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 UK Network for Mindfulness Based Teacher Training Organisation’s 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) and Paws b Mindfulness in Schools programmes for students, and a Connected Kids™ accredited tutor.

2019-2020 MBLC Approved Teacher logo, dot b and paws b accreditation logos, and Connected Kids TM logo

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

I am an Indian Head Massage practitioner, a Usui Reiki Master and Karuna Reiki practitioner. I love bringing my mindfulness coaching skills into clients’ Indian Head Massage and Reiki sessions, enhancing and increasing the effectiveness of the treatments by helping them tune in to the valuable sensory feedback each session brings.

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!

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.

MBLC Approved Teacher 2019-2020

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!

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.

2019-2020 Mindfulness Association Membership logo

I also love…

…my dog! Kiki is a three-year old 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.

Pamela Birnie, Guest tutor

Pamela Birnie, Guest tutor

Coming full circle—from student to tutor

I was introduced to the concept of mindfulness in 2014 when I was studying for an MSc in Psychological Therapies. I decided to join an eight-week mindfulness course to find out more about the practice and the benefits it might bring to my well-being—particularly at a time when I was trying to balance work, study and pleasure. That eight-week course was led by the calm and inspiring Gillian Duncan, from The Moment is Now.

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After the course, I decided to develop my practice further and followed the Mindfulness Practitioner training pathway with the Mindfulness Association, attending regular meditation retreats to help me develop my mindfulness practice and connect with my mind, body and nature.

Now I’m an accredited mindfulness teacher, qualified through the Mindfulness Association, and a guest tutor for The Moment is Now. I’ve come full circle and I love being able to share the practice of mindfulness and its benefits with you.

What I love about mindfulness

You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf!” Jon Kabat-Zinn

This was one of the first quotes I heard when I was introduced to mindfulness. My daily mindfulness practice is the anchor that continues to help me surf the inevitable stormy seas of life. It also connects me to the wider picture, helping me “take in the good” and experience the joy, and brings me a sense of appreciation of the now.

I am inspired to share mindfulness practices and research with others to offer a flavour of how the practice can support a sense of well-being.

I also love…

I love being near water, so I enjoy spending time walking along Edinburgh Union Canal or the beach, often with an ice cream in hand.

I’ve travelled to many countries, including Alaska, Iceland, China and Indonesia. In recent years, though, I’ve developed a love for spending weekends away in a campervan closer to home. I relish the freedom of parking up overnight next to a loch and waking up in the morning to be greeted by nature!

I have a lively interest in complementary therapies and am a trained reflexologist, providing reflexology for people with Motor Neurone Disease, their families and carers. I like reading about the holistic approach to well-being, which compliments my mindfulness practice.

I particularly enjoy retreats that have a focus on mindful movement and Qi Gong.

My training and qualifications

I have an MA Honours degree in Psychology, completed in 2007, and an MSc in Psychological Therapies, obtained in 2014.

The MSc training involved a focus on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and, since then, I have attended workshops on Compassion Focused Therapy. I work for the NHS as a Psychological Therapist, working with adults experiencing depression and anxiety disorders.

2019-2020 Mindfulness Association Membership logo

Any questions?

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