Teachers

Our teachers have extensive personal meditation practice and retreat experience, and years of teaching meditation to individuals and groups. All have completed our Meditation Teacher Training Program (IDPMTT) and abide by our Ethical Guidelines. We regard contemplative practice as a means to help others create more meaningful personal lives and careers, as well as the foundation for an equitable and inclusive community and world.

 
 
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Sagar Bhatt

Sagar has been practicing meditation for over ten years and is a recent graduate of the 2018 IDPMTT. He is also a facilitator at Friday Night Zen at the Brooklyn Zen Center. When he is not meditating--just kidding--Sagar is ALWAYS meditating. That said, Sagar is also a writer and comedian, and you can learn more about him at his website: www.sagarbhatt.com 

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Kimberly Brown

Kim is IDP's Executive Director and also a teacher and a graduate of the 2011 IDPMTT. Kim studies and practices lovingkindness meditation. Her teaching methods integrate depth psychology, compassion training, and traditional Buddhist techniques as a means to help everyone reconnect to their inherent clarity and openness. She is a Certified Mindfulness Teacher, Professional Level (CMT-P), with the IMTA. You can see her schedule and more at www.meditationwithheart.com

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Renee Bochman

Renee is a certified Standford Cultivating Compassion Training (CCT) instructor. A graduate of IDPMTT 2012, she studies American and Tibetan Buddhism with a focus on compassion practice, and teaches CCT classes in NYC and in Boston, MA where she lives. 

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Dan Cayer

Dan is a nationally certified teacher of the Alexander Technique, a graduate of IDPMTT 2014, and a meditator in the Shambhala tradition. A serious injury left Dan unable to work, and his return to health, as well as his experience dealing with the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of pain, has inspired him to help others. Dan now teaches mindfulness and the Alexander Technique, as a method of recovering balance and well-being. 

 
 
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Mona Chopra

Mona's work is guided by the belief that the capacity to heal is boundless, and the capacity to love without limits is what liberates us. In addition to graduating from IDPMTT 2013, she is an acupuncturist, hypnotherapist, and  therapeutic yoga instructor. 

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Manaslu Gurung

Manaslu is from Nepal where she first learned to meditate at a Tibetan Buddhist monastery. A recent graduate of IDPMTT 2018, she is deeply inspired by Rev. angel Kyodo williams’s work on love, justice and liberation for all. Manaslu is an assistant organizer of Mindful Astoria and a member of Shantideva Center in Brooklyn. 

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Emily Herzlin

Emily is a Mind-Body Therapist and has been teaching mindfulness meditation since 2011. She completed IDPMTT in 2013, and is also a Certified MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) instructor. She's the founder of the weekly meditation group, Mindful Astoria.

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Rey Horowitz

A high school teacher for two decades, Rey is committed to bringing mindfulness to school teachers and to students to help transform the culture of schools. A graduate of IDPMTT 2017, they have been meditating for fifteen years. Rey has also trained with Mindful Schools and Lineage Project.

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Katie Klaus

Katie has been a meditator since 2009.  A recent graduate of the 2018 IDPMTT she studies Buddhism, MBSR, lovingkindness, and compassion.  She is a member and teacher at Mindful Astoria where she is continually practicing and learning from her fellow teachers and community.  She tries to live by her practice everyday and never leaves home without the Boddhisattva Vow and a deck of playing cards. 

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Heidi Marben

Heidi has been teaching in schools for more than thirty years. She holds a master’s degree in Elementary and Special Education, and a doctorate from NYU in School and Child Psychology. Heidi developed and teaches a mindfulness curriculum for children at Trinity School, where she works. She is a graduate of IDPMTT 2012 and has studied Buddhism for 17 years. 

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Nandini Naik

Nandini was born and raised in Mumbai, India, and was introduced to meditation as a child. A former public high school teacher, Nandini graduated from IDPMTT 2011. After graduating from college she was a volunteer ESL teacher for Tibetan refugees English in Dharamsala. She later wrote a play about her experience, "Turbulent Tibetan," while in NYU's graduate program in teaching English and Theater.

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Paul Sireci

Paul began practicing mindfulness meditation as a teenager and later became a Tibetan monastic for several years. Now a contemplative psychotherapist, Paul has been teaching mindfulness to groups and individuals for over 15 years. He is a graduate of IDPMTT 2013.

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Mia Tootill

Mia is a former musician with a doctorate in musicology whose background in the humanities informs her teaching, alongside education in psychology and compassion practices. She now works with young people in mental health settings and at Mindful NYU. Mia is also a facilitator at Wake Up New York, a Thich Nhat Hanh sangha, and has a particular love of metta and Insight Dialogue. She recently completed IDPMTT in 2018.

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Maui Villapando

Maui Villapando (pronouns: she/her/they/them) is a queer Filipino immigrant, healing practitioner, community organizer, and a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), Geriatric Physical Therapist. As a healing practitioner, they organize events for QTPoCs with an intention to empower individuals to collective liberation. Maui’s intention is to empower individuals in their healing journey to bring about collective liberation. They are a graduate of IDPMTT 2017.

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Leslie Joren Wagner

Leslie has been practicing meditation for 28 years, 16 in the Soto Zen tradition of Maezumi Roshi. She completed IDPMTT in 2017, and is a certified Reiki Master Teacher. An artist with a BFA from Parsons School of Design, Leslie explores the connection between art and dharma, and leads workshops to encourage people to blossom and share their own unique wisdom in the world.