Our Mindfulness Meditation Teachers
Our teachers have attended leadership training courses led by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn and his colleagues and are continuing their education through the Certification Program at the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center (UMass). They also learn from other highly skilled mindfulness meditation teachers in Canada and the US.
Our teachers also continue to deepen the embodiment of mindfulness by meditating daily and by attending mindfulness meditation retreats at UMass and other retreat centres in Canada, the United States and Europe. They are on a lifelong journey of mindfulness and self-discovery and are regularly furthering their experiential education in mindfulness.
Mindfulness meditation has become “in” and there are many people who know a little about it and believe they are training people in mindfulness. We are concerned that mindfulness is becoming a fad and will lose the potential and beauty it has in helping us all if it is not taught by trained and skilled teachers embodying mindfulness in their daily lives.
Unless leaders fully immerse themselves personally in a daily mindfulness meditation practice and embark on the lifelong journey of mindful self-development and training, they lack the in-depth understanding to teach mindfulness meditation classes well. Without this in-depth understanding, many fundamental principles of mindfulness are omitted in instruction and only surface “tools” are taught. Albeit these tools are of some benefit, there is so much more potential for stress reduction, self fulfillment and longstanding calmness in attending classes such as ours led by highly trained teachers who embody mindfulness.
In our profiles below we are careful to say that we have “taken courses led by” many famous individuals. These individuals themselves, including Jon Kabat-Zinn, have repeatedly made explicit requests that teachers do not say they have “studied” with them as this implies a personal individual mentorship relationship which did not exist.
Andre Mech, PEng, MBA, CFM Qualified MBSR Teacher
Andre started on the MBSR teacher path over 6 years ago after personally experiencing the stress reduction benefits of meditation following a number of mindfulness and yoga retreats. Over the years Andre has attended formal MBSR training courses led by Florence Meleo-Meyer, Lynn Koerbel, Rob Smith and Judson Brewer at the Center for Mindfulness (CFM) at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, New York. His studies have included professional development retreats led by Beth Mulligan (Mindful-Way) and Jon Aaron (New York Insight Meditation) at Copper Beech in West Hartford, Connecticut, Janet Solyntjes (The Center for Courageous Living), Jim Colosi (Meditation Guru) at Shambala in Colorado and Winnie Nazarko (Barre Insight Meditation Center) through Dharma Retreats Toronto.
Andre is Qualified by the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Centre for Mindfulness to teach Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course. He has taught 11 MBSR courses to more than 150 participants in Oakville. In parallel with teaching MBSR, Andre is continuing his meditative studies for personal growth and professional development under the individual supervision of Colleen Camenisch, MBA, an affiliate of UMass, at the University of Nevada School of Medicine, continuing on the path towards Teacher Certification by the Center for Mindfulness. Andre always looks forward to teaching the next series of classes.
Dr. Susan Williams, C.Psych. CFM Qualified MBSR Teacher, Certification in Process
Dr. Susan Williams is Qualified by the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Centre for Mindfulness to teach the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course. She has taken courses at UMass led by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Saki Santorelli, Florence Meleo-Myer, Lynn Koerbel, and Rob Smith. She has also attended week long silent retreats led by Jon Aaron from the New York Insight Meditation Centre, Greg Scharf from the Spirit Rock Insight Medication Centre, Winnie Nazarko from the Barre Insight Mediation Centre, Janet Solyntjes at the Center for Courageous Living and Jim Colosi, the Meditation Guru at Shambala in Colorado. Susan has been extensively individually supervised by Lynn Koerbel, the former head of the world-wide MBSR Teacher Education at UMass.
Dr. Williams has 25 years of experience in the mental health field as a psychologist assisting individuals with anxiety, depression, stress, chronic pain and many other concerns. She brings her perspectives on health and well-being to the leadership of this class.
She was also the research coordinator in the 1990’s for Dr. Zindel Segal, Dr. Mark Williams and Dr. John Teasdale who developed the world famous mindfulness curriculum for depression entitled, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). She also published research with this world-famous trio of psychologists.
Susan maintains a daily meditation practice and intentionally tries to live a mindful daily life. She responds, rather than reacts, more readily to stress since she began her mindful journey, tries to catch her self-defeating patterns of behaviour, engages in self-care, taps more frequently into her inner wisdom and resilience and feels more self-compassion and compassion for others. Embodying mindfulness is a lifelong journey which sometimes involves falling into her suffering before she realizes where she is and is able to step out of it again and return to equanimity.