Practice Support Volunteers
InsightLA is happy to offer an informal meditation practice support program staffed by long time practitioners. These volunteers have years of experience and have sat a minimum of 50 days in silent retreat. They are well versed in both mainstream mindfulness and the Buddha’s path.
We know that people who are new to InsightLA as well as those who have been with InsightLA for some time, often have questions about their practice but do not want to schedule a formal interview with an InsightLA teacher. Please feel free to contact one of the practitioners on this list if you have specific questions or just want to talk about your experience with mindfulness meditation. You may wish to speak on the telephone or arrange to meet at a mutually convenient location.
Ann Buck has more than 40 years of meditation background, having studied Vipassana, as well as the Tibetan Dzogchen tradition with Tsoknyi Rinpoche. Spirit Rock trained her as a Community Dharma Leader, and as a senior student of Shinzen Young, she works as a facilitator with people across the country. She teaches for InsightLA, as well as for Clare Foundation – an alcohol and substance abuse rehabilitation center. Since she is a retired business woman, teaching the dharma is her life.
Reach Ann at "ann AT insightla DOT org."
Cayce Howe has 25 years of meditation experience in a variety of traditions but he feels the strongest ties with the Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. His passion for meditation has led him to live and work at mediation retreat centers for nearly 6 years. He completed a one-year meditation retreat in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition in 2008. After experiencing a powerful lesson in compassion and the power of mindfulness, in the form of caregiving for a loved one in chronic pain for over 7 years, he decided to devote himself to help others cope with suffering using meditation.
Reach Cayce at "cayce AT insightla DOT org."
Greg Serpa has been a meditation practitioner for more than 30 years. He is a clinical psychologist for the US Department of Veterans Affairs where he serves as the first full-time mindfulness teacher and teacher trainer in the US federal system. He is honored to teach mindfulness to America’s veterans. Greg is an Associate Clinical Professor and scientist at UCLA and has active research projects into the brain biomarkers of mindfulness in both veteran and non-veteran populations. Greg teaches Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) and other mindfulness courses and serves as a trainer, supervisor and consultant to the VA and UCLA. He is a long-time member of the InsightLA community.
Reach Greg at "greg AT insightla DOT org."
Heidi Shaw has been studying Buddhism for the past fourteen years and has been part of the InsightLA community since 2005. She supports her practice by sitting daily, attending weekly sitting groups and going on retreat. Heidi has taken many InsightLA classes including Basics of Mindfulness, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, and Awakening Joy. She has a new found love and dedication to the Mindfulness Self-Compassion class which she took during a difficult transition in her life. She then went on to complete the teacher training. “The depth of my gratitude for the meditation practice, the Dharma and InsightLA is immeasurable. I love to support and encourage new students in this life-changing experience of mindful meditation and compassion.”
Reach Heidi at "heidi AT insightla DOT org."
Karen has been practicing at Insight LA with Trudy since 2010. Currently a member of Spirit Rock's Dedicated Practitioners Program 5, and attends ILA's Buddhist Studies program. Karen recently completed ILA's Meditation Facilitators training and will be teaching a Mindful-Awareness Movement class at Insight this fall. She was inspired to begin a spiritual path after years of work in muscle therapy seeing how much stress affects our body and mind. Retreat practices include a 6 week silent Insight Meditation Society retreat with Joseph Goldstein, Deer Park Monastery with Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh, Spirit Rock Fall and Spring retreats with Trudy Goodman and Jack Kornfield, and Shambhala lineage retreats with the Sakyong MiphamRinpoche. She is very open to sharing her practice experience and supporting those new to the path. Karen is married, has 3 grown children and 2 very spoiled Pomeranians.
Reach Karen at "karen AT insightla DOT org.
Karen has been meditating since 1991 and practicing in the Theravada tradition since 2005. She really appreciates the benefits of a regular mediation practice which for her has included becoming less reactive, less afraid, more open minded, gentler, and much more at ease with herself and others. Karen is particularly interested in studying the teachings of the Buddha and has spent significant periods of practice focusing on The Noble Eightfold Path, Dependent Origination and the Satthipatthana Sutta which is said to be the direct path to enlightenment (fingers crossed!). She loves to study the teachings and apply them in her life; to work with them both on and off the cushion. "It has brought a richness, curiosity and courage that has benefitted me greatly. May you be with what is happening in your life right now with spaciousness, as best you are able. :)"
Reach Karen at "karen d AT insightla DOT org."
Martha Ruffman has been practicing vipassana meditation for twelve years. She has been an active member of the InsightLA Sangha for the past ten years. Martha completed the Dedicated Practitioners Program at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. She has sat numerous 7-day silent retreats at Spirit Rock and Vallecitos Mountain Refuge. Her passion is bringing the Dharma fully to bear in her everyday life.
Reach Martha at "martha AT insightla DOT org."
Mark Koberg has completed the first MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) teacher training practicum through InsightLA and the University of Mass' Center for Mindfulness. He has a dedicated daily practice, attends retreats at Spirit Rock, has blogged for The Huffington Post, and has appeared on national television talking about his experience with mindfulness. Mark has also produced a series of mindfulness training videos for InsightLA and the Greater Los Angeles Veterans Administration that are being used nationally to train clinicians and veterans in mindfulness meditation. In addition, Mark has served as co-executive producer on Iyanla, Fix My Life on OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network), and has executive produced nationally syndicated talk shows and court shows.
Mark co-leads the Dharma Alliance LGTBQ Sitting Group.
Reach Mark at "mark koberg AT insightla DOT org."
"Because I have been studying and practicing at InsightLA for several years, and have gained so much benefit from the experience, I would love to support newcomers." Nancy has been teaching yoga for the past 20 years which has also reinforced her Buddhist meditation practice since both disciplines rely on continual and kind attention - to oneself and others. Nancy sees herself as a fellow traveller, happy to share the ups and downs of the practice with those who need assistance.
Reach Nancy at "nancy AT insightla DOT org."
Paula began sporadically meditating in 2002 and in the spring of 2004 found Trudy Goodman and InsightLA. She took a class on Loving-Kindness with Trudy that marked the beginning of a regular practice. "At first my practice was almost entirely focused on metta. Gradually, as I learned more about mindfulness, Vipassana, and Buddhist teachings, my practice has deepened in the Theravadan tradition." She has sat many retreats at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and is currently in Spirit Rock’s Dedicated Practitioners Program. Paula is a retired educator, has been married to the same man for almost 44 years, and is the mother of two grown daughters.
Reach Paula at "paula AT insightla DOT org."
Sarah has been interested in silence for at least thirty years. At first she studied Christian meditation in the form of Centering Prayer with Fr. Thomas Keating in Snowmass, Colorado. She found Trudy and InsightLA and attended the early meditation sits and retreats before InsightLA had established a center. Sarah is a regular attendee on Thursday mornings and comes to the Sunday sits often. She credits silence and a daily meditation practice in heping her manage her life, especially now that she is a widow. She also belongs to the Mindful Writer's sitting group and is very grateful to have InsightLA so close to her home in Santa Monica.
Reach Sarah at "sarah AT insightla DOT org."
Meditation practice began for Stephanie with Shinzen Young in 1990. Stephanie and her husband attended evening sessions with Shinzen near downtown Los Angeles. Her first retreat was in 1994 with Shinzen and then continued Vipassana practice with him, exploring Vajrayana (Tibetan) Buddhism for several years while attending retreats in the US, Canada, India and Nepal with several different teachers. "I never felt fully at home with the elaborate rituals and visualizations of that path, so began to attend Theravadan retreats at Spirit Rock and daylong events closer to home. The Spirit Rock/IMS way has become my spiritual home and guide to fulfilled living." Stephanie has been a member of weekly Buddhist sitting groups for many years and has studied the Buddha's teaching with a number of spiritual friends. She is presently a member of the Spirit Rock Dedicated Practitioners' Program 5. Daily practice and regular study are important parts of Stephanie's life and she looks forward to sharing her experience with others.
Reach Stephanie at "stephanie AT insightla DOT org."
Tracey Loeb, a dedicated meditation practitioner, has studied with Trudy Goodman and Beth Sternlieb. She has served in many volunteer community leadership and fundraising positions. Principal of Forma Architects, she is a practicing Architect and Interior Designer and seeks to integrate the tenets of mindfulness into her professional practice.
Reach Tracey at "tracey AT insightla DOT org."
Yun Kim has been part of the Deepening Your Practice sitting group at Insight LA since 2009. She has completed several retreats at Spirit Rock Meditation Center with Trudy Goodman, Jack Kornfield, Joseph Goldstein, Gil Fronsdal, Larry Yang and other inspiring teachers. Yun is happy to share her experience with others on this path of mindfulness and compassion.
Reach Yun at "yun AT insightla DOT org."