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).
Kristen Rae Stevens, AyP, MS ’23, is a nationally certified Ayurvedic Practitioner/Yoga Therapist and Movement Specialist. She has served as faculty at Columbia College, Barnard College, Kripalu School of Ayurveda and multiple esteemed programs of yoga and mind-body exploration throughout NYC for the past 20 + years. Working with a wide array of specialty populations and subjects she supported the caregiving team of Primary Care Physicians at Mount Sinai Medical Hospital and the Students for Integrative Medicine as well as the Palliative Care Nursing staff and is currently supporting patients with Parkinson’s and Veterans in the Capital District.
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.
Pooja Amy Shah, MD, is a practicing dual Board Certified Integrative and Family Medicine physician, who is also licensed in medical acupuncture. She has trained at Harvard University’s Benson Henry Institute for Mind-Body Medicine, completed the two-year program in Contemplative Psychotherapy at the Nalanda Institute, and studied at Kopan Monastery in Nepal. Pooja has studied yoga since medical school and is currently completing Kula Yoga Project’s 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training. She has a private integrative medicine practice, in Midtown New York City, focused on the holistic healing of chronic illnesses and pain using a discerning blend of Eastern medical traditions and standard Western allopathic care. She is also an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Columbia University / New York-Presbyterian Hospital where she serves as Director of Integrative Medicine and teaches residents and medical students.
Sabene Selassie, MA, is a meditation teacher and transformational coach. She is a graduate of the Community Dharma Leader Program at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and a New York Insight. She is a past Executive Director of New York Insight Meditation Center and serves on the board of the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies. For over 20 years she has worked with children, youth, and families nationally and internationally for small and large not–for–profits; her work has taken her from the Tenderloin in San Francisco to refugee camps in Guinea, West Africa. Selassie has worked as a consultant combining social change leadership and mindfulness practices including building inclusive communities, leading social action arts workshops, and teaching meditation.