Heidi Thompson grew up in Coldstream, British Columbia, Canada, In the 1970’s she travelled to Switzerland and studied photography for four years. Later she studied painting in Germany and Hungary. During her nine-year European stay, she became interested in meditation, psychology, and philosophy and began to investigate various meditation techniques and traditions. When Heidi returned to Canada, she worked as a photographer, book publisher, teacher, and painter. Heidi’s continuing interest in meditation led her to attending a 10-day Vipassana meditation retreat taught by S.N. Goenka where she was introduced to the focusing-technique called Anapana, or breath awareness.Heidi has been practicing breath awareness for more than thirty years. She has experienced how its daily practice has positively contributed to improving her self-confidence, relationships, mental and physical health, and creative work. She is a painter, and has noticed how meditation has influenced her art. As well, she saw that breath awareness offered a simple solution that could help transform her life. Being a mother, Heidi felt that breath awareness provided a simple focusing exercise that young children could do. She wanted to teach her daughter and other children, and set out to learn everything she could about teaching children breath awareness. For several years, Heidi worked as a counselor at children’s breath awareness courses, known also as Anapana courses, in the USA and Canada. Heidi became motivated to develop an attention-development program to teach breath awareness to children in public schools. In 1996, she pioneered a program called Advanced Attention Development (AAD) or the Mindmastery Program.
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