourceful way providing one-on-one wellbeing pathways and facilitation.
After qualifying with a diploma in advanced remedial therapies in Auckland in 1993 , Meg took on the challenge of designing and co-founding a health centre in her native country, Mauritius. Subsequent training in counselling led to a diploma in applied psychology, mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), neuro linguistic programming (NLP), trauma informed care and reflexology. On the multidisciplinary team of a therapeutic hospice in Auckland from 2009 to 2016, she initiated workshops in writing therapy and mindfulness which became core elements in a holistic model of care, collaborating with a leading UK based teaching hospital. Her sense of purpose and contribution to the individuals and teams she works with is based on bringing attentive presence and encouraging practical compassion.
Moving to Christchurch in 2016, Meg has presented workshops at the Cancer Society, and at Southern Cross, and worked with Council and MBIE and delivered employee assistance programmes (EAP). Registered with the Federation of Holistic Therapists UK (MFHT) in 2000, Meg is a certified professional supervisor for health and social services (CPSHS) and is a member of the European Coaching Council (MECC). She provides on-site workplace wellbeing support to individuals and groups with a non-profit organisation in Christchurch, lives by the sea and enjoys her family nearby.
PAT ALEXANDER — HAVELOCK NORTH
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
RACHEL TOBIN — KAPITI AND PORIRUA
Rachel has been practising meditation for over 30 years and is a qualified teacher in a variety of fields including the moving mindfulness practices of qi gong and Feldenkrais. She is the director of the art of mindfulness, and works individually with adults and children, teaches mindfulness in organisations and to the public, and offers one-day and residential mindfulness retreats at beautiful retreat centres in and sometimes outside NZ. She also facilitates her mindfulness programme for children, Here in this Moment.
Rachel lives in Paekakariki, on the lovely Kapiti Coast. Mākaro Press has just published Say it Naked, her first collection of poetry, accompanied by life drawings.
SHERYL DICKERSON — ALBANY
Sheryl was first introduced to meditation through Transcendental Meditation over 30 years ago. She has since revisited this and other meditation practices throughout her life, often in response to stressful or busy life events. As a trained Life Coach and Health and Wellbeing Coach, Sheryl has personally used, and encourages her clients to use, many of the mindfulness techniques available to us all. Whether to overcome difficult issues, or to get in touch with aspects of ourselves that can help us to achieve our passions and life purpose, Sheryl has found mindfulness to be an ever-present tool that can be called on to assist.
Sheryl brings a positive energy and passion to her workshops, having facilitated a wide variety of topics in business, personal growth and wellbeing in Australia and New Zealand.
Sheryl is also a Nanna to seven adorable young grandchildren, lives on the beautiful Hibiscus Coast, north of Auckland and is a passionate bush and beach walker.
SUSAN MANNING — NAPIER
Susan is a passionate mindfulness facilitator and coach. She offers a stimulating approach to bring mindfulness to life and accessible to people ready for change.
Mindfulness has been central to Susan’s approach to life over the past four years — reconnecting with her interest in meditation and personal growth while navigating great change. Experiencing the impact of mindfulness first-hand Susan wanted to bring this forth for others, clearly seeing the powerful application for both personal and business growth.
Susan is the Founder of Mindful People, a company focussed on optimising individual and organisational effectiveness using mindfulness approaches. Her corporate, entrepreneurial and personal experience positions her well to inspire and support leaders, small business owners and business start-ups in navigating growth and change. She also works with individuals navigating or wanting change in their lives, offering a range of courses including the 8-week MBSR programme, the most globally recognised, evidence-based mindfulness programme.
Her extensive background spans 25+ years in roles including training, human resources, senior leadership, organisational development, teaching and business start-ups. She has a Human Resources degree and Teaching degree (UK) and is currently completing a Diploma in Psychology. Susan is a Professional Member of the Human Resources Institute of New Zealand (HRINZ) and is a Chartered Member of Personnel & Development (CIPD, UK).
Susan is a trained meditation and mindfulness teacher. She has completed Level 1 Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) teacher training through Mindfulness Training Institute – Australia-New Zealand. Susan teaches from her own experience, gained through her own daily practice and regular attendance at seven-day silent retreats.
Susan moved to Napier eight years ago from Auckland. Originally from the UK, Susan now thrives on life in the sunny Hawkes Bay along with her husband and twins.
SUSANNAH ENGEL — ROTORUA
Susannah has been a searcher and teacher for a better way to live since being introduced to yoga and nutrition by her grandmother at an early age. Her background includes running a therapy practice as a bodywork practitioner and Alchemical Hypnotherapist. She has led an eclectic life travelling, raising a family and extending her knowledge in matters of consciousness and creating a spiritually-based life living in the marketplace.
Susannah knows that the key to overcome change and loss while remaining centred is the key to our life and the infinite.
Susannah has worked with people in the corporate world co-running problem-solving workshops and has hands-on experience beginning and running small businesses.
Over the past ten years she has been involved in the education sector, graduating from Waikato University with a Professional Education degree. Currently working as a primary school teacher, she is embarking on further training to bring mindfulness into the classroom. Susannah is passionate about her yoga practice which in turns strengthens her mindfulness.
Outside the busy world of teaching Susannah loves her organic garden, her little house in the forest and observing nature. She is excited about working with the Mindfulness Programme to reach many people on the path to their own presence.
WIMAL WICKRAMASURIYA — NORTH SHORE 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.
KARL BAKER — FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR MINDFULNESS WORKS
Karl is the 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.
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