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.
Vanessa Kelly, JD, LLM is a graduate of the Nalanda Institute Contemplative Psychotherapy Program and is a member of Nalanda Institute’s equity leadership team and the meditation faculty. Vanessa is a Buddhist meditation teacher trained in the Insight tradition. She completed her meditation teacher training with Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield. Vanessa is also an Awake in the Wild contemplative nature practices teacher, a Level 1 and 2 Kripalu Mindful Outdoor Guide, and is certified in wilderness first-aid and as a Leave No Trace trainer. She frequently offers meditation in corporate settings and at Nalanda Institute. Deaf from birth, Vanessa is a disability rights speaker and advocate working to ensure meditation and outdoor spaces are accessible for all abilities.
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.
Marianne Gunther, MPS, ATR-BC, LCAT, is a New York state licensed creative art psychotherapist in private practice in New York City. A long time student of the Dudjom Tersar lineage, Marianne has quietly brought mindful awareness and bodhisattva practice to her clinical work in a variety of settings; inpatient detoxification and psychiatric units, bereavement group facilitator at A Caring Hand: The Billy Esposito Foundation; and bereavement specialist for MJHS Hospice & Palliative Care. A recent graduate of the Nalanda Institute’s Contemplative Psychotherapy Program, Marianne received her B.F.A. from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Tufts University, Boston, her Masters in art therapy from Pratt Institute. Marianne welcomes you to refresh and renew your inner spaciousness with her during the lunch time meditation series.
Miles Bukiet, MSc, is a meditation teacher with a passion for interpersonal meditation as a way to increase emotional intelligence, and build coherence and psychological safety in individuals, teams, and families. He received his Masters of Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania where he focused his studies on the intersection of meditation and modern science. His many years of training includes two years at monasteries and practice centers in Asia, two years of solitary retreat under the guidance of Alan Wallace, PhD and Roshi Joan Halifax, PhD, and one year studying with Soryu Forall at the Monastic Academy in Lowell, Vermont. Bukiet creates programing to fit the needs of unique populations by drawing from various rich traditions.
Rachel Hammerman is an insight meditation teacher and career coach. She is a graduate of Nalanda Institute’s Contemplative Psychotherapy Program and is certified to teach Mindfulness by the International Mindfulness Teachers Association and the Mindfulness Training Institute. She is grateful to offer teachings, as she’s received them, from some of the leading meditation teachers in the West, including Joseph Goldstein, Sharon Salzberg, Tara Brach, Joe Loizzo, Robert Thurman and her dharma mentors, Oren Jay Sofer and Mark Coleman. Rachel participated in Stanford’s Compassion Cultivation Training and has a BA in Sociology from Tufts University. As a coach, Rachel synthesizes insight meditation with 15 years of strategic communications experience to help people set career direction, grow their business, and cultivate relationships with ease.
Nina Herzog, BA, MA, MFA is a graduate of the Nalanda Institute Contemplative Psychotherapy Program. She is a consultant and trainer on harm reduction, trauma-informed care, LGBTQI cultural competency and evidence-based practices for housing providers, foundations, and universities. She provides psychotherapy through the Gestalt Center for Psychoanalysis and Training clinic. Nina has a BA in political science from Barnard College, an MA in urban planning from New York University, and an MFA in writing from Sarah Lawrence College. Nina’s teachers include Sharon Salzberg, Pilar Jennings, Tara Brach, and Joe Loizzo. Her dharma mentor is Sebene Selassie.
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.
Scott Tusa is a Buddhist teacher based in Brooklyn. He teaches meditation and Buddhist psychology nationally in both group and one-to-one settings, and supports Tsoknyi Rinpoche’s Pundarika Sangha as a practice advisor. He trained in Buddhist philosophy and meditation with some of the greatest living masters since his early twenties, including Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Tsoknyi Rinpoche, and Tulku Sangag Rinpoche. Ordained by His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, he spent nine years as a Buddhist monk, with much of that time engaged in solitary meditation retreat and study in the United States, India, and Nepal.
Tazuko Shibusawa, LCSW, PhD, is Associate Professor at the New York University Silver School of Social Work and previously served as the Associate Dean and Director of the MSW Program. Tazuko received her LCSW and PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles and completed post-graduate training in family therapy, psychoanalytically-oriented psychotherapy, and trauma studies. She is a graduate of Nalanda Institute’s Contemplative Psychotherapy program. Tazuko’s research, which has been funded by the National Institute of Drug Abuse and the John A. Hartford Foundation Geriatric Social Work Faculty Scholars Program, focuses on the health and mental health of older adults and their families, elder abuse and mistreatment, and clinical practice with Asian and Asian immigrants.