Leandro Pizutti is a Breathworks Teacher and psychiatrist working in Brazil. He was the lead researcher on a recently published study: Evaluation of Breathworks' Mindfulness for Stress 8-week course: Effects on depressive symptoms, psychiatric symptoms, affects, self-compassion, and mindfulness facets in Brazilian health professionals. Here he discusses how he came to be involved with Breathworks and shares some of the amazing work he's been doing in Brazil.
I’m a psychiatrist with a Ph.D. in psychiatry and behavioral sciences, and I work in private practice as a psychotherapist and psychopharmacologist. I discovered Mindfulness in 2010, the year I was studying a sample of patients with fibromyalgia, investigating the relationship between quality of life and religious-spiritual coping mechanisms. The pain and emotional consequences of fibromyalgia to the patients were significant, and I sought information on what could be done to improve their quality of life. At the time my study was more academic because there was no one in my city running mindfulness courses until 2013, when I attended a workshop with Stephen Little (Manjupriya) and discovered Breathworks’ online Mindfulness for Health course.
Participating in this course opened up a new perspective for me, and I knew then that I would like to become a Breathworks mindfulness teacher. I had the opportunity to start the training through the Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) here in Brazil, keeping in mind my interest in the development of Breathworks. I then participated in the UK in a week’s Teacher Training Introduction (TTi) at Taraloka in 2014 followed by a week’s Teacher Training Advance (TTa) course at Adhistana in 2015, where I had the pleasure of personally meeting Vidyamala. In 2018 I started my training as a senior trainer in Valencia, Spain, which gave me the opportunity to participate more actively in the TTi stage here in Brazil’s Carpe Diem refuge. During this time, I also started a Ph.D. project with the intention of studying the effects of the Mindfulness for Stress course on health professionals in my city, Porto Alegre, in southern Brazil.
The Mindfulness for Stress course was very well received by participating health professionals, and their results have recently been made public through the article "Evaluation of Breathworks' Mindfulness for Stress 8-week course: Effects on depressive symptoms, psychiatric symptoms, self-compassion, and mindfulness facets in Brazilian health professionals", published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology.
I have had the opportunity to lead various classes, currently around 18 groups of usually 10 people each, from the Mindfulness for Stress and Mindfulness for Health courses, seeing how much they can positively transform now over 170 people's lives. "I am not the pain, I only feel pain,” from a participant undergoing pain treatment in hospital. I realized that learning how to live here and now, compassionately, letting go of resistance and welcoming what life brings us in the moment, is something very precious to spread to the world. Subsequently, in 2017, together with my wife Lucianne, my colleague Luiza Tanaka and fellow Breathworks teacher Dharmakirti, we started to discuss the possibility of providing the training of mindfulness teachers here in Brazil.
So in 2018, with the support of Vidyamala, following the TTi retreat the first training group began their journey here in Brazil, led by teachers Dharmakirti and Silamani of Respira Vida Breathworks Spain. The TTa phase is scheduled for May 2019. This has brought great personal satisfaction, as I have seen mindfulness change my own way of living and can also see it gradually spreading and fruiting here in Brazil.
Many of the people seeking training here are health professionals such as psychologists, physicians, and physiotherapists, as well as people from other areas such as physical education or yoga teachers. I have hosted many four-hour workshops as pre-congress courses; more than 15 one & a half hour lectures for health professionals and regularly conduct mindfulness classes for the postgraduate course in pain treatment and palliative care of Hospital de Clínicas of de Porto Alegre. Among these people, we have several that belong to public institutions where there is assistance and teaching, which increases the potential of diffusion of the courses.
Being involved in the expansion of Breathworks to Brazil brings me a deep sense of connection with the community of Breathworks teachers around the world and I feel I can reciprocate the positive transformation that has taken place in my life by spreading it to others.
Leandro Timm Pizutti