A home for mindfulness practitioners, teachers and communities in South Africa
The Institute for Mindfulness South Africa (IMISA) is a non-profit organization committed to the development and application of contemporary mindfulness in South Africa.
IMISA began in 2005 as an informal group formed around a common interest to support the practise and learning of mindfulness. In 2007 the Institute for Mindfulness South Africa formally constituted as a non-profit organisation committed to the practise and cultivation of mindfulness in South Africa and other countries in our region.
Rather than being an umbrella organisation for all things mindful, IMISA is guided and informed by the integrative, mindfulness-based programmes that are based on the pioneering work of Jon Kabat-Zinn, Emeritus Professor of Medicine, the Founder and first Executive Director of the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. We are aligned with the work of the International Mindfulness Integrity network.
This approach represents a convergence of wisdom teachings and traditions with contemporary applications and modern scientific methods of research (from brain imaging to clinical effectiveness) in a variety of contexts. It can be understood, in a certain respect, as a re-contextualization of Wisdom Teachings for a modern, diverse, and secular audience.
IMISA is committed to the development, research and application of mindfulness in South Africa through university-based professional training, conferences and symposia, public education, research projects and ongoing support of mindfulness-based teachers and practitioners.
IMISA’s purpose is to hold the heart of mindfulness in service of practitioners, teachers and communities. As such, we are committed to:
Enabling mindfulness to be conceptually relevant and accessible
Being true to, and embodying, the understanding of mindfulness
Honouring the contemporary lineage, source teachings and ethics of mindfulness
Being sensitive to our South African context and issues of diversity
Supporting and maintaining the integrity of contemporary mindfulness in South Africa
Supporting the local community of mindfulness practitioners
Our envisioned future is a diverse community seeding mindfulness practice to support resilience, connection and well-being.
This is reflected in the image of the Mutuba tree: strong, grounded, providing shade and nourishment, with new branches growing and rooting themselves, connecting and expanding the larger whole.
What began as a supportive community of teachers and practitioners has developed into a public-spirited initiative to inform and educate the interested public, to offer formal training at a university level for those who wish to teach mindfulness-based approaches and to foster and support the local community of practitioners and teachers. This education, training and support nurtures the development of diverse communities around mindfulness-based approaches throughout South Africa.
Mindfulness invites us into intimacy with ourselves and a deepening connection with others and the world at large.
As an organisation, our purpose informs our wish to support as many people as possible to be more present with themselves and the people in their lives, freed from reactivity and mindless auto-pilot to moments of spacious presence, understanding, and compassion for themselves and others.