I have been involved with InsightLA from its beginning, and watching our community grow has awakened in me a deeper appreciation for the extraordinary transformation mindfulness and commitment can bring into our lives. It has in mine. As a member of InsightLA’s Teacher Council I explore creative and innovative ways to bring mindfulness and metta practice to our community. As a guiding teacher in the Buddhist studies program I am interested in how ancient wisdom can support us through everyday struggles so that we live more meaningful lives. In my MBSR teaching it is exciting to see how each new group of students learns through their own experience to embrace the present, which is truly the only moment we have.
I began my meditation practice years ago at Ordinary Dharma with Catriona Reed in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh, the great Vietnamese Buddhist monk. Inspired by his teachings on compassion and inter-being and his profound capacity for forgiveness, I practiced regularly at home when my two children were young. Sitting long retreats with Joseph Goldstein at Insight Meditation Society and with Jack Kornfield at Spirit Rock is an important part of my practice now that they my children are grown. As a member of the Spirit Rock / IMS teacher training program I have the joy of continuing my studies with serious practitioners from around the country.
In 2011, I received teacher authorization from Trudy Goodman. Trudy became my teacher in 2003 when, through my yoga practice and work and UCLA’s Pediatric Pain Program, I invited her to teach a group of health practitioners working on integrative healing practices in the Los Angeles community. I had the pleasure of hosting the InsightLA’s “Deepening Your Practice” group in our home for several years until Insight LA moved to its permanent location. Trudy and I forged a deep professional, spiritual and friendship bond.
Over the past 20 years, mindfulness practice has been integrally connected to my Iyengar yoga practice and teaching. I first began studying yoga when I sought help for a serious medical condition, from Manouso Manos, a San Francisco-based senior teacher in Iyengar yoga therapeutics. I assisted Manouso for several years in his therapeutic classes and traveled to India to assist in the medical classes taught by BKS and Geeta Iyengar at the Ramamani Iyengar institute in Pune. Having experienced the healing benefit of Iyengar yoga firsthand – and eager to help others suffering from pain – I became a member of the UCLA Pediatric Pain Program clinical team and Whole Child LA, where I continue to teach mindfulness and yoga to children and young adults with chronic pain and health problems in an integrative medical setting. I have been co-investigator on several research intervention studies at UCLA that looked at the impact of Iyengar yoga on breast cancer survivors with persistent fatigue and young adults suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome and depression.