Ian Challis

Guiding Teacher

Ian Challis has been practicing and studying within the Insight Tradition of Buddhism for more than a decade. He has sat retreats with Rodney Smith, Santikaro, Narayan Liebenson, Larry Yang, Leigh Brasington, and Joseph Goldstein, among many others

He works as an artist, web and product designer. A long time resident of Seattle, he now makes his full-time home in Palm Springs with his husband David Roos. He is a founding and current board member and past president of Insight Community of the Desert

In addition to teaching at ICD, Ian facilitates the weekly Desert Meditation Group in Rancho Mirage, and he is a graduate of the  two year Community Dharma Leader training program at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and is authorized to teach Insight Meditation. Ian is also enrolled in the UC San Diego Mindfulness Based Professional Training Institute.

Supporting your practice of mindfulness meditation is a true joy!


Jokai Blackwell Sensei

Jokai relocated to Southern California from the UK in 2000 to study with Charles Tenshin Fletcher Roshi at Yokoji Zen Mountain Center. After completing formal study, encompassing over a decade of residential training and service, he received Dharma Transmission (full authorization to teach) in the White Plum Lineage of Zen Buddhism. Jokai emphasizes the direct experience of awakening using contemporary language and time-honored methods.

Lorene M. Jabola, PhD

Lorene Jabola has been a student and practitioner of Buddhism since 1985. Her training as an educator and psychotherapist finds expression in teaching, writing, and consulting is dedicated to awakening and finding one’s original voice. Her bi-cultural upbringing in the Philippines and Southern California, education in Eastern and Western religious traditions and psychology, and meditation practice in the Thai forest tradition infuse both personal and professional life. Lorene is a graduate of the Community Dharma Leaders Training Program at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. She is committed to supporting the development and growth of multicultural practitioners and leaders.

Devoted to social justice and integrative approaches to mental health, Lorene helped found two community organizations in Minneapolis, MN: Minnesota Psychoanalytic Society and Institute Psychotherapy Center and Midwest Meditation and Psychotherapy Institute. Lorene provides consultation/mentoring to both individuals and professional organizations.

Larry Yang teaches meditation nationally, and has spent much energy to deepen Dharma teachings within multicultural communities.  He considers retreat practice, family practice, livelihood practice, and householder practice all integral to a spiritual path towards Freedom.  He is trained and authorized to teach by Jack Kornfield at Spirit Rock and the Venerable Ajahn Tong of Wat Chom Tong in Thailand. 

Larry is one of the founding teachers of both East Bay Meditation Center and Insight Community of the Desert, and was previously on the Teachers Council of Spirit Rock Meditation Center for 10 years. He has trained teachers for spiritual leadership within Communities of Color and LGBTQI communities for 15 years.

His book, Awakening Together: the Spiritual Practice of Inclusivity and Community, is published by Wisdom Publications.

Larry is currently a senior advisor in Mindfulness and Healing Justice for the Kataly Foundation, to provide grants supporting community-based Mindfulness and Awareness practices for racially diverse multicultural groups and organizations.

Tenshin Fletcher Roshi

Charles Tenshin Fletcher Roshi is now the primary teacher and abbot at Yokoji-Zen Mountain Center

Born in Manchester, England,came to the United States in 1979 to study at the Zen Center of Los Angeles with founder Taizan Maezumi Roshi. In 1994, Tenshin Roshi received Dharma Transmission (authorization to teach) in the White Plum lineage from Maezumi Roshi, and Inka from Genpo Merzel Roshi in 2006 (Zen Master, final seal of approval). Tenshin Roshi is one of the few North American teachers officially certified as a Kokusaifukyoshi (Official Foreign Representative), a title appointed in 2009 by the Soto Zen Headquarters in Japan.

In 2001 Tenshin Roshi co-authored a book with David Keizan Scott Sensei called “Way of Zen”. It was published by St Martin’s Press at their request for a comprehensive book on Zen Buddhism at the turn of the century. As such, it is an invaluable resource on the history, various cultures and practices of Zen Buddhism from India to China, Japan and the United States and Europe.

John Martin

John Martin has been devoted to dharma practice since 2001. His practice includes both long retreat practice and an engaged practice in the world. In his teachings, he emphasizes the aliveness of practice in everyday life, as well as the cultivation of the beautiful heart qualities (brahmaviharas).

John teaches Vipassana, Metta and LGBTQI-themed meditation retreats. John’s spiritual path has also included volunteer service work, including over 12 years as a hospice volunteer. He completed the SRMC/IMS/IRC 4-year teacher training in 2016, and now serves on the Spirit Rock Teachers Council.

John leads a Monday night sitting group in San Francisco.


Beth Mulligan

Beth Mulligan has completed all steps of the professional Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) teacher training program through the University of Massachusetts under Jon Kabat-Zinn PhD and his colleagues and is a certified MBSR teacher.

She teaches Mindfulness at many major medical centers, Universities, schools, non-profit organizations and corporations. She also trains professionals in mindfulness based interventions and participates in research on the benefits of mindfulness.  With her partner Hugh she is the co-founder of Mindful-Way Stress Reduction programs which serves diverse populations across the country and in England.

She is a long time student of Charles Tenshin Fletcher- Abbot of Yokoji Zen Mountain Center, where she practices, trains and has lived in residence. She has also attended retreats with Thich Nhat Hanh and Pema Chodron. Beth is a certified Hatha Yoga Instructor and holds a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.

Beth is a Board Certified Physician Assistant; graduate of the Duke University PA program in 1982 and practices Primary Care medicine in Palm Springs

Beth served as ICD’s Guiding Teacher 2015-2017.

Her passion is teaching meditation in a way that makes everyone feel welcome and at home.


Rosamaría Segura

Rosamaría Segura began practicing meditation in the 1990s. She is a graduate of InsightLA’s Mindfulness Facilitator Training Program, and continues her training as a mindfulness meditation teacher with Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield. She is also studying Zen under the guidance of Jokai Blackwell Sensei.

Rosamaría’s passion is teaching in Spanish speaking and Latinx communities, and non-profit organizations that are dedicated to social justice. She is a teacher and Director of Insight in Action at InsightLA.

Cheryl Slean

Cheryl Slean has practiced Insight meditation intensively since 1995, including hundreds of days of silent retreat. She was authorized to teach in 2007 and leads classes and residential retreats worldwide. In the secular mindfulness world, Cheryl has a Certification in Mindfulness Facilitation from UCLA and has taught at many health & wellness, addiction recovery and business settings as well as online with Mindful Schools. Cheryl is also a writer, filmmaker and educator in the arts and sustainability, and is currently working on social impact climate communication with the Natural Resources Defense Council.


Mary Stanacavage

Mary Stancavage has practiced meditation, yoga, and cultivated a spiritual practice for over 30 years and in 2009 was empowered to teach Buddhadharma. Mary is based in the Los Angeles area and teaches classes, retreats and does individual mentoring. She has taught at mindfulness at recovery centers, has co-facilitated Year-to-Live groups since 2008, and has had a weekly dharma class for over decade. She also was a director at Against the Stream for ten years.

Mary completed the Buddhist Chaplaincy Program at the Sati Center and served as volunteer chaplain at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center. She also served as Executive Director of the Mind Body Awareness Project from 2016 to 2018. Mary sits on the boards of the Buddhist Insight Network and CLUE: Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice. Along with teaching she continues to investigate what it means to live with an undefended heart. Fun fact: Mary has a Masters Degree from UCLA and worked as an archaeologist in the Middle East.


John Taylor

John Taylor is a Qualified Teacher of MBSR as defined by the UCSD Mindfulness-Based Professional Training Institute. He has practiced Reiki, and other hands on healing modalities for over 30 years. John is currently a faculty member of the Innerwork Center in Richmond, Virginia where he teaches Mindful Based Stress Reduction, facilitates Silent Retreats and leads other mindfulness programs.

John is an active member of the Greater Richmond community where a large focus of his work has been on racial equity, reconciliation initiatives, and facilitated community dialogues. He currently he serves as a director of Side by Side, an organization that provides supportive communities for Virginia’s LGBTQ+ youth as well as training, education and awareness programs for adults. John lives in North Chesterfield, VA with his partner, their three children (and three dogs).

Yushin Tipton

Susan Yushin Tipton is an ordained Zen Priest and resident of Yokoji Zen Mountain Center. Yushin holds a Master of Social Welfare from UCLA and works as a hospice social worker in the Coachella Valley. She is committed to an experienced-based path of self-exploration and emphasizes illumining those aspects of being human which cause unease and pain when left unexamined. Yushin values kindness, service, authenticity, perseverance, and simplicity. She loves being in nature, and time with her family.

Arinna Weisman

Arinna has been studying meditation practice since 1979 and has been teaching since 1989. Her dharma practice and teaching have been infused with her political and environmental activism. She was the first out queer teacher with Eric Kolvig to lead insight meditation retreats for the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Gender Queer community. She also leads ‘Uncovering the Heart Retreats’ integrating the practice of awareness of the social dynamics of inequity with the dharma practice of liberation.

Arinna is the Guiding Teacher at Dhamma Dena Meditation Center.


Phoenix Soleil: Trainer and Facilitator

Phoenix Soleil is the current Race and Engaged Practice resident at Portland Dharma House and a teacher at Open Door Meditation Community in Portland Maine. She is a teacher and practitioner of the Insight Meditation tradition. She is also a teacher and practitioner of Nonviolent Communication (NVC), a form of compassionate communication that supports us in attuning to our feelings and values for more successful interactions. She has led trainings in communication, racial justice, and meditation for organizations such as Google, Kellogg Foundation, UC Berkeley, Insight Meditation Society and Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute. The most important ingredients in her trainings are fun, passion, and intimacy.

René Rivera (he, him)

René Rivera (he, him) is a leader and bridge-builder, working and learning in all the spaces in-between race, gender, and other perceived binaries, as a queer, mixed-race, trans man. He teaches heart-centered, trauma-informed meditation and mindfulness practices at East Bay Meditation Center (EBMC) and elsewhere. His path to spiritual leadership has included the Commit to Dharma and Practice in Action programs at EBMC and the Community Dharma Leaders program at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. René is committed to ending suffering due to violence, whether reducing our violence to ourselves through daily practice, transforming conflict and tensions as a facilitator, or working to dismantle racial capitalism, heteropatriarchy and other systems of dominance. He works with the Ahimsa Collective as a restorative justice facilitator.

Valerie Cusson

Valerie Cusson has been a Resource Specialist at San Andreas High School for ten years and has been studying and practicing mindfulness for over 15 years. She completed two yearlong Mindfulness Facilitator training programs in Los Angeles and San Francisco. In 2012, she co-founded a mindfulness meditation sitting group in Redlands that continues to flourish. She has led mindfulness groups for teens, adults, people in recovery, people of color, and women.  

Valerie is currently exploring the intersection of mindfulness and education as it relates to SEL for children dealing with trauma.