If you will stay close to nature, to its simplicity, to the small things hardly noticeable, those things can unexpectedly become great and immeasurable.
Rainer Maria Rilke
reveal
Photo by Ellen Tynan

Teachers

Ellen Tynan (Guiding Teacher)

Ellen’s focus is creating opportunities for people to experience their true nature through exploration and contemplation in the wild. Her teaching is informed by her own firsthand experiences of awakening in nature, as well as from her work with teachers Jonathan Foust, Alan Chapman, Tara Brach and others. She has been profoundly influenced by the writings of Gary Snyder and Joseph Campbell.

With a natural curiosity for meditation Ellen began exploring Zen and Tibetan Buddhism at a young age. For the past 10 years she has practiced Vipassana, or Insight, meditation. Ellen also teaches with the Insight Meditation Community of Washington DC.

For nearly 20 years, Ellen worked with the World Bank to guide developing countries in protecting the environment and preserving their natural resources. A published photographer, her current project documents traditional boats and boatbuilders from across the globe. While traveling for this project, she had the honor of sailing with traditional peoples from many countries, including New Zealand, Egypt and British Columbia. Ellen also practices contemplative Miksang photography (part of the Dharma Art teachings of Chogyam Trungpa) which focuses on revealing a pure perception of the world around us.

Ellen holds an M.A. from Yale University, an A.B. from Vassar College, and a certificate in Marine Conservation from Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment. She trained in tracking, traditional skills and awareness at the Roots School in northern Vermont, is a certified Wilderness First Responder and a licensed river guide in the state of Utah. Ellen is also an avid rock climber and practices yoga and a variety of Chinese martial arts.

James Foulkes

James bio picJames is an integrated wellness specialist with over 10 years of experience whose diverse set of practices include Yoga, Meditation, Qi gong, Kung Fu and shamanic movement practices. His approach to yoga is based on the work of Vanda Scaravelli, an Italian/ American who studied with J Krishnamurti, BKS Iyengar and TKV Desikachar for 2 decades.  James grew up in England and completed his yoga teacher training there with Natural Bodies Yoga, Movement and Therapy Centre in Brighton.

James is extremely interested in the spiritual and energetic aspects of the work and the ability of these practices to shift perception and connect the practitioner with the essence.  He enjoys finding parallels between these practices and feels the basis of them is unity, integration and wholeness.  James is also a cranial sacral therapist having completed courses with the Upledger, Milne and Wellness Institutes.  James is a co-founder of The Levity Project, a group of international healing arts practitioners who teach classes and host workshops and retreats in the U.K., U.S.A. and around the world.  Find out more about James at: www.jamesfoulkes.com

Karen Gifford

karen picKaren began meditating in 1999 as a way of coping with the stress of her job as a lawyer in New York City. She studied and practiced meditation in a yoga tradition for over 10 years, and spent 2002 to 2003 living and working at the Siddha Yoga ashram in South Fallsburg, New York. In 2010, she began work with Alan Chapman, who approaches spiritual awakening from a Western contemplative perspective.

Karen approaches teaching with a strong focus on meditation as a means to better understanding the mind, the nature of reality and our connection with others, and with a view of enlightenment as a realistic and attainable goal.

Alongside developing her meditation practice, Karen has worked as a lawyer and as a consultant to banks and other financial institutions; she’s raised children; and she briefly ran a business with her husband, importing eco-friendly furniture from East Africa to the U.S. She is an omnivorous reader, a passionate cook and practices hatha yoga and Qi gong. She holds a J.D. from Yale Law School and an A.B. from Vassar College.  Find out more about Karen at her website: www.karengifford.org

Russ Watts

For the past 19 years, Russ has guided leaders to reach their potential by using mindfulness, an ability to assess situations and behaviors objectively, compassion, humor and authentic support. His work developing leadership awareness has strengthened and encouraged hundreds of clients in understanding their patterns, potential, strengths and weaknesses, thus providing a richer understanding of themselves and the culture and relations they facilitate in the workplace. Russ uses a variety of techniques to help his clients reach far beyond to bring out the hidden talents that are in each individual.  His clients come from a range of workplaces, including international organizations, corporations and non-profits.

Russ has been meditating formally since 1997. His informal meditations in nature began well before in the ’80’s in Joshua Tree, Yosemite, Sequoia Kings Canyon National Park, and on the Colorado River. He studied at UC Davis under Gary Snyder and meditated with Tenshin Reb Anderson and Zoketsu Norman Fischer during two practice periods at Green Gulch Zen Center in the ’90’s.

Russ has been certified as a Wilderness First Responder since 1995, and has been teaching rock climbing, white water kayaking, sea kayaking, trekking, mountaineering, and training people to become guides in these fields since 1992. He is passionate about the power and influence the wilderness has on each of us individually and society as a whole.

With a background in Education and Organizational Development, Russ has an English Degree from the University of California at Davis, an Executive Master’s in Leadership from Georgetown University and a Certificate from the Executive Leadership Coaching program at Georgetown University.  Contact Russ directly at: russwattscoaching@gmail.com

 

Affiliated Groups

Inward Bound Mindfulness Education

Inward Bound Mindfulness Education (iBme) is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of teens, parents, and professionals. Through mindfulness retreats, iBme helps participants cultivate awareness, compassion, and kindness for themselves, others, and the natural world.

Wilderness retreats with iBme allow teens to drop into their minds in a way that most have never experienced before. As one of the founders of the teen retreats says, ‘The beauty of coming to practice mindfulness in the wilderness is allowing us to return to our ‘natural’ mind, a mind uncluttered by busyness and technology– a mind free to take in the vastness of the earth and the spaciousness of our consciousness.”  For more information on upcoming wilderness retreats for teens with iBme, please visit their site.

The Impermanent Sangha

Johann Robbins is a contemporary teacher of Mindfulness Meditation in Boulder, Co.  Through the Impermanent Sangha, Johann and others offer a range of retreats and courses to allow participants to experience real sangha, integrative practice and meaningful challenge as they practice in nature and wilderness.  As Johann says, ‘The Buddha lived and practiced in nature, was enlightened in nature, and taught in nature. Continuing that tradition I offer these retreats in the hope that you will be inspired, healed, loved, and awakened.‘  For more information on the Impermanent Sangha go to: www.impermanentsangha.com.