OUR EXPERTS


Suryacitta Malcolm Smith

Suryacitta Malcolm Smith, is one of the most experienced mindfulness teachers in the UK, starting his practice in 1989. He is the author of two books, ‘Finding Contentment through Mindfulness’ published in 2011 and Mindfulness and Compassion – Embracing life with Loving Kindness, 2015. Both published by Ivy Press.

He has taught mindfulness and compassion meditation to 1000s or people in the UK, Italy, Spain and Australia. From 2001 to 2005 he lived in a meditation retreat centre, dedicated to intensive practice and teaching.

He has co-designed the MSc in Mindfulness and Compassion at Coventry University in the UK where he also lectures. He is an expert practitioner and spends his time teaching others what he has learnt.

Suryacitta appears regularly on BBC Radio Leicester presenting the Thought for the day-.

Mindfulness Teacher training course:
16th-23rd September 2017

What drew you towards the study and practice of mindfulness?

I started mindfulness practice in 1989 when I was introduced to Buddhism. It seemed to be one of the few things that made sense to me. In a world full of opinions, beliefs and judgements, here was a practice free of beliefs and doctrine.

Mindfulness was asking me not to endlessly strive to become a better person, but to observe the person I was, and the actions I do. It taught me to have a deep trust in the goodness that lies within myself and all others.

Over my years of practice I have realised that happiness is what we re in our hearts, unhappiness is what we do in our heads. Mindfulness is learning to stop doing- unhappiness.


Gaynor Quilter

Gaynor Quilter, co-founder of Mindfulness CIC has worked in charities for over 30 years, principally with young people including homeless, parenting and mental health. She was CEO of Alone in London and Apex Works. Gaynor’s interests lie in the alignment between values, culture and behaviours.

Gaynor has been practising mindfulness for over 10 years. She came to the practice after the death of her Mum and found that mindfulness allowed her to stay in her body rather then her head. She found it the most helpful way of experiencing pain and loss. She also uses focusing as a creative process to help her understand her emotional life. Gaynor has a degree from Bradford University and attended mindfulness teacher training at Bangor University.

Mindfulness Teacher training course:
16th-23rd September 2017


Dr. Elizabeth Sparkes

Elizabeth (or Liz) is a registered Health Psychologist, course director for the MSc in Mindfulness and Compassion at Coventry University, and Mindfulness blogger for the Huffington Post. Alongside running courses for those who wish to develop their knowledge and practice of Mindfulness, Liz also runs retreats in which she trains individuals to teach Mindfulness themselves.

Awarded her PhD in pain psychology in 2013, Liz investigated psychological factors that affect the efficacy of pain treatment success. She now has a number of publications on pain and women-s health, and having completed her teacher training in Mindfulness, is focusing her research interests in its impact on health – in particular, maternal health.

Mindfulness Teacher training course:
2-9th September 2016

What drew you towards the study and practice of mindfulness?

I was struggling to get pregnant due to endometriosis, but I was determined. I started to read about meditation and after I attended a Buddhist centre I never looked back. I have my little boy too. Meditation and mindfulness gave me a greater perspective and an ability to turn towards emotions.


Dr. Barbara Mariposa

Barbara is an experienced Mindfulness workshop and retreat leader, and created the powerful and pioneering MMM (or Mind Mood Mastery) programme. Alongside hosting retreats and courses internationally, she has also worked in general practice, psychiatry and public health. Trained at the Royal Free Hospital, London, Barbara’s multidisciplinary approach to wellness has lead her to become a thought leader in the field of Mindfulness.

Awarded her BSc in psychology, Barbara began a lifelong enquiry into the interdependence of mind, emotion, and wellbeing. Beginning by hosting courses in personal effectiveness back in the 1980s, Barbara started to practice Zen meditation, before studying the neuroscience of health, stress and emotions, and training as a Five Elements acupuncturist.

Mindfulness retreat:
18th-22nd May 2016

What drew you towards the study and practice of mindfulness?

I was living is Sweden and going through a really tricky time, with lots of big decisions to make. Marriage breaking down, young daughter to care for, job as a doctor to juggle, longing to be back in England, feeling quite confused, guilty, sad and lonely. What is the right thing to do?, was a constant question pulling me in all directions.

A friend said, What you need is inner wisdom. Great – how the heck do I find that? I replied. “Come with me on Thursday to the meditation session at our Zen centre. So I did. The calm was so comforting. I felt safe. After some weeks of practising, I noticed that the turmoil of thoughts and feelings was getting quieter and sense of certainty about the right way forward emerging. “Could this be my inner wisdom?, I asked myself.

Thirty years later, I can safely say that my daily practice, at times patchy, at times non-existent, has been the guide rope that has pulled me through, taught me to trust myself, brought a deep sense of tranquility and connectedness to my life, a presence and vitality that are always accessible.