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Across the world, people who are passionate about mindfulness and its benefits to humans and the world that surrounds them, take the brave step to put themselves out there and become teachers and leaders. In the modern-day, we look to influential advocates and experienced gurus to advise and further educate us. Mindfulness is an ancient practice that has been introduced to the western world. Some individuals have reported experiencing benefits and personally consider the practice as an antidote to the hectic, chaotic world. For those of you looking for guidance and further education to established mindfulness and meditation techniques, finding a guru may help with the next steps of your journey. As an introduction, we have compiled a list of some of the most influential teachers of mindfulness in the modern world.

stack of old books on a table with a pen and notepad

Sharon Salzberg

Sharon is considered a leading expert in vipassana (insight) and loving-kindness meditation. As a New York Times best-selling author for her book Real Happiness, she has helped to make mindfulness more accessible to a broader audience. Having served as a keynote speaker and as a panellist with the Dalai Lama at the 2005 Mind and Life Investigating the Mind Conference in Washington, DC. Sharon is considered to be at the forefront of contemporary meditation education.

Quote: ‘Loving-kindness is the spirit of friendship toward yourself and others.’

The Dalai Lama

As the spiritual leaders of Tibet, the Dalai Lamas have been looked to for Buddhist and spiritual guidance for centuries. Said to be the reincarnation of the Buddha of compassion, the Dalai Lama travels across the world to spread his message of peace, understanding and love. The 14th, and current, Dalai Lama is Tenzin Gyatso.

Quote: ‘Compassion is the radicalism of our time.’

Eckhart Tolle

Eckhart Tolle is a popular and well-known spiritual teacher. He is ultimately famous for his book The Power of Now, which caused Tolle to be described by The New York Times as ‘the most popular spiritual author in the United States’. The Power of Now, in essence, encourages readers towards a spiritual awakening by encouraging them to let go of the past and future, and ‘be fully present’.

Quote: ‘To realise that you are not your thoughts is when you begin to awaken spiritually.’

yellow leaf floating in the water

Thich Nhat Hanh

A Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist, Thich Nhat Hanh first rose to prominence for his public speaking’s of peace during the Vietnam war. His central belief is that we can learn to live happily in the present moment through mindfulness, which is the only way to develop peace for both individuals and the world. He is also the founder of the Plum Village Tradition, a school of Buddhism that teaches an approach to Engaged Buddhism.

Quote: ‘There is no way to happiness - happiness is the way.’

Jack Kornfield

A teacher in the vipassana movement, Jack Kornfield has been teaching meditation worldwide since 1974. He is considered one of the leading teachers to have introduced Buddhist Mindful practice to the west. Along with teaching, Jack Kornfield has published books, led international gatherings of Buddhist teachers and has worked as a peacemaker and activist.

Quote: ‘If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.’

snowy mountains and a lake

Mirabai Bush

An author, activist and co-founder of the Centre for Contemplative Mind in Society, Mirabai Bush has also helped sculpt how women are seen in the teachings of mindfulness. She believes in bringing female awareness into the practice and being aware of changes, particularly during pregnancy and motherhood. Once a predominantly male-led culture, Mirabai Bush brings to light the change that is necessary in the modern world.

Quote: ‘We need to listen fully. It’s the basis of all compassionate action.’

Balance Holidays are dedicated to nurturing the growth of mindfulness for all of our guests. Each one of our yoga and mindfulness retreats is led by teachers who have devoted their lives learning and understanding techniques to pass forward to others.