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Learner Reviews & Feedback for De-Mystifying Mindfulness by Universiteit Leiden

1,553 ratings

About the Course

Interest in meditation, mindfulness, and contemplation has grown exponentially in recent years. Rather than being seen as mystical practices from ancient Buddhism or esoteric philosophy, they are increasingly seen as technologies rooted in evidence from psychology and neuroscience. Mindfulness has become the basis for numerous therapeutic interventions, both as a treatment in healthcare and as a means of enhancing well-being and happiness. For millions around the world, mindfulness has become a life-style choice, enhancing and enriching everyday experience. Mindfulness is big business. But, what actually is mindfulness? Is it really good for you? Can anyone learn it? How can you recognize charlatans? Would you want to live in a mindful society, and would it smell like sandalwood? What does it feel like to be mindful? Are you mindful already, and how would you know? Evolving from the popular Honours Academy course at Leiden University, this innovative course combines conventional scholarly inquiry from multiple disciplines (ranging from psychology, through philosophy, to politics) with experiential learning (including specially designed ‘meditation labs,’ in which you’ll get chance to practice and analyze mindfulness on yourself). In the end, the course aims to provide a responsible, comprehensive, and inclusive education about (and in) mindfulness as a contemporary phenomenon. During the production of this course, we have been supported by Willem Kuyken, Director of the University of Oxford Mindfulness Centre, and Stephen Batchelor, co-founder of Bodhi College. And we gratefully acknowledge the contributions made by Mark Williams, co-developer of Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), and Rebecca Crane, Director of the Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice at the University of Bangor. We have recently added expert advice from Dawn Scott (Spirit Rock & Barre Centre for Buddhist Studies), Sydney Spears (University of Kansa), Elisabeth Stanley (Georgetown University), Susan Woods (Centre for Mindfulness Studies), Patricia Rockman (University of Toronto) and Jeff Corntassel (University of Victoria). "A deep and profound dive into the ethical, social, psychological, and philosophical implications of modern-day mindfulness practice. The course is not for the faint of heart, perhaps, but it is also full of practical, guided exercises for the uninitiated! Thank you for redefining my relationship to Mindfulness in a completely new and thought-provoking way" 28 april 2021 "The course enabled me to explore the mindfulness construct at its deeper lever from philosophical, psychological and political lenses. The mindfulness labs were very useful in practicing the skills of being mindful." 23 nov 2018 "i took this course after a period of time when I was trying to practice mindfulness and meditation, but with doubtful success. The course answered many questions to me, and I needed that to keep me motivated. It really helped me understand the origins and, more importantly, benefits of mindfulness practice and made me persist in my attempts. I'm really glad I took the course, I find it interesting, well taught and very useful for all those seeking deeper explanation in why trying mindfulness." 9 Oct 2018 "I have taken other courses in other online platforms. However, this has been one of the best courses I have found online." 3 Oct 2018 "I really like the invitation to us, the learners, to rethink our preconceptions and beliefs, and then make our own judgement about mindfulness. The overall tone was very friendly and open, resources very useful." 12 Dec 2017...

Top reviews


Jul 20, 2020

A course that will open your mind and heart. I thoroughly enjoyed it and learnt so much about Mindfulness and how I want to incorporate it into my daily life, relationships and personality. Thank you!


May 6, 2022

Very detailed and comprehensive history and background of mindfulness. The different schools of thought and the approach to these different ways of providing midnfulness.

Thanks for the teachings!

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1 - 25 of 593 Reviews for De-Mystifying Mindfulness

By Leila e

Aug 2, 2017

Dear Sir /Madam, Recently, I have complete the course De-Mystifying Mindfulness, and I received a Congratulations email and an invitation for getting a certificate , but when I wanted to register photo Id, there was the law about restricted area! And I couldn’t believe it. Then I decided to send Congratulations Email to you for cooperation with totalizer regime of Iran, about Deprivation innocent people from their right of education. I have to say as a human I didn't choose this country for born and living and as a woman, I have been faced with cruel rules, critical problems and humiliations, because of the female gender. I had enjoyed through the course, I had enjoyed from the concepts about making peace and communication with other people, but at the end, after study ridicules restricted rules, I realized there is a long path to reach and feel peace and free our heart from anger and have negative emotions together. Maybe you will tell me this is a law and we are innocent then I will tell you Martin Luther King once said: "If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so."


By Ishan P

May 25, 2020

This is my opinion.

De-Mystifying Mindfulness was everything but the whole mindfulness. It centered only on the western society, completely disregarding the eastern societies which is in fact, more dominant than western society. Relating mindfulness to only Buddhism and disregarding the roots it originated in, it is a perfect course for western people to make them feel like they did everything. Also, the course was too complicated and hanging by a thread. You are seriously better off watching a 10 minute video on Youtube which will give you more information than what I learned in 2 weeks.

By veera b v

Feb 7, 2019

An excellent MOOC course with in-depth exploration of the mindfulness concept, with interviews of experts in the field and critical appraisal of the subject matter. I loved the course !

By Carmen C

Apr 7, 2018

The course does a great job of balancing theoretical teachings with practical learning.

It is a great introduction to meditation and mindfulness from a secular perspective, and has something even for the most skeptic among us, so I would definitely recommend that you give it a try, if you are new to meditation and mindfulness in general.

Maybe this course is a bit less interesting for those more experienced with philosophy, Buddhism or mindfulness tho.

My only qualm is that on the meditation labs, there is a very sudden and steep curve around week 3, the meditations go from being 10-15 minutes, to 50, which makes it a bit harder to fit around your schedule, its all right, but be warned that the time you are making for meditation might not be enough when you get to that point.

Overall, I enjoyed it, I learned and that's all I really came here for.

By Alex H

May 4, 2020

I had two goals going into this course: to get some practical stress-relief techniques, and to learn something about myself in the process. Well, I made it to week three until deciding it wasn't a good use of my time. Maybe it wasn't the right course for me. The guided meditations are good, but I'm not so interested in the cultural and historical implications of the definition of mindfulness. The scientific and spiritual aspects of mindfulness are interesting, but I was turned off by the lecture style. Chris is clearly an intelligent guy, but the explanations are very wordy and not straightforward. I caught myself on several occasions thinking "Okay, but what is he actually trying to say here?" If you are interested in Mindfulness from an academic standpoint, I could recommend this course. But for me, it wasn't a good fit.

By Ruby S

Mar 24, 2019

I went into this course with an open mind to be enlightened about mindfulness. I finished this course feeling enlightened and more knowledgeable about mindfulness and everything to do with it. It's an ideal course for those who have started to show interest in mindfulness and wish to learn more but equally for anyone into wellbeing. It starts off with an introduction to mindfulness and thereon you are taken on a journey of self-exploration, reflection and useful exercises. There are quite a few meditation practices to do and most of these are guided. The course content is insightful and debatable which allows you to question your thoughts and opinions. It aims to demystify mindfulness and it does in a lot of ways but for me the intrigue and curiosity never ends. I completed with a certificate of which I am proud.

By Sardor S

Oct 29, 2016

Quite an intensive course with lots of theory and practice. Make sure you have enough time before comitting to this course. But over all good experience, challenging and interesting. Meditation labs were great as well.

By Daniel C

Apr 27, 2017

The combination of theory and practice in this course has made it thoroughly enjoyable and I feel I have a deeper understanding, both conceptually and practically, of mindfulness.

By Harshit J

Oct 20, 2019

I found the course material too vague and unclear. The language of the instructor was too English heavy. I could not understand anything in the first go. Perhaps, a simpler language would have been better. Meditation labs were good. So I only followed that.

By Anna P M

Dec 18, 2016

The course was excellent in every way. It combined very interesting content from different sources and points of views with practical exercises that really made the experience complete. I strongly recommend it to anyone who is even slightly interested in what mindfulness is and how it relates to the world around us. I would characterize it as an eye-opening experience. The only thing I would change would be the workload, which should be distributed in some way, as some of the course's weeks were almost impossible to pull off correctly in 7 days.

By Alex L

Nov 2, 2017


Lots of valuable theory, which includes uncovering fears and doubts. And the most important: practice. You can learn meditation here, and truly understand why the hell it's so important.


Mar 7, 2023

The course is an excellent opportunity for everyone who has any inclination to mindfulness for any reason. The wonderful course has potential to equip and develop learners to professional level. If I wish to write, I would certainly mention that in comparison to other available online course(s) in western universities, it has more depth and diversity. The best part is Subjective Peer Review and peer grading, this gives us opportunity to feel good when graded 70% and above and valuable comments /advise for future/continuation, and find get advised to further development if fail the assignment(s). Honours' Project gives serious learners , an extra ordinary opportunity to do research in the area/new area/ ... and correlate usefulness/role of Mindfulness in different areas of our liking. I extend my sincere thanks to Professor & Team, Guest experts and course preparation green room/outdoor team members. It is indeed of great pleasure that merit and excellence of Indian technologies of all areas are now being recognized by western scholars like law of gravitation of Ancient Indian Scientist "Kanaadi Muni" have been stolen by Newton. Vipassyana has referred and recognised in this course shows the level of scholarly honesty. Kind Regards, Satish Kumar Kushwaha


Aug 6, 2020

This wonderful course will help me with plenty of aspects of my life. I am thankful and eager to keep practicing. But, most of all, I am excited about spreading the concept of being present.

By Peter W

Jul 20, 2020

Was searching for a more academic perspective on mindfulness and meditation. This is more of a western history and perspective summary.

By Melinda R

Apr 4, 2018

I really enjoyed the course. It gives a thorough overview of mindfulness, meditation and it's ever evolving place in western culture. The instructor was very knowledgeable and encouraging towards the students. The mentors did an incredible job answering questions in an inviting and friendly way and so quickly! I'd like to make particular mention of JC Desai, who was the one that responded to most of my inquiries. I was impressed the quick response time. And being new to online classes, I was a little nervous about a few things I didn't understand, so it was nice to know the mentors were there providing extra back up for us when needed.

If I had to make any constructive criticisms they would be:

1) That there may be a bit too much material for a beginning course.

2) And the other would be that I didn't like that our passing or not passing the course depended on whether or not there were students available to grade our peer graded assignment on the deadline date. I was a little too close to the deadline, and was not sure if there would be anyone left to grade my peer graded assignment. As I understand it, that would have meant me having to do that part over again. As it turned out that did not happen, but if it had, I felt it was unfair to have that as one of the last assignments. All else was fabulous. I feel that my practice has deepened and that I learned a great deal about the different intellectual issues surrounding mindfulness and its place in the western world. Thank you all!

By Keri A B

Mar 22, 2018

Stunning start to finish: Examination of principals and practices. Methods and discussions. Downloadable guides. Personal reflections.

Extraordinarily well presented; lectures given are interesting, well written, speaker is easy to listen to; pleasant voice rhythm and cadence; graphics enhance understanding in a unique and fun way. Occasional guest interviews give a deeper understanding.

What I learned from this course I will use throughout my whole life. More than a class, an amazing experience.

The whole package is perfect; the right amount of everything. So much dedication was in place to produce this, the quality is top notch. I enjoyed it so much I may take this class again!

By Théotime G

Aug 9, 2018

Wonderful course. I didn't invest as much time in it as I would've liked to, thus I have downloaded all the audio exercises and will be coming back to this course as long as I can when I will have more time/courage in the future. Chris is an inspiring teacher as he seems very compassionate and encouraging, and his obvious serenity gives legitimacy to the course from the very beginning. It is very important to be offered to choose courses that focus on spirituality/philosophy/wellbeing, and to put them on the same level as Finance or Marketing courses, and I am happy to see that universities have finally understood this.

By Saira M

Jul 21, 2020

A course that will open your mind and heart. I thoroughly enjoyed it and learnt so much about Mindfulness and how I want to incorporate it into my daily life, relationships and personality. Thank you!

By Amalan S V

Feb 3, 2020

It is such a useful and practical course. The contents, discussions, assignments and quizzes are extremely insightful. I truly enjoyed the course and awaiting a second phase of the course in future.

By Josta K

Sep 23, 2017

Excellent course. I really enjoyed the combination of videos, assignments, forum discussions and peer reviews. Well recommended. And Chris has the perfect voice for this. :)

By Maria J E

Aug 9, 2018

AMAZING! Informed, organized, high- quality instructors,

professional. One of the best experiences I have had so far on Coursera.

By Olena B

Nov 15, 2016

Buddhism conversion course.

By Monika C

Jun 8, 2023

This a wonderful

course to learn mindfulness

from the experts. It will help you create your own practice as it gives you so many options on how to be more mindful

and how to practice it in your life. The course is carefully

developed keeping all kinds of learners in mind. There are a lot of insightful

videos, interviews, and podcasts . All of those help you to understand

diffferent point of views . This course should be included in school as well as college curriculums. I'm truly grateful

to the entire team of this course for sharing their knowledge

with us.

By Usha N

Sep 10, 2017

Excellent Course, designed to drive self awareness and inculcating the attitude of experiencing the present nature rather than worrying about past and future. The course is well designed to engage with the virtual learners throughout the five weeks; In fact this is my first MOOC training and that too on a philosophical topic, but I really enjoyed the course and have recommended to my colleagues. Hats off to Chris Goto-jones and the entire team for coming up with this Great Course that is sure to uplifts the humanity.

By Shikha

Feb 13, 2019

For quite some time I had been looking for a course to get an intro to Buddhism and mindfulness. But the courses that I came across were either too scientifically oriented or too much into theory of Buddhism. This course is exactly what I was looking for. A very balanced approach and an excellent dive into Mindfulness. I am also able to experience being mindful by doing the practice exercises. Thanks a lot to all the people involved in putting together this best in the class course. I truly appreciate your effort.