How to Find an Authentic Mindfulness Teacher

As more and more of us seek mindfulness guidance and instruction, where should we turn to find teachers and programs we can trust and recommend?

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Search “mindfulness instruction” online and you’ll come up with all kinds of offerings, from private practitioners to independent mindfulness programs. There are Yelp listings of the top 10 mindfulness coaches and smartphone listings of the 10 best mindfulness apps. More and more medical centers offer mindfulness workshops; so do many colleges, universities, and corporations. But how can anyone know if the people who are teaching mindfulness are qualified? What does it even mean to be a qualified mindfulness teacher?

People interested in exploring mindfulness aren’t the only ones asking these basic questions. So are many leaders in the field of mindfulness meditation, who have raised concerns about maintaining the appropriate level of integrity among teachers, which many refer to by talking about “professionalism.” While not everyone is comfortable with the commercial and clinical connotations of mindfulness teaching as a profession, almost all teachers and leaders acknowledge the need for reliable standards, since counseling people about the mind carries the greatest possible level of responsibility. “The growth of mindfulness over the past 30 years has been very organic,” says Diana Winston, who directs mindfulness education at the University of California, Los Angeles’s Mindful Awareness Research Center. “The field has evolved without…

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About the author

Peter Jaret

Peter Jaret is a frequent contributor to National Geographic, The New York Times, Health, and dozens of other periodicals. He is coauthor of Impact: From The Frontlines of Global Health, and is a recipient of the AMA Award for journalism.

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