Joan began practicing meditation in the Theravada or Insight tradition in 1985. Since then she has practiced and studied intensively in the US and Burma with senior American and Asian monastic teachers, including Joseph Goldstein, Ajahn Thanissaro and Sayadaw U Tejaniya. She was a founding member of the Santa Fe Vipassana Sangha where she is a regular speaker and teaches introduction to meditation. A lifelong student of hatha yoga, she has taught meditation and yoga in treatment centers and prisons and has a particular interest in the relationship of personal practice and compassionate action. As a licensed psychotherapist she works with healing trauma through the power of mind body awareness.
Joan Mitchell began practicing Insight Meditation with Shinzen Young in 1987. Other teachers who have influenced her practice include Leigh Brashington, Marcia Rose, Eric Kolvig, and most recently, the Venerable Ajahn Sucitto and Venerable U Tejaniya. Her practice regularly includes intensive month-long as well as shorter retreats. Currently her practice and teaching emphasize finding ground in the body and mindfulness of mind states. Since 2008 Joan has been teaching Introduction to Insight Meditation classes. She taught Core Buddhist Studies classes beginning in 2013 until they evolved into Dharma Explorations in 2016. She was a co-founder and coordinator for a Sutta Study group from 2008 – 2016. A member of the SFVS board, she is also coordinator for education programs. Joan is a graduate of the University of Michigan and St. John’s College, and taught English in Turkey, Greece, the Navajo Nation, and Santa Fe. She retired from the National Park Service where she worked as a park and recreation planner. She is also a published poet.
Mary Powell has been a Vipassana practitioner for almost 30 years. During that time she has done intensive retreats at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Mass. In the past few years she has done month long self retreats both at home and at a remote cabin in the mountains and at the Forest Refuge. Recently she practiced for a month in the Thai Forest Tradition with Ajahn Sucitto. In 2007 she completed the 2 ½ year Community Dharma Leader training through Sprit Rock Meditation Center. For many years she served as a board member of SFVS and as president as well. She was a member of the Education Committee for 15 years. Mary also serves on the board of the Brahma Vihara Foundation and the Vallecitos Mountain Retreat Center in northern New Mexico where she often teaches retreats during the summer. Mary has always been interested in practicing in nature and incorporates outdoor practice into her retreats.
Alexis has been practicing Dharma since 2001. His interest in Buddhism traces back to an early concern for suffering and the truth-seeking nature of science. After graduating from Harvard with an undergraduate degree in Neurobiology, Alexis went on to pursue a medical career. Before long, his ongoing questioning of what is truly meaningful led to a deepening disillusionment with the medical system at that time. He took a leave from his studies and instead found his way to India, Burma and Thailand where he first encountered the Buddha’s teachings. In 2003, he met Sayadaw U Tejaniya and has since been his long-time student, including ordaining as a Buddhist Monk for several years under his guidance. Alexis’ teaching emphasizes knowing the mind through a natural and relaxed continuity. He brings a practical, intuitive and compassionate approach to the development of wisdom. He is in the current Spirit Rock/IMS Teacher Training and can be found teaching retreats throughout the US and in Europe. For more information, see livingdharma.io.
Erin Treat lives in Durango, CO and serves as a Guiding Teacher of Vallecitos Mountain Retreat Center. She teaches retreats at Spirit Rock and the Insight Meditation Society, including part of the annual 3-month course at IMS. Erin serves as a teacher and board member at the Durango Dharma Center and enjoys mentoring students from around the country. Her approach to sharing the dharma is influenced by her experience as a student of the Diamond Approach by A.H. Almass and by her love of socially engaged practice, embodiment, and wild nature.