Dr. Elli Weisbaum

Professional Biography

Dr. Elli Weisbaum has worked internationally facilitating mindfulness workshops and retreats within the sectors of education, healthcare and business. This has included work in Canada, Bhutan, India, Germany, France, the UK and USA. She is an instructor for the Applied Mindfulness and Meditation Certificate Program at the University of Toronto in the School of Continuing Studies. She holds a masters degree focused on bringing mindfulness into education, and completed her PhD at the University of Toronto in the Faculty of Medicine, with a focus on applying mindfulness to the healthcare sector. She spent a year as the international program coordinator for Wake Up Schools, a global initiative to cultivate mindfulness in education, established by Nobel Peace Prize nominee, scholar and Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. She is a certified teacher for the Search Inside Yourself program (developed at Google Headquarters) which she has taught at several organizations including Harvard, MIT and the University of Toronto. She is a member of the Mindfulness Project Team at SickKids which acts as a hub for mindfulness initiatives across the hospital. Elli’s novel background in both academic research and mindfulness practice provides a distinct approach to her ongoing work teaching and researching in the field.

Learn more at www.elliweisbaum.com

Reflection Questions

How often are you kind to yourself? What are some unkind thoughts that could be replaced with kinder ones?

How might developing an attitude of self-compassion change your life?

How can you find time for mindfulness today?

In what ways can cultivating mindfulness teach us about the concept of ‘success’?

How did it feel in your body to do the ‘focused attention’ exercise with Dr. Weisbaum?

In what ways have you noticed that your mind and body are connected?

Allow yourself to be mindful in this very moment, as you read these words. Notice what is going on for you right now. Invite that experience in with kindness.

Further Resources

Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese Buddhist monk and Nobel Peace Prize winner under whom Dr. Weisbaum trained, has written many books on cultivating mindfulness. Take a look at a list of them here:


Translating Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings into scientific spaces – A presentation given by Elli Weisbaum during a 3 day forum following the 2019 Neuroscience Retreat in Plum Village, France.

You can also subscribe to Dr. Weisbaum’s newsletter, here:


Introducing Dr. Elli Weisbaum

Dr. Weisbaum talks about her background and various roles at the university.

What is Mindfulness?

Dr. Weisbaum breaks down this deceptively complex question, pointing out the traditional history of mindfulness and its many modern definitions. She also emphasizes the importance of cultivating an attitude of compassion and kindness as central to being mindful.

Relating to the Body through Mindfulness

Dr. Weisbaum explains the way in which the mind and body are connected, and how this connection means that awareness of the body is foundational to mindfulness. 

On Focused Attention, a Type of Mindfulness Practice

How can mindfulness become a part of our daily lives? Dr. Weisbaum answers this question by looking at the ‘three pillars of mind training,’ one of which is Focused Attention. She explains why learning how to focus is important in quieting our minds, calming our anxieties, and strengthening our ability to choose presence. 

A Short Practice of Focused Attention

Follow Dr. Weisbaum as she guides you through a short mindfulness exercise, in which you will use an anchor to focus your attention.

Making Progress in Meditation

Dr. Weisbaum discusses how neuroplasticity means that change is always possible. When practiced regularly, mindfulness can improve neuroplasticity and create structural and functional changes in the brain. 

When We Struggle with Attention, Anxiety, and Stress

Dr. Weisbaum explains how it is common to panic when we are asked to focus, especially coming from a culture of perfectionism, as many students do. The antidote to this anxiety is kindness for ourselves. We can learn to greet our anxiety with compassion instead of judgment, and these moments are when mindfulness can be considered ‘a success.’ 

Finding Time for Mindfulness

Dr. Weisbaum compares mindfulness training to physical training: while we need to find time to dedicate to it, there are many little ways to begin, and a little goes a long way.