VENERABLE SUMATI MARUT (a.k.a. Brian K. Smith) is the son and grandson of Baptist ministers, a motorcycle enthusiast, a former surfer, a Ph.D. of Comparative Religions, and a fully ordained Buddhist monk.
He is a life-long teacher whose easy humor and down-to-earth style make even the most complex spiritual ideas understandable. With his unique combination of earthiness and erudition, commitment and light-heartedness, Lama Marut attracts an international audience of all ages and backgrounds who gather to hear his call for a revolution of true and lasting happiness.
Lama Marut's personal understanding of our modern western lifestyle unites with his extensive scriptural knowledge of authentic South Asian traditions to create spiritual teachings relevant to all, providing advice on how to live happily in the modern world. Additionally, his quarterly newsletters, blog, live video teachings, weekly audio and video podcasts, and daily tweets make his teachings easily accessible to people across the globe.
His new book, A Spiritual Renegade's Guide to the Good Life, will be available for purchase at the retreat. You can learn more about Lama Marut and his teachings by visiting his website www.lamamarut.org.
CINDY LEE has been studying Buddhism and meditation for nearly 15 years, taking teachings from masters from many different traditions. She has completed an intensive course of study with the Asian Classics Institute, graduating from 18 foundational and 18 advanced courses of Buddhism and rigorous training in the classics texts of yoga philosophy. For the past four years, Cindy has been teaching with Lama Sumati Marut at regular international retreats on Buddhism, yoga philosophy, meditation and esoteric wisdom. www.siddha-songs.com
Having also trained in yoga asana, dance and martial arts, Cindy enjoys taking visceral and experiential approaches to the teachings - inspired by stories and poetry of saints and siddhas, and the integrated and energetic aspects of yoga. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and Graduate Diploma in Electronic Design and Interactive Media, which she has taught at university film and media programs in Australia. She has also worked as a director’s assistant, documentary and video clip editor at Exit Films, Melbourne. As a digital artist Cindy produced video installations and short films for dance performances in Europe, designed motion graphics for VJing at festivals such as Glastonbury (UK), Glu-Glu (Budapest), and ArtLab music festival (St Petersberg). Being invited to be an artist in residence at LA’s 18th Street Arts Center in 2006 led Cindy to meet Lama Marut with whom she has been collaborating ever since through the development of podcasts, websites, video broadcasts and more for the Asian Classics Institute.
RICK BLUE and LINDSAY CROUSE Husband and wife Rick Blue and Lindsay Crouse completed the Asian Classics Institute teacher-training program in 2004, Rick and Lindsay graduated from the advanced program in 2010. They helped found the Mahasukha Center in Los Angeles, and are now senior teachers there. They have taken teachings from His Holiness the Dalai Lama in the United States and India, and continue to study with with Venerable Sumati Marut, Geshe Michael Roach, and Lama Christie McNally.
Lindsay is an Academy Award-nominated actress, who has taught directing at USC Graduate Film School, and acting at major universities around the country. Merging her love of Buddhism and art, she has created a unique series of teachings blending the craft of acting with the philosophy of dharma. She has developed her own series of classes based on Tibetan Buddhist principles: No More Enemies, Spelunking Into Paradise, Freedom in the Field of Play, and Creative Where it Counts.
Rick works in the television and film industry as an editor and director. He wrapped a nine-year run on the hit series Scrubs, and his next assignment is with the new NBC series, Up All Night. Rick continues to keep a foot in the documentary world, and is developing a feature documentary about non-violence. He also edited the feature film "In Search of Kundun with Martin Scorsese."
In addition to their individual teaching schedules, they teach Spiritual Partnership together around the country.
PAT O'BRIEN, Ph.D. trained at Harvard Medical School as an immunologist and clinical research scientist. She has practiced meditation for twenty years, and various forms of Hatha yoga for fifteen, and is a certified Baron Baptiste yoga teacher. Dr. Pat teaches meditation and many levels of yoga in classes and one-on-one, and conducts clinical research on the effects of yoga on health. Dr. Pat is a student of Lama Sumati Marut, and has studied Tibetan Heart Yoga with Geshe Michael Roach and Lama Christie McNally. Her teaching of yoga emphasizes the connection of the true self and healing. www.theyogaclinic.com
MICHAEL JOHNSON ERYT-500 and STEPHANIE JOHNSON are certified Jivamukti and Tibetan Heart Yoga instructors who have studied directly with Geshe Michael, Lama Christie, Sharon Gannon, David Life, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, Sri Swami Satchidandanda and many others. Michael has been a full-time yoga teacher in the Detroit area since 2001. Stephanie is also certified in restorative yoga and Thai Yoga Massage. They both live in Asheville, North Carolina and continue to study Yoga and Buddhism closely with Kimberley Theresa. Learn more at www.clearlightyoga.com.
CAROL S. JAMES has been living and studying yoga for a quarter century. She originally trained as Sivananda teacher under Swami Swaroopanda in 1995 and has since graduated Tibetan Heart teacher training at the Yoga Studies Institute and is a certified Phoenix Rising Yoga therapist. Her teachers include Lama Christie McNally, Lama Marut, Kimberly Theresa, Mira Shani and David White as well as many others. Her classes allow participants to bring focus and opening into deeper places by using a mindful, flowing asana practice. A professional educator by trade, she is a senior trainer for Project Adventure and a senior facilitator for the Cornell University Team Leadership Center, where she brings her unique and powerful philosophy of engagement to people from all walks and stages of life. She lives near Ithaca, New York.
DAVID THORNTON is a talented and passionate teacher of how to awaken the lives of his students. His classes bring a wealth of knowledge and experience that allow his students to explore and connect to their deepest essence. David is certified 200RYT, has completed all 18 ACI open courses, and is currently studying to be a certified Healing Touch Practitioner. He has been a serious spiritual practitioner since 1999 when he was first introduced to ACI and the teachings of Geshe Michael Roach. More recently he has been studying with Dr. Winston Mccullough and Amie Dillar. David offers weekly Meditation and yoga classes at the yoga Room in Nashville and brings a wide variety of traditions to his classes. David has been a Tennis Coach for 20 years and currently is employed at a country club in Nashville. First and foremost, he is a loving husband to his wife Michelle and his daughter Maeve. Both are the great joys of his life.
BOB ARNOLD has been studying and practicing meditation, sacred movement, and the principles of Eastern philosophy for over 30 years. He is an Essentials Staff Teacher at the Yoga Studies Institute. Bob continues to study with his Heart Teachers, Lindsay Crouse and Rick Blue, and also with Venerable Sumati Marut and Geshe Michael Roach. Bob's Yoga and Tai Chi classes are taught in a classical style and incorporate all the authentic aspects of royal yoga. Students of all levels are welcome no matter what their physical abilities, or apparent limitations are. www.thewholeenchiladayoga.com