Gaia House Teachers

Gaia House teachers 2009 Meet the retreat teachers:

.

Gaia House Patrons:

After many years of serving on the Gaia House Teacher Council, we are deeply grateful for the continued support of Christina Feldman and Stephen Batchelor as patrons of Gaia House.

Gaia House Teacher Council:

The Gaia House Teacher Council provides guidance for the organisation spanning many different areas. Each teacher member leads regular retreats at Gaia House.

Caroline JonesKirsten KratzRob Burbea
Catherine McGeeMartine BatchelorYanai Postelnik
Jenny Wilks

Visiting teachers:

Visiting teachers come from all over the world to lead retreats at Gaia House, offering a range of Buddhist Dharma teachings.

Ajahn BrahmGail AylwardKittisaroPhyllis Hicks
Ajahn JutindharoGina SharpeLama Rod OwensSuvaco
Alan LewisGregory KramerLaura Bridgman (Kovida)Thanissara
Anushka FernandopulleHelen StephensonLeela SartiVen Canda
Bhante BodhidhammaJake DartingtonLeigh BrasingtonZohar Lavie
Bonnie DuranJanet SurreyMartin Aylward
Brad RichecoeurJaya Karen RudgardNoirin Sheahan
Chris CullenJohn PeacockNorman Feldman

Assistant teachers:

Teachers who are at the end of their training or have recently qualified.

Gavin MilneKatrin HeydeNathan Glyde

Teacher bios:

AJAHN BRAHM was born in London in 1951 and earned a degree in Theoretical Physics from Cambridge University. He became a monk in 1974 under Ajahn Chah and is today the abbot of Bodhinyana Monastery near Perth and a revered spiritual guide, regularly attracting thousands to his inventive and insightful talks. Ajahn Brahm has also been a pioneer for the full bhikkhuni ordination of women in the Theravada tradition, and is working with Ven. Canda to develop a Bhikkhuni Monastery in England.

Back to Top
AJAHN JUTINDHARO Ajahn Jutindharo began his meditation practice in 1982 and since 1989 has been a monk in the Thai forest lineage of Ajhan Chah and Ajahn Sumedho, living primarily in the UK. For the last ten years he has been the Abbot at Hartridge Monastery in Devon.

Back to Top
ALAN LEWIS has been engaging in spiritual inquiry and meditation practice since the 1970s. He spent 17 years as a Theravadin Buddhist monk and disrobed in December 2000. He now runs an IT business in Devon with his wife Vanessa, with whom he built and maintains the Gaia House website and Zen Moments.org.

Listen to one of Alan Lewis's Talks given at Gaia House on 12.09.2012: It's OK To Be Who You Are (Duration 40:10)

Back to Top
ANUSHKA FERNANDOPULLE has trained in Buddhist meditation for over 25 years, lives in San Francisco and teaches meditation around the globe. Her teaching is informed by nature, creative arts, political engagement, and modern urban life. She holds a BA from Harvard and MBA from Yale. For more info visit: Anushkaf.org

Back to Top
BHANTE BODHIDHAMMA started training in Soto Zen in 1977, then in the Mahasi Theravada Tradition with Sayadaws U Rewata Dhamma, U Janaka and U Pandita. In 1986 he ordained, subsequently spending eight years at Kanduboda Mahasi Meditation Centre in Sri Lanka. He has been teaching in England, Ireland and internationally since 1998. From 2001- 2005, he was the Resident Teacher at Gaia House. He founded the Satipanya Buddhist Retreat in Wales, a meditation centre devoted to the Mahasi tradition.

Listen to one of Bhante Bodhidhamma's Talks: Mae Chee Kaew: Awakened! (Duration 41:40)
More talks on Dharma Seed. and Satipanya.

Back to Top
BONNIE DURAN met the Dharma in 1982 and learned Vipassana in Bodh Gaya India. Since then, she has taken teachings from many western teachers including Joseph Goldstein and Ajahn Sucitto, as well as Tibetan teachers. Bonnie is a graduate of the Insight Meditation Society (IMS)/Spirit Rock Meditation Center (SRMC) retreat teacher-training program. Bonnie teaches long and short retreats and advanced programs at IMS and Spirit Rock and is on the Spirit Rock Teachers Council. Bonnie is also involved in Native American spiritual practices and traditions. Dr Duran is a Professor in the Schools of Social Work and Public Health at the University of Washington and is also faculty at the Indigenous Wellness Research Institute.

Back to Top
BRAD RICHECOEUR has been practising Insight Meditation and Qigong for over 20 years. He is a senior student of Master Zhixing Wang, and brings a meditative inquiry into the nature of health, healing and embodied presence. He is the co-founder of Qigong Southwest and is also a Craniosacral Therapist and a tutor on the Craniosacral Therapy training at the Karuna Institute, Devon, UK.

Listen to one of Brad Richecoeur's Talks given at Gaia House on 13.12.2015: Ignition of the Three Energy Centres (Duration 58:27)

Back to Top
CAROLINE JONES has been practising meditation since 1989. She started teaching in 2006, and now teaches at Gaia House and internationally. She also spends time as a resident teacher at Gaia House. Caroline will be resident teacher at the Forest Refuge, Barre, Massachusetts. from December 2015.

Listen to one of Caroline Jones's Talks given at Gaia House on 18.12.2013: The Gifts of Practice (Duration 50:22)

Back to Top
CATHERINE McGEE has been teaching Insight Meditation at Gaia House and internationally since 1997. Her teaching emphasises working with perceptions of the body on the path of awakening and in the healing of the individual and collective crises of our times. She is an advisor to One Earth Sangha and a long term student of the Diamond Approach and collaborates with Rob Burbea in shaping and teaching a Soulmaking Dharma.

Listen to Catherine McGee's Talks on Dharmaseed. This talks was given at Gaia House on 23.06.19: Healing the crisis of embodiment (Duration 58:10).

Back to Top
CHRIS CULLEN has practised and studied the Buddha's teachings since 1994 and has been teaching insight meditation retreats since 2010. He also teaches for the Oxford Mindfulness Centre and has a psychotherapy practice in Oxford.

Listen to one of Chris Cullen's Talks given at Insight Meditation Society Retreat Center on 29.01.2015: Compassion (Duration 63:02)

Back to Top
CHRISTINA FELDMAN is a co-founder of Gaia House. She has been leading Insight Meditation retreats worldwide since 1976. She is a Guiding Teacher of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts. She is the author of a number of books including Woman Awake, Way of Meditation, and co-author of Soul Food. Recent books include Silence and The Buddhist Path to Simplicity.

Listen to one of Christina Feldman's Talks given at Gaia House on 24.09.2013: Swimming Against the Tide (Duration 61:35)

Back to Top
GAIL AYLWARD attended her first retreat in Bodh Gaya in 1994. Since then she has lived and worked continuously in meditation centres, as well as bringing up her 2 children. In 2005 Gail became co-founder and director of Moulin de Chaves Meditation Centre in S.W. France. Alongside assisting Martin Aylward on some retreats, Gail is a qualified yoga teacher, offering yoga classes at Le Moulin and locally, emphasizing embodied awareness. She has been a student of the Diamond Approach since 2005.

Back to Top
GAVIN MILNE has been practising Insight Meditation since 2004, and was invited to teach in 2015, training under the guidance of Yanai Postelnik. Inspired and influenced by other paths, he is particularly interested in exploring practice wherever we find ourselves – everything from family life to responding to the wider issues of our era.

Back to Top
GINA SHARPE , co-founder of New York Insight Meditation Center, has practiced the Dharma for 40 years and has taught workshops and retreats since 1995. A retired lawyer, she taught for several years in a maximum security prison for women. She is a leader in the work of diversity at Buddhist Retreat and Community Centers. She is a member of Spirit Rock’s Teachers Council.

Back to Top
GREGORY KRAMER has been teaching meditation since 1980. He developed the practice of Insight Dialogue and is the Founder and Guiding Teacher of Metta Programs, offering retreats worldwide. He is author of several books including Insight Dialogue - The Interpersonal Path to Freedom and Dharma Contemplation: Meditating Together with Wisdom Texts.

Listen to one of Gregory Kramer's Talks given at Gaia House on 04.10.2010: Retreat is Part of Life: What Now? (42:02)

Back to Top
HELEN STEPHENSON has practised Hatha Yoga and Insight Meditation since 1979. Initially she was taught by the late Robert van Heeckeren and in 1981 she began to study classical yoga with the Indian Yogateacher Sri. S. Rajagopalan. Her movement work is influenced by the work of the late Moshe Feldenkrais "awareness through movement" and her training in body centred therapy with the late Ron Kurtz. Having lived most of her life in a communal setting she and her family now share a home with another family in Newport Pagnell.

Listen to one of Helen Stephenson's Talks given at Gaia House on 01.05.2012: The Texture of Being (Duration 37:59)

Back to Top
JAKE DARTINGTON has practised Buddhist meditation since 1995. After training as a Dharma teacher with Christina Feldman, he started teaching in 2007. He has a background in Philosophy and Buddhist Studies and has trained as a teacher of MBSR/MBCT. Jake lives in Nottingham where he teaches mindfulness and Insight Meditation.

Listen to one of Jake Dartington's Talks given at Gaia House on 01.01.2016: Four Noble Truths (Duration 53:55)

Back to Top
JANET SURREYJANET SURREY is an Insight Dialogue Teacher. She teaches Insight Dialogue retreats worldwide and leads a monthly practice group in the Boston area. Her primary meditation teacher was Vimala Thakar, and she has studied with many Vipassana teachers for over 25 years and has trained with Gregory Kramer since 2008. She is a graduate of the Community Dharma Leader training at Spirit Rock. Jan is a practicing clinical psychologist and founding scholar of the Jean Baker Miller Training Institute at the Wellesley Centers for Women. She is on the faculty and board of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy. She is the author of recently published book, The Buddha’s Wife: The Path of Awakening Together.

Back to Top
JAYA KAREN RUDGARD began meditating in the 1980s and practised for eight years as a nun in the Thai Forest tradition in England with Ven. Ajahn Sumedho as her teacher. She is a graduate of the IMS/Spirit Rock Teacher Training and teaches Insight Meditation and mindfulness in the UK and internationally.

Listen to one of Jaya Karen Rudgard's Talks at Spirit Rock Meditation Center on 24.11.2015: Seeing Through the Net of Illusion (Duration 47:55)

Back to Top
JENNY WILKS has practised in various Buddhist traditions since the late 1980s, and has an MA in Indian Religions. She has taught for several years at Gaia House, the Barn Retreat near Totnes in Devon UK, and local meditation classes. She trained in clinical psychology and works as an MBCT (Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy) therapist and trainer at Exeter University.

Listen to one of Jenny Wilks' Talks at Gaia House on 31.12.2016: The Five Recollections (Duration 52:50)

Back to Top
JOHN PEACOCK is both an academic and a Buddhist practitioner of nearly forty years. He was initially trained in the Tibetan Gelugpa tradition in India and subsequently spent time in Sri Lanka studying Theravada. He has lectured in Buddhist Studies at the University of Bristol, and at present he is Associate Director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre and teaches on the Master of Studies programme in MBCT (Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy) at Oxford University. He has been teaching meditation for over twenty five years and is a Gaia House guiding teacher.

Listen to one of John Peacock's Talks given at Gaia House on 12.09.2015: The Skill of Remembering(61:58)

Back to Top
KATRIN HEYDE For many years Katrin was involved in the Dharmagiri Retreat Centre in South Africa where she also taught meditation/yoga retreats. Katrin has participated in various Dharma programs such as the 6-month Karuna Foundation course, the CDPP and Secular Dharma Program and has recently completed a meditation teacher’s training with Martine Batchelor.

Back to Top
KIRSTEN KRATZ has practised Buddhist meditation in Asia and the West since 1993. She started teaching in 2006. One of her particular passions is exploring how wisdom teachings can foster appropriate responses to the challenges of our time; she supports those on personal retreat in Gaia House and is co-initiator of the Dharma Action Network for Climate Engagement: DANCE.

Listen to one of Kirsten Kratz's Talks given at Gaia House on 23.03.2013: Calm and Kindness (Duration 38:57)

Back to Top
KITTISARO, from Tennessee, was a Rhodes scholar before ordaining with Ajahn Chah in Thailand. He co-founded Chithurst and Devon monasteries, has taught internationally, and practices Chinese Mahayana and completed. Kittisaro is co-founder of Dharmagiri, South Africa and Sacred Mountain Sangha, U.S., and is co-author, with Thanissara, of Listening to the Heart. .

Listen to one of Kittisaro's Talks TathaGata - Emptiness is Wonderful Existence, Wonderful Existence is Empty (Duration 48:28)

Back to Top
LAMA ROD OWENSLAMA ROD OWENS a formally authorised teacher in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. He is a visiting teacher at Inward Bound Mindfulness Education (iBme), a contributing teacher with Natural Dharma Fellowship, Daishin Zen Buddhist Temple and the Brooklyn Zen Center. Lama is also a guest faculty member at the Harvard School of Education’s programme Mindfulness for Educators. He completed his graduate studies at Harvard Divinity School and is the co-author of Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love and Liberation.

Back to Top
LAURA BRIDGMAN began her Dhamma practice in her early teens, and eventually ordained as a nun with Ajahn Sumedho in 1995. She was resident at Amaravati and Chithurst monasteries for eighteen years until moving out to live as a solitary nun in 2010. She has spent extended periods of time with the Burmese teacher Sayadaw U Tejaniya. In 2015 Laura left the monastic tradition to pursue the Diamond Heart (Ridhwan) spiritual path alongside her Vipassana practice. There is much over-lap as it incorporates Buddhist principles and practices.

Back to Top
LEELA SARTI has been a student of the Buddha's teachings and practices since she was 16 years old. She lives with her family in Sweden and in addition to teaching Insight Meditation retreats internationally works individually with students in her psychotherapy practice in Stockholm. She is a long term student of the Diamond Approach and part of a teacher training program in that tradition.

Listen to one of Leela Sarti's Talks at Gaia House. 19.10.2015: Bowing to Instinct and Embracing Desire (Duration 51:54)

Back to Top
LEIGH BRASINGTON has been practising meditation since 1985 and is the senior American student of the late Ven. Ayya Khema. Leigh began assisting Ven. Ayya Khemma in 1994, and began teaching retreats on his own in 1997. He teaches in Europe and North America and is the author of the book Right Concentration: A Practical Guide to the Jhanas. Find more information about Leigh’s teaching and schedule at leighb.com

Listen to one of Leigh Brasington's Talks given at Gaia House on 19.10.2013: Nibbana (and Q&A) (Duration 69:11)

Back to Top
MARTIN AYLWARD began practising Dharma aged 19, spending several years in Asian Buddhist monasteries and with Himalayan hermits. He is co-founder and resident teacher at Moulin de Chaves Retreat Centre in France, and of online Dharma platform WorldwideInsight.org. Martin directs teacher training at Mindfulness Training Institute and leads retreats worldwide. For information on his teachings and schedule visit MartinAylward.com

Listen to one of Martin Aylward's Talks at New York Insight from May 2017.

Back to Top
Martine BatchelorMARTINE BATCHELOR lived in Korea as a Zen nun under the guidance of Master Kusan for ten years. She is the author of Meditation for Life, The Path of Compassion, Women in Korean Zen and Let Go: A Buddhist Guide to Breaking Free of Habits. She is a Gaia House guiding teacher. She teaches meditation retreats worldwide and lives in South West France. Her latest work is The Spirit of the Buddha.

Listen to one of Martine Batchelor's Talks at Gaia House on 23.07.2015: Instructions - What is This? Questioning. The Way of Korean Seon and it's connection with Vipassana (Duration 34:08)

Back to Top
NATHAN GLYDE has been practicing and studying meditation since 1997, and sharing teachings on retreats since 2007. In 2004 he co-founded SanghaSeva whose retreats emphasise wisdom and compassion in ecological and humanitarian service.

Back to Top
NOIRIN SHEAHAN has been practising meditation under the guidance of Bhante Bodhidhamma for the past thirty years. She attended Gaia’s first Dharma Study Course in 2002-4 and she has been assisting Bhante Bodhidhamma since 2003. In July 2013 she lost her voice box due to throat cancer and now pioneers Dharma-teaching via an electro-larynx. She teaches regularly at Satipanya and offers on-line “Right Lifestyle” courses which help people to practise in everyday situations.

Back to Top
NORMAN FELDMAN has been practising Vipassana Meditation since 1971. Since 1986 he has been leading Insight Meditation retreats internationally, leading sutta study classes, and guiding pilgrimages to Buddhist sites in India. Norman is a co-founder of True North Insight Retreat Centre in Canada. Full bio at InsightMeditationRetreats.ca

Listen to one of Norman Feldman's Talks given at Gaia House on 25.3.2016: Baseball and Cricket (Duration 46:54)

Back to Top
PHYLLIS HICKS has been practicing meditation since 1984. She trained with Gregory Kramer and offers Insight Dialogue retreats internationally. A psychotherapist for 32 years, she also teaches MBSR and is a guiding teacher for Triangle Insight . She is co-author and designer of the Interpersonal Mindfulness Program. Phyllis lives in North Carolina, USA.

Listen to one of Phyllis Hicks’ talks from the BCBS Finding Freedom: An Insight Dialogue Retreat held at the Barre Center in April 2019 -: Morning Session (Duration 32:37)

Back to Top
ROB BURBEA has been practising and studying the Dharma since 1985. He has been teaching since 2004 and is a Guiding Teacher of Freely Given Retreats. He is a co-founder of SanghaSeva, an organisation dedicated to exploring the Dharma through service work internationally, and also a co-initiator of DANCE (Dharma Action Network for Climate Engagement). He is the author of Seeing that Frees: Meditations on Emptiness and Dependent Arising.

Listen to one of Rob Burbea's Talks at Gaia House on 31.12.2011: This Matter of Emptiness (Duration 50:33)

Back to Top
STEPHEN BATCHELOR trained as a Buddhist monk in the Tibetan and Zen traditions. He is the author of several books, including the bestselling Buddhism without Beliefs. His most recent publications are After Buddhism , Secular Buddhism and What is this? Reflections from a Sŏn retreat. A co-founder of Bodhi College, he teaches worldwide and lives in South West France.

Listen to one of Stephen Batchelor's Talks at Gaia House on 24.07.2015: Instructions - Behold the Ceasing (Duration 34:23)

Back to Top
SUVACO is a former Buddhist monk and a passionate advocate for embodying life in all of its forms. He lives in the South West UK where he works as a psychotherapist and Tai Qi teacher.

Listen to one of Suvaco's Talks at Gaia House on 15.06.2015: Evening Talk from Touching the Earth Retreat (Duration 47:09)

Back to Top
THANISSARA, from London, ordained after meeting Ajahn Chah for 12 years. She has facilitated meditation retreats for 35 years and has an MA in Core Process Psychotherapy from the Karuna Institute. Thanissara is co-founder of Dharmagiri, South Africa and Sacred Mountain Sangha, U.S. Her recent book is Time To Stand Up.

Listen to one of Thanissara’s Talks, Belonging (Duration 39:50)

Back to Top
VEN. CANDA began meditating in 1996 with S.N. Goenka and spent the next 7 years deepening her practice in India. She ordained as a Buddhist nun in Burma in 2006 and subsequently took full bhikkhuni ordination with Ajahn Brahm. Her approach to meditation focuses on kindness and letting go as a means to deepening stillness and is increasingly informed by the Early Buddhist Suttas. Ven. Canda founded Anukampa Bhikkhuni Project with Ajahn Brahm - a UK charity aimed at establishing a nun's monastery in the UK.

Back to Top
YANAI POSTELNIK has practised and studied Insight Meditation and Buddhism since 1990 and has been teaching internationally for over 20 years. He is much inspired by the Thai forest tradition and the transformative power of the natural world. Yanai is a Core Faculty member of Insight Meditation Society, Massachusetts, and he lives with his wife Catherine McGee in Devon, England.

Listen to one of Yanai Postelnik's Talks given at Gaia House on 02.09.2013: The Art of Unknowing (Duration 61:05)

Back to Top
ZOHAR LAVIE has been practising meditation in different traditions since 1995. This journey has taken her from the meditation cushion into exploring further ways of expressing truth and love and in 2004 she co-founded SanghaSeva. She now spends most of her time facilitating retreats that offer service as a spiritual path around the world. Since 2006 she has been teaching on silent retreats and Dharma gatherings in India, Europe and Israel.

Listen to one of Zohar Lavie's Talks from the Dharmalaya Silent retreat on 29.03.2017-: Emptiness, Self and Dependent Arising (Duration 50:33)

Back to Top

*While all reasonable care is taken, Gaia House is not responsible for the content of external websites.