Alexa Owen, C-IAYT, graduated from the Contemplative Psychotherapy Program at Nalanda Institute, where she also completed her teacher training in Compassion-Based Resilience Training and continues studies in embodiment and psychosocial change through courses and affinity group work. She has delivered workshops on wellness and contemplative science at libraries, high schools, and universities; created mindfulness training content for values-driven organizations; and guided meditation through her work with the Anti-Racism Planning Group at Smith College School for Social Work, where she is currently working toward her MSW. A certified yoga therapist and inspired student of social science, she is passionate about supporting people in fully embodying their lives through self-awareness, compassion, and flourishing in their intra- and interpersonal relationships.
Sheryl Petty, Ed.D. is an equity & systems change consultant and has worked and taught in the fields of education, organizational development, healing, and systems change for nearly 30 years. She also teaches and is ordained in Yoruba/Lucumi & Tibetan Buddhist (Nyingma) lineages, which she has practiced since 1996. She holds degrees in Mathematics, Systematic & Philosophical Theology, a doctorate in Leadership & Change, is a certified yoga asana instructor, and is authorized to share practices based in Bön Buddhist Dzogchen. Sheryl partners with institutional clients with significant national and global footprints via her consulting firm Movement Tapestries, providing Deep Equity, Organizational Transformation & Systems Change support. She also supports the integration of equity & contemplative practice in institution-wide and field-level change. Her work aids systems to function in more rigorous, courageous, loving and healthy ways for the benefit of all. She also helps build and strengthen the field of equity & organizational transformation practitioners, which contributes to the healing of organizations and systems as far and wide as possible.
Jesse Westfall, LMFT, MS, received her master’s degree in psychology from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and was certified in EMDR by the EMDR International Association (EMDRIA). Jesse has a private practice in Oakland, CA where she employs and supervises associate therapists, provides individual and group consultation for EMDR clinicians, and provides psychotherapy for individuals with childhood, recent traumatic experiences, sexual trauma, and more. Jesse is passionate about empowering other clinicians and providers in order to support those in need to receive the support they need and deserve.
Jan Willis, (BA and MA in Philosophy from Cornell University; PhD in Indic and Buddhist Studies from Columbia University) is currently Professor of Religion Emerita at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut and Visiting Professor of Religion at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, GA. She has studied with Tibetan Buddhists in India, Nepal, Switzerland and the U.S. for five decades, and has taught courses in Buddhism for over forty-five years. She is the author of The Diamond Light: An Introduction to Tibetan Buddhist Meditation (1972), On Knowing Reality: The Tattvartha Chapter of Asanga’s Bodhisattvabhumi (1979), Enlightened Beings: Life Stories from the Ganden Oral Tradition (1995); and the editor of Feminine Ground: Essays on Women and Tibet (1989). Additionally, Willis has published numerous articles and essays on various topics in Buddhism—Buddhist meditation, hagiography, women and Buddhism, and Buddhism and race. In 2001, her memoir, Dreaming Me: An African American Woman’s Spiritual Journey was published. It was re-issued in 2008 by Wisdom Publications as Dreaming Me: Black, Baptist, and Buddhist—One Woman’s Spiritual Journey).
In December of 2000, TIME magazine named Willis one of six “spiritual innovators for the new millennium.” In 2003, she was a recipient of Wesleyan University’s Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching. Newsweek magazine’s “Spirituality in America” issue in 2005 included a profile of Willis and, in its May 2007 edition, Ebony magazine named Willis one of its “Power 150” most influential African Americans. In April of 2020, her latest book, Dharma Matters: Women, Race and Tantra; Collected Essays by Jan Willis, was published.
Heather Shaw has been teaching yoga and other embodied contemplative practices since 2001. A student of Tibetan Buddhist and Vipassana meditation, as well as contemplative psychology, Heather’s path began in the Shambhala lineage through her work at OM yoga center, where she met her longtime friend and meditation teacher, Buddhist author Ethan Nichtern. At home in Portland, OR, she sits regularly with the Presence Collective, a community dedicated to personal transformation, social justice and collective liberation and co-facilitates a social meditation group that focuses on the practice of mindful communication. In 2018, Heather completed a certificate in Nalanda Institute’s Contemplative Psychotherapy Program, with a capstone focus on creating mindfulness-based curriculum for grades K-8. In addition to teaching yoga, she works with people of all ages as a meditation instructor, contemplative coach and mentor.
Joaquim Soler Ribaudi, PhD, is a senior clinical psychologist working in the Borderline Personality Unit in the psychiatric department of the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau in Barcelona. He is also Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Forensic Medicine at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. He has been trained as a DBT and MBCT therapist. He has collaborated and led several public financed projects on Borderline Personality Disorders (BPD) targeting assessment, genetics and psychological and pharmacological treatments. He has published more than 80 indexed papers related to depression, BPD and mindfulness. In this two latest topics Dr. Soler has assessed the benefits of DBT Mindfulness training for people with BPD in core symptoms such impulsivity and emotional regulation. Dr. Soler is also a researcher in the Center of Research in Mental Heath Network. He was also a principal investigator of the mindfulness group in the Excellence Network for the Dissemination of Psychological Treatments for Mental Health Promotion in Spain. He has been consultant and board member of the European Society for the Study of Personality Disorders (ESSPD), member of the task force in personality disorders of the World Federation of Societies of Biological Psychiatry (WFSBP), member of the de la International DBT Strategic Planning Group (IDSPG) and has been cofounder and president of the Spanish DBT Society.
Sensei Koshin Paley Ellison, MFA, LMSW, DMIN, is an author, Zen teacher, Jungian psychotherapist, and Certified Chaplaincy Educator. Koshin co-founded the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care. He is on the faculty of the University of Arizona Medical School’s Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine’s Integrative Medicine Fellowship and on Faculty of the Integrative Medicine Fellowship of the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine. He is the author of Wholehearted: Slow Down, Help Out, Wake Up (Wisdom Publications, 2019) as well as the co-editor of Awake at the Bedside: Contemplative Teachings on Palliative and End of Life Care (Wisdom Publications, 2016).
Jasmine Syedullah, PhD, is a black feminist political theorist of abolition, as well as co-author of Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation (North Atlantic Books, 2016). She holds the first Assistant Professor line in Vassar College’s Africana Studies Program, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Her current book project is a political theory of fugitive slave mother Harriet Jacobs’s prophetic witness and writings. Before joining the faculty at Vassar, Syedullah taught at the University of San Francisco and the University of California Santa Cruz where she completed her PhD in Politics with a designated emphasis in Feminist Studies and History of Consciousness. Out in the world and across the country Jasmine is core member of the Radical Dharma Team bringing practices of personal transformation to embodied approaches to social justice and collective liberation from racial injustice and white supremacy to a wide range of communities, centers, and campuses.
Anthony V. Zampella, MS, is a Zen practitioner, leadership coach and educator who researches adult learning and leadership development and leads the “practice field” he founded in our Contemplative Psychotherapy Program to facilitate contemplative learning and practice. He received his B.A. in Sociology from U.C. San Diego, M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University, and M.S. in Organizational Leadership from Mercy College, where he went on to direct the program as full-time faculty from 2000–2005. A graduate of our Contemplative Psychotherapy Program, he currently teaches at Rutgers University Business School. Tony’s blog, Learning Curve, explores learning and leadership, and he serves on the Editorial Board of “The Philosophy of Coaching, an International Journal.” His research on listening has been cited by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), and he is one of 40 international coaches contributing to the Routledge textbook: Complex situations in coaching: A critical case-based approach (forthcoming 2018).
Lama Rod Owens is considered one of the emerging leaders of his generation of Buddhist teachers. An author, activist, and teacher, he is the co-founder of Bhumisparsha, a Buddhist tantric practice community as well as a visiting teacher with several Buddhist centers including the Natural Dharma Fellowship and the Brooklyn Zen Center. A graduate of Harvard Divinity School, Lama Rod has also been a guest faculty member at the Harvard School of Education’s program Mindfulness for Educators. He has been a regular guest on SiriusXM’s Urban View hosted by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Karen Hunter. He is also a co-author of Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation and his next book project exploring transformative anger and rage is due out Fall 2019. Lama Rod can be reached at lamarod.com.