Teacher Biographies

Guiding Teacher

Bob Stahl, PhD, has founded eight Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programs in medical centers in the SF Bay Area and is currently offering programs at Dominican Hospital, El Camino Hospitals in Los Gatos and Mt. View, and Good Samaritan Hospital. He serves as a Senior Teacher for Brown University Mindfulness Center and the Oasis Institute for Mindfulness-Based Professional Education and Training at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Bob teachers MBSR Teacher Trainings and Insight Meditation retreats worldwide and is the guiding teacher at Insight Santa Cruz and a visiting teacher at Spirit Rock and Insight Meditation Society. He is co-author of 5 books:  A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook (1st & 2nd editions), Living With Your Heart Wide Open, Calming the Rush of Panic, A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook for Anxiety, and MBSR Everyday.

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Jill Hyman has practiced yoga since 1974, Vipassana meditation with ISC since 2000. Her practice is influenced by the Thai Forest tradition (Ajahn Sumedho, Ajhan Amaro, and Ajahn Pasanno), Dzogchen (Tsoknyi Rinpoche, Anam Thubten), the many teachers from Spirit Rock & IMS, and especially Shinzen Young (Vipassana Support Institute). She has served as a volunteer chaplain at Salinas Valley State Prison since 2001, heading the Prison Project program with Bruce since 2003. She completed the 2 & 1/2 year Spirit Rock Community Dhamma Leader Program in January 2008. She teaches classes for beginners, those new to practice, metta, non-residential and residential retreats.  She established the first family program. More recently, she has mentored new teachers.

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Bruce Hyman is a retired physician after 30 years of practice. He has practiced yoga and meditation since 1974 and has been intensively involved in Buddhist practice since 2000. In addition, he has been a co-leader of a dhamma Prison Project program at Salinas Valley State Prison since 2003. His practice is influenced by the Thai Forest Tradition, Dzogchen, Shinzen Young, and Spirit Rock teachers. His teachings emphasize practice in life.

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Community Teachers

Aryeh Nanas has been a Licensed Psychotherapist since 1975. He is a long-time practitioner of mindfulness meditation and has spent considerable time in retreat. He is passionate about the clinical application of mindfulness to a variety of problems of life and specifically its impact on depression and stress. As a consultant, Aryeh has trained therapists in the Mindfulness-based approaches to treatment and stress reduction. He has worked in a wide variety of mental health and practice settings both as a clinician and as an administrator.

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Bill Culman is the founder and principal instructor for Life In The Balance mindfulness. He spent the first 40 years of his working career in the computer industry, focusing on software engineering; most recently, he was the VP of Engineering for Nutanix. During this time, he was also passionately engaged in various meditative disciplines, including Transcendental Meditation, tai chi, yoga, and vipassana/mindfulness meditation, experiencing for himself the life benefits these practices can bring. For the past 15 years, he has been focused on mindfulness meditation, both in daily life and in more than 75 days of silent retreat practice. He has completed the UCLA MARC (Mindful Awareness Research Center) mindfulness facilitator training program and has also received MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) teacher training. He has also been heavily involved at Insight Santa Cruz in both Board and teacher roles for the past three years. His core focus is cultivating mindfulness practices in the workplace and with young adults.

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Chris Basiletti Chris was raised Catholic and attended parochial school for grades 1 through 11. He first became interested in meditation in his late teens. Initially, he practiced in the Zen tradition and later Shambala Buddhism as taught by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Around 1976 he attended a Vipassana retreat at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts and has primarily been practicing and later teaching in the Theravadan tradition since that time. Teachers that have been particularly influential include Shunryu Suzuki, Joseph Goldstein, Christopher Titmus, Mary Grace Orr, Ajahn Sumedho, Ajahn Amaro, Ajahn Chah, and Bob Stahl. He began leading meditation groups and teaching in 2004 and completed Bob Stahl’s Community Teacher training program in 2014. His practice and teaching interweave many influences with an emphasis on integrating Dhamma practice into the daily life of a layperson as a path to awakening. Chris is available for one-on-one mentoring by appointment and can be reached at 831-763-7617. He and his wife live in Watsonville.

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G Schulz began practicing insight meditation in 2003 after attending his first retreat in Thailand. Looking for a spiritual home, he became involved with ISC shortly after his return to Santa Cruz. G has participated in many retreats since 2003, both at home and abroad. He has also completed a teacher training program led by Bob Stahl, the Noble Path Program led by Carla Brennan and the Spirit Rock Dedicated Practitioner Program. G is currently participating in the Spirit Rock Advanced Practitioner program.

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Kara Haney has been practicing meditation and studying Buddhism since 1993. Initially introduced to the Dhamma through the lens of Zen Buddhism, as a young adult, her interest changed to the Thai Forest Tradition while her brother lived in Southeast Asia. She has been leading Vipassana meditation since 1996. Kara practices the fifth precept of full renunciation from intoxicants and has over twenty years sober. In 2013 she assisted in starting Buddhist recovery groups in Santa Cruz and has been a foundational member and mentor for the community. Kara attends multiple silent Vipassana retreats each year. She has been empowered to teach by Bob Stahl, trained to facilitate Mindfulness and Buddhist meditation through the former Against the Stream Meditation Society and is currently in the Spirit Rock Community Dhamma Leader two-year program. Kara has been active as the Program Coordinator for Insight Santa Cruz for five years and was a member of the Board for four years. She teaches weekly meditation groups at Insight Santa Cruz and offers daylongs. Kara currently lives in downtown Santa Cruz and recently went back to school for a master’s degree in Social Work.

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Karen Zelin has been a student and teacher of meditation since the mid-1990s when she began practicing and teaching Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction programs. She has served as Chair of ISC’s Board of Directors and as a member of ISC’s Program Committee. She trained at Spirit Rock in the Mindfulness & Yoga Certification program, and ISC’s teacher development program with Bob Stahl. She has teamed with ISC teachers to offer daylongs on Mindfulness & Yoga, Mindfulness & Anxiety, and a Day of Practice. She is currently teaching ISC’s Beginners Meditation Class. Besides teaching meditation and mindfulness, Karen also teaches yoga in Santa Cruz and is co-owner of Yoga Within Studio in Aptos Village.

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Kim Allen has been practicing Insight meditation since 2003 and has trained intensively in the US and Asia. Originally trained at IMC with Gil Fronsdal, she now teaches at Insight Santa Cruz and offers classes and sutta study around the Bay Area, as well as retreats locally and farther afield. Dedicated to a life of deep Dhamma practice in the West, she draws from a background in science, contemplative practices, and creativity to offer classical Dhamma in a modern context. Her education includes a Ph.D. in physics and a master’s degree in environmental and social sustainability. Kim’s website is here.

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Kirsten Rudestam has been practicing insight meditation since 2000 and is a graduate of Spirit Rock’s Community Dhamma Leader Program. She is an avid earth lover, and teaches experiential environmental education and leads wilderness expeditions. She has trained as a facilitator in Joanna Macy’s Work that Reconnects, and as a rite of passage guide with the School of Lost Borders. She currently lives in Santa Cruz, California, where she completed a Ph.D. in Environmental Sociology.

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Leslie Tremaine has been an Insight meditation practitioner for over two decades. A member of ISC ‘s sangha since 2006, she has completed Spirit Rock’s Community Dhamma Leader training as well as an MBSR practicum. Since her retirement from over 35 years in public mental health/substance abuse services, her greatest joy has been deepening her spiritual practice and teaching mindfulness in a range of community settings.

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Marcy Reynolds joined Insight Santa Cruz in 1997. She began her meditation training at Tassajara Zen Center in 1984 with Katherine Thanas and in 1995 began studying with Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, who continues as her root teacher, even though her primary practice focuses on Vipassana and Metta. In recent years, her practice and teaching have been strongly influenced by the work of Shinzen Young. In addition to sitting meditation, Marcy also has a strong Qigong practice and has studied with a number of Chinese and American Qigong Masters, notably Bingkun Hu, who continues to act as her guiding teacher in Qigong. Marcy has taught Qigong since 1997. Her classes emphasize mindfulness of the body through both movement and stillness. In addition to teaching at Insight Santa Cruz, Marcy teaches qigong movement and mindfulness meditation throughout the Santa Cruz and South SF Bay Areas. She also teaches for the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View. Marcy teaches Qigong on Thursdays from 5:30-6:30 PM.

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