About the team

Gillian Duncan set up The Moment is Now in 2015 to provide mindfulness coaching in a nurturing, creative and inspiring atmosphere. She and her team of guest tutors are all passionate about passing on the benefits of regular mindfulness practice.

Read about the team’s personal mindfulness journeys and find out what inspires them to practise and teach mindfulness…

Gillian Duncan, founder of The Moment is Now

Why I teach mindfulness

Mindfulness meditation is my anchor through life’s ups and downs. I’ve been personally practising meditation for over 20 years now and, in that time, I’ve discovered just how important maintaining a sense of well-being is to staying healthy, feeling good and functioning well.

I’m passionate about sharing the mindfulness techniques that create that feeling of well-being with as many people as possible, encouraging them – person by person, breath by breath – to live from a place of awareness, peace and joy.

My coaching and teaching sessions are designed to give you the confidence that you can cope with whatever life brings – to “ride life’s waves instead of being swamped by them!”

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How did I get here?

I worked in the corporate environment for over 20 years as a customer research and insight specialist, developing a keen empathy for the customers I worked with and a talent for finding ways to help people overcome challenges and achieve positive solutions.

While still working in the corporate sector, I completed my Mindfulness Association teacher training at Kagyu Samye Ling Monastery and Tibetan Centre and, in 2011, began teaching mindfulness meditation.

I set up The Moment is Now so that I could pass on the benefits of mindfulness meditation to as many people as possible. My mission is to help people develop a positive relationship with themselves, to become more aware of who they are, and to pause and experience a sense of calm and well-being amidst the busyness of everyday life.

Gillian exemplifies loving kindness and, through individual sessions … has gently introduced me to and developed my mindful practice. She has given me access to a treasure trove of tools including the excellent three-minute breathing space – my mindful equivalent of Rescue Remedy!”Sarah, Edinburgh

As well as being passionate about teaching mindfulness techniques to individuals on a one-to-one basis, I also love:

My training and qualifications

Since qualifying as a Mindfulness Association accredited teacher in 2011, I’ve continued my training under the guidance of The Mindfulness Association, one of the leading organisations in the field of mindfulness, compassion and insight meditation. In 2016, I completed the Breathworks teacher training course, Applying mindfulness to chronic pain and long-term health conditions, to expand my knowledge of how to help people living with long-term pain.

I am on the register of Mindfulness Association supervisors, helping to support and mentor mindfulness teachers at all stages of their development. I’m also on the British Association for Mindfulness-based Approaches register of UK-based mindfulness teachers. All of these teachers have undertaken training to a specified level and adhere to ongoing good practice recommendations.

I’m a Mindfulness in Schools accredited teacher, trained to deliver the .b (dot-be), dots and Paws b Mindfulness in Schools programmes for students, and a Connected Kids™ accredited tutor. I’m also a primary school teacher, teaching mindfulness to children and staff. 

Official accreditation logos from the Mindfulness Association, the Mindfulness in Schools Project, Connected Kids (TM), and the British Association of Mindfulness-Based Approaches.

I’m deeply interested in a wide range of therapies and spiritual traditions including meditation, yoga, Buddhism, shamanism and Bach Flower Remedies.

Apart from mindfulness, what else do I love?

I love the outdoors and spend most of my free time and holidays in the mountains – walking, climbing, ski touring or simply soaking up the blessings of nature. I love exploring the outside world, as well as the inner world, and have travelled to many of the mountainous countries in the world, including Mongolia, Greenland, Iceland and Norway.

My kitchen cupboards contain an extensive range of healthy, herbal teas but I’m also frequently tempted out to Project Coffee or The Birchwood in Edinburgh for a half-shot cappuccino and slice of lemon drizzle cake or a florentine!

Karen Barr, Guest Tutor

Guest tutor Karen BarrFinding mindfulness

Having been a keen student of self development for over 30 years, and despite all the courses and techniques I had learnt, I still always felt there was something missing. I was looking to attain a Masters degree when I discovered the MSc in Mindfulness at Aberdeen University. Mindfulness was just coming to the fore and I had heard about it through a few channels but really wasn’t sure what it was. Within 10 days, though, I had applied for and been accepted on the Masters Programme.

What I discovered about mindfulness is that it gets to the core of self-acceptance, thereby allowing us to skillfully cope with life’s pressures.

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Having attained my MSc in Mindfulness in 2015, I went on to become a teacher of Mindful Self Compassion.

What I love about my work

Making a difference to people by helping them understand the value of self-kindness is my passion.

When we learn how to tame our self-critic and the natural negative bias of the brain, magic begins to happen; I feel privileged to be a facilitator of that.

Most of my mindfulness teaching is in the business community supporting employees in building resilience against pressures in the workplace.

A moment of self compassion can change your entire day. A string of such moments can change your life” Chris Germer

My training and qualifications

I began my path to teaching Mindfulness and Mindful Self Compassion (MSC) through learning self development techniques. I already had an MSc (Hons) in Psychology and went on to become certified in Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), Hypnotherapy & Counselling and EFT.

In 2015, I attained my MSc in Mindfulness through the University of Aberdeen and completed the Mindfulness Association’s MBLC teacher training. I went on to train as a Mindful Self Compassion teacher with Neff & Germer in 2016.

Center for Mindful Self-Compassion logo

I am a member of the Mindfulness Association and the International Positive Psychology Association.
Mindfulness Association Membership logo, 2022-23

I also love…

…my dog! Kiki is a Cocker Chihuahua cross (yes, really) who was rescued from PADS. We love getting out onto the hills and big beach walks in East Lothian.

I’m an active member of the Edinburgh business community, I’ve been an adviser for Business Gateway for over 16 years, and am a board member of Advocard, an Edinburgh charity which provides advocacy to people with poor mental health.

Craig Ali, Guest tutor

Craig Ali, Guest tutor

Discovering mindfulness

I was first introduced to mindfulness in 2004 while studying Thai Massage in Thailand. Its effectiveness in helping to still my mind had an instant impact on me. I started my own regular practice, mainly using Jon Kabat-Zinn’s body scans, to help me recover from intense physical training.

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As the years went on, I practised other disciplines, such as Qi Gong and Hatha and Kundalini yoga. All these practices incorporated meditation, but I kept coming back to mindfulness. I believe mindfulness is the greatest tool we can use to help us understand ourselves, find the good in life, and cultivate kindness and compassion for ourselves and others.

What I love about my work

One of the most rewarding things about being a teacher of health and well-being —something I’ve been doing for nearly 20 years now—is seeing individuals build greater awareness through mindfulness.

I’m passionate about helping guide people to greater well-being, so they can find peace and explore their potential. I use my broad skill-base in health to compliment my mindfulness teaching, helping people build self-esteem and reduce anxiety.

Craig’s informative and compassionate approach to teaching and sharing mindfulness was outstanding. As a mindfulness teacher myself, it was great for me to be lead through the methods of being grounded again. And being guided through the practices in a compassionate way by Craig reminded me that the pursuit of being mindful is the foundation of living a healthy existence. Craig is an exceptional teacher and coach.” Jonathon, Edinburgh

My training and qualifications

As well as being an accredited mindfulness teacher, qualified through the Mindfulness Association, I’m a certified holistic lifestyle coach, Thai massage therapist, personal trainer and the founder of Total Health (www.totalhealth.uk.com). I’ve studied a broad variety of disciplines, including psychology, Eastern medicine, nutrition and yoga.

I’ve worked with a wide range of people—from pensioners, cancer and mental health patients, to executives, ambassadors, GPs and world-class athletes.

I also love…

I’m an experienced martial artist, a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt and a former British and Scottish champion. In my spare time, I love hanging out with my kids, wife and dog, enjoying some good food and a nice craft ale!

Mark Richardson, Guest tutor

Guest tutor Mark RichardsonMy route to mindfulness

I began integrating mindfulness techniques into daily life over 20 years ago as a result of attending practical philosophy classes at the School of Philosophy in Edinburgh. Consequently, I understand through direct experience how mindfulness improves family relationships, helps work-life balance, and reduces stress.

I also have a practical understanding of how mindfulness can improve job performance and impact management style.

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Initially, my meditation practice was mantra-based, and I was unaware of other types of meditation until, in 2014, I read Mindsight by Daniel Siegel – a neuro-scientist and clinician specialising in mindfulness meditation research.

This was a real eye-opener for me as it described changes in brain function and emotional regulation that I had experienced myself, but had attributed to practical philosophy – I then realised it to be as a result of meditation and mindfulness practices.

At the time, I had been considering a career change and had been exploring how I might combine my interest in practical philosophy with my business skills. The answer became obvious – teaching mindfulness, with a focus on teaching in the workplace, would allow others to benefit in the way I had. I then embarked on a deep dive into mindfulness training which allowed me to realise further benefits that mantra-based meditation alone did not deliver – such as the cessation of the annual bouts of depression that had been a feature of much of my life.

What I love about my work

I am constantly humbled and encouraged by the effects a short six- or eight-week mindfulness course can have on people in both their working and personal lives. I enjoy learning how people relate to mindfulness and mindfulness practices and then integrating that learning into how I teach. I am also thankful for the patience and understanding that I have gained from mindfulness; it helps me support people whose learning cycles are much longer, and I enjoy seeing the eventual realization of what mindfulness can bring.

My training and qualifications

Logos for WorkplaceMT, Mindfulness Association MBLC Approved Teacher 2021-22, University of Aberdeen and BAMBA

In 2015, I attended the inaugural teacher training of a workplace-based mindfulness course that had been developed at the Oxford University Mindfulness Centre in conjunction with Professor Mark Williams (a leading mindfulness researcher). I have since been fully verified as a trainer of that course (WorkplaceMT). I am also accredited through the Mindfulness Association as a teacher of their Mindfulness Based Living Course (MBLC), and am a member of the British Association for Mindfulness-based Approaches, meeting their requirements for inclusion in the UK Listing of Mindfulness Teachers.

In 2019, I gained an MSc in Mindfulness with distinction from the University of Aberdeen with a research focus on mindfulness in the workplace. I also possess a Certificate in Professional Coaching Practice.

I also love…

…my wife and family, and being a new grandparent; walking the scenic Fife and Midlothian coastlines on a weekly basis; progressive trance music; good food and wine; and discussing and implementing practical philosophy.

Any questions?

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