The Creator of Mindful Diver: Sarah L. Wilner

In the Beginning

I began by journey into mindfulness during pregnancy, but little did I know only a few short months after my son was born mindfulness would become a crucial tool to save my own life.  


In 2004, when my son was only four months old, I was in a terrible car accident where several vertebrae in my cervical spine were cracked, rupturing spinal discs and leaving me in intense physical pain and unable to participate in daily life; I was 24. 

 

I turned to Western medicine for help, but what I received nearly killed me.  After being treated by a doctor who later lost his license for over prescribing heavy narcotic pain killers, I found myself more sick than I had ever been.  Dependant on pain-killers, I was a shell of my former self; disabled physically, cognitively, and emotionally.  I woke up one morning, nine months after my “treatment” began, and decided, no matter the cost, I would take my life back under my own control. 

 

Removing myself off all prescribed and over the counter medication immediately, I vigorously threw myself into mindfulness practices such as yoga and meditation.  Slowly my body and, more importantly, my mind, began to heal.  

Seeking Truth

Hungry for more information on why something as simple as sitting still and watching my breath could have such profound impacts on my mind, I decided to go back to university to pursue a Master’s Degree in Experimental Psychology. I devoted the length of my graduate studies towards researching mindfulness, and was intrigued to find out that not only were mindfulness skills valuable as therapeutic interventions, they could also be applied to healthy individuals to protect them during the inevitable ups and downs of modern life, by optimizing day to day experiences, increasing focus and attention, and enhancing well-being.  


For my cumulative research project in graduate school I wrote, applied, and assessed curriculum for students in middle school (ages 11-13), using mindfulness training as a method for increasing positive affect and enhancing aspects of cognition related to learning and memory.  The positive response from the students involved in my study lit an even stronger fire in my heart to devote my life to giving what I know to as many people as were willing to receive.  


During my time in graduate school I simultaneously went through a 500 hour Iyengar yoga teacher training at the Iyengar Institute of San Francisco, recognizing that, for my own health, both the body and mind must be attended to for optimal well-being to exist.  

Giving Back

For the past decade I have been teaching mindfulness and mindfulness based skills across California.  Deciding to expand my life experience, in 2016 I decided it was time to move. Currently I reside on the Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire, where I apply my personal, professional, and academic experience by writing, instructing, and disseminating mindfulness curriculum and skill training, often in conjunction with ocean experiences, as well as teach yoga as both a therapeutic and wellness approach to health.  Most recently I have published the PADI Distinctive Specialty: Mindful Diver, which teaches mindfulness skills to certified SCUBA divers during dive experiences. 

 

Mindful Diver offers a variety of wellness programs, including:

  • Private individual and group mindfulness training,
  • Wellness retreats for individuals, businesses, or small groups, 
  • Private individual and group yoga lessons, 
  • Personal wellness coaching, 
  • Yoga as therapy and,
  • Curriculum development for businesses interested in expanding the services they provide. 

For more information, to connect, or to share your story, email me: sarah@mindfuldiver.com,