Meena Srinivasan is the author of Teach, Breathe, Learn: Mindfulness In and Out of the Classroom and a thought leader in the field of mindfulness in education. A contributor to United Nations publications on inclusive education, she earned a Masters degree in Education from UC Berkeley and a Bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science from Amherst College. She has taught middle and high school students in Brazil, India and California and currently works for the Oakland Unified School District’s Social Emotional Learning & Leadership Team. Meena is a student of Nobel Peace Prize Nominee, Thich Nhat Hanh and was involved in the creation of his bestselling book Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Mindfulness in Education Network, was Core Faculty of the Mindful Education Institute, and served on the Advisory Board of the San Francisco Asian Art Museum’s exhibit, Yoga: The Art of Transformation.

Francisco ‘Pancho’ Ramos Stierle is a Mexican-born former astrophysics student turned full-time community activist and humanitarian. He has a deep mindful meditation practice and became a known figure of the Occupy movement after being arrested while meditating during the dismantling of the Occupy Oakland Camp. Pancho was previously a doctoral student of astrophysics at the University of California at Berkeley, but when he realized his work would serve as one of the institution’s facades to create “safer nuclear weapons,” he resigned from the program, stopped cooperating with the university and became involved in community organizing. An avid student of Gandhi, Pancho believes that “if we are working for liberation, we better stop paying for war,” and that his energy would be better used encouraging “matching the collective madness with a collective love.

JG Larochette, Founder & Executive Director of the Mindful Life Project was recently featured on the Katie Couric show, highlighting efforts to bring mindfulness to children in Richmond, CA. He was born and raised in Berkeley, CA and then went on to attend Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, where he received his B.S. in Psychology and was a 4 year scholarship player on the baseball team. After graduating from SMC, he felt a deep desire to work with children in underserved communities in the Bay Area. He’s worked at Sports4Kids (now Playworks) in Oakland and Richmond, and holds a Bilingual Teaching Credential. As a classroom teacher he built invaluable relationships with students, families and community implementing culturally relevant pedagogy, with an emphasis on the social-emotional aspect of the students. He a very committed mindfulness practice that he is passionate about sharing with the world. JG brings a deep passion for equity, social justice, peace, and community unity. In creating Mindful Life Project he wants to help provide a space where all students feel valued, empowered and loved.

Theo Koffler Dedicated to accelerating social impact, Ms. Theo Koffler began a second career as founder of Mindfulness Without Borders, (MWB) a registered non-profit organization recognized as a leader in bringing mindfulness-based Social and Emotional Learning to high school youth, their educators and health professionals. MWB’s core programs are offered in a variety of formats, such as in-school councils, in-person workshops and online learning. Since 2007, MWB programs have crossed eight international borders, serving more than 5,000 youth in 60+ high schools, 1,800 educators and health professionals. In 2013, its first-ever online certification program was launched enabling people across the globe to receive the training needed to bring its programs in their respective community. In 2014, the first online cohort of certified graduates expanded their evidence-based Mindfulness Ambassador Council youth program to an additional 15+ new cities around the world. Theo has served on several boards and advisory committees including the Hawn Foundation, Inner Kids, and the Garrison Institute – where she co-authored the first-ever mapping report on Contemplation and Education in K-12 Educational Settings in the United States.


Young Whan Choi graduated Magna Cum Laude from Brown University and has his Master’s in Teacher Education from Teachers College. His passion is to make schools places that validate young people, their families, their culture and their history.  He wants all students to understand and value their ancestral roots, possess self-awareness, and act compassionately to address injustice. He has led the development of a national online Ethnic Studies curriculum and co-chaired Oakland Unified School District’s Ethnic Studies Task Force. Through his work in public schools in New York City, Providence, RI, and Oakland, CA, he has developed expertise in classroom instruction, curriculum design, work-based learning, and teacher professional development. Since 2007, he has practiced mindfulness in the lineage of Thich Nhat Hanh. Currently, as the Civic Engagement Coordinator in Oakland Unified School District, he is leading an initiative to ensure that all high school students graduate with the knowledge, skills, and habits to be active members of their community.


Aaron Ableman (aka A-Natural) is a widely celebrated entertainer, author, and ecologist. He has worked with Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Cypress Hill, Raffi, K’NAAN, Joan Baez, Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith, Les Nubians, amongst many others. From India to Haiti, he has produced award-winning education and entertainment programs for children and youth. His life and work have been heralded in publications such as the Los Angeles Times, MTV, CNN, New York Times, Montreal Mirror, San Francisco Examiner, amongst others. Aaron is a Founder/Chief Creative Officer at BALANCE Edutainment, a social enterprise that develops award-winning entertainment for children and families. He is also the author and co-creator of the celebrity-studded children’s musical, Pacha’s Pajamas.

Broderick Rodell is an educator of human potential, musician and martial artist. He also has a PhD in Chemical Engineering and a Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University. Broderick is a dedicated student and practitioner of yoga.  He feels that his daily, personal practice is the means by which he is able to express his highest self in service to others. In his yoga classes, workshops and retreats he incorporates knowledge gathered from the western sciences of psychology, physiology and anatomy to compliment the rich yoga science from India. Learn more about Broderick at Yoga for Wholistic Living.



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