InsightLA Teachers Council
Allen Weiss, Ph.D.
CURRICULUM COORDINATOR, OUTREACH
Allen Weiss is a graduate of Spirit Rock's Dedicated Practioners' Program and a member of InsightLA's Executive Committee and Advisory Board and architect of the InsightLA web site. He is also a professor at USC and founder/CEO of an online media company (Marketing Profs, LLC). Previously, he was a professional musician, business consultant, technology columnist and worked at other unrelated jobs.
Visit Allen's Teacher Site at www.inside.insightla.org/allen.
DIRECTOR OF BUDDHIST STUDIES
Beth has been involved with InsightLA from the start and seeing our community grow from an idea into a reality has awakened in her a deeper appreciation for what an unexpected transformation mindfulness and commitment can bring into our lives. As a member of InsightLA’s teacher council, she explores ways of bringing mindfulness and metta practice to our community in creative and innovative ways. While as a guiding teacher in the Buddhist studies program, she shares her interest in how ancient wisdom can support us through our everyday life struggles. She also teaches MBSR, where she is excited to observe how each new group of students learns through their own experience to embrace the present moment.
Beth began her meditation practice years ago at Ordinary Dharma with Catriona Reed in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh. Inspired by Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings on compassion and inter-being and his profound capacity for forgiveness, Beth began her regular practice which now consists of long retreats with Joseph Goldstein at IMS and Jack Kornfield at Spirit Rock. She is a member of the IMS/Spirit Rock Dedicated Practitioners’ program for teachers.
Beth has 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. She began studying yoga, when she sought help for a serious medical condition from Manouso Manos, a San Francisco-based senior teacher in Iyengar yoga therapeutics. She 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 - she became a member of the UCLA Pediatric Pain Program clinical team and Whole Child LA, where she continues to teach mindfulness and yoga to children and young adults with chronic pain and health problems in an integrative medical setting.
Visit Beth's Teacher Site at www.inside.insightla.org/beth.
Christiane Wolf, MD, PhD
DIRECTOR OF MBSR PROGRAMS
Christiane is a physician licensed to practice Ob/Gyn in Europe and holds a PhD in Psychosomatic Medicine from Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany. She has completed all steps of the professional Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) training program of the University of Massachusetts under Jon Kabat- Zinn and his colleagues and is a certified MBSR teacher. She is also a graduate of the 2.5 year Community Dharma Leader program at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, CA. She first encountered meditation and Buddhism in 1988 at Amaravati Monastery near London in the Vipassana tradition of Ajahn Chah. Between 1996 and 2003 she studied and practiced with the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order (FWBO) in Germany and England before moving to the United States.
Christiane has been training with Trudy Goodman in Los Angeles since 2003. In 2005, she co-founded InsightLA’s MBSR program together with Trudy and has since implemented three other MBSR related programs: Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting (MBCP), Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and MBSR for chronic disease and pain management.
Christiane has worked with different populations such as patients with chronic pain and disease, parents of children with developmental disabilities, and low-income, non-English speaking immigrants. She has taught mindfulness and MBSR classes for research studies for UCLA, Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, CA and the Westside Regional Center in Culver City, CA.
Christiane's areas of expertise include working with patients who have cancer and chronic disease, and working with pain in the general population. She is the mother of three young children in addition to being an OB/GYN, so mindful parenting and preparing for birth are both personal and professional interests of hers.
Visit Christiane's Teacher Site at www.inside.insightla.org/christianewolf.
FACULTY LIAISON/ CURRICULUM CONSULTANT
Ron Ames is a meditation practitioner who has studied with both Trudy Goodman and Noah Levine. He is currently a member of Spirit Rock’s Dedicated Practitioners' Program. Ron serves as a member on InsightLA’s Executive Committee and Advisory Board. He is a teacher in training with Trudy Goodman in InsightLA’s first teacher training cohort. Ron has a deep interest in the "Twelve Steps" particularly as they relate to meditation practice. He works in the film industry as a Producer and 1st Assistant Director on feature films.
Visit Ron's Teacher Site at www.inside.insightla.org/ron.
InsightLA Teacher Development Group
Carmen Rita Tolivar
In 2001, when Beth Sternlieb opened her home to Trudy Goodman for an early morning meditation group, she invited Carmen Rita, her friend and colleague from the Iyengar Yoga Institute of LA. She replied with great conviction: “It’s just what I need right now,” an astonishing statement given that she knew precious little about meditation back then. Since then she has attended several 10-day silent retreats, and a month long at Spirit Rock. Her professional experiences include teaching Spanish, the language and literature of her soul, conducting leadership training programs in the public affairs arena at Coro Southern California, cross cultural communication programs in the corporate, and private sectors, faculty member at UCLA’s School Management Program.
Carmen Rita is a certified Iyengar Yoga teacher and a writer.
Celeste Brooke Young
Celeste teaches Basics of Mindfulness for InsightLA and has been meditating and practicing Yoga for more than a decade, including Yoga in the Hatha, Ashtanga and Anusara traditions. In 2006, she found a natural calling in teaching Yin Yoga while studying with Eckhart Tolle's partner, Kim Eng. Celeste received her certification to teach Yoga from Sarah Powers and Paul Grilley in 2007.
Visit Celeste's Teacher Site at www.inside.insightla.org/celeste.
Diana Gould has been a meditator for 35 years, practicing Insight meditation for 20. She has taught meditation at the Learning Curve at the Gay and Lesbian Center. She is currently enrolled in the Community Dharma Leader program through Spirit Rock, as well as the Teacher Development Group with Trudy Goodman at InsightLA. As a television writer and producer, her credits include pilots, episodes, movies and miniseries for network and cable.
Visit Diana's Teacher Site at www.inside.insightla.org/diana.
Elizabeth started studying with Trudy Goodman in 2005, and joined Trudy’s Teacher Development Group in 2009. Utilizing skills developed as an attorney, and informed through meditation practice and personal experience, she advocates for more compassionate and effective community responses to young adults with mental health challenges and their families. In addition to teaching through InsightLA, she has taught mindfulness at an outreach center for young adults with mental health issues and in juvenile hall. Elizabeth continues to engage in opportunities to create systems change, as well as to offer teachings to individuals and groups at InsightLA.
Visit Elizabeth's Teacher Site at www.inside.insightla.org/elizabeth.
In 2007, after practicing meditation on his own for more than a decade, Glenn Davis began practicing with Shinzen Young and Trudy Goodman. Since 2008, Glenn has also regularly attended intensive retreats with the Zen master Joshu Sasaki Roshi. Following his love of teaching (including as a former sailing instructor and law school professor), Glenn teaches at InsightLA and is a facilitator for Shinzen.
Lisa Kring is a licensed clinical social worker, with experience in child and family therapy and family court mediation. Through her studies with Dan Siegel, M.D., she began practicing mindfulness with the Mindful Awareness Research Center over six years ago, and later began the MBSR certification process with Bob Stahl and Jon Kabat-Zinn. She also leads ongoing mindfulness groups with cancer patients at the Simms/Mann Center for Integrative Oncology at UCLA. Lisa recognizes Trudy Goodman and Christiane Wolf as guiding teachers and mentors, and is deeply grateful to be a part of the InsightLA community.
Visit Lisa's Teacher Site at www.inside.insightla.org/lisa.
Maureen Shannon-Chapple has been working with children and families for over 25 years. Her professional experiences have included classroom teaching, parenting classes, adult school and college teaching. She currently teaches first grade at Chadwick School. A long-time practitioner of Yoga and meditation, Maureen is able to merge her teaching and Yoga/meditation background through her participation in Growing Spirit. She is a founding member of The Center for Non-Violent Education and Parenting.
Paloma Cain has been studying and practicing meditation since 1997. Her work is informed by her studies in Insight Meditation, Tibetan Buddhism, clinical and depth psychology, and the visual arts. Her journey has included serving as the Director of Tara Mandala Retreat Center, sitting a three-month retreat with Alan Wallace as part of the Shamatha Project, and interning as a hospital chaplain in Los Angeles. Paloma has been teaching at InsightLA since 2009, where she currently teaches classes in meditation, MBSR and Mindful Parenting. She also brings Mindfulness practice to staff at Los Angeles area VA Hospitals. Parenting and family life are among her current inspirations.
InsightLA Special Faculty
Ava Louise Stanton
Ava Louise Stanton is a long-time Zen student, beginning with 10 years of study as a founding member and resident of the Providence Zen Center with Zen Master Seung Sahn. She was Soen Sa Nim’s secretary and editor of a number of his early books. She and Trudy Goodman practiced together in the 1970s as students of Zen Master Seung Sahn. She currently studies with Tony Patchell (Russian River Zen Center, Sonoma County, CA) a teacher in the Suzuki Roshi lineage. Ava is a psychotherapist in private practice in Santa Monica, CA, working with meditation students and other adults. At InsightLA she hosts the weekly Friday morning sitting and 1/2-day monthly silent retreats in the Soto Zen tradition.
Beth Mulligan is a Certified Physician Assistant who has practiced medicine since graduation from Duke University in 1982. She also received advanced training in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and been teaching at Medical Centers and Universities for nine years, she is currently the lead Mindfulness Instructor at the Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine. Through her organization Mindful-Way Stress Reduction, she leads residential Mindfulness retreats, offers Mindfulness Workshops for non-profit organizations, schools and Juvenile Detention centers. She trains physicians, nurses and therapists in mindfulness and stress reduction, and lectures widely on the subject of Stress Physiology and Mind-Body medicine. Beth has been at student of Zen with Charles Tenshin Fletcher at Yokiji Zen Mountain Center for many years, she regularly attends retreats and has lived residentially at Yokoji.. She also has a background in Martial Arts and is a certified Hatha Yoga Instructor. The Mindfulness Curriculum she teaches had become the perfect vehicle to combine her knowledge and experience of Western medicine with her passion for the benefits of Mindfulness Practices which are of great interest to her personally and professionally. Her long practice of medicine has given birth to a desire to help people heal their relationship with their bodies, food and weight through the Mindful Eating for Healthy Living Program she developed.
Coby Brown is a long time meditation practitioner and a cancer survivor. Post treatment, he took the MBSR program with Christiane Wolf at Insight LA to help him make the transition from patient back to person. He went on to take the MBSR teacher training practicum with Bob Stahl at O’Connor Medical Center in San Jose, CA, and was a teacher in training with Christiane Wolf at Insight LA in the Fall of 2012. Coby is a songwriter and composer and lives in Los Angeles with his wife and young daughter.
Danise Lehrer, L.C.S.W., L.Ac., is a Psychotherapist, Licensed Clinic Social Worker and Licensed Acupuncturist. She is a trained Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) instructor as well as in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). She supports people to face life’s challenges with resiliency, emotional intelligence and equanimity. In her practices she integrates Mind/Body Therapies with a focus on Creating Balance and Wellness. Areas of focus include Caregiver stress, Stress Management, Transitions, Chronic Health Issues, Interpersonal Relations, and Increasing Self-Awareness and Goal-Setting for personal and professional growth. Danise also maintains a private clinical practice in Santa Monica,CA. She and her husband are parents of a young man who has chronic health and developmental issues. She has personal experience with caregiving and the benefits of mindful awareness practices. She has had a long time personal meditation practice.
Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.
Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D., is the author of "The Now Effect: How this Moment Can Change the Rest of Your Life" and coauthor of "A Mindfulness‑Based Stress Reduction Workbook." His is also author of the the "Mindful Solutions" audio series and the Mindfulness at Work™ program that is currently being taught in many multinational corporations. He is the founder of the "Mindfulness and Psychotherapy" column on Psychcentral.com and a frequent contributor on the Huffington Post and Mentalhelp.net. He has also given workshops, radio interviews, and lectures in multiple settings on the therapeutic benefits of mindfulness including the Psychotherapy Networker, FACES conference, the Mindfulness and Psychotherapy conference at UCLA headlining Thich Nhat Hanh, Jack Kornfield, Dan Siegel, and Trudy Goodman, among others. He lives in Santa Monica, CA, and has a private practice is West Los Angeles.
Joel McLafferty, MFT
Joel McLafferty has had a daily meditation practice for almost 20 years. During this time, he has experienced significant improvements in his life. He is now calmer and less anxious, enjoys a broader sense of contentment and acceptance, and has changed careers from real estate development to psychotherapy. His ability to see the humor in life has improved, but his jokes have not.
Nicholas Bruss is a meditation practitioner who has practiced Vipassana meditation intensively in the U.S., Burma and Thailand. He holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies and is an MFT Intern in Los Angeles working with individuals, couples and groups. His practices also include yoga, movement, and Spirit Rock's Dedicated Practioner's Program. Nicholas has a keen interest in offering compassion-based practices and has found that they are transformative in BIG and small ways.
Visit Nicholas's Teacher Site at www.inside.insightla.org/nicholas.
Roger Nolan, M.A., MFT
Roger Nolan, M.A., has been practicing meditation and introspection since 1973, and has been teaching mindfulness meditation since 1999. In 2006, his meditation classes were named "Best for Beginners" by Los Angeles magazine. Roger’s teachers include Jack Kornfield, Jon Kabat-Zinn, & Phillip Moffitt. As a psychotherapist, he specializes in adapting mindfulness meditation for the treatment of anxiety, depression, and addiction. He has been trained in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), and is one of the original developing consultants for Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) under the direction of Alan Marlatt.
Stefanie Goldstein, Ph.D.
Stefanie Goldstein, PhD is a licensed clinical psychologist who began her meditation and mindfulness practice at Wat Suan Mokkh, an International Dharma Hermitage, in Thailand over 13 years ago. Since that time she has been committed to her own personal practice of meditation and yoga. Stefanie is in Private Practice in West LA and works with Adults, Adolescents, Couples and Families and is committed to integrating Mindfulness and Psychotherapy. She became an MBSR teacher under the direction of Trudy Goodman and Christiane Wolf in 2011. She is also the co-creator and teacher of the CALM – Connecting Adolescents to Learning Mindfulness program at InsightLA.