Certificate Program in Embodied Wisdom

A transformational embodied journey of individual and collective change

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Certificate Program in Embodied Wisdom

A transformational embodied journey of individual and collective change


The Certificate Program in Embodied Wisdom compares, contrasts, and integrates the timeless embodied transformational psychology of the Tibetan Tantras with current neuropsychology, psychotherapy and psychosocial change work to bring a rigorous, nuanced, and complete approach to healing individual and collective trauma and fostering personal and communal well-being. The program offers the first rigorous, ongoing dialogue between the most advanced form of Tantra (Skt. Anuttara-Yoga-Tantra)—with its multi-dimensional approach to trauma through embodied mentoring, restructuring perception, and transforming the subtle body—and contemporary embodied therapeutic approaches, including intersubjective psychoanalysis, somatic therapies, trauma therapies, therapeutic approaches to racial and gender-based trauma, and transformational and psychedelic therapies.


12 Continuing Education Credits (CEs) are available per retreat (fall and spring).

Who is this program for?

Participants in the Certificate Program in Embodied Wisdom include healing arts professionals— psychotherapists, social workers, mental health counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, physicians, integral health providers creative arts therapists—as well as other caregivers who work one-on-one with clients like business coaches, educators, yoga teachers, and heath trainees/graduate students. The commonality uniting our students is a sincere desire to deepen personal growth while expanding their repertoire of profound self-healing tools to better show up for themselves, for their clients, and to be of benefit to those around them.


You will learn from some of the leading scholars, researchers, and practitioners in the rapidly growing field of embodied healing and social change. The program is led by Joe Loizzo, MD, PhD, Nalanda Institute’s Founder and Academic Director. Joe is a Harvard-trained psychiatrist and Columbia-trained Buddhist scholar with over forty years’ experience studying the beneficial effects of contemplative practices on healing, learning and positive individual and collective  human development.

The program features live instruction and recorded lectures from world-renowned guest faculty such as Drs. Nida Chenagtsang, Kamilah Majied, Bayo Akomolafe, Janina Fisher, and others.


Hear about the program from some alumni.


The Certificate Program in Embodied Wisdom offers a grounding in Tibetan transformational psychology and in-depth training in the practice of artful mentoring, healing visualization, subtle body energy work, and intuitive wisdom including Tantric Sadhana, Nejang, Tsalung, Tummo, and Atiyoga practices. These practices are integrated with contemporary western psychotherapy modalities including self-psychology, depth-psychology, intersubjective-psychoanalysis, sensorimotor psychotherapy, attachment theory, and other transformational and trauma therapies. 

Areas of study include:

  • The historical and theoretical foundations of embodied contemplative psychotherapy
  • The sociocultural history of the Buddhist Tantras
  • Understanding the neuropsychology and ecopsychology of the subtle body-mind
  • Developing the readiness to engage in the unexcelled yoga tantras through cultivating basic self-care, compassion, and radical open-mindedness
  • Understanding and practicing the 4 stages of mentor-bonding/guru-archetype yoga
  • Engaging in the practice of mentor bonding as a way to undo internalized oppression and heal intergenerational trauma
  • Working with imagery, breath-work, posture and transformational flow states to transform traumatic core affects and autonomic energies
  • Developing trauma-free lucid intuition, dreamlike prosocial embodiment and a compassionate way of life
  • Meditation practicum: instruction with core faculty

Program Details


September 2024 – May 2025

Program Schedule

Opening Retreat: September 27 – 29, 2024

The year will begin with a live online retreat with Drs. Joe Loizzo, Pilar Jennings, and Nida Chenagtsang. The opening retreat will introduce the neuropsychological framework and transformational methods of embodied contemplative practice, exploring how this profound methodology can help catalyze and accelerate the transformation of trauma into psychosocial wellbeing at the individual, interpersonal, institutional, and societal levels.

Bi-weekly Class: Every other Tuesday 12:00 – 1:30 ET or Thursday 6:00 – 7:30pm ET (students pick one of these times)

For each of the 30 weeks throughout the year, students receive recorded lectures and meditations. Every other week we gather for a live online meeting that includes meditation, whole group discussion, meditation teach-backs and small group breakouts. These meetings are facilitated by our core teaching team, including: Academic Director Joe Loizzo, Contemplative Psychotherapy Program Director Rahshaana Green, Core Faculty Pilar Jennings, Co-Director Chantelle Brown and Director of Programs Geri Loizzo.

Spring Retreat: TBD

There is a live online Spring retreat led by Drs. Joe Loizzo and Pilar Jennings. The Spring retreat will explore how the top-down transformational methods of embodied contemplative practice—vision and affirmation—dovetail with the bottom-up methods of breath-work and movement to complete the embodied transformation of trauma into psychosocial wellbeing at the individual, interpersonal, institutional and societal levels.

Student Website

Outside of class students will access all recordings, audio meditations and readings via the student website.

Extracurricular Offerings

  • Optional weekly practice field, peer-led meditation and group sharing
  • Optional weekly process field, peer-led study and discussion group 
  • Office hours with Program Director, Rahshaana Green 
  • Group supervision hours with Dr. Joe Loizzo

Program Requirements

Outside of class, students are expected to maintain a daily meditation practice based on the curriculum, and read required texts. Students work on a capstone project throughout the year.

Continuing Education Credits

24 Continuing Education Credits (CEs) are available. See below for more Information.


$3,400 per year. Tuition does not include accommodations for retreats. 
Financial aid available for those who qualify (see application)


Deadline: August 1, 2024

Continuing Education Credits

12 Continuing Education Credits (CEs) are available per retreat (fall and spring) for The Certificate Program in Embodied Wisdom 2024–2025.

Information on Continuing Education Credit for Health Professionals:

  • CE credits for psychologists are provided by the Spiritual Competency Academy (SCA) which is co-sponsoring this program. The Spiritual Competency Academy is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Spiritual Competency Academy maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
  • The California Board of Behavioral Sciences accepts CE credits for LCSW, LPCC, LEP, and LMFT license renewal for programs offered by approved sponsors of CE by the American Psychological Association.
  • LCSW, LPCC, LEP, and LMFTs, and other mental health professionals from states other than California need to check with their state licensing board as to whether or not they accept programs offered by approved sponsors of CE by the American Psychological Association.
  • SCA is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN Provider CEP16887) for licensed nurses in California. RNs must retain their certificate of attendance for 4 years after the course concludes.

Learning Objectives for fall retreat

At the end of the program, participants will be better able to:

  • Describe the nature and role of the mentoring bond in the Unexcelled Yoga Tantras
  • Describe the three cognitive-emotional capacities that are preliminaries required for Tantric practice. 
  • Describe the nature and impact of the creation stage in the Unexcelled Yoga Tantras
  • Understand and explain the role-modeling practice of mentor-archetype yoga
  • Describe the nature and impact of the perfection stage in the Unexcelled Yoga Tantras
  • Describe the nature and uses of the subtle body map of the mind and central nervous system
  • Describe the nature and practice of transforming poisons to medicines in the unexcelled tantra
  • Describe the practice of Nejang self-massage yoga and Tsalung breath-control yoga

Learning Objectives for spring retreat

At the end of the program, participants will be better able to

  • Understand and practice the use of vase breathing to kindle the state of mixed autonomic arousal called Inner Fire (Tummo)
  • Describe the logic and practice of using inner fire yoga for sublimating stress energy and chemistry and self-regulating flow states
  • Understand and explain the use of Tantric flow states to support healing insight and transformation of traumatic memories and embodied stress-reactivity
  • Recognize how the bottom-up practices of completion stage yoga can be safely integrated into trauma-informed embodied therapies 
  • Describe the practice of dissolution and its application to clarifying intuition through the yogas of deep sleep and sexual intimacy 
  • Explain the practice of emergence and its application to tapping and harnessing positive affect through dream yoga and the yoga of dreamlike embodiment
  • Describe the great perfection/mahamudra/ati-yoga practice of integrating clear light intuition and altruistic embodiment

Core Faculty

Joe Loizzo

Joe Loizzo, MD, PhD is a Harvard-trained contemplative psychotherapist, Buddhist scholar, and author with over four decades experience integrating Indo-Tibetan mind science and healing arts into modern neuropsychology, psychotherapy, and clinical research. He is founder and academic director of the Nalanda Institute, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College, and a clinician in private practice in Manhattan. Joe is the author of numerous scholarly review articles on contemplative neuropsychiatry and psychotherapy. He is the author of the comprehensive textbook, Sustainable Happiness: The Mind Science Of Well-Being, Altruism, and Inspiration. He is executive editor of Advances in Contemplative Psychotherapy: Accelerating Healing and Transformation, a groundbreaking collection of essays by pioneers of the fast-emerging and highly promising new field of contemplative psychotherapy.

Pilar Jennings

Pilar Jennings, PhD, is a psychoanalyst focused on the clinical applications of Buddhist meditation who has been working with patients and their families through the Harlem Family Institute since 2004. She was awarded her PhD in Psychiatry and Religion from Union Theological Seminary, a Masters in medical anthropology from Columbia University, and a Bachelors in interdisciplinary writing from Barnard College of Columbia University. Dr. Jennings is the author of Mixing Minds: The Power of Relationship in Psychoanalysis and Buddhism and To Heal a Wounded Heart: The Transformative Power of Buddhism and Psychotherapy in Action. Currently, she is a researcher at the Columbia University Center for Study of Science and Religion and Co-chair of the Columbia Faculty Seminar on the Memory and Savery, where she explores the intergenerational transmission of trauma.

Rahshaana Green

Rahshaana Green, MBA, PMP, RYT, is the Director of the Live Learning Contemplative Psychotherapy Program. She is a coach and business consultant with expertise in Business Development, Marketing, and Strategy in Healthcare and Science. She is also a yoga/meditation teacher specialized in working with injured, aging, and perinatal clients. Green received her BA in Biophysical Chemistry from Dartmouth College, her MBA from University of Texas-Austin, and her foundational yoga training with Ana Forrest. She teaches mindfulness and compassion through meditation and yoga to corporate, group, and private clients and is passionate about empowering others to cultivate well-being and resilience.

Chantelle Brown, MSW, LMSW, is a meditation teacher, graduate of Nalanda Institute’s Contemplative Psychotherapy Program, and a clinical social worker at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Chantelle received her MSW from the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College and holds a post-graduate certification in Couple and Family Therapy from the Ackerman Institute for the Family. Chantelle is a cultural worker and relational therapist working at the intersection of social justice and clinical practice utilizing contemplative methods for personal and collective transformation. Her work revolves around her commitment to providing culturally attuned, trauma-informed care to patients and families while advocating for health equity within medical systems. Chantelle has a special interest in taking an integrative approach to addressing intergenerational trauma of those who have survived the Middle Passage and beyond. She currently lives in Brooklyn, with her family, where she was born and raised.

James H. Bae, DACM, L.Ac is a doctor of Chinese medicine, author and independent researcher. Dr. Bae’s therapeutic background includes the study of traditional Chinese, Japanese, Ayurvedic and Tibetan medicine. He is authorized to teach Tibetan yoga in various traditional Buddhist lineages. James leads retreats in the U.S and internationally, with a focus on the inner yogas, such as Tummo and Tsalung Trulkhor. He also specializes in the adaptation of these subtle body practices in somatic, movement-based disciplines and Mindbody, trauma-informed therapies.

Geri Loizzo

Geri Loizzo is Nalanda Institute’s Director of Programming. She is also a meditation faculty member and has served on the Institute’s board of directors since 2007. She’s had a regular practice of Hatha Yoga since 1982 and since 2006 has studied with Nalanda Institute Yoga Faculty, Mary Reilly Nichols. In addition, Loizzo has been studying and practicing Tibetan meditation since 1999, and has been leading weekly morning meditations at the Institute since 2011. Her mentors include Khyabje Gelek Rimpoche, Venerable Robina Courtin, and Kathleen McDonald.

Frequently Asked Questions

I see this program is part of the Contemplative Psychotherapy Program (CPP). Can you say more about this program?

CPP is a three year program consisting of three courses: Certificate Program in Mindful Insight and Care, Certificate Program in Wise Compassion, and the Certificate Program in Embodied Wisdom. Participants may take any combination of these courses and certificates are awarded for each course separately.

Is it best to start with the Mindful, Compassion, or Embodied course? 
The Certificate Program in Mindful Insight and Certificate Program in Wise Compassion build complementary meditative and philosophical practices, and for some people the best entry is through compassion, for others it’s mindfulness. The Certificate Program in Embodied Wisdom requires a level of understanding and practice of mindful self-care, universal compassion, and the wisdom of selflessness/emptiness. Entry into all programs is determined on an individual basis, based on the applicant’s experience and exposure to meditative traditions. If you have any questions about whether this program is right for you we encourage you to reach out to the program director listed above.

Are there ways that the courses are differentiated other than the subject matter? 
The courses are differentiated by subject matter, meditation practices, as well as faculty. The structure of the classes is the same in both. 

What is the practice field? 
The practice field is a weekly online video conference conducted by students, to discuss the integration and application of meditation in one’s daily life. Alumni are also invited to participate in the practice field. This conference was originally created by a program graduate and learning consultant. 

Is there an opportunity for supervision and peer support? 
A supervision group which meets once monthly, provides feedback and peer support for confidential case studies with clients. This group is facilitated by Dr. Loizzo and the program director.

Can you say something about the capstone projects? 
Capstone projects are a vital component of the program allowing students to integrate their coursework in meaningful ways — personal or professional. Guidelines for the projects are deliberately open and students work on their projects throughout the year. The projects reflect the diverse professional backgrounds of our students and take on many forms. They range from the academic to the creative. Past projects have incorporated clinical applications such as anxiety and eating disorders or have focused on specific population groups such as incarcerated youth. Many projects integrate mindfulness and/or compassion practice. We’ve seen theoretical papers, personal integration papers, websites offering information and tools about meditation, recordings for patients, and a variety of creative/artistic presentations of the material.

I understand that video and audio recordings are made of all of the classes and retreats. How are those made available and are they included in my tuition? Will I have access to those recordings after the year is over? 
Audio and video of all the lectures, as well as most of the assigned readings, are posted on our secure and private website. You will have access to the site after the initial retreat and this access continues for one year from the date of graduation from the course. 

Is there homework? What would a typical homework assignment involve?
There are weekly readings—usually around 30 pages-assigned each week. Assignments include submitting a capstone proposal, status report, and summary throughout the year; meditation teach-backs (in which you lead a meditation for one person or a small group), as well as brief reflection papers on the teach-backs (two reflections per year). 

How many hours outside of the classroom should I expect to put in? 
That’s really up to you! Generally, participants spend about 1–2 hours per week with readings/ material, as well as their daily meditation practice commitment-which is individually determined. 

One of the program’s learning modes is “group practice and process.” Can you say a bit more about that? 
Each week our class begins with meditation practice for approximately 20-25 minutes. This is an integral part of the program that enables students to learn the various meditation practices. As a group, we discuss the meditation practices and explore any questions or concerns that come up as a way to deepen our learning and understanding. Additionally, we provide time for smaller breakout groups that provide more time for students to share their experience and engage with the material.

Another of the program’s learning modes is a “daily personal practice of meditation.” Do I need to be an experienced meditator to be in the program? 
Daily meditation practice is a cornerstone of the program that we encourage and support. We recommend that participants have a basic meditation practice upon entering into the program, but one does not have to be highly experienced. The program offers support to those seeking to develop a daily practice. 

Does it matter what meditation tradition that I follow? 
Absolutely not. The diversity of our students’ practices enriches us all. We have participants coming from many different meditation traditions, and strongly encourage students to maintain their practice and tradition while complementing it with the meditation practices of the program.

What is the application process?
Admissions are on a rolling basis. Prospective students are encouraged to apply early as the class does fill up.