Alexander Wonnell

Burlington, VT, USA
Certified UM Trainer/Teacher

I found my way to meditation through suffering, as many people do, in addition to an interest about the workings of the mind.  I endured a mental health crisis in the fall of 2015 which taught me that deep pain is more than just a concept. Then, I worked through an inpatient and outpatient psychiatric program.  Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) was part of the start of my recovery.  Moving forward, I was able to generate real-life positive feedback from my daily mindfulness practice and continued to recognize the impact of sitting on my relationships and rewiring my brain.


My consistency and steady recognition of the benefits of mindfulness meditation in various life settings and activities – eating, skiing, dancing, humor, watching and playing sports, listening, etc. – led me to sign up for a Mindfulness in Education course, which aligned with my experience as an educator.  In that class, one of Shinzen’s students came in for a guest lecture and recommended that students who feel ready go on a retreat.  So, I did!  

The fall of 2017 I went on my first retreat with Shinzen which profoundly changed the projection of mindfulness in my life.  From that moment on, I knew deeply that I was going to be on this path for the rest of my life.  At this point, an aspect of psycho-spiritual growth includes sharing and teaching practice with others.  That’s why I became a coach!  Also, and don’t tell anyone this, because I wanted to hold myself accountable for my practice by being accountable to others.  Covid-19 gave me the opportunity to teach livestream through a local yoga studio here in Burlington, VT called Sangha Studio (link to sign up for classes below).  I actually founded the meditation program there!  We now have daily classes and a strong community, and thanks to Unified Mindfulness, a system within which to practice and communicate effectively.  It’s also been rewarding to introduce UM to close friends in a professional relationship.  

The minutes add up to hours, which add up to days, which add up to weeks, which add up to months, which add up to… get the idea.  You got one life to live, so you may as well spend it mindfully and in service to others!