Mindfulness Beyond Borders

About Mindfulness Beyond Borders

Sara Hirtenstein

Welcome! I’m Sara Hirtenstein, an experienced and fully trained mindfulness teacher.  I’ve been offering courses, introductory and deepening sessions and retreats in the Scottish Borders and beyond since 2013, and live online using Zoom since 2020.  I have a lifelong practice and passion for meditation and mindful awareness.

Mindful awareness is a remarkable gift. It’s a natural capacity already in us, but needs awakening. It’s about discovering or uncovering what it actually means to live in the present moment.

We spend much of our time and energy caught up in going over past events or drifting into fantasies of an imagined future – that seldom actually happen! Mindfulness is a way of being more fully aware of life as it’s happening, with openness, kindness and attentive interest. It teaches us how to appreciate the many good and beautiful moments that come to us every day. It teaches us a constructive, kind way of relating to ourself, our mind and situations that are difficult, learning to recognise and let go of unhelpful ways of dealing with stresses and challenges.  

When I discovered Mindfulness it lit such a passion in my heart – I saw it as the most extraordinary, compassionate action. It felt new and revolutionary. It set me on a course of discovery to find out and experience this more deeply – not only for myself but also to bring these transformative benefits to others. And for me, it always felt important to receive a thorough training from the best trainers. I’ve found the learning goes on and on.

Why ‘Beyond Borders’?

Firstly, I live in the Scottish Borders, but also love to travel beyond to other locations, and enjoy the breadth of more global coming together online via Zoom.

Secondly, I’ve received an extensive training in the main mindfulness teaching approaches, together with a lifelong practice of meditation and mindful awareness, contemplative study and retreat. I have the health and science professional background of occupational therapy, and have worked in a variety of different work settings.

Thirdly, mindfulness has a global appeal and is fast becoming mainstream. This work of mindful awareness spreads beyond all boundaries and belief systems, and is without limitations, a beautiful, universal human capacity.

Fourth, the courses and sessions offered are mainly to the general public, but I also enjoy working with health & social care teams and their clients, teachers in schools, workplace settings and within a retreat centre.

My approach and background

My approach is based on the importance of ensuring safety, care and ease in creating a friendly learning environment for course participants. Therefore groups are kept small (maximum 12 people). This helps us to discover our shared experience in a more informal, intimate atmosphere, in which we can appreciate, listen and learn from each other. My intention has always been to offer the best quality teaching. My training recently included Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness.

I’ve worked in many different kinds of areas during my life: in business, a partner in a small publishing company, group facilitator and occupational therapist. Everything that has happened in my life – family, work, all the highs and lows, success and loss – benefits my work now with mindfulness and working with people, which I love and feel deeply appreciative. 

My training and credentials

My mindfulness training has been extensive, helped greatly with my professional background of Occupational Therapy. I’m a listed teacher with the British Association of Mindfulness-Based Approaches (BAMBA) and follow the UK Guidelines for Good Practice. 

My journey in mindfulness began with a 3-year training with the Mindfulness Association, which established the practice in myself. But a teacher training retreat with Jon Kabat-Zinn proved transformative for me – he is the visionary pioneer whose work made mindfulness known worldwide. Since then I trained to teach the main mindfulness approaches, with Bangor University Centre for Mindfulness Research & Practice, the University of Oxford Mindfulness Centre (OMC) and also with the Mindfulness in Schools Project.  In 2018 through OMC I participated in teaching mindfulness to secondary school teachers for the Myriad Project, a 7-year study in 84 UK schools researching impacts of mindfulness on resilience in adolescence (which brought some interesting and unexpected results and conclusions). In 2021 and 2022 I participated in research into the Mindfulness: Taking it Further Course as an external teacher with the Oxford Mindfulness Centre.