About us


At Simply Mindful we integrate the ancient skills of mindfulness with contemporary Western psychology, neuroscience and medical knowledge to produce innovative and powerful programs for living well.

About Simply Mindful

Thousands of people take part in our programs every year.

Our foundational course is the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program.

Simply Mindful is the only group in Canberra to teach the complete and authentic MBSR program as developed by the founder of the program, Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn, and as taught at the Center for Mindfulness (CFM) at the University of Massachusetts. We maintain close links with the CFM, the Mindfulness Training Institute of Australasia (MTIA), Openground and other quality MBSR programs in Australia.

Our beginnings were in 2004 when Sue Hays taught her first course here in Canberra.  In 2009 we came together to form the Canberra Mindfulness Centre and in 2012 we adopted the name Simply Mindful.

As well as our regular programs, we offer a range of tailored programs for workplaces and organisations both in person and online and tailored individual programs.  We love creating programs to meet your needs.


Having the space held (and holding it for myself) to cultivate and practice new skills was very helpful. This has given me the confidence and tools to do this daily for myself. The structure of the course and the expectation to do home practice really helped establish a routine and habit. I felt very supported. It was professional, skilful and the group and individuals were equally kept on task. Thank you! — MBSR participant

Our Commitment to Excellent Teaching

We endeavour to bring quality, depth of experience, rigour and authenticity to our programs. Each of the teachers at Simply Mindful is following the Centre for Mindfulness (CFM) USA  or Mindfulness Training Institute of Australasia (MTIA) recommended  sequence for MBSR teacher training,  involving foundational training, initial teaching, advanced training and certification.  The MTIA has now taken over the role previously played by the CFM for teacher training in our region. You can view the MTIA training pathway for MBSR here.

We participate in professional supervision with colleagues here in Canberra, around Australia and the world and regularly attend extended silent retreats in order to deepen our own meditation practice.


We are committed to providing access to our programs for as many people as possible. For nearly a decade we have kept the cost of the MBSR program to less than $27 per hour. Such low-cost, expert, evidence based care is unique in healthcare, personal development and leadership programs.

Still, not everyone can afford the cost of the program. In these instances we offer a range of possible assistance on a person-by-person, needs basis. We are proud of the fact that we have never denied access to anyone for any of our programs simply because they could not afford to pay the full fee. We also donate free or low cost programs every year.

OUR COMMITMENT to mindful living

We endeavour to embody the values and qualities of mindfulness. These include a respect for all life, treating all with understanding, compassion and kindness, listening deeply, speaking from a place of thoughtfulness and honesty and, as best we can, insuring our actions do not cause harm. We value diversity, authenticity and accessibility. 

We nurture and encourage the growth of our mindfulness community by providing opportunities for meeting, discussion and practice throughout the year.

Meet the Simply Mindful team

We are a small team of teachers and support staff working closely together to provide you with skilful and respectful support and encouragement on your mindfulness journey. We come from diverse backgrounds and have other jobs and additional interests, but we all have one thing in common: our commitment to mindful living.

All of us at Simply Mindful are committed to a regular mindfulness practice in our lives. As well, we attend regular extended silent retreats in order to deepen our meditation practice.

We all live, work, study and play in the Canberra community and have deep connections to this place, its people and the wonderful environment in which we live. (If you’d like to know more about any of our team members, click on their photo to go to their full profile page.)

Megan Layton

Megan Layton

Director, Senior MBSR, PNT, Self-Compassion and Yoga teacher

Anthony Hopkins

Anthony Hopkins

Facilitator—Graduate Practice Groups

Jennifer Sexton

Jennifer Sexton

Program Facilitator, MBSR teacher in training

Antonia Anderson

Antonia Anderson

Simply Mindful Admin

Jeannette Fierro

Jeannette Fierro

Gathering Place Admin

Lesley Harris

Lesley Harris

Gathering Place Admin

About our programs

I experience a re-awakening of joy and pleasure in my life–showing me that daily mindfulness practice brings calm, compassion into my world.Thank you! — MBSR participant

Not sure which program to start with?

We recommend that most people start with our foundational program, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), as it provides you with a thorough grounding in the theory and practice of mindfulness meditation. If you need a shorter time commitment, you may prefer Self-compassion. And if you aren't ready to commit to a home practice or are looking specifically for body-awareness, Mindful Yoga might be perfect for you.

mindfulness in the workplace

We provide high quality tailored mindfulness programs for organisations and workplaces.

We are proud to have worked with a wide range of workplaces and organisations in the ACT and region for well over a decade with compelling results.

As a first timer to mindfulness, I found Megan to be informative, educational and enjoyable. The session was excellent and I learnt a lot

— Phil Nelson, Recruitment Manager, Australian War Memorial

I am less stressed, more present and more connected and a better leader

- Simon Kragh, Southside Physio Group

Mindfulness, skilfully applied, can help you to develop high performing, healthy and happy organisations. Help your team develop resilience and  ability to be responsive to change and challenges.

About our venue

Our programs are offered at our Northside Canberra venue, the Gathering Place. Some programs are also offered online.

It is a beautiful place of peace, meditation, contemplation, healing, renewal and learning, also available for venue hire.


What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is about being fully present and aware to all of life. Presence is an innate human capacity, however this capacity is underdeveloped in most people.

Mindfulness training is a bit like ‘mental exercise’. As we practice over time,  we build what’s known as the ‘mindful muscle’ – our ability to be fully present and alive to our lives more of the time.

What does the MBSR course involve?
  • 2 ½ hour class once a week for 8 weeks plus one full day session (held on the weekend)
  • Mindfulness meditation training, access to the online library of guided meditation recordings, and course workbook
  • Learning about the effects of stress on our bodies and minds
  • Exploring patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving and their relationship to stress
  • Developing strategies for applying mindfulness in daily life
  • Learning through brief lectures, group discussion and experiential activities
Who is MBSR for?

This is suitable for absolute beginners as well as those who’ve previously done some mindfulness training.

How can MBSR help me?

"This is the most important thing I have ever done for myself"—this quite literally is the feedback we hear from participants again and again.

If you want to learn how to work skilfully with your own mind, body and emotions and really enjoy being you and feel truly at home in your own skin, then mindfulness training is for you. It is a proven method for improving health, mental health, self-awareness and skilfulness.

Is there science to back this up? Isn’t meditation a spiritual thing?

MBSR teaches the art and science of presence.

It’s an art because everyone’s internal world is completely unique, nuanced and it’s also a creative changing space. No one else can tell you exactly how to meditate or do it for you.

It’s a science because research in neuroscience, medicine and psychology have helped us to understand how this ancient practice actually works, how it not only changes the structure of the brain, but also improves health and mental health, and even slows down the process of ageing. (see our resources for some references)

Mindfulness and MBSR is open to anyone. You don’t have to believe anything in particular to benefit from it. It’s compatible with a wide range of spiritual and religious beliefs. Anything that is important or meaningful for you in your life can be enhanced by mindfulness practice.

I have a really busy mind. I can’t sit still, how am I going to meditate?

Almost everyone in our MBSR courses complains of a busy mind!

The mind’s job is to think. In mindfulness meditation we are not trying to stop thinking, we are learning to relate differently to it.

Throughout the course you will have the opportunity to explore strategies, techniques and practical approaches for relating to your mind.

You will learn to meet your thoughts, mental and emotional habits, fears and stuck places with kindness and curiosity.

Why should I do MBSR when I can go to a local meditation centre for free?

Many people come to MBSR because they specifically want a mindfulness training that is secular and has no particular spiritual orientation or beliefs attached to the process.

As well, most “free” meditation centres rely on people’s generosity to support and sustain their work and the teachings. In order for these centres to survive, they need to be considered as supported by the people who use them.

MBSR is the world’s gold standard evidence based mindfulness training, It has been a major source of the evidence base over the last 40 years as it began in a university hospital setting, the university of Massachusetts medical school and was designed by a scientist, Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn.

Someone down the road is offering a mindfulness course cheaper. What’s the difference?

Check it out! We encourage you to be curious about the differences. It is likely that with a shorter course (ie 4 weeks of 1 hour each week) that you will get ‘mindfulness lite’, a superficial and no doubt helpful course, but not something that sticks, or substantially changes anything in your life.

For over 40 years, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) has been the gold standard of teaching mindfulness in a secular setting for the relief of physical and psychological suffering. It is taught by people who have committed themselves to training, doing retreats and having a personal practice themselves, over many years.

Training takes place over a long period, is in depth and high standard. MBSR started at the University of Massachusetts Medical School over 26,000 people have participated in the research. This is a major source of the evidence base and current interest in mindfulness.

However, many people are now offering “mindfulness” courses “based on MBSR” or “based on the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn” with very little personal experience and immersion in mindfulness practice themselves, and little or no training in MBSR.

These courses are often shorter, perhaps 6 sessions of 1.5 hours (ie 9 hours long) or 6 sessions x 2 hours (12 hours long) for around $400. This works out as more expensive than the MBSR program which is 27 hours long, including a silent retreat day, plus email and phone contact with the teacher if you need it during the 8 weeks.

Questions? Send us a message.