Elazar Aslan, MBA, CPC, is an executive advisor able to integrate his successful career as an executive and an entrepreneur with his own contemplative practice to provide sustainable solutions to clients inspired by the neuroscience and wisdom behind mindfulness. He received his B.S. in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, where he also completed his M.B.A. at the Wharton School. Elazar also has CPC certification from the International Coaching Federation and is a Certified Energy Leadership Practitioner from the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching. Additionally, he has 15 years experience as an executive in Fortune 100 companies, 10 years experience as an entrepreneur growing a strategic marketing agency to $86MM in capitalized billings, and has been a certified professional coach for 10 years. Current projects include being founder of A Day of Kindness in Philadelphia, President of the Tibetan Buddhist Center of Philadelphia, and a NICS board member.
Tara Brach, PhD, is a psychologist, author, and meditation teacher. She received her doctorate in clinical psychology from the Fielding Graduate University and wrote her dissertation on an analysis of the effectiveness of meditation in the healing of eating disorders. A guiding teacher and founder of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, D.C., she is also a co-founder of the Meditation Teacher Training Institute (Washington, D.C.). She is the author Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha, and True Refuge: Finding Peace & Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart. Dr. Brach’s teachings focus on the application of Buddhist teachings to emotional healing.
Fiona Brandon, MPS, MA, MFT, is the Director of the Nalanda Institute’s Compassion Based Resilience Training (CBRT) and Embodied Psychotherapy programs. As a licensed psychotherapist, she integrates Buddhist psychology, depth psychology, expressive arts therapy, dream imagery, and sensorimotor psychotherapy in her work with adults and couples. Fiona is also a co-editor and contributor of the anthology Advances in Contemplative Psychotherapy: Accelerating Healing and Transformation (2nd ed.). As a graduate of the Masters program in Counseling Psychology from the Pacifica Graduate Institute, Fiona’s research focused on the meditative practice of Authentic Movement and the use of symbols and dream imagery in psychotherapy. Learn more at fionabrandon.com.
Chantelle Brown, MSW, LMSW is 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.
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.
Javier García Campayo is a psychiatrist and psychotherapist. He trained at the Hospital Clínico in Zaragoza, Spain, and at the Universities of Manchester and Cambridge, United Kingdom, and McGill, Montreal, Canada. He is currently Professor in Psychiatry at the University of Zaragoza. He has been chairman of the Spanish Society of Psychosomatic Medicine. He is a visiting lecturer at universities in Spain (UNED, Alcalá de Henares, Basque Country) and abroad (Rochester in the USA and Sao Paulo in Brazil). He has written more than 200 scientific articles, a number of books and chapters in books, and takes part in the main Spanish and international scientific conferences on mental health and psychotherapy. García Campayo leads the Master of Mindfulness at the University of Zaragoza, the first in any Spanish-speaking university. He has published books such as “Mindfulness y ciencia”, “La ciencia de la compasión” y “Mindfulness y educación”, with Alianza Editorial, “¿Qué sabemos de mindfulness?” y “El Guerrero Atento” with Editorial Kairós and “Nuevo Manual Práctico de Mindfulness” y “Mindfulness y compasión” with Editorial Siglantana. Every two years, he organizes the International Meeting on Mindfulness in Zaragoza with over 500 participants.
Ann Harper Campbell, MSN, MPH, NP, CYT, is a Nurse Practitioner in occupational health at The Rockefeller University, where she specializes in mindfulness-based approaches to wellness. Ann has been involved in contemplative practice for over 20 years, including as a Certified Yoga Teacher and a graduate of the Nalanda Institute Contemplative Psychotherapy Program. In addition to her clinical practice at Rockefeller integrating mindfulness as a fundamental pillar of wellness, she explores research areas including stress, mindfulness and gene expression within the Pathways to Awareness research group she founded with the late Bruce McEwan. A 2019–2020 Nalanda Institute Fellow in contemplative science research, Ann has a particular interest in the stress effects of racism and how we can counter racism as a public health challenge that impacts us all. Contact: email@example.com
Dr. Nida Chenagtsang was born in Amdo, in Eastern Tibet, and studied Tibetan Medicine at Lhasa Tibetan Medical University. His extensive research, publication and teaching on the spiritual healthcare system of Tibetan Medicine, the Yuthog Nyinthig Vajrayana tradition, has sparked a revival of interest in its rigorous contemplative approach to embodied mental and spiritual well-being. Dr. Nida is the Co-Founder and Medical Director of Sorig Khang International and Co-Founder of the International Ngakmang Institute, established to preserve and maintain the Rebkong Ngakpa yogic culture within modern Tibetan society. Fluent in English and now living in Rome, Dr. Nida trains students in Sowa Rigpa and the Yuthok Nyingthig spiritual tradition in over 40 countries around the world.
Gina de la Chesnaye, MPH in Global Public Health is the Mindfulness Course Instructor for the Surgical Residency Physician Assistant at Yale Medical School / Norwalk Hospital and is the Founder and Director of The Nachan Project which serves the Karamojong women and children of the Katwe slums in Kampala, Uganda and offers Mindfulness and Trauma Management Trainings to social workers, street counsellors, trauma therapists and caregivers throughout East Africa.
Gina is also a core faculty member of Second Response which tends to the emotional and psychological needs of people exposed to trauma, providing body-centered methods to relieve the harmful effects of stress, distress and trauma. She has served as key faculty for The Lineage Project, bringing mindfulness based practices to youth in residential incarceration sites, detention centers, homeless shelters and suspension schools for more than a decade.
Jangchup Choeden Rimpoche is former Abbot of the Ganden Shartse Norling University in South India. He was awarded the Geshe Lharampa doctoral degree in 1997, and subsequently attended Gyuto Tantric University until assuming his post as Abbot in 2009. In 2017 he was appointed Executive Director of the International Geluk Foundation by H. H. the Dalai Lama, charged with fostering the global spread of the Nalanda tradition in our age. Rinpoche is fluent in English as well as five other languages including Mandarin and is often Referred to as the “21st Century Monk” because of his understanding of global issues.
Seiso Paul Cooper, PhD, LP is a licensed and nationally certified psychoanalyst; Ordained Soto Zen Priest and transmitted teacher in the Soto Zen School. He is a member of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association and the American Zen Teachers Association. He is the Co-founder and Guiding Teacher: Two Rivers Zen On-line Community; Founder, Realizational Practice Studies Group offering a monthly on-line study group on Psychoanalysis and Buddhism. He is the former Dean of Training, National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis; Faculty, training analyst, supervisor: Institute for Expressive Analysis; Visiting faculty, California Institute of Integral Studies. Cooper maintains a private psychoanalytic psychotherapy and supervision practice in Montpelier, Vermont. He has presented his work on Buddhism & Psychoanalysis internationally. He currently organizes, facilitates, and leads silent retreats in the formal Soto Zen style especially tailored for mental health professionals both at retreat centers and online.
Robina Courtin. Since being ordained as a Buddhist nun in the late 1970s at Kopan Monastery in the Kathmandu valley, Ven. Robina has worked full-time for her teachers Lama Thubten Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche and their worldwide network of Buddhist activities, the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition. Over the years she has served as editorial director of Wisdom Publications, editor of Mandala magazine, executive director of Liberation Prison Project, and as a touring teacher of Buddhism. Her life, including her work with prisoners, has been featured in the documentary films Chasing Buddha and Key to Freedom.
Richard Davidson, PhD, is a neuroscientist and received his doctorate from Harvard University. He is professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, as well as Founder and Director of the Center for Healthy Minds. Dr. Davidson has published hundreds of scientific papers and is the author of The Emotional Life of Your Brain and Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body (co-written with Daniel Goleman). Best known for his groundbreaking work studying emotion and the brain, his current research is broadly focused on the neural bases of emotion and emotional style as well as methods to promote human flourishing, including meditation and related contemplative practices.
Marcelo Demarzo, MD, PhD is a family doctor specializing in mindfulness and health promotion for adults and children. He is an Associate Professor (Senior Lecturer) of the Department of Preventive Medicine in the Escola Paulista de Medicina, UNIFESP. He graduated from FMRP-USP (Ribeirão Preto Medical School, University of Sao Paulo) in 2000, was awarded a PhD in Pathology at USP in 2005, and Post-Doctor in Mindfulness and Mental Health at the University of Zaragoza, Spain in 2012–2013. Dr. Demarzo is a specialist in Family and Community Medicine, and in Sports Medicine and Exercise. He is a Permanent Advisor in the Master’s Program and Doctorate in Population Health of UNIFESP, a Senior Fellow of the International Primary Care Research Leadership Program (Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford) since 2012, and a Senior Fellow of the International Complementary & Integrative Medicine Research Leadership and Capacity Building Program (Australian Research Centre for Complementary and Integrative Medicine (ARCCIM)) since 2020. In addition, he is the Coordinator of the Mente aberta (“Open Mind”), Brazilian Center for Mindfulness and Health Promotion, Coordinator of the Master in Mindfulness of UNIFESP, an Honorary member of the Advisory Board Committee of the ACCESS MBCT, and a member of the International Behavioral Neuroscience Society and a Medical Member of the Brazilian College of Lifestyle Medicine.
Dan Donohue, BS, MA, is Nalanda Institute’s Executive Director. He received his BS from Rutgers University and his MA in International Affairs from the New School. He brings with him over 17 years of senior management experience in educational media and technology. At both BrainPOP, a leading K12 educational technology company, and Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit behind Sesame Street, Dan oversaw the development of programs that have reached millions of children in the U.S. and abroad. Prior to this work, Dan managed relief efforts in South Sudan for the humanitarian organization Action Against Hunger, was a teacher in the Peace Corps, and worked on documentaries, movies and commercials. Grounding his life and work is a meditation practice; the 10 past years of which have been with the Mountains and Rivers Order of Zen Buddhism.
Abby Eletz, LMSW is a graduate of Nalanda Institute’s Contemplative Psychotherapy Program and holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work. She has over fifteen years of experience exploring contemplative mind-body traditions. Her current work as a psychotherapist at the Fifth Avenue Counseling Center revolves around the integration of contemplative and somatic practices within a clinical therapeutic setting. Abby is also a teacher of the Mindful Self-Compassion curriculum in New York City.
Mark Epstein, MD, is a Harvard-trained psychiatrist in private practice in New York City. He is currently a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis at New York University. He is a contributing editor to Tricycle and the author of numerous books that integrate Buddhism and psychotherapy, especially in relation to trauma. His books include Thoughts Without a Thinker: Psychotherapy from a Buddhist Perspective (Basic Books,1995), Going on Being: Life at the Crossroads of Buddhism and Psychotherapy (Wisdom, 2008), Psychotherapy Without the Self: A Buddhist Perspective (Yale University Press, 2008), and Advice Not Given: A Guide to Getting Over Yourself (Penguin, 2018).
Janina Fisher, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist and a former instructor, Harvard Medical School. An international expert on the treatment of trauma, she is an Advisory Board member of the Trauma Research Foundation. Dr. Fisher is the author of Healing the Fragmented Selves of Trauma Survivors: Overcoming Self-Alienation (2017), Transforming the Living Legacy of Trauma: a Workbook for Survivors and Therapists (2021), and The Living Legacy Instructional Flip Chart (2022). She is best known for her work on integrating mindfulness-based and somatic interventions into trauma treatment. More information can be found on her website: janinafisher.com.
Diana Fosha, PhD, is a psychologist and received her doctorate from the City College of the City University of New York. She developed Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP), a healing-based, transformation-oriented model of psychotherapeutic treatment and is also the Founder and Director of the AEDP Institute. She is the author of The Transforming Power of Affect: A Model for Accelerated Change (Basic Books, 2000), and is also senior editor, with Daniel Siegel and Marion Solomon of The Healing Power of Emotion: Affective Neuroscience, Development & Clinical Practice (Norton, 2009). Dr. Fosha’s work on healing transformational processes focuses on integrating neuroplasticity, recognition science, and developmental dyadic research into experiential clinical process work with patients.
Paul R. Fulton, EdD, is a clinical psychologist who also is the course director of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy’s year-long Certificate Program in Mindfulness and Psychotherapy, a lecturer in Psychology at the Department of Psychiatry of Harvard Medical School at Cambridge Health Alliance, and Board member/co-founder of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy. He received his doctorate in comparative human development from Harvard University. Dr. Fulton is interested in investigating and training mental health professionals in the application of principles of Buddhist psychology in psychotherapy.
Christopher Germer, PhD, is a clinical psychologist, a lecturer on psychiatry (part-time) at Harvard Medical School, and travels extensively leading workshops on mindfulness and self-compassion. He received his doctorate in clinical psychology from Temple University. Dr. Germer is the author of The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion and co-editor of Mindfulness and Psychotherapy, and Wisdom and Compassion in Psychotherapy. Currently, he is co-developer (with Kristin Neff) of the Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) training program and actively engaged in research and training teachers of MSC.
Soren Glassing is a Zen Buddhist monk, and Staff Chaplain at New York Presbyterian Columbia University Medical Center. He is the head chaplain on the Palliative Care team and works on the psychiatric unit. He has been practicing Zen since 1985 both in America (at Dai Bosatsu Zendo Kongo-ji) and in Japan (at Shogenji, Gifu-Ken) and was the head monk and co-director of the Zen Studies Society in New York City under the name Seigan. He began training as a chaplain in 2008 with The New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care and completed his training as a resident chaplain at New York Presbyterian Hospital in 2012. Soren leads ongoing weekly meditation, spirituality, and various support groups throughout the hospital. He teaches spirituality in the healthcare setting to new medical students, mentors residents and fellows, and teaches clinicians ways to reduce stress and burnout on the job. For the past several years, Soren has presented 90-minute workshops and Personal Development Intensives at the Association for Professional Chaplain annual convention, and has taught webinars on Buddhism and the contemplative arts. He lives in New York City, and continues as a visual artist and bringing art into his chaplaincy.
Rahshaana Green, MBA, PMP, RYT, is a 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 is currently completing Nalanda Institute’s Compassion-Based Resilience Teacher Training and is the Co-Director the Contemplative Psychotherapy Program. She has taught mindfulness through meditation and yoga in corporate, group, and private settings and is passionate about empowering others to cultivate well-being and resilience. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Joan Halifax, PhD, is a Buddhist teacher, Zen priest, anthropologist, and pioneer in the field of end-of-life care. She received her PhD in medical anthropology and has extensively lectured on the subject of death and dying. Roshi Halifax is the founder, abbot, and head teacher of Upaya Institute and Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is Director of the Project on Being with Dying, and Founder of the Upaya Prison Project that develops programs on meditation for prisoners. She is also the founder of the Nomads Clinic in Nepal. Her books include: The Human Encounter with Death (with Stanislav Grof), Simplicity in the Complex: A Buddhist Life in America, and Being with Dying: Cultivating Compassion and Wisdom in the Presence of Death.
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.
Diego Hangartner, PhD, PCC, is a clinical pharmacologist and certified coach (PCC), using neuroscientific, performance and clinical scientific insights, combining them to strengthen mental fitness and wellbeing. He spent many years at the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics in India, studying, translating and publishing several Tibetan works, and organized many large events with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Asia, Europe and the USA. Diego was COO of Mind and Life Institute in the US and co-founder and director of Mind and Life Institute in Europe until 2015. Today, he continues his research and teaching with the Max Planck Institute, The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zürich University of Applied Sciences, and is a lecturer at the Business School of the University St.Gallen. For more information: diegohangartner.org
Rick Hanson, PhD, is a psychologist, teacher, and New York Times best-selling author. Dr. Hanson is a co-founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom and is a Senior Fellow of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley. An authority on self-directed neuroplasticity, his books include Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom and Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence, and Just One Thing: Developing a Buddha Brain One Simple Practice at a Time.
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.
Reggie Hubbard, BA, MBA, is a leading activist, strategist, and teacher with experience in fields ranging from global marketing, digital and community organizing, government relations, international education and Presidential campaigning. Reggie holds a BA in Philosophy from Yale, and an international MBA from the Vlerick Business School in Belgium and is also a 500-hour certified yoga teacher and author of a thesis entitled, “Yoga and Spiritual Activism: Serving Humanity from a Sense of Devotion and Love.”
He teaches Members of Congress, Congressional Staff, leading progressive organizations and individuals, sharing techniques for growing peace and ease as a foundation, not an afterthought in his teaching practice, Active Peace Yoga. In July 2020, Reggie helped launch a grassroots campaign along with David Lipsius, Amy Ippoliti, Jack Kornfeld and Tara Brach called Buddhists and Yogins United in an effort to share information and inspire teachers to encourage active civic participation in the upcoming election and beyond.
Pilar Hurtado is a psychiatrist and psychotherapist; she holds Masters’ degrees in Addictive Behaviors, Clinical Mental Health, and Severe Mental Disorders, a Diploma in Mental Health in Political Violence and Catastrophes, and a postgraduate in Psychoneuroimmunology. Pilar has trained in Narrative Psychotherapy and EMDR. She has worked with people with addictive disorders deprived of liberty and in the Exil Center, caring for people who have experienced different types of human rights violations. She has collaborated with the Psychosocial Support Unit of Doctors Without Borders, supporting team members, and currently works in public health. She is a vipassana meditation practitioner and has trained in MBCT-MSR with Fernando Torrijos, in MBCT for OCD with Fabrizio Didonna, in Compassion Focused Psychotherapy (CFT) with Paul Gilbert and in the application of mindfulness in clinical practice with the Spanish Association of Mindfulness (AEMIND). She loves to integrate neuroscience, psychoneuroimmunology and psychotherapy in her work.
Katherine Jamieson is a graduate of the University of Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program, where she was an Iowa Arts Fellow. Her essays and articles have been published in The New York Times, Newsday, Ms. magazine, Narrative, and Orion, and anthologized in The Best Travel Writing series. She has taught writing and literature, in-person and online, at colleges and universities around the country. Katherine is a Buddhist and has practiced at Zen Mountain Monastery since 2000.
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.
Jonathan Kaplan, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist that serves as the director of the SoHo CBT + Mindfulness Center, which specializes in providing innovative cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness training for adults, teens, children, couples, and organizations. In 2000 he earned his doctoral degree from UCLA where he initially started practicing mindfulness and meditation. Recently, Dr. Kaplan was a contributing author of Becoming Mindful: Integrating Mindfulness into your Psychiatric Practice (2017). Dr. Kaplan is committed to studying and practicing Theravada Buddhism, while integrating it with modern life (e.g., parenting, city life, social justice, etc.).
Zoran Josipovic, PhD, is a research associate at the Cognitive Neurophysiology Lab, NYU Langone Medical Center, and adjunct assistant professor of Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience in the Department of Psychology at New York University. He has twice been awarded the Mind Science Foundation Award for research on consciousness. With his wife, Judith Blackstone, he is a director of Nonduality Institute, an independent center for the science and practice of nonduality. His research interest is the state of consciousness cultivated through contemplative practice, what these states can tell us about the nature of consciousness, and its relation to authentic subjectivity; and what relevance this may have for understanding global and local organization in the brain.
Lyla June Johnston is an Indigenous public speaker, artist, scholar and community organizer of Diné (Navajo), Tsétsêhéstâhese (Cheyenne) and European lineages from Taos, New Mexico. Her messages focus on Indigenous rights, supporting youth, traditional land stewardship practices and healing inter-generational and inter-cultural trauma. She blends undergraduate studies in human ecology at Stanford University, graduate work in Native American Pedagogy at the University of New Mexico, and the indigenous worldview she grew up with to inform her perspectives and solutions. Her internationally acclaimed presentations are conveyed through the medium of poetry, music and/or speech. She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks in Indigenous Studies with a focus on Indigenous Food Systems Revitalization.
Vanessa Kelly, JD, LLM is a graduate of the Nalanda Institute Contemplative Psychotherapy Program and is a member of Nalanda Institute’s Board of Directors, equity leadership team, and meditation faculty. Vanessa is a lawyer, disability advocate, speaker, and writer who offers disability-inclusive meditations. Deaf since birth, Vanessa serves in several disability-related leadership roles, speaks regularly at corporate and non-profit disability-related events, and has been featured on NPR and in other media publications. She is a certified teacher of mindfulness meditation, contemplative nature practices, and Kripalu yoga. Vanessa teaches meditation in corporate and Buddhist retreat environments. Vanessa is also a Mindful Outdoor Guide through the Kripalu School of Outdoor Leadership and a New York State volunteer Master Naturalist, Vanessa works to ensure meditation and outdoor spaces are accessible for all abilities and bodies.
Jacob Kyle, MSc, MA, is a yoga asana teacher, writer, philosophy educator and the Founder of Embodied Philosophy, an online educational platform for Eastern philosophies and practices. Kyle holds two Masters Degrees in Philosophy: an MSc in Political Philosophy from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and an MA in the History of Philosophy from the New School for Social Research. He studied Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis at the Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research in London. His ongoing studies in Western and Eastern philosophies have included the study of the Yoga Sutras with Edwin Bryant and Tantrik philosophy with Christopher Wallis. He was initiated into Neelakhanta Meditation and has since then been enrolled in Blue Throat Yoga programs under the tutelage of esteemed Kashmir Shaivism scholar Paul Muller-Ortega, studying the texts and practices of the Trika Kula lineage of Kashmir Shaivism. To augment his yoga teaching practice, Kyle has completed over seven hundred hours of training and workshops with many master teachers.
Vance Williams LaVelle, MBA, is a management consultant, executive coach, and CEO Managing Partner at Global Consulting Group. Her work aims to accelerate the achievement of business and personal goals while also enhancing leadership impact through executive coaching. LaVelle received her her MBA from Owen Graduate School of Management, Vanderbilt University. Her business management has been profiled in numerous print, web, and on-air features including Business Week, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. LaVelle couples her extensive senior executive experience in leadership, organizational, and strategy development with sustainable, mindfulness practices.
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.
Joseph (Joe) Loizzo, MD, PhD, 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 development. He is Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry in Integrative Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College, where he researches and teaches contemplative self-healing and optimal health. He has taught the philosophy of science and religion, the scientific study of contemplative states, and the Indo-Tibetan mind and health sciences at Columbia University, where he is Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Columbia Center for Buddhist Studies.
Dr. Kamilah Majied is a contemplative inclusivity and equity consultant, mental health therapist, clinical educator, and researcher. Drawing from her decades of contemplative practice and diversity, equity and inclusion leadership, Dr. Majied engages people in experiencing wonder, humor and insight through transforming oppressive patterns and deepening relationships towards ever-improving individual, organizational and communal wellness. After 15 years of teaching at Howard University, Dr. Majied joined the faculty at California State University, Monterey Bay as a Professor of Social Work. She teaches clinical practice to graduate students employing psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, mindfulness-based, and artistic approaches to well-being. She also teaches research methods, social and organizational policy analysis, and community organizing through a social justice lens.
Marco Mascarin, PhD, RP, is a contemplative psychotherapist who teaches, researches and writes about mindfulness-based clinical interventions and contemplative approaches to healing. His work is informed by over three decades of training with teachers from Indo-Tibetan Buddhist lineages and traditional healers from around the world. Marco teaches clinical applications of mindfulness in the Counseling Psychology program at the University of Toronto and also serves on campus as Buddhist Chaplain. He was Co-Director and core faculty for the Inter-professional Certificate in Applied Mindfulness Meditation presented at the Faculty of Social Work, UofT and McMaster University Medical Centre Faculty of Health Sciences. Marco is co-founder of the Institute of Traditional Medicine in Toronto and worked for many years as a documentary filmmaker, producing dozens of films for the CBC about contemporary visionaries. He is a clinical associate at the Mindfulness Clinic in Toronto.
Kristen McKee, LMSW, is a contemplative psychotherapist, yoga therapist, and meditation teacher with a deep interest in the teachings of emptiness and wisdom, particularly Mahamudra. She has a BA in anthropology from Johns Hopkins University and an MSW from New York University. McKee is a graduate of Nalanda Institute’s Contemplative Psychotherapy Program and has completed over 1000 hours of formal study on the integration of ancient spiritual principles and modern psychology. As a meditation teacher, she attunes to the social-emotional needs of students in order to create a safe and fulfilling learning environment. Through both psychotherapy and meditation instruction, she strives to empower individuals from within by encouraging them to view all of life’s experiences as opportunities for growth.
Megan Mook, MA, is a writer and meditation teacher. She conducts corporate seminars on emotional intelligence, writes about meditation, hosts immersive retreats, and is the head teacher of MNDFL Meditation in Brooklyn. She holds a Master’s degree in Buddhist Studies from the International Buddhist College in Thailand and has studied Tibetan scriptural translation with Robert Thurman and Lozang Jamspal of Columbia University. Over the last 15 years, Megan has immersed herself in the study of Buddhism by working closely with teachers in the Zen, Theravada, and Tibetan traditions.
Caverly Morgan is a meditation teacher, author, nonprofit leader, and visionary. She is the founder and Lead Contemplative of Peace in Schools—a nonprofit which created the nation’s first for-credit mindfulness class in public high schools. She is also the founder of Presence Collective, a community of cross-cultural contemplatives committed to personal and collective transformation, creating spaces for wisdom exchange and belonging. Caverly blends the original spirit of Zen with a modern nondual approach. Her practice began in 1995 and has included eight years of training in a silent Zen monastery. She has been teaching contemplative practice since 2001. She is the author of The Heart of Who We Are: Realizing Freedom Together and A Kid’s Book About Mindfulness.
Miles Neale, PsyD, is among the leading voices of the current generation of Buddhist teachers and a forerunner in the emerging field of contemplative psychotherapy. He is the co-developer of the Nalanda Institute’s Contemplative Psychotherapy Program. Miles is clinical instructor of psychology at Weill Cornell Medical College and a Buddhist psychotherapist in private practice with twenty years’ experience studying and integrating Buddhist psychology and meditation into psychotherapy. He is a co-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. He is also the author of the forthcoming Gradual Awakening: The Tibetan Buddhist Path of Becoming Fully Human.
Lobsang Tenzin Negi, PhD, is the co-founder and Director of the Emory-Tibet Partnership and a Professor of Practice in Emory University’s Department of Religion. Dr. Negi received his doctorate from Emory and a Geshe Lharampa degree (the Tibetan Buddhist equivalent of a PhD), from Drepung Loseling Monastery in south India. He is also the founder and spiritual director of Drepung Loseling Monastery, in Atlanta. Geshe Negi also developed Cognitively-Based Compassion Training (CBCT), a systematic and secular compassion training based on traditional Tibetan Buddhist mind training. CBCT is currently utilized in a number of research studies, including an NIH-funded study examining the efficacy of compassion meditation on the experience of depression.
Mindy Newman, MA, MTS, LMHC, is a psychotherapist and hypnotherapist in private practice. She has an MA in counseling psychology from Lesley University and an MTS in world religion from Harvard University. A committed practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism, Newman began her dharma study with Lama Migmar Tseten in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and has studied with other profound teachers in both the Sakya and Gelug traditions. She is a graduate of Nalanda Institute’s Contemplative Psychotherapy Program and teaches meditation as part of the institute’s Introduction to Meditation series at Tibet House. Newman was recently one of Tricycle’s online dharma talk leaders. She also coordinates Nalanda Institute’s Counseling and Mentoring Referral Network and is passionate about making Buddhist psychotherapy more widely accessible.
Mary Reilly Nichols, is the Director of Nalanda Institute’s Yoga, Mind & Spirit and has been teaching yoga for over 30 years. She specializes in yoga with an emphasis on the development of wisdom and experience through the lens of non-duality offered in the Upanishads, Advaita Vedanta, as well as in the Tantric methods of Kashmiri Shaivism and Kundalini Yoga. She holds a BA in anthropology from Harvard University, is a devoted student of Muktananda, and completed five years of residency in meditation ashrams in both India and the US. Currently, Nichols teaches stress management in psychiatric settings and is involved in ongoing research on the mind/body benefits of yoga and meditation.
Susanna Nicholson, MPhil, is a health coach and yoga and meditation teacher. She received her MPhil from Oxford. For over ten years, she has provided lifestyle coaching and practices for patients in cancer and cardiac rehabilitation. Nicholson is affiliated with a private psychotherapy office in Kingston NY. She has been authorized to teach yoga meditation by the Krishnamachary-Desikachar tradition, has completed a 500 RYT teacher training, is certified as a Duke University integrative health coach, and is certified through Greater Good Science Center, UC Berkeley. Her writings on contemplative practices have appeared in numerous publications. Nicholson’s current research focuses on adapting pre-modern South Asian contemplative practices for a diverse, contemporary society.
Ethan Nichtern, is a Buddhist teacher, author, and activist. He is a Shastri, a senior teacher, in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition, and is currently senior teacher-in-residence for the Shambhala New York community. Additionally, Nichtern founded the Interdependence Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to secular Buddhist practice and transformational activism and arts. His books include The Road Home: A Contemporary Exploration of the Buddhist Path and The Dharma of The Princess Bride: What The Coolest Fairy Tale of Our Time Can Teach Us About Buddhism and Relationships. His articles have been featured in Lion’s Roar, Tricycle, BuddhaDharma, as well as many other online publications.
Erin L. Olivo, PhD, MPH, is a clinical psychologist in private practice. She is a former Assistant Clinical Professor of Medical Psychology at Columbia University, and the former Director of the Columbia Integrative Medicine Program, which she headed with Dr. Mehmet Oz. She has intensive training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), and clinical hypnosis. Dr. Olivo researches the benefits of mind-body strategies in medical and mental health care, especially for people facing cancer, cardiovascular disease, and obesity.
Alexa Owen, C-IAYT, is a meditation faculty member at Nalanda Institute for Contemplative Science, as well as a graduate of the Contemplative Psychotherapy Program and teacher training in Compassion-Based Resilience Training (CBRT). 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 Master of Social Work degree. 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.
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.
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).
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.
Lobsang Rapgay, PhD, is a research psychologist, and Director of the Clinical Training program for Mental Health Professionals at the Mindfulness Awareness Research Center, UCLA. Dr. Rapgay was the first President of the International Association of Tibetan Physicians. His books on meditation and Tibetan medicine, include Tibetan Medicine: A Holistic Approach to Better Health, The Tibetan Book of Healing, and Real Meditation in Minutes a Day: Enhancing Your Performance, Relationships, Spirituality, and Health (with Joseph Arpaia). Dr. Rapgay specializes in clinical behavioral medicine with a focus on the assessment and treatment of chronic psychophysiological disorders and psychiatric symptoms.
Elizabeth Rovere, MA, PsyD, is a clinical psychologist in New York City where she has a private practice of group, couples and individual therapy. She is keenly interested in faith and spirituality as a profound path of psychological transformation. Current work interests include the neuroscience and metaphor of the human heart, climate justice and esoteric religious history. Elizabeth is a RYT-200 BodyAwake Yoga Teacher (December 2020), trained in somatic approaches to trauma. She holds an MA from Yale in Russian and East European Studies, an MTS from Harvard Divinity and a PsyD from William James College. Her clinical training was at Harvard University and NYU Medical Center. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their 2 daughters, and 2 cats.
Sharon Salzberg is a meditation teacher, author, and a co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts. She is one of the most prominent Buddhist meditation teachers in the West and has been teaching and leading meditation retreats around the world for over three decades. Her writings have appeared in numerous publications, including Time, Yoga Journal, Tricycle, Buddhadharma, Loin’s Roar, and numerous anthologies. She is the author of ten books, including Love Your Enemies: How to Break the Anger Habit & Be a Whole Lot Happier (co-authored with Robert Thurman), and Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection.
Broderick Sawyer, PhD, is an activist, clinical psychologist, meditation teacher, and consultant in Louisville, KY. He teaches mental health professionals, activists, non-profit members, college students, and businesses how to decondition generationally-inherited oppressive psychology. By teaching simple and adaptable techniques, Broderick relies on his doctoral training and 7 years teaching meditation to help people tune into the present moment completely, where compassion for self, others, and true interconnection is realized as solid-truth. Essentially, he understands an enlightened global society as a one where it is understood that no “others” fundamentally exist. As a teacher and trainer, Broderick uses a direct, relatable, and playful approach to helping others develop the skills necessary to build a compassionate future. For more information, check out his website at brodericksawyer.com.
SabeneSelassie, 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.
Sonia Sequeira, PhD, is a neuroscientist, yoga instructor, and manager of the Drug Development Program for Clinical Trials at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. She has been teaching yoga since 1997 and is a certified instructor in Hatha, Kundalini, and Naam yoga. Dr. Sequeira is the Founder and Director of the Institute for Meditation Sciences and also spearheads the Advances in Meditation Research conference series. Her work revolves around the use of scientific methodologies to study how meditation can be applied to improve health in diverse populations.
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.
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.
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.
Dan Siegel, MD, is a neuropsychiatrist, clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine, the founding co-director of UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center, and Executive Director of the Mindsight Institute. Dr. Siegel received his medical degree from Harvard University and completed his postgraduate medical education at UCLA with training in pediatrics; and child, adolescent and adult psychiatry. Known for his work in the developing field of Interpersonal Neurobiology, Dr. Siegel is also an author of numerous books written for both professional and lay audiences. They include The Developing Mind: How Relationships and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We Are and Mind: A Journey to the Heart of Being Human.
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.
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.
Robert Thurman, PhD, is a recognized worldwide authority on religion and spirituality, Asian history, world philosophy, Buddhist science, Indo-Tibetan Buddhism, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He is the Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies in the Department of Religion at Columbia University, President of the Tibet House U.S., Spiritual Director of Menla, and President of the American Institute of Buddhist Studies. Dr. Thurman received his PhD from Harvard and has studied extensively with many top Tibetan Lamas including His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Dr. Thurman is the author of many books, including The Central Philosophy of Tibet, The Jewel Tree of Tibet, and, most recently, with William Meyers and Michael Burbank, Man of Peace: The Illustrated Life Story of the Dalai Lama of Tibet.
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.
David R. Vago, PhD, is a cognitive neuroscientist, and the Research Director of the Osher Center of Integrative Medicine at Vanderbilt University where he is an associate professor in the departments of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Psychiatry. He received his PhD in Cognitive and Neural Sciences from the University of Utah. Dr. Vago’s research attempts to clarify adaptive mind-brain-body interactions and their therapeutic relevance in psychiatric settings. In this context, he has been specifically focusing on the study of mindfulness-based interventions in clinical settings, and the basic cognitive and neuroscientific mechanisms by which mindfulness-based practices function.
Bart van Melik, MA, is a meditation and Insight Dialogue teacher. His Masters in Psychology of Culture and Religion is from the Nijmegen University in The Netherlands. He is also a graduate of the Community Dharma Leader Program at Spirit Rock and is currently in the Spirit Rock/IMS teacher training program. Van Melik teaches through the Metta Foundation and is a senior teacher at the Lineage Project. He has been teaching meditation since 2009, with a specific focus on working with diverse populations, including bringing meditation to juvenile detention centers, homeless shelters, VA hospitals and New York City public schools.
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.
angel Kyodo Williams is a teacher, activist, author, and founder of the Center for Transformative Change. Ordained as a Zen priest, she is the second black woman recognized as a teacher in her lineage. She is the author of Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living With Fearlessness and Grace and co-author of Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation. She has fearlessly been working to bridge the worlds of personal transformation and justice. Rev. angel has developed comprehensive systems for illuminating both practical personal change and the profoundly liberating potential of mindfulness, yoga, and somatic practices coupled with wisdom teachings.
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.
Emily J. Wolf, PhD, is a counseling psychologist in private practice integrating contemplative methods of Indian yoga and meditation into Western psychodynamic therapy, recovery, and health psychology. She is the co-developer of Nalanda Institute’s Contemplative Psychotherapy Program, and is deeply invested in training care providers in the healing modalities of Buddhist traditions. Dr. Wolf received her BA in Eastern Religion from Columbia College, PhD in Counseling Psychology from Fordham University, and has studied under Tibetan Buddhist and Hatha Yoga/Ashtanga yoga masters both in the United States and Asia for over a decade. She is co-editor and contributing author of Advances in Contemplative Psychotherapy: Accelerating Healing and Transformation (2017).