Our Teachers

Resident Shambhala Meditation Teachers

Acharya Eric Spiegel grew up in a politically active family on Manhattan’s lower east side. In 1971, he met and became a student of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. He has worked in the financial sector for decades and since 2002 he has dedicated more time to teaching. In 2003 Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche appointed him an Acharya which means “senior teacher”. He is the Acharya for the New York Shambhala Community: he teaches and has students in NYC, around the U. S. and internationally. He has worked extensively with people facing death and with issues related to death and dying. He also works and teaches within the Shambhala tradition on developing a more awakened attitude toward wealth and money.

Shastri Ethan Nichtern is a senior teacher in the Shambhala tradition. He is the senior teacher in residence for the NY Shambhala community. He is the author of several books. His most recent, The Road Home: A Contemporary Exploration of the Buddhist Path (FSG North Point) made several major lists of the Best Books of 2015. He is also the founder of The Interdependence Project, an organization dedicated to Buddhist-inspired meditation and psychology, transformational activism, mindful arts, and meaningful media. He teaches and lectures around the world and is based in New York City. See more info at www.ethannichtern.com.

Shastri Elizabeth Reid is a senior teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition, having been a student of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, and now the current Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. With a background in theater and dance and an ongoing relationship with photography, she is endlessly intrigued by the interplay between meditation and the arts. Passionate about bringing more body awareness to students in their practice and lives, she offers Alexander Technique based exercises in her teaching. She has a private practice in NYC as a Nationally Certified Alexander Technique Teacher.

Shastri Sheila Bascetta began the Shambhala path in 1981 and has served in varying roles in the New York Shambhala community over the years. She is a meditation instructor and senior teacher in the Way of Shambhala and Heart of Warriorship programs. Sheila is a psychotherapist in private practice working with children, families, groups and individuals.

Shambhala Meditation Teachers and Meditation Instructors

Vegan Aharonian, PhD began studying Shambhala Buddhism in 1996. Originally from Armenia (the former Soviet Union), he came to the US as a graduate student at Columbia University in 1991.  Besides New York City, Vegan has taught Shambhala programs in Russia and Ukraine.

John Ankele is a long-time teacher of Shambhala Training and is a video producer. His work has been broadcast on PBS and ABC-TV and has been shown at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), the Smithsonian, the United Nations and the Margaret Mead Film Festival.

William Auerbach, PhD, is a psychologist, psychoanalyst, a teacher of Shambhala Training, and an Assistant Professor at New York University where he teaches about Buddhism, meditation and psychoanalysis. He writes about psychotherapy, trauma, and the experience of time. Auerbach has over 25 years of experience as a psychotherapist and has been a student of Buddhism for over 15 years.

Natalie Baker is the founder of Buddhist Psychotherapy NY & Neurofeedback NY, is a licensed psychotherapist and an advanced Zengar certified neurofeedback trainer in New York. She has over thirteen years experience as a psychotherapist in NYC treating clients with conditions such as PTSD, trauma, anxiety, depression, and relationship issues. She has been a Buddhist practitioner since 1992 and teaching since 2000 in the Shambhala tradition.

Richard Bascetta is a student of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and is a senior faculty member of Shambhala Training. He is a partner and Managing Director of The Bascetta Group, a strategic consulting and M&A firm.

Kevin Bogle is an emerging teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition. He began his practice at the Shambhala Mountain Center in 2005 and went on to establish and lead a Heart of Recovery group for the Shambhala Center of Seattle. In 2016, Kevin completed over 150 of meditation teacher training at the NYC Shambhala Center and The Interdependence Project. As a landscape architect for the City of New York, Kevin is dedicated to creating enlightened spaces for society to flourish. Kevin lives in New York City, where he does not hesitate to throw a personal dance party when the mood calls for it.

Robert Chender is a long-time meditation teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition, and is a student of the late Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. He also works with business and professional groups and individuals in applying mindfulness and emotional intelligence practices to workplace efficiency, corporate culture and morale, and is a trainer for the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute, the mindfulness program developed at Google. He also teaches at The Interdependence Project, as well as the Westchester Buddhist Center. Robert is counsel at a large New York firm, and is the founder of the New York City Bar Association Contemplative Lawyers Group. He is a graduate of Vassar College and the NYU School of Law.

Ashley Dinges is a meditation practitioner and student in the Shambhala tradition. She is the Director of Marketing for Kalapa Media, Shambhala’s communications, media and technology hub, and oversees fundraising and development at Shambhala New York.  Her professional background is in media and nonprofit management, having worked at the San Jose Mercury News and WNET New York Public Media. Ashley is currently an MBA candidate at the NYU Stern School of Business.

David Fraioli has been practicing in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition for 18 years. He is a student of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. He is a Meditation Instructor, Assistant Director of Shambhala Training, and is also an actor.

David Greenan is a psychologist and academic, teaching family therapy at Teachers College, Columbia University.  His particular interest is in the intersection of mindfulness practice, the practice psychology with family systems and how we activate resiliency and basic goodness in systems. He is a student of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche.

Dallas Itzen has practiced meditation and Shambhala Buddhism for 10 years. Besides teaching meditation, she is a writer in marketing and advertising including for nonprofits. A highlight was filming nobel prize winner Malala Yousafzai (you-sof-SIGH). She has co-lead the weekly Heart of Recovery meeting for many years. She lives with her partner Rick and young rescue cat Monty. She has two nieces whom she adores. Dallas is from Texas and her brother’s name is Houston.

Maho Kawachi, born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, never thought of living in a foreign country until she landed in New York in the early 90’s. She took a job in journalism and works as a senior foreign correspondent for a Japanese business daily. As a business reporter, her wide-ranging coverage spans topics from a big corporation such as Walmart Inc. to a small indie fashion brand. She encountered Shambhala teaching in 2008 and, thanks to the guidance and constant nudging of wonderful teachers, is now gradually walking the path of Four Dignities.

Anne Kenan has been a student and practitioner within Shambhala since 2000.  She was an active leader with Shambhala Children’s Program for many years and is honored to be a part of the growing community of teachers at SMCNY.  Anne is a busy mother of three as well as a meditation teacher at MNDFL.

Derek Kolleeny has been a student of Trungpa Rinpoche since 1976, and has been teaching since 1981. He was the SMCNY Director of Practice and Study from 2000‐2004, during which time he created and directed the NY Shambhala School of Buddhist Studies. In 2004 he started the Advanced Buddhist Studies program, also known as Rime Shedra NYC (www.rimeshedra.nyc), for practitioners interested in accessing the immense wisdom transmitted in classical Buddhist texts. Over the past twelve years he has taught over 35 in-depth courses on this profound material.

Joseph Mauricio is a senior meditation teacher of the Shambhala Buddhist Tradition. He is the founder of Dharmajunkies an engaged spiritual community and LIFEWORK SERVICES, a meditation based coaching service offering spiritual and life guidance, professional, performance and public speaking coaching.

Gala Narezo is an artist and educator who specializes in creating platforms for social issues. Using art, design thinking and mindfulness, her work focuses on community engagement and collaborative problem solving. With the conviction that mindfulness is an essential component of social impact design she recently launched mindful+ and is developing workshops, curricula and programs to engage students of all ages in mindful change-making.

David Nichtern is a senior teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist lineage of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. David was one of the initial American students of Trungpa Rinpoche and studied closely with him soon after his arrival in the United States in 1970. He has been co-director of the LA Shambhala Center and Karme Choling Meditation Center in Vermont, as well as Director of Expansion for Shambhala Training International and Director of Buddhist Practice and Study for OM yoga. David has been a featured writer and regular contributor to The Huffington Post and leads meditation workshops around the world and online. He is also a well known composer, producer and guitarist – a four-time Emmy winner and a two-time Grammy nominee. Connect with him through Facebook for more info and teaching:www.facebook.com/davidnichtern.

Allan Novick has been a Buddhist practitioner since the early 1970s when he began at the San Francisco Zen Center, then, a few years later, became a student of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. He is a meditation instructor and teacher at the NY Shambhala Center and a practice instructor at Nalandabodhi New York. He recently retired as a psychologist, having worked for most of his professional career in the NYC school system.

David Perrin is a meditation teacher and mentor in the Shambhala tradition. David is a founding Faculty member at MNDFL Studios, and the Institute for Compassionate Leadership. He is Executive Director of MNDFL Ed., bringing mindfulness, compassion, and community building practices to NYC schools. David is a Licensed Creative Arts Therapist, and Registered Drama Therapist. He has worked as a psychotherapist for Creative Alternatives of New York, and Counseling In Schools, among other agencies. David is a founding Trustee at the Perrin Family Foundation, supporting youth to be catalysts for social justice. David lives in New York City with his partner Anne Kenan and their three children.

Rick Redondo teaches and leads meditation courses, retreats, and corporate workshops in New York City and around the Northeast. A Phi Beta Kappa student of economics at Northwestern University, he enjoyed a successful career as an Options Trader in Chicago. He then changed directions to pursue his passion for the arts. He is now an active filmmaker, actor and musician. He founded the New York City Heart of Recovery Group over seven years ago. He enjoys bringing meditation and art to everyday life.

John Sennhauser is a senior teacher whose involvement with Shambhala began in 1977 when he went to Naropa Institute in Boulder, CO to study in the dance and theater departments. He was at the time an attorney in Seattle representing Native Americans. He became a student of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and then after his death, became a personal secretary of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, the current lineage holder of Shambhala. John teaches from a perspective of integrating his personal background and experiences with the traditional and innovative teachings of Shambhala Buddhism.

Shanté Paradigm Smalls, PhD is a student of our lineage holder, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, and has been practicing in Shambhala since 2006. Dr. Smalls is a Shambhala Path Meditation Instructor and was authorized to teach in the Shambhala lineage in 2015. Shanté is also the NYC Center’s Rusung or Area Protector. http://shanteparadigm.com/Meditation

Cynthia Spencer has been studying Qigong with Eva Wong since 2005 and is authorized by her to teach Levels I & II. She is also a meditation instructor and teacher, and a member of the Shambhala Buddhist community since 1979.

Jane Stevens is a Shambhala Buddhist practitioner and student under Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. Jane has been practicing meditation since 1981, and is an authorized Shambhala Buddhist teacher who has been teaching classes and workshops at various Shambhala Centers since 2009. Jane was previously the Interim Director for the Shambhala Center of New York, and served as the Center’s Resident Director of Shambhala Training (Heart of Warriorship).  Earlier, she served as Membership Coordinator for the Albany Shambhala Group.  Formerly an award winning film and television producer, Jane is a small business consultant who lives and works in New York City.

Lodro Rinzler is the author of several books on meditation including the best-selling The Buddha Walks into a Bar. Over the last fifteen years as a Shambhala teacher he has spoken at locations as diverse as Google, Harvard University, and Capitol Hill. Lodro’s work has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, FOX, and the CBC. He serves as the Chief Spiritual Officer of M N D F L and founded the Institute for Compassionate Leadership.

Timothy Quigley has been practicing in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition for over 20 years and has held a range of leadership roles at the Shambhala Center. As a professional musician, he has toured all over the world and has recorded with many artists.