Begin your training with a 5-Day Retreat at La Casa de Maria Retreat Center, in Santa Barbara, California


Teach Mindfulness with Attention, Values, Wisdom and an Open Heart

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2017-18 Teacher Certification Program

Applications Still Being Accepted

Program Dates – October 2017 – October 2018

Distance Learning with Two 5- Day Residential Retreats

With the MLP approach, mindfulness is much more than learning to be present in the moment. It is the ability to to be present with clarity and discernment – to be able to experience life (events, people, thoughts and emotions) consciously and respond with wisdom. Mindfulness includes and facilitates the ability to bring wisdom into the moments of your life, recognizing unhealthy habits and tendencies and cultivating the ability to make healthy choices that are in alignment with your values and the life you define as meaningful. Our mindfulness programs help participants develop clarity, mental and emotional balance and lead a meaningful life that is in alignment with their inner values. 

Secular mindfulness programs in the United States have been exploding in recent years. The increasing popularity has unfortunately produced a variety of teachings that dilute and misunderstand this important philosophy and approach to living. Mindfulness is often reduced to concentration exercises and a simplistic definition of being aware of the present moment. In many, or even most, secular presentations of mindfulness, it is taken out of the rich context of the Three Higher Trainings (ethics, concentration, and wisdom) of Buddhism in which it was originally taught. The Mindful Life Program mission is to maintain the substance of the entire teaching as a program that is accessible to people of all spiritual traditions or no spiritual tradition.

Drawing from years of training, personal practice and application in daily life, MLP provides participants with skills that are practical, accessible, and universal.

    • Practical – methods are effective and can be put into practice right away.
    • Accessible – clearly presented with tangible examples that make sense.
    • Universal – is an inclusive program that can benefit anyone regardless of their culture, religion, spiritual path or philosophy. 

The Mindful Life Program (MLP) was co-founded by John Bruna and Mark Molony, bringing their rich and broad experiences and training to this comprehensive mindfulness program that integrates the four key areas of mindfulness- attention, wisdom, values and an open heart.

If you are new to the Mindful Life Program, we encourage you to read about the co-founders here and learn about our courses and growing range of specific audiences through the Courses page. We also encourage you to read the reviews of The Wisdom of a Meaningful Life: The Essence of Mindfulness, written by John Bruna, as the reviews are helpful context for the approach taken by the Mindful Life Program and its course curriculum. The book, which was released in August, 2016 has become a companion to the Mindful Life Program courses.

Book 1


Mindful Life Program Teacher Certification

The Mindful Life Program Teacher Certification program is a one year training that provides participants with the opportunity to develop and embody their own mindfulness practice and become certified by MLP to teach the MLP Curriculum. As a participant in the Teacher Certification, you will be taught and mentored throughout the year directly by co-founders John Bruna and Mark Molony, and Executive Director, Laura Bartels. As a cohort of participants, the group also actively engages in sharing exchanges on a regular basis for peer learning and support. The program includes both of the 5-day residential retreats, as well as distance learning throughout the year. Upon satisfactory completion of the program, teaching candidates will earn certification to teach the full 20 hour MLP Foundations Course as well as facilitate lectures and seminars on mindfulness. Participants are able to use the MLP Curriculum and resources and receive support after completion of the program. The training begins and concludes with a five day retreat at the beautiful La Casa de Maria Retreat Center located on 26 acres in Santa Barbara, California.

Overview of the Mindful Life Program Teacher Certification

*Includes an option to be certified in our new Mindfulness in Recovery program!

  • 2 – five day residential workshops – to begin and end the year-long training
  • Teacher Training Manual, Companion Journal and coursework
  • Daily practices including mindfulness and meditation practices and self-reflection
  • Reading, written and group assignments
  • Monthly group teleconferences with instructors
  • Monthly individual supervision phone call with assigned instructor
  • Bi-weekly phone call with peer partner participant
  • Optional monthly teleconferences with other participants
  • Two individual weekend retreats
  • Action learning assignments of two teaching practicums of the complete MLP Foundations Course
  • Ability to attend MLP Foundations Courses during the year at no additional cost
  • Additional option to be a Mindfulness in Recovery certified facilitator.

Choosing to Apply

The decision to train as a mindfulness teacher can have a profound effect on your life and the lives of those you will benefit. Choosing a mindfulness program can be just as important. We feel that the Mindful Life Program offers a unique and much needed integrated and holistic approach to mindfulness, and aim to find teachers ready to bring mindfulness in a practical, accessible and universal way to those they teach. As the MLP curriculum encourages teaching that incorporates real life experiences for diverse audiences, we seek a diverse community of teachers.

Participating in the Teacher Certification


The methodology and practice used within the Mindful Life Program is based on a robust and coherent body of knowledge. Like any practice, developing competence as a Mindful Life Program Teacher requires a sound conceptual and practical understanding, as well as personal experience of the underlying theoretical body of knowledge.

The essence of the teacher training is gaining a solid working familiarity with and practice of, the Mindful Life Program approach to mindfulness and its application for individuals in everyday life. This enables the participants to clearly introduce Mindful Life Program principles and practices when teaching individuals and small groups.

The emphasis in the first Residential Workshop (October, 2017) is in experiencing and understanding the Mindful Life Program approach, the basis for this approach within the history and context of the diversity of mindfulness approaches and in moving towards competence with the concepts and practice of holistic mindfulness.

Following the five-day Residential Workshop, participants gradually develop a deeper theoretical and practical familiarity with the application of the Mindful Life Program. Participants will be also be encouraged and supported in developing their own mindfulness practice during the year in ways that will enrich, strengthen and personalize their own teaching of the curriculum in the following ways.

  • Personal daily mindfulness practice and regular self-refection
  • Reading, discussing and reporting on coursework papers, articles and videos in writing and in discussions
  • Monthly online group teaching and discussion

A monthly online teaching and discussion with the group will be scheduled each month commencing November, 2017. This online session will be conducted by instructors John Bruna, Mark Molony and Laura Bartels. You will be advised of the technology and software required to participate in these sessions at the first Residential Workshop.

  • Monthly online individual supervision sessions

A monthly supervision session will be scheduled with all participants by one of the instructors. The aim of this session is to individually support you in your MLP learning and teaching. Your supervisor will be allocated to you and a time organized with you at the conclusion of the first Residential Workshop

  • Bi-weekly phone call with peer partner participant

Participants will be paired with different peer partners throughout the year to discuss reflections on their personal practice and progress and course content.

  • Two individual weekend retreats

Participants will schedule two individual 48 hour retreats of their own with guidance from and approval of the instructors. Dates for the retreats are chosen by each participant.

The latter half of the certification program involves direct teaching experience. The rationale is that doing islearning. Leading these sessions means that participants need to understand fully the theory and practice of MLP, to be able to explain them clearly, and constructively engage participants in the practical relevance of the MLP. Participants will:

  • Lead individual coaching sessions with up to three volunteer individuals on specific components of MLP.

This is done with volunteer participants outside the course (eg, work colleagues, friends, family), seeking to engage them in the practical everyday relevance of some of the MLP practices. Support from course instructors is provided in the design of these sessions.

  • In a small group, conduct a two-hour public workshop session on one core aspect of the MLP at the final Residential Workshop.

INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE? Add your name for a brochure and application and to join our mailing list

Retreat Dates: The two 5-day residential retreats will be held October 29 – November 3, 2017 and in October, 2018. The 2017 retreat will begin with Sunday dinner on October 29 and end with Friday lunch on November 3. Attendance at both retreats is required for certification.

Retreat Center and Accommodations: La Casa de Maria Retreat Center is located just 90 miles north of Los Angeles, California on 26 acres with contemplative spaces, gardens and an orchard not far from ocean or mountains. Participants will be hosted in newly renovated double occupancy rooms with a private bath and shower. Handicap accessible rooms are available upon request. All meals are included beginning with dinner Sunday, October 29th and are served in the retreat dining room. Our retreat will offer fresh, healthy vegetarian meals. If special diet needs exist, please let us know. The staff is able to accommodate most special dietary needs.

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Application: The application process includes a written application, an interview of the applicant and references, and participation in the MLP Foundations Course or Online Four Keys to Mindfulness Course. While the application deadline has passed, we will continue to accept applications until final decisions are made. To receive an application, enter your name and email in the form at the top right of the page. Interviews of the applicant and references will be scheduled after the application is received. Applicants are also asked to register for and participate in a MLP Foundations Course in person or an Online Four Keys of Mindfulness Course either prior to the application deadline or schedule participation in a course before August 15th, 2017.

Cost: $5,250 – Includes both week-long residential workshops, the full year of coursework and individual supervision. Participants are responsible for the cost of their own travel expenses.

Payment: Upon approval in the program, a deposit of $2000 is due by June 14th, 2017 with two installment payments due August 1st and September 1st of $1625. A payment plan may be available on an individual basis.

Cancellation policy:

Cancellations notified in writing prior to 
August 15, 2017 – refund of amount paid to date less $700 administration fee

Cancellations notified in writing on or after August 15, 2017 and before February 15, 2018 – 50% refund of total program fee

If you have additional questions, or would like to talk with the Mindful Life Program staff about our approach to mindfulness or the Teacher Certification Program, please feel free to call or email us. 

Frequently Asked Questions

– At the completion of the program, what will the certification prepare me to do?

The MLP Teacher Certification is an endorsement by the instructors that you are qualified to offer the 20 hour Mindful Life Program Foundations Course, as well as present talks and presentations on mindfulness and it allows you the opportunity to utilize the Foundations Course curriculum and course materials and be listed as a certified MLP teacher on our website.

– Who is able to apply to the program?

We encourage a diverse range of applicants from all walks of life to apply, who are ready to deepen their mindfulness practice, to model living mindfully and teach mindfulness in various types of settings, groups, and organizations. Participants are selected for admission in the program on the basis of their perceived potential to succeed in their own practice and in their ability to teach others.

– What is required to apply to the program?

A completed application with three references, a phone interview of the applicant and references and participation in a MLP Foundations Course in person or the Online Four Keys of Mindfulness Course prior to applying or scheduled for before August 15th, 2017.

– When is the application deadline?

Applications are due May 5th, 2017.

– What happens after my application is submitted?

You will first receive a confirmation of receipt of your application by email. Next, a phone interview will be scheduled between you and one of the instructors, and interviews of references will be completed.

– How do I check on the status of my application?

Please email us at or call us at 970-633-0163 if you have a question about the status of your application.

– When is the payment due in full?

Program fees are due for full payment by September 1, 2017, unless alternate arrangements have been negotiated with The Mindful Life Program.

-Is the fee for the MLP Foundations Course that is required of applicants prior to August 15th, 2017 included in the cost of Teacher Certification?

No. We find that participation in the course prior to application or at least by August 15th, 2017 is of benefit to the applicant in gaining a first hand experience of the MLP practices and approach. However, once accepted into the program, participants may take part in one or more MLP Foundations Course as space is available at no additional cost as part of their training from October 2017 through October 2018.

– Is there coursework prior to the first residential retreat?

A reading assignment is given upon acceptance to the program and is to be done prior to the first residential retreat.

If you have any questions or require further information, please feel free to contact us.