How to find a mindfulness teacher

As mindfulness grows in popularity it is being offered in more and more places. Knowing how to find the right mindfulness teacher is important. There is no professional regulatory body for mindfulness teachers so it can be tricky to know whether a potential teacher is right for you. 

Key things to look for are: 

  • Experience in teaching the curriculum being offered. There are courses in MBSR and MBCT (and MBCT for depression, addiction, cancer etc) and it is helpful to understand the difference so you can ensure any teacher is qualified to deliver the curriculum, particularly to specialist groups.
  • Thorough training and qualifications from one of the UK centres of excellence (for example the Centre for Mindfulness Research & Practice, Bangor; the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, Exeter and Aberdeen University, Breathworks but a full listing can be found here
  • Follow the UK Mindfulness Teachers Good Practice Guidelines. You can read and download a pdf of these here
  • They should, as a minimum, be listed on the Mental Health Foundation's Be Mindful teacher listing here
  • Ideally they will be listed on the UK Network for Mindfulness-based Teachers listing here
    This is the closest thing to a professional body that currently exists.  Teachers are vetted and must fulfil rigorous training and practice requirements.
  • Have an ongoing established personal practice. Mindfulness must be taught out of the teacher's own experience. The teacher should have been practising mindfulness for at least 2 years as an absolute minimum.
  • They should be willing to engage with you about whether the course is right for you and it is the right time for you to do it.

Did you know?

  • There is no formal teacher certification for teaching mindfulness. This means the onus is on you to research your potential teacher! There are various options for teacher training ranging from a Masters programme to training courses and ideally these should be from one of the centres of excellence mentioned above (and on the UK Network for Mindfulness-based Teachers website). 
  • MBSR stands for Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction. MBSR is usually taught to mixed groups attending for different reasons such as chronic pain as well as depression, anxiety etc. The benefit of being in a mixed group is that we realise that physical and psychological pain are the same. It is about learning to relate differently to it.
  • MBCT stands for Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy. Technically an MBCT course should be targeted at a specific group (eg MBCT for Cancer; MBCT for Depression; MBCT for Addiction etc). Everyone in an MBCT group would be there for the same reasons and the course would be delivered by a professional experienced in the vulnerabilities of that particular group.

Anna Black

Anna Black has been teaching mindfulness since 2006. Find out more about her training and experience here

Leave How to Find a Mindfulness Teacher and book a mindfulness course with Anna Black here