Our Teachers

Our teachers have extensive personal meditation practice and retreat experience, and years of teaching meditation to individuals and groups. Our teachers regard contemplative practice as a means to help others create more meaningful personal lives and careers, as well as the foundation for more equitable and inclusive communities around the world.  

 

Our teaching body consists of our Community Teacher, our Mindfulness Teacher Training (MTT) Program Teachers and our Teaching Mindfulness to Children (TMTC) Program Teachers. Most of our teachers have completed our MTT program and all teachers abide by our Ethical Guidelines.

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Ven. Dr. Douglas Cheolsoeng Gentile he/him
Community Teacher

Douglas is a Zen monk and is also an award-winning research scientist, educator, and author, with a research emphasis on the media’s impact on children and adults, as well as how mindfulness practices can reduce anxiety and improve happiness. Named as one of America’s best 300 professors by the Princeton Review, he is a fellow of several scientific organizations, including the American Psychological Association. 

 

He wrote and narrated the best-selling audiobook Buddhism 101: How to Walk Easily over Rough Ground and Meditation: The Busy Person’s Guide to Cultivating Compassion and Positive Mind States. His upcoming book, Finding the Freedom to Get Unstuck and be Happier blends Buddhist and scientific views on karma and free will.

 

Holding a doctorate in child psychology from the University of Minnesota, Dr. Gentile is the author or editor of several books and over 140 peer-reviewed scientific studies. He holds a M.Div. from Buddha Dharma University and has dual expertise in Western psychological science and Eastern philosophy. He lives in Ames, Iowa with his wife Jennifer and rabbit Nutmeg.

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Nandini Naik she/her
MTT Program Lead Teacher | TMTC Program Assistant Teacher

Nandini Naik was born in India and took her first formal Zen meditation class in High School (UWC). After doing her first ten day silent retreat in the Vispassana tradition while double majoring in Religion and Theatre from Colby college, Nandini taught Tibetan refugees English in Dharamsala, India. She learned so much from her time there and was so inspired that while at  NYU Steinhardt, getting a Masters in Education, she wrote and directed a play entitled, "Turbulent Tibet." Before becoming the Executive Director at IDP, Nandini worked as a public school teacher for six years and then as an instructional coach for three. She graduated from the IDP MTT in the first cohort of 2011 and was a secretary for the IDP Board from 2010-2016.

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Rey Horowitz they/their
TMTC Program Lead Teacher | MTT Guest Teacher

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

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Oneika Mays she/her
MTT Program Mentor Teacher

Oneika (LMT, E-RYT) transitioned to yoga and meditation from a career in corporate retail over 10 years ago, and used that experience to support social justice work. Today, she is the first Mindfulness Coach at Rikers Island Correctional Facility. Oneika also facilitates workshops, trainings and retreats around the country centered around resilience, liberation and compassion. She is a graduate of IDPMTT 2019. Learn more at www.oneikamays.com.

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Manaslu Gurung she/her
MTT Program Lead Teacher

Manaslu is from Nepal, where she first learned to meditate at Kopan Monastery. A graduate of IDPMTT 2018, she is an organizer and teacher at Mindful Astoria, and is also a Kripalu Yoga Certified Teacher. Manaslu is grateful to all her dharma teachers and fellow meditators.

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Margherita Tisato she/her
MTT Program Lead Teacher

Margherita is a dancer, teacher to teachers, movement enthusiast and a passionate changemaker. She has been dancing and teaching since she was 17 and leading yoga and meditation classes, workshops and teacher trainings for over a decade. Margherita is known for creating Trauma-informed spaces for transformation. She facilitates a range of experiences spanning from meditation, yoga and somatic movement to dance, Butoh, and body suspension.

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Dan Cayer he/him
MTT Program Teacher

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. Learn more at www.dancayer.co

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Bahar Ashnai she/her
MTT Program Lead Teacher

Bahar is an academic in the business and management area. Her first formal introduction to meditation was a session by Sharon Salzberg at the Tibet House, New York, in 2014, where she got hooked. Bahar has been a member of the Mindful Astoria group since November 2016, where she has assisted, guided, and organized meditation and spirituality-related events and gatherings. In December 2018, Bahar graduated from the IDP Meditation Teacher Training program and since has led, guided, and facilitated meditation sessions and retreats.

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Kristina Lopez she/they
MTT Program Assistant Teacher

Kristina is an artist, death doula, and meditation teacher. She has studied the philosophy and science of meditation in Mahayana Buddhist schools of thought. Her practice is informed by an intersectional lens dedicated to collective liberation. As a death doula Kristina aims to bring more mindful awareness of death so that we may all live better. She is a second generation Caribbean American born and raised on Lenape land in NYC. Learn more at ritualwerk.com.

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Shelley Dague she/her
MTT Program Guest Teacher

Shelley was introduced to meditation and mindfulness practices while studying theatre and visual art in college. She continues to explore the relationships between creativity, nature, and the dharma in her practices and Buddhist studies. Shelley co-developed and facilitates an ongoing mindfulness meditation series for support staff at a corporate law firm in Manhattan. She is a graduate of the IDPMTT 2014 and IDP's Lovingkindness MTT program.

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Mona Chopra she/her
MTT Program Guest Teacher

 

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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Lani Rowe 
Guest Teacher (Former Board Member)

Lani holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Yale University and was the founding student coordinator of the MacMillan Center Initiative on Religion, Politics and Society. Lani is a graduate of IDPMTT 2012, teaches meditation, and is a dedicated yoga practitioner and athlete. She is committed to embodied and artful mindfulness/awareness training.