About the Instructors

Frank Baird

Frank Baird, MA, LMFT, LPCC, Instructor

Frank Baird holds a master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. He is a solution-oriented mindfulness-based Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor. He has taught graduate level therapists in training at Phillips Graduate Institute and California State University, Northridge and supervised therapists-in-training at Valley Trauma Center (a sexual assault recovery center) and Phillips Graduate Institute (in their Postmodern Therapies Program). He was founder and Clinical Director at NOW House Therapy Center. He is founder of Walk a Mile in Her Shoes®, The Men's March to End Men's Violence Against Women, an organization that facilitates 400+ international Walk events each year. Frank is dedicated to helping people cultivate inner peace, live more fulfilling lives and be active contributors to their communities and the world. Frank is a UCLA MARC Certified Mindfulness Facilitator who teaches mindfulness in a variety of settings, including Kaiser Permanente, Sherman Terrace, Reseda, CA, his private practice in Westlake Village, CA and various other community and private settings when requested.


Manish Bansal, M.Sc., PMP, Instructor

Manish Bansal, M.Sc. is a certified senior project manager and a mindfulness practitioner. He started his journey into mindfulness at a young age in India where he was taught eastern meditation practices focused on breathing, chanting and silent sitting. In US, he attended formal training of mindfulness through university programs which includes year long teacher training program at UCLA, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) training at UC Irvine and Compassion Cultivation training(CCT) at Stanford University. He teaches mindfulness at United Heath Group and through City of Rancho Santa Margarita. 

Bram Barouh

Bram Barouh, Instructor

Bram's meditation practice began just after 9/11 in Igatpuri, India at a Vipassana retreat led by S.N. Goenka. In the years since, he has studied a variety of practices from a diverse group of traditions - Kwan Um Zen, Vedic Meditation, and Shambhala. In 2018, he received his certification in Mindfulness Facilitation from UCLA’s Semel Institute. Currently, he teaches a diverse group of clientele of all ages - from public groups to private individuals - throughout the city of Los Angeles. His hope in sharing these practices is to help individuals relate to themselves with greater awareness, open hearted-ness, and if they can handle it a sense of humor.

Kelly Barron

Kelly Barron, MA, Instructor

Kelly Barron has studied and practiced mindfulness meditation for nearly 20 years. She is a UCLA Certified Mindfulness Facilitator and an Inner Kids trained instructor who teaches mindfulness within corporations, schools, privately and for eMindful, a provider of online mindfulness programs worldwide. Kelly came to understand the importance of living mindfully and managing stress while working as a deadline-driven journalist. A former associate editor and staff writer for Forbes magazine, Kelly understands how to apply mindfulness in professional settings and draws upon her journalistic curiosity as well as her experience as a mother and a lifelong athlete to inform her work. Kelly holds a B.A. in philosophy from the College of William and Mary and an M.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri. She also holds a training certification from the American Council on Exercise with a specialty in Orthopedic Exercise. Kelly has developed and facilitated mindfulness programs for organizations such as Milbank, Orrick, the Broad Center and the Skirball Cultural Center as well as for numerous professional associations and for writers and screenwriters. She facilitates mindfulness in schools, working with teachers, administrators and students, on an ongoing basis throughout Los Angeles. 

Gael Belden

Gael Belden, MA, Instructor

Gael has been practicing and teaching meditation and mindfulness for over 40 years— in both Buddhist (she was lay-ordained by Thich Nhat Hanh 30 years ago) and secular contexts. She has an MA in Mythology and Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute and once worked with wild and exotic animals in education and conservation (wolves, elephants, and lions!). Gael has worked with the Mindful Awareness Research Center at the Semel Institute of Behavioral Neuroscience at UCLA, where she directs MARC’s online Intensive Practice Program for last 9 years. She completed the first teacher training in Mindful Self-Compassion with Kristen Neff, and weaves mythopoetics and social engagement (with an emphasis on the earth) into her mindfulness and compassion teachings. Gael is also  trained in Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

natalie bell

Natalie Bell, Instructor

Natalie Bell has been practicing mindful awareness and meditation since 1985. She lived in an ashram for a year in 1989 dedicating herself to intensive study and practice of meditation and awareness. Natalie studied neuropsychology and became a Physical Therapist working for 17 years as a hospital clinician, Director of Rehabilitation, and a clinical specialist for medical devices. Natalie founded Mindful Wellness to bring mindfulness training and coaching to individuals and corporations with a focus on self-compassion to promote well being. She teaches many groups including physicians and healthcare teams, corporate groups, and teachers, bringing awareness practices for self-regulation, greater balance, focus and creativity. As a UCLA Certified Mindfulness Facilitator, Natalie leads workshops and classes for MARC and Teach For America. She is a trained teacher of Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC). Natalie believes passionately that through awareness we have the capacity for renewal, of body, mind, and spirit.

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Matthew Brensilver, PhD, Instructor

Matthew Brensilver, PhD, is a member of the Teachers Council and Guiding Teachers Committee at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. He previously served as Program Director for Mindful Schools and for more than a decade, was a core teacher at Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society. He lectures at UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center about the intersections between mindfulness and mental health. Before committing to teach meditation full-time, he spent years doing research on addiction pharmacotherapy at the UCLA Center for Behavioral and Addiction Medicine and is interested in the unfolding dialogue between dharma and science. Matthew is the co-author of two forthcoming books on meditation in adolescence.

Nicholas Bruss

 Nicholas Brüss, EdD, LMFT, Instructor

Nicholas Brüss, EdD, is the founder and director of CompassionLA, a non profit organization impacting lives with connection cultivating programs. He has been studying both vipassana meditation and non dual contemplative practices. Nicholas is a UCLA Certified Mindfulness Facilitator, a Stanford University trained Compassion Cultivating Training teacher, and Mindful Self-Compassion teacher. He has been cross-trained in multiple arenas with compassion at their core such as mindfulness, attachment-based psychotherapy, somatic-based trauma resiliency, nonviolent communication and end of life presence. He has a keen interest in leading transformative practices toward a sustainable awakening way of being.

Headshot of Tina Carlson

Tina Carlson, Instructor

Tina Carlson is an IMTA certified mindfulness teacher, trained here at UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center and with Inner Kids, Mini Yogis and Mindful Schools. She sees clients privately, teaches mindfulness at schools to teachers, staff, and students of all ages, and has presented talks at several universities. At UCLA, Tina has worked on studies for the Schools of Public Health, Medicine, and Education. She has been a facilitator for parents at the Early Childhood Partial Hospitalization Program at the Semel Institute, and she offers drop-in meditations at UCLA CAPS student counseling center. Tina has enjoyed working with families at the Hammer Museum, offering programs in creativity and compassion. She is piloting a class for caregivers and parents with Susan Kaiser Greenland and Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche’s Tergar organization. Tina likes helping people gain skills to recognize awareness, especially with a curious, playful approach.


Stella Chow, PsyD, Instructor

Stella Chow, PsyD, is a clinical psychologist (California License: PSY 21978) who enjoys working with children, adults and families in her private practice in Los Angeles. She received her training in mindfulness facilitation through the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center. Stella used to work as a staff psychologist at UCLA Counseling and Psychological Services, where she provided mindfulness psychotherapy groups for UCLA students and trained psychology interns in incorporating mindfulness in their clinical work. She is fluent in English, Cantonese and Mandarin Chinese and hopes to bring mindfulness to different communities.

Imee Contreras

Imee Contreras, Instructor

Imee Contreras is the founder of Mindfulness Asia and co-founder of Philippine Insight Meditation Community. She is a UCLA-Trained Mindfulness Facilitator, a Community Dharma Leadership Program graduate of Spirit Rock Meditation Center, and the Membership Coordinator of International Mindfulness Teachers Association.
She develops mindfulness programs for companies, schools, and both private and public events. She volunteers to teach incarcerated women serving life imprisonment and also supports sexually abused women and children in the Philippines.
Imee is a mother, an organic gardener, a health & wellness advocate, and yoga therapist.

daniel davis

Daniel Davis, Instructor

Daniel is a co-founder and a teacher at Perfectly Here, a nonprofit mindfulness training organization. He currently works with UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center and is the Buddhist Chaplain at USC. He is affiliated with Abhayagiri Monastery under the guidance of Luang Por Passano. Daniel was an active member of InsightLA, where he helped build the organization by teaching and serving on its Executive Council. He has trained and taught mindfulness to children with Susan Kaiser Greenland. He has formally practiced Theravada and Zen meditation since 1986.

erin doerwald

Erin Sibley Doerwald, LCSW, CMT-P,  Instructor

Erin Sibley Doerwald, LCSW, CMT-P is a psychotherapist, mindfulness facilitator and program developer based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She has served in leadership at The Sky Center of New Mexico Suicide Intervention Project for eight years and heads the mindfulness training program for Graduate Intern Therapists. Erin is a UCLA Affiliated MAPs Teacher and a certified mindfulness teacher with the IMTA. She joined the Board of Directors of  Vallecitos Mountain Retreat Center in 2019. Erin offers workshops on how well-being is connected to systems and practices that have been shown to support resilience. She is especially interested in the intersections of trauma-sensitivity, contemplative practices, and social justice. 

Bhanu Harrison

Bhanu Joy Harrison, Instructor

Bhanu Joy Harrison, LCSW, SEP, LMT, is a UCLA-Trained Mindfulness Facilitator and Affiliate MAPs Teacher, UCLA Semel Institute, Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC). She offers classes and workshops on mindfulness meditation, including UCLA's well researched "Mindful Awareness Practices for Daily Living I" (MAPsI). In addition, she designs workshops and classes on mindful living and ethics and body awareness tools for bodyworkers and counselors. She is also a licensed Clinical Social Worker in private practice in Albuquerque, NM focusing on body centered and mindful approaches to trauma resolution and self regulation.

Tom Heah

Tom Heah, M.Sc. Instructor

Tom Heah, M.Sc. (OT), has worked for 16 years in community mental health in Vancouver, Canada. He is a Teaching Assistant at the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center's Training in Mindfulness Facilitation program, and is a Certified MBCT and MBSR Teacher. Tom has practiced meditation since 2004., and facilitated mindfulness courses since 2006, for people who have mental health and substance use issues, chronic pain and neuromuscular conditions, health care professionals and the general public. He is a Clinical Faculty member at the University of British Columbia, enjoys teaching at the Schools of Occupational Therapy and Social Work, and is involved in mindfulness research with the School of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy.

Vivian Hermiz

Vivian M. Hermiz, Instructor

Vivian M. Hermiz is a UCLA Certified Mindfulness Facilitator who has trained in Christian, Buddhist, and secular mindfulness practices, with extensive training in the Plum Village tradition founded by the venerable Thich Nhat Hanh. She is an authorized instructor of the UCLA Mindful Awareness Practices Program (MAPs). From Fortune 15 companies to youth groups, Vivian develops tailored programs to meet the unique needs of individual and group clients.


Gloria Kamler, MA, Instructor

Gloria Kamler, MA, is a holistic educator and stress relief expert, who has taught mindfulness meditation for the past 20 years. She facilitates all levels of the Mindful Awareness Practices or MAP classes at UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC). In addition to teaching at UCLA, Gloria leads mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) classes and retreats in Los Angeles as well as other U.S. cities and internationally. Over the course of her career, Gloria has trained with mindfulness leaders such as Jon Kabat-Zinn PhD, founder of the Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction program (MBSR), teachers at Spirit Rock Meditation Center as well as Shinzen Young, PhD., founder of Vipassana Support International. Gloria earned her B.S. in education from the University of Michigan and an M.A. in guidance and counseling from Eastern Michigan University. She has maintained a personal meditation practice for more than three decades and her dedication to living mindfully is an integral part of her life. 

katherine kaplan

Kathryn Kaplan, MA, Instructor

Kathryn Kaplan is an educational therapist in private practice who has been working with students with learning and attentional challenges for over 20 years.  She is a graduate of the Trained Mindfulness Facilitator Program at UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC) at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. Kathryn has been practicing meditation for the last decade.  Her meditation practice began in earnest after a week-long retreat at Vallecitos Retreat Center in the mountains of New Mexico – a transformative week guided by Diana Winston, Director of the MARC Program. Kathryn has studied with Susan Kaiser Greenland and closely follows the work of Jack Kornfield.  She is currently a student in the 2 year mindfulness teacher certification training program (MMTCP) with Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach.  Kathryn shares her mindfulness in her work with students, parents, colleagues and people in recovery.  She is a devoted practitioner with a passion for helping others, sailing, hiking and riding horses.

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Sarabsri Kaur, Instructor

Sarabsri Kaur teaches Mindfulness, Compassion, Motivation, Communication, Gender and Diversity Support training to individuals and organizations. She is a Trained Mindfulness Facilitator(MARC) and an Authorized MAPs(I) Teacher through the Mindful Awareness Research Center at UCLA. She has worked as a lecturer in English literature and has more than a decade of experience in teaching and social work in schemes related to women, children, slow learners and rural education. Sarabsri is the founder of The Training Cafe, a non-profit venture promoting mindfulness-based trainings in individuals and organizations.Sri brings the practice of poetry, meditation, inner healing, integrating awareness around animals, environment and socially marginalized sections to her classes.She has taught hundreds of classes for children,adults and organizations in South India.
Sarabsri has done her Masters in Woman and Word: Gender, Literature and Spirituality from the School of English, the University of Liverpool(UK). She is also trained in Mindful Self-Compassion from Center for Mindful Self-Compassion,Mindful Schools and Neuro-Linguistics Programming from the World Champion and Olympics Coach, Emma James. Sarabsri has recently completed her poetry book, ‘Are You Present for Yourself’, a dedication to exploring healing, restoration and stillness through verse.

stacy kesten

Stacy Kesten, Instructor

Stacy Kesten, UCLA Certified Mindfulness Facilitator, has practiced meditation for 8 years and has extensive personal and professional training in mindfulness. She completed the year-long Intensive Practice Program followed by the year-long facilitator training program at UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center. Stacy has received formal training in MBSR and has over a month of silent vispassana retreat experience. She is an authorized UCLA MAPs teacher and she also specializes in mindful creativity, mindful improvisation, and mindful self-compassion. Stacy works with individuals, organizations, corporate leaders, and she speaks at conferences on self-care and mindfulness in the workplace. She is a mentor for The Center For Mindful Living’s on-line training program and is also a program administrator for UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center.

John Kneedler

John Kneedler, Instructor

John Kneedler is a Certified Mindfulness Facilitator and Authorized MAPs Teacher through the Mindful Awareness Research Center at UCLA. He received his B.A. in Psychology from Duke University. Having a deep passion for the work of sharing mindfulness, John teaches weekly drop-in meditation sessions in the Valley, Culver City, Downtown Los Angeles, and Redondo Beach areas. He is also a Mindfulness Instructor at Peak Brain Institute, where he provides group and private one-on-one coaching for individuals looking to create or strengthen an existing mindfulness practice. John has also worked extensively with children, both privately and in the classroom, having received training from the Mindful Schools Curriculum Training Program. He has shared these practices with K-12 children in public and private schools as well as through enrichment programs, including the Institute for Educational Advancement in Pasadena, the LAPD-affiliated Operation Progress in Watts, and the Culinary Arts Kids Eat program through the Mayor’s Partnership for Los Angeles. First and foremost, John is a dedicated practitioner who strongly values the continuing development of his own practice, which includes participating in regular residential retreats.

vy le

Vy V. Le, Instructor

Vy received her training in mindfulness facilitation through the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center. She is a Certified Mindfulness Teacher - Professional through the International Mindfulness Teachers Association (IMTA). Furthermore, she believes in the growth of the mindfulness space and is a Program Manager for the IMTA, which is dedicated to the professionalization and standardization of the mindfulness field. She has shared mindfulness and compassion practices to all age groups from teens and young adults (as a mentor with Inward Bound), professionals, healthcare providers, to retirees. Vy is a certified coach through the International Coach Federation and is also trained in the practice of Focusing by Gene Gendlin, a somatic process to help one deeply listen to the wisdom of the body. She has a degree in Mathematics with a specialization in Computing and Business Administration from UCLA, and an MBA from USC. 

Kristen Lisanti

Kristen Lisanti, Instructor

Kristen Lisanti is the founder of Mind by Design, a mindfulness-based coaching and consulting practice, and creator of Gimme Presence and Year of Intention--digital offerings that make mindfulness practice freely available and seamlessly integrated into daily life. Kristen's work fuses her 15 years experience working on institutional and individual behavior change with her 10 years as a mindfulness meditation practitioner to inform her individualistic approach to leadership development: everyone is a leader, and everyone leads in their own way. Based in LA, she founded the Los Angeles Central Library's mindfulness meditation group and currently works in corporate and creative environments helping executives, teams and businesses cultivate the high-concept and high-touch skills they need to connect, grow and thrive. Kristen received certification as a mindfulness facilitator through the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC) in 2013, training in MARC's Mindful Awareness Practices (MAPs) program in 2014, and certification as a brain-based coach through the NeuroLeadership Institute in 2017.yy

eric lopez

Eric López Maya. Instructor

Eric López Maya, Ph.D is the Director of the Mexican Institute for Mindfulness, a leading Institution in Mexico and Latin America that offers mindfulness-based interventions, as well as teacher training programs for mental health, well-being and stress reduction, both for companies and the general public.
He is also a Teacher-Trainer in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction trained at the Center for Mindfulness in the University of Massachusetts Medical Schools and part of the Global Mindfulness Collaborative at the Brown University Center for Mindfulness.
Eric has led and collaborated in mindfulness research projects in Mexico, United States and Germany. He holds a certificate in Mindfulness Facilitation from UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center and is a Certified Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) teacher through the programs offered by the University of Massachusetts Medical School and received training in Mind-Body Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He was also appointed as a Postdoctoral scholar at UCLA’s Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology, conducting research on the effects of mindfulness practice on immune system functioning, both in Latinos and non-Latinos. Eric was also a TA, advisor and mentor on UCLA´s Teacher Training Program. He’s member of the advisory board at the International Mindfulness Teachers Association and member of the practice committee at the American Mindfulness Research Association. 

moira malzoni

Moira Malzoni, Instructor

Moira Malzoni is co-founder of Moved by Mindfulness, a mindfulness-based meditation studio in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where she facilitates 6-week courses, drop-in classes, and corporate mindfulness practice programs. Moira is a UCLA Trained Mindfulness Facilitator. She has been an Affiliated MAPs Teacher since 2017. Moira is a Certified Mindfulness Teacher, Professional Level (CMT-P), from the International Mindfulness Teachers Association (IMTA). Compassion practice is the core of her work, and she is passionate about sharing mindfulness to students and the general public as a first contact experience.

Mitra Manesh

Mitra Manesh, Instructor

Mitra Manesh is creator of Mindful Attentionist Coaching (MAC) programs – self-coaching & professional coaching -- an inside-out deep dive into a life of choice and wellbeing, host of “Lights On”, a podcast offering practical education for a mindful life, as well as a senior coach to many well-known and unknown happy people. For almost 4 decades she has been helping people of all ages and many different cultures to live, love, and lead more consciously. Here clients include Amazon, Merrill Lynch, Unilever, UCLA Anderson, Hugo Boss, C.A.A., Thomas Cook, The Senate of Canada, KPMG, Labatt, Christian Dior, Capital Group, Insomniac, United Health Group, Summit Series, DigiDems, California Lawyers Association, Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival,  American Association for Justice, Higher Ground Labs, Harvest Kaplankaya, UTA, EDC, Annenberg Foundation...to name a few.  Beyond mindfulness and corporate work, Mitra has been a Human Right Commissioner in Ontario, Canada, a commentator/panelist for CBC and Omni TV, and an executive for numerous non-profit and for-profit entities. One special gift that deepened and shaped her journey so far, has been Dyslexia. Mitra learned to make sense of things/life in a different way, since she could not understand them as presented. Patterns, shapes, colors, stories...all have become her friends on the road of surviving/thriving and learning/teaching. Living, learning and teaching mindfulness on 4 continents has gifted Mitra with many rewards and sometimes even awards. The most surprising came when mindfulness met royalty, and she received the 50th Golden Jubilee Medal from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.   

Robert McClure

Robert McClure, LCSW, Instructor

Robert McClure, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, CEAP, is the manager for the Sharp Healthcare Employee Assistance Program, and his expertise includes employee assistance, brief counseling, critical incident management, consultation and training. His experience as a mental health professional has included positions with Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego, United Airlines, Pacific Bell (AT&T), United Behavioral Health, and Blue Cross of California/Anthem-WellPoint. Robert is a Certified Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT) teacher for Stanford University Center for Compassion, Altruism, Research and Education (CCARE), and a Certified Mindfulness Facilitator (2014) for UCLA Mindfulness Awareness Research Center. He teaches compassion training and mindfulness meditation to healthcare professionals.

Megan Morbitzer

Megan Morbitzer, Instructor

Megan Morbitzer is a Certified Mindfulness Facilitator through UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. She is co-founder of the NOW House Mindful Awareness Center. Megan has more than 15 years of personal practice and intensive study of meditation and is passionate about helping adults and children live with greater ease, self-awareness, kindness, and joy. Megan has experience in teaching Mindfulness in a variety of areas including the LA prisons and jails, families, and in elementary schools. She has formal training in MBSR and with Mindful Schools. Megan has a BS in Computer Science. As a former Sales Executive and as a mother of two young boys, she loves sharing the practice of mindfulness with others and strongly believes in the power of mindful awareness to heal and re-connect us to our own inherent sense of ease and well-being. Her greatest teachers are her husband and two children.


Dr. Ali Mossaver-Rahmani, Instructor

Dr. Ali is founder of Wise Heart Mindfulness  and a Certified Mindfulness Facilitator trained at UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC). He is an authorized UCLA affiliated MAPs Teacher, facilitating MAPs I classes. He completed the year-long UCLA facilitator training in 2018 under the direction of Diana Winston and Drs. Susan Smalley, Dan Siegel, Marvin Belzer, and Matthew Brensilver. He is recognized as a Certified Mindfulness Teacher, Professional (CMT-P) by the International Mindfulness Teachers Association. Ali holds a doctorate in Organizational Leadership and is Senior Adjunct Professor of Management at the University of La Verne. Dr. Ali began his meditation practice 35 years ago and in 2016 deepened his practice by completing the UCLA/MARC year-long IPP (Intensive Personal Practices) program. As a leadership scholar he has advanced the fusion of mindfulness and leadership and has taught Mindful Leadership to graduate students at the University of La Verne. An early innovator at the intersections of mindfulness and recovery, he leads mindfulness and recovery workshops and retreats. 

Manijeh Motaghy

Manijeh Motaghy, PsyD, Instructor

Manijeh holds a Doctorate degree in Psychology of Organizational Management Consulting. She is the Founder of Mindful Business Institute and Co-Founder of Mindful Valley with over 20 years practice in yoga and meditation and over 10 years intensive experience in Mindfulness meditation and related teachings. As the Co-Founder of Mindful Valley, Manijeh has coordinated and lead over 50 day-long retreats including Work-Life Balance and continues to lead weekly Mindfulness study groups in Studio City, Sherman Oaks, Calabasas and West Hills. She has trained and taught Mindfulness to hundreds of individuals, executives and staff at corporations, non-profits, health-care and academic settings. Manijeh is a Certified Mindfulness Facilitator by the UCLA Department of Psychiatry and Board of Behavioral Sciences and an Authorized MAPs Teacher. As a dedicated practitioner, she infuses mindfulness into her life, training, consulting and speaking engagements to optimize success and well-being for all involved.

allyson pimintel

Allyson Pimentel, EdD, Instructor

Dr. Allyson Pimentel, EdD is a psychologist, yoga teacher, and long-time Vipassana meditation practitioner and teacher who works at the intersection of mindfulness, mental health, and social justice.  Allyson has been sharing mindfulness in clinical, secular and spiritual settings for close to two decades.  

Previously, Allyson was a psychologist in private clinical practice and a senior psychologist at Bellevue Medical Center in New York City.  At Bellevue, Allyson co-founded the Mind-Body Clinic, a service that brought mindfulness-based treatment approaches to people living with psychiatric and medical conditions. Currently, Allyson serves as the Co-Director of Mindful USC at the University of Southern California.  Additionally, she teaches at the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC) and is a board member and teacher at InsightLA. Her writings on mindfulness have appeared in Lion’s Roar magazine.

Allyson holds a bachelor’s degree from Brown University and a doctorate in Human Development and Psychology from Harvard University.  She has completed numerous professional mindfulness teacher training programs, as well as dedicated practitioner courses in the Vipassana/Insight meditation tradition, and also is a registered yoga teacher.  Originally from New York, Allyson now lives with her family in Los Angeles on unceded Tongva, Chumash, and Kizh land.  She loves sharing mindfulness as a pathway for individual and collective healing, wisdom, and freedom.


Lucinda Phillips, Instructor

Lucinda Phillips is a Mindfulness Facilitator based in Los Feliz, Los Angeles. She is trained as a Mindfulness Facilitator by UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center, part of the Semel Institute of Neuroscience & Human Behavior at the School of Medicine. In 2002 she began studying Tibetan buddhism and practicing mindfulness meditation in both England and the United States. She volunteers as a teacher of Mindfulness and Meditation at the Los Angeles Central Library. She has worked in the film business for 20 years as a Writer, Producer and Director and has incorporated mindfulness and meditation into her daily working life. She is also a founding board member of the non-profit parks advocacy organization "Friends of Griffith Park" which is dedicated to preserving Griffith Park as L.A.'s signature green and open space.As a dedicated practitioner she has found that mindfulness has transformed both her creative process and personal wellbeing. Since 2002 has been attending silent retreats regularly each year.

Noah Pomeroy

Noah Pomeroy, Instructor

Noah Pomeroy is a UCLA trained mindfulness facilitator, certified by the International Mindfulness Teachers Association (CMT-P). His drive to share mindfulness stems from over a decade of personal practice and silent retreat experience. As an affiliate UCLA Mindful Awareness Practices (MAPS) teacher, Noah is empowered to offer the rich MAPS curriculum to his own students. Enthusiasm for mindfulness fuels his education and consulting business, This Moment Mindfulness, and brings Noah to a range of organizations and workplaces including the University of Hawaii and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  Whether he’s coaching in the corporate boardroom, guiding a backpacking trip in the wilderness, or leading a session on Insight Timer, Noah loves sharing mindfulness. He regularly leads classes at a state prison in Hawaii and guides mindfulness sessions at the Bodhi Tree Meditation Center in Honolulu. Through multi-day intensives with high school students, he helps youth navigate their dynamic lives. Noah is committed to sharing mindfulness to help society meet the unprecedented challenges of the 21st century with greater awareness and compassion. 

Michael Porterfield

Michael Porterfield, Instructor

Michael T. Porterfield is a longtime practitioner of mindfulness and meditation. Extensively involved with the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC) in a variety of capacities, from student to facilitator, he has completed both their Intensive Practice Program (IPP) and is a graduate of the Training in Mindfulness Facilitation (TMF) program. He is also a Certified Mindfulness Teacher – Professional through the International Mindfulness Teachers Association.
As a teacher, coach, and mentor for over 35 years Michael has worked with people of all ages and from all walks of life… He is committed to the development of the whole person to live in love and peace for and with others. Michael is passionate that the consistent practice of meditation and mindfulness cultivates the ability to live a full and authentic life.

Heather Pretre

Heather Prete, Instructor

Heather Prete is a UCLA Certified Mindfulness Facilitator, self-compassion teacher, and mindfulness in recovery coach. She began her formal training with Tibetan compassion practices in 1998 and has received teachings both in the US and in Asia. Her work includes training PhDs at Tarzana Treatment Center, as a guiding teacher for Mindful School's online adult courses, and working with those in recovery at Alternatives Treatment Center. She is creator of Alternatives' Mindfulness Workbook for Abstinence and Moderation. Heather also spent 20 years in the theater, is published in the book Remembering Arthur Miller and has appeared in such publications as Time Magazine and The Times of India. She found mindfulness transformative to her own creative process and works with actors through the Khan Institute teaching her program Mindfulness for the Actor. Since 2000 Heather has remained committed to yearly retreats ranging from 7 to 30 days in length and has completed three teacher trainings.

Inguna Reinfelde

Inguna Reinfelde, Instructor

Inguna Reinfelde is a UCLA Certified Mindfulness facilitator and an authorized teacher of MAPs for daily living. Inguna has studied and teaches Mindful Self-Compassion and facilitates drop-in meditations on the UCLA campus and also at UCLA Medical Center. At present Inguna is facilitating mindfulness for parents of children on the Autism spectrum and is working with seniors facing major life changes. She has also worked with early childhood educators and is currently working one-on-one with individuals with disabilities and people in cancer recovery. Inguna started her meditation practice in the early eighties in Latvia. She has studied Tibetan Buddhism and Qi Gong. Currently teaching in English, she is fluent in Latvian and Russian.

Donald Rothberg

Donald Rothberg, Ph.D., Instructor

Donald Rothberg, Ph.D., has practiced Insight Meditation since 1976. Formerly on the faculties of the University of Kentucky, Kenyon College, and Saybrook Graduate School, he currently writes and teaches on mindfulness and lovingkindness meditation, transforming the judgmental mind, mindful communication, and socially engaged Buddhism. Donald has helped to guide a number of six-month to two-year training programs in socially engaged spirituality and is the author of The Engaged Spiritual Life: A Buddhist Approach to Transforming Ourselves and the World.

Carol rotko

Carol Rotko, PsyD, Instructor

Carol is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist (California License: PSY 23788) and enjoys working with adults in her Los Angeles psychotherapy practice, A Mindful Psychology. She also enjoys facilitating mindfulness with individuals and groups within a wide variety of settings. She received her doctorate degree at Pepperdine University and her training as a Certified Mindfulness Facilitator and MAPs instructor through the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center. Additionally, she completed mindfulness education training at the University of Pennsylvania’s Program for Mindfulness and through Mindful Schools. She completed her APA accredited doctoral internship at Kaiser Permanente with concentrations in Health Psychology and Neuropsychological Assessment. During her postdoctoral training at Cedars Sinai Medical Center she specialized in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. For the last several years she has worked as a supervising psychologist and mindfulness facilitator within non-profit organizations. In NYC, she directed the Advanced Doctoral Externship Training Program at The HOPE Program, where she introduced mindfulness practices to hundreds of program participants and staff. As a supervising psychologist at NCJW/LA Community Mental Health and Supportive Services, she facilitated mindfulness training within the organization and community including local elementary and middle schools. She has committed to a personal practice for over 15 years and has been integrating mindfulness into her clinical, consulting, teaching, and supervisory work for over a decade. She is passionate about promoting wellness, resiliency, and fulfillment.

Deborah Salazar

Deborah Salazar Shapiro, MSW, Instructor

Deborah Salazar Shapiro, Master of Social Work, is a psychotherapist with 15+ years of experience, an accredited mindfulness meditation and compassion teacher, Forest Therapy® guide, award-winning author, and parent of two. She is currently a doctoral student in clinical psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute and a Buddhist Eco-Chaplain in training at the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies. Deborah specializes in practices that draw on trauma-sensitive mindfulness, ecopsychology, intuition, cultural diversity, art, and somatics. She is an authorized and affiliated UCLA Mindful Awareness Practices (MAPs I) teacher, a Mindfulness Facilitator
(trained at UCLA), an instructor of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course, a Unified Mindfulness L2 Coach, and a Compassion Cultivation Training© certified teacher. Originally from El Salvador, Deborah is bilingual and passionate about sharing contemplative practices both in the U.S. and abroad.

Brian Shiers

Brian Shiers, MA, CMF, LMFT, Instructor

With over 25 years of dedicated practice, Brian has studied embodied awareness methods at the Gurdjieff Foundation Los Angeles since 1993, Tibetan Buddhist Vajrayana, shamatha, and vipassana practices in the Kagyu lineage for over fifteen years, and has completed nine week-long retreats, acquiring over 4,000 hours of both sitting and moving meditation. With degrees in Kinesiology and Psychology / Interpersonal Neurobiology setting the foundation for embodied awareness, Brian also completed the year-long facilitator training at UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC) in 2011 under the direction of Diana Winston, Dr. Susan Smalley, and Dr. Marvin Belzer. A member of the MARC faculty since 2012, Brian is an IMTA Professional Level Certified Mindfulness Teacher, and an Authorized Mindful Awareness Practices (MAPs) Teacher, facilitating the signature MAPs I and II programs for UCLA MARC. For 4 seasons he has served as the Mindfulness Coach to the UCLA Bruin Women's Varsity Volleyball Teams and has brought mindfulness to the workplace to the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team, NASA / JPL, Disney Animation Studios, Nestle', Mattel Inc., and Salesforce.com. Brian also leads silent 3-day retreats for law enforcement in the Pacific Northwest and is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in using Dialectical Behavioral Therapy to treat anxiety and personality disorders at Westside DBT.

Barbara Sherman

Barbara Rose Sherman, Instructor

Barbara Rose Sherman earned a B.S. degree from the University of Southern California. She is a Trained Mindfulness Facilitator from the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior and a UCLA Mindful Awareness Practices Affiliated Teacher. Barbara is a Yoga Alliance Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher 500, and is co-author of the college textbook, Yoga for the Joy of It!. She has been teaching yoga, restorative yoga, stress reduction and wellness programs for more than 20 years. She developed and leads corporate wellness programs, Women’s Health and Healing workshops, and yoga and meditation retreats. She created mindfulness workshops for the Santa Barbara Braille Institute and the City of Santa Barbara Department of Public Works. Testimonials from participants praise these programs as “life-changing." Barbara believes that mindfulness, the conscious direction of awareness to the present, creates a foundation for wisdom and well-being.

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Joshua Steinfeldt, Instructor

Joshua Steinfeldt holds a Masters Degree in Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania where he was a student of Dr. Martin Seligman, and Dr. Angela Duckworth. Passionate about the intersection of modern science and ancient wisdom Joshua attained evidence-based training in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Mindfulness Facilitation, and Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT), through teacher training programs at UCSD, UCLA, and Stanford University respectively. He has been practicing meditation formally for the past 8 years, and has gone on a number of 10-day silent meditation retreats to deepen his own practice. Joshua leads a variety of mindfulness and compassion programs for the general public, and also hosts a podcast, The Courageous Life, which features world-renowned thought leaders in Mindfulness and Positive Psychology. The show explores living a meaningful and authentic life, and the courage it takes to do so.

daisy swan

Daisy Swan, MAInstructor

Daisy Swan, is a UCLA Certified Mindfulness Facilitator who teaches MAPS I and II Classes. She began studying Tibetan buddhism and practicing mindfulness meditation about 30 years ago. Incorporating mindfulness into programs she offers through her business as a career coach and strategist, Daisy helps stressed out clients from corporate, legal, entertainment, tech and other career paths, and workshop participants, find their way to more clarity and satisfaction as they make life, work and organizational transitions. Daisy has also earned her Certification as a Professional Co-Active Coach from the Coaches Training Institute, and her Certification as a Somatic Coach from the Strozzi Institute in Petaluma, CA. She regularly attends silent retreats at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, CA.

Rick Sweeney

Rick Sweeney, Instructor

Rick is a Trained Mindfulness Facilitator through UCLA's Mindfulness Awareness Research Center (MARC) at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. As an affiliate UCLA Mindful Awareness Practices (MAPS) teacher he has been and is presently teaching UCLA’s MAPS courses . He is certified to teach youth through Mindful Schools. Rick is also a Certified Mindfulness Teacher-Professional level (CMT-P) by the I.M.T.A.

Rick started Mindfulness Meditation practice in 2006 to reduce stress and improve his health. He quickly discovered positive changes from his practice and wanted to share practices and possibilities with others. He regularly attends workshops and classes to enhance his knowledge and skills. His own meditation practice includes annual silent retreats, including a month-long silent retreat.

He has shared Mindfulness with adults and middle/high school students and has a long history of giving back to others, This includes work as a fundraiser and volunteer high school and elementary school teacher for two charitable organizations. Rick has two Bachelor degrees; one is in Economics and the other in Political Science. He is the proud father of three children. Rick has used the same Mentor/Guiding Teacher since 2008.

deborah eden tull

Deborah Eden Tull, Instructor

Eden, founder of Mindful Living Revolution, is a meditation and mindfulness teacher, author, and sustainability consultant who teaches the integration of compassionate awareness into every aspect of our lives. She spent 7 years as a monastic at a silent Zen Monastery and she has been traveling to, living in, or teaching about sustainable communities for the last 23 years. She teaches engaged awareness practice which emphasizes the interconnection between mindfulness practice and global sustainability. Eden is a UCLA-Certified Mindfulness Facilitator. She also facilitates The Work That Reconnects, which was created by Buddhist scholar and eco-philosopher Joanna Macy, helping people to bring mindfulness to healing our relationship with the state of the world. Eden currently resides in Ojai, California and offers retreats, workshops, and consultations nationally

valerie velez

Valerie Velez, Instructor

Valerie Velez holds a Master’s Degree in Public Health with an emphasis in Health Education from U.C. Berkeley and an undergraduate degree in Applied Behavioral Sciences from U.C. Davis. She currently oversees programs related to tobacco, drug, alcohol and violence prevention for her local public school district, which has included the implementation of a mindfulness initiative for student and staff wellness since 2017. She is a graduate of the Training in Mindfulness Facilitation Program through the Mindfulness Awareness Research Center, and an affiliate teacher for the Mindfulness Awareness Practices course.

Ms. Velez is also a Dharma Holder in the White Plum lineage of Japanese Zen Buddhism, and has practiced and trained in Zen as a lay practitioner since 1983. She lives in the small, mountain town of Idyllwild, California, where she organizes both Buddhist and secular-based programs, classes and events under the umbrella of Insight Idyllwild. She has led a community meditation group there since 2009. Her intention is to offer meditation, mindfulness practices and movement (hiking, wilderness, yoga) in an effort to support individuals and cultivate community in making the benefits of mindful practices available and relevant to as broad an audience as is possible. She is also the mother of two, and a student and practitioner of Navajo-style rug weaving.

Linda Yaron

Linda Yaron Weston, Instructor

Linda Yaron is a National Board Certified Teacher with over 15 years of experience in yoga and meditation. She is a faculty member at the University of Southern California, where she teaches Stress Management for Health Living, Yoga, and Introduction to Mindfulness. Her integrative approach blends theory, research, and practice in mind-body awareness to build resilience, joy, clarity, and compassion. She holds dual Master’s in Education degrees from UCLA and is credentialed to teach English, Physical Education, and Health. She is a certified yoga teacher (E-RYT 500) and certified Mindfulness Teacher (CMT) trained through UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center.

Kathy Yep

Kathy Yep PhD, Instructor

Dr. Yep is a UCLA Certified Mindfulness Facilitator and an authorized instructor of the UCLA Mindful Awareness Practices Program (MAPs). Her passion for teaching mindfulness emerged from her firsthand experience as a woman of color overcoming cancer and chronic illness. Anchored in anti-racist, queer, and feminist teaching practices, she creates classrooms where there are many ways for students to "succeed" in learning. Drawing from her experience as a tenured full professor at the Claremont Colleges, she has written about accessible approaches to fostering inclusive and cohesive learning communities. As a public health researcher, she has spoken at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Center for Bioethics, and at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Interested in fostering healing from racialized trauma, she has taught mindfulness in organizations and at conferences and retreats for close to 30 years. 

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Melanie Yetter, Instructor

I began my meditation and mindfulness studies in Mysore, India and continued my training in Zen practice, Buddhist Psychology, and clergy studies with Five Mountain Zen Order where I was ordained as a Zen Buddhist Monk. Currently teaching as an accredited IMT (International Mindfulness Teacher) and Affiliated Mindful Awareness Practices (MAPs) Teacher, I take a secular approach to sharing the Mindfulness-Based practices both within the public health intervention communities, individual coaching, university lectures, meditation teacher training and corporate training programs to help clients solve their most difficult problems. I offer encouragement through structured and skillful dialogues, meditation, mindfulness and breathing techniques to help empower clients to better understand their challenges and implement pragmatic plans to address them.

Founder and Founding Director of Finding Stillness Through Self-Social Regulation Techniques, MTT 100hr® Meditation, Mindfulness and Breath Work Teacher Training Program. Continuing Education Provider YACEP® with Yoga Alliance and program director of the RYS® 300hr Advanced Studies Program in Pomona, Ca.

Guest Speakers 

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Jill Satterfield

Jill Satterfield is the founder of Vajra Yoga + Meditation, a synthesis of meditation and yoga, contemplative and compassion in action practices. She was named "one of the 4 leading yoga and Buddhist teachers in the country" by the Shambhala Sun Magazine, and is also the founder and Director of the School for Compassionate Action: Meditation, Yoga and Educational Support for Communities in Need.

As a pioneer in the field of mind body awareness, Jill has been teaching internationally, consulting and instigating mindful and creative educational programs for over 29 years.
Jill is part of the founding faculty of Spirit Rock Meditation Center's Mindfulness Meditation for Yoga Training and leads professional teacher trainings internationally. She was the scholar and teacher in residence at the Kripalu Center  consulted with many leading mindfulness organizations and has been featured in the New York Times, More, Crains, Yoga Journal, Tricycle, Yoga Magazine UK and NL and Happinez Magazine NL amongst others.

She teaches and has created Integrative Mind Body programs in hospitals, addiction centers, alternative to incarceration facilities, on silent meditation retreats and in many yoga centers world - wide.


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MARC programs are co-sponsored by the Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology.