Emily Herzlin began practicing meditation in 2003. She is a Certified MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) Teacher, and trained in MBSR at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. She has been teaching meditation since 2011 to groups and individuals. She currently works as a Mind-Body Instructor at Weill Cornell Medicine. She completed the yearlong meditation teacher training program at the Interdependence Project in 2013, and now is on the IDP Teacher Training faculty. She is also a graduate of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality’s Jewish Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Training program, and is a lay leader at Malkhut, a progressive Jewish spiritual community in western Queens. Emily is a writer and teacher with a particular love for memoir and poetry. She received her MFA in Nonfiction from Columbia in 2012. 

Manaslu Gurung has been a member of Mindful Astoria since 2015. Early that same year, she first learned to meditate at Kopan, a Tibetan Monastery in Nepal where she is from. She has been an active member of the community since coming to Astoria, including leading a local Community Supported Agriculture group (Long Island City CSA), actively volunteering at Two Coves Community Garden and co-organizing community events for Mindful Astoria. She is a graduate of the year-long mindfulness meditation teacher training at the Interdependence Project. She is also a Kripalu Yoga Certified Teacher and likes to incorporate mindful movement in her meditation teachings. Manaslu loves cooking, gardening, knitting and traveling. She is grateful to everyone at Mindful Astoria for our commitment to our practice and our efforts to create a loving, caring, and supportive community.

Katie Klaus is an Ohio native and lived in NYC for the last 10 years. She started her meditation journey in 2010 with Vedic meditation and came to mindful Astoria in 2016. She is an artist who enjoys acting, singing, substitute teaching, painting, tai chi, board games, and meditation. Katie graduated from the Interdependence Project Meditation Teacher Training in December 2018.

Bahar Ashnai 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. As Bahar reflects, “I believe that introduction was a stepping stone to a path that has changed my life and me in many ways that I am grateful for. My journey continued by reading insightful books, speeches and videos of meditation leaders and teachers.” Bahar has been a member of the Mindful Astoria Meetup group since November 2016, where she has assisted and organized many meditation and spirituality related events and gatherings. In December 2018, Bahar graduated from the Interdependence Project Meditation Teacher Training program and has led, guided and facilitated many meditation sessions and retreats as a result. “It all has helped me to feel more connected and grounded and will be happy to play a role helping others feel the same… ‘Feel the feelings, drop the story’ (Pema Chodron).” 

Morgan Rosse is grateful for this caring community which has been a spiritual home since 2016. Still very much a student, she values and prioritizes lifelong curiosity and learning, through formal coursework (The Interdependence Project’s Meditation Teacher Training 2019; Embodied Social Justice certificate program 2021), retreats, and personal study on meditation and overlapping topics. She loves plants and nature, art, and seeing city wildlife- especially raccoons in Central Park(!). Though initially, she had an aversion to lovingkindness meditation (of all things), she has grown to love metta practice and wishes each of you: may you experience joy, safety, ease. May all beings everywhere be free. _/|\_

Carl Hansen has been with the Mindful Astoria community since 2017 and is a graduate of the Interdependence Project’s (IDP) 2019 Meditation Teacher Training program.  His meditation practice goes back to high school and to an early interest in Buddhism by way of Zen. “I’m a big fan of Shunryu Suzuki, and his Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind has long been a very important book to me,” Carl reflects. While silent breathing meditation (zazen) is foundational to his practice, his experiences with Mindful Astoria and IDP have opened up his sense of what meditation can be in all kinds of exhilarating ways.  “I look forward to continuing to learn from and share with others at Mindful Astoria.”

Brett Boyar is a student of multiple disciplines: Buddhism, yoga, Taoism, ving tsun kung fu, and recovery. His teaching emphasizes self-compassion through an eclectic mix of irreverence, gentleness, and precision. He is a student of Susan Piver and really likes animals. He graduated from the Interdependence Project Meditation Teacher Training program in 2019.

Kimberly Brown is a meditation teacher and author. She guides others to discover the power of compassion and kindness to reconnect us to ourselves and others. Her teachings provide an approachable pathway to personal and collective well-being through effective and modern techniques based on traditional practices. She studies in both the Tibetan and Insight schools of Buddhism and is a Certified Mindfulness Instructor.  She is the author of “Navigating Grief And Loss: 25 Buddhist Practices to Keep Your Heart Open to Yourself and Others”  (2022), and  “Steady, Calm, and Brave” (revised version 2023). Both are published by Prometheus Books. You can learn more about Kimberly at her website, www.meditationwithheart.com

Dan McFadden is a certified meditation teacher and nature therapy practitioner living in New York City. He teaches mindfulness meditation for individuals and groups with the intention of helping students develop their own skills to be present and self-regulate. He holds a bachelor degree in communications from Marist College, and works full-time as a public relations specialist for healthcare brands. Learn more at DanMcFadden.com.

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