Teachers

Lama Marut (a.k.a. Brian K. Smith) is extensively trained in the spiritual traditions of India and Tibetan Buddhism.  He holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Religion and taught for over two decades in the academic world, first at Columbia University and later at the University of California, where he retired as Professor Emeritus in 2004.

He has served for the past sixteen years as a spiritual teacher to students around the world, and is currently the Spiritual Director for “Middle Way Centers” located in North America, Australia, and Singapore.

In addition to several scholarly studies and translations based on Sanskrit materials, he is the author of the popular and award-winning book, A Spiritual Renegade’s Guide to the Good Life and of Be Nobody (both published by Beyond Words).  His frequently posted audio and video podcasts reach hundreds of thousands of people around the globe.

With his unique mixture of erudition and earthiness, intensity and humor, conviction and openness, Lama Marut’s message is easily accessible and potentially life changing.

Visit Lama Marut’s website.

Cindy Lee has studied and practiced Buddha Dharma for 20 years and has also undergone intensive training in the classical texts of yoga and Hindu philosophy. With a Bachelor of Arts from Swinburne University and a Graduate Diploma in Electronic Design and Interactive Media, Cindy has taught as a university lecturer in film and media programs in Australia. She has produced video installations, short films and designed motion graphics for VJ’ing at electronic music festivals. As an artist Cindy’s teaching and practice is inspired by creativity; utilizing mythical archetype and the power of storytelling, leading kirtan and singing, and recalling training in dance, martial arts and yoga to inspire an energetic, visceral approach that encourages embodied awareness and integration with our true nature. She continues to offer Dharma and Yoga philosophy at retreats and workshops worldwide, and develop multimedia projects that are created with the intention to awaken wild, deep and consciously connected living. Visit Cindy’s website.

Douglas Paul Smith has been a musician and visual artist for over 20 years. He is formally trained as a Dharma Arts Instructor with Shambala Arts International and is a student of Zen Calligraphy. As a contemplative arts enthusiast, he believes enhanced perception and creative flow allow us to transform negative energy and fully engage with our reality.

 

Kris Karuna is a dharma student and co-founder of Provita – a company that provides on-demand wellness and has organized wellness events at Mysteryland Woodstock, Robot Heart & Soul Burning Man, Wonderfruit Thailand. He has taught his Open Ocean program, which combines ocean based meditation, beach yoga and soul surfing with his wife Danielle Karuna at Wanderlust Hawaii and with Soho House. Kris works as a music talent agent with artists like Moby and is excited about where spiritual practices can elevate consciousness by merging with action sports, technology platforms, martial arts, immersive experiences, festivals and other flow activities.

Ed Kingham has been gardening in the deserts of Arizona and Nevada for 39 years. Research has provided some knowledge, but mostly he learns experientially. Ed works with Seeds Savers Exchange and Native Seed/SEARCH to preserve the genetic diversity of plants endangered by modern commercial agriculture. During the past ten years his dharma studies have naturally expressed themselves through gardening, and Ed strives to spread the word and help others to develop their potential as dharma gardeners.

 

Mojohito von Tchudi is an holistic health educator and coach, as well a meditation, Buddhist and yoga philosophy instructor. He has been working with medicinal plants for over ten years, and feels that plant-based preventative medicine is an ingredient critical to spiritual cultivation. Visit Mojohito’s website.

 

Chaz Gross is a life-long cook who has worked in a variety of unique kitchen settings.

 

 

Denise Deniger is a longtime student of Lama Marut & Cindy Lee.  She teaches yoga, meditation, and Buddhist philosophy in Austin, TX.  She is also a licensed massage therapist and a certified iRest Yoga Nidra Teacher.  Her teachings reflect a sense of joyful effort and playful ease. But don’t mistake this sense of lightness and fun for wimpy. She’s a powerhouse who will inspire you to find your own inner roar.

 

Danielle Tafeen Karuna lived and taught yoga for years in NYC and was named as one of the “Nicest Instructors in NYC.” Now an LA native she was just named one of the nine Danielle is known for her insightful and intuitive teachings, healer’s touch, warm demeanor and loving energy. Danielle is an 800+ hour certified Jivamukti Yoga Teacher, a prenatal yoga teacher, reiki master and the co-founder of Provita – a wellness company that delivers at- home and in-office personalized yoga & wellness sessions. As a master sequencer, Danielle creates customized class sequences based on student’s needs and aims at making the body and mind a healthier and more inhabitable place for each individual.

Jed Forman received his undergrad in philosophy from Tufts University. He also received the Dance Studies Award given to one graduating senior from the dance department. After college, he had a successful seven-year career as a computer programmer and street dancer, performing and teaching in New York, LA, and internationally. Some of his credits include dancing with KRS-1, Buckshot, Omarion, Mary Mary, and gigs for Gilette, Coke Zero, Nintendo, and Bloomingdales. He also won numerous dance battles in both popping and vogue. Jed received his M.S. with distinction in Kinesiology and Dance from California State University Northridge in 2014. He thereafter returned to his interest in Buddhist philosophy. Since beginning the religious studies doctoral program at UCSB, Jed has been awarded the Professor R. Ninian Smart Memorial Award: Excellence in Philosophy of Religion by the department and given several presentations at major conferences both in the U.S. and internationally. He recently co-translated the Victory through the Ultimate Dharma Sutra for 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha. His research interests include Buddhist epistemology, the cognitive science approach to religion, and continental philosophy.

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