Meet Our Founder, Rachel Kanarowski

Rachel has taught internationally including in Germany, Italy, Mexico, and the Czech Republic.

Rachel built the Year of Living Better® program with remote-based teams in mind, with limited in-office workshops available by special request, 

Rachel lives and works out of the vibrant Uptown neighborhood on the north side of Chicago.

Year of Living Better® founder Rachel Kanarowski knows this firsthand.

As the ceaselessly busy top editor of InStyle magazine's Czech edition in the early 2000s, and later as an in-demand marketing consultant to Fortune 500 companies, Rachel was curious about meditation. She hoped it might help her center herself and offset her ongoing stress.

Her early attempts, however, were frustrating. Skills that earned her professional accolades—multitasking, speaking and thinking at top pace, constantly seeking the new and next—felt at odds with the practice of meditation. 

“I felt too Type A,” Rachel says. “ ‘Clearing my mind’ seemed impossible. After a handful of frustrating attempts, I wound up deleting the popular mindfulness app I had been experimenting with and moved on with my life.”

But in 2018, she stumbled across a podcast episode that rekindled her curiosity. Quickly, this spark led her to successfully cracking her own meditation habit—and inspired another question. 

How many others, she wondered, might benefit from a science-first, “no beads, no incense” approach to mindfulness?

She delved into the work of Yale University psychologist Laurie Santos (“The Science of Well-Being”), the happiness expert and psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky, and the neuroscientist and psychiatry professor Stephen Porges. She studied practical meditation applications designed by prominent mental health professionals including Deb Dana, LCSW; Chris Germer, Ph.D; and Richard Schwartz, Ph.D. Meanwhile, she completed an intensive course of study in mindfulness, including a year-long program at UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center.

Year of Living Better is the result of all of Rachel’s exploration, study, and personal experience. 

“I created Year of Living Better by translating the results and approaches of multiple peer-reviewed studies into a clear framework that teaches basic mindfulness meditation skills in a format that fits into busy workdays,” Rachel explains. 

Through live, online, weekly classes, formatted specifically for today's workplaces, Year of Living Better helps individuals form steady mindfulness habits. In doing so, she and her team are helping busy people everywhere to live better. 

CREATING A NEW HABIT CAN BE HARD. CREATING A MINDFULNESS MEDITATION HABIT CAN BE ESPECIALLY HARD. 

View Rachel's Media Bio

Year of Living Better® founder Rachel Kanarowski studied mindfulness at the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC), a division of UCLA Health housed within the Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. 

She holds a 200-hour meditation teaching credential from Unplug Meditation, where she is an adjunct educator.

She is the Mindfulness Education Lead for the Chicago Department of Public Health, where she has provided public health officials and staff with weekly stress-management training since 2020.

She is engaged in ongoing study of Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness with David Treleaven, Ph.D. 

In her downtime, she loves traveling the world and exploring new cultures. She lived in Prague, Czech Republic, for almost a decade, where she was the editor in chief of InStyle Czech magazine. She volunteers with English in Mind, a nonprofit English-language school in Haiti.

View Rachel's Certifications & Professional Credentials

Center for Mindful Self-Compassion (2021)
SHRM Annual Conference (2021)
International Mindfulness Teacher's Association (2020)
Mindful Leader, Meditate Together (2020)

Volunteer Partnerships

2020 - "Nectar of the Path: Teachings on the Path of Awakening" with Mingyur Rinpoche
2020 - "Everyday Freedom" with Susan Kaiser Greenland
2019 - "Mindfulness and Beyond" and "The Platform of Joy" with Sharon Salzberg, Mark Epstein MD, and Robert Thurman PhD
2019 - "In Love with the World" and "Dying Every Day: Meditation, Transformation, and the Bardos" with Mingyur Rinpoche and Richie Davidson, PhD
2019 - "The Science of Happiness: A Greater Good Gathering", UC Berkeley

Additional Education

2021 (Enrolled) - "Entering the Deep Mountains" with Anne Dutton, MA, LCSW (Director of Mindfulness Education, Yale Stress Center), 5 nights
2020 - “Self-Compassion” with Beth Mulligan, PA-C, Hugh O’Neill, and Chris Germer PhD, 5 nights
2020 - “Building Compassionate Resilience” with Kate Mitcheom, MSN and Lucia McBee MSW, 5 nights

Silent Retreats

American Mindfulness Research Association (AMRA)
International Mindfulness Teacher's Association (IMTA)
Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

Professional Memberships

2021 - (Expected, November) Certification: UCLA Trained Mindfulness Facilitator, UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center
2021 - Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) Continuing Education with the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion with Sydney Spears, Ph.D., LCSW, LSCSW and Tracy Ochester, PsyD
2021 - Certification: Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness, Intro & Advanced Skills with David Treleaven, PhD
2021 - Putting Polyvagal Theory into Practice with Deb Dana, LCSW, PESI
2021 -  "Spiritual Activism 101 & 102" training in implicit bias and anti-racism with Rachel Ricketts, JD
2020 - "Mindful Self-Compassion Core Skills" with Chris Germer, PhD and Kristin Neff, PhD
2019 - The Science of Happiness, UC Berkeley via EdX
2019 - The Science of Well-Being, Yale University via Coursera
2019 - Certification: Meditation Teacher (200 hour), Unplug Meditation

Certifications & Training

Contact Rachel

For speaking requests, other partnership proposals, or general questions, you can reach Rachel by email at rachel@yearoflivingbetter.com or by voicemail at (773) 312-4709.

Chicago, IL

Program Director & Doctor of Education

Walonza Lee,

"Rachel is a true partner to our department's well-being. 

Her unique approach to mindfulness meditation makes it welcoming to people of all ages and from all backgrounds and beliefs."