Teachers


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Lama Marut
Lama Marut (a.k.a. Brian K. Smith) is extensively trained in the spiritual traditions of India and Tibetan Buddhism. He holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Religion and taught for over two decades in the academic world, first at Columbia University and later at the University of California, where he retired as Professor Emeritus […]
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Lauren Benjamin
Lauren began an intensive study of Tibetan Buddhism in 1999 and broadened the perspective and approach to her studies so as to be open to a wider spectrum of spiritual philosophy and practice. She began teaching in 2005 at Middle Way LA, which she helped co-found, under the guidance of Lama Marut (Brian Smith.) She currently serves […]
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Rick Blue
“As far back as grade school, I remember picking up a book on religions of the world, and the section on Buddhism held a particular fascination for me. In high school, I was given the reading assignment of Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha and again it sparked an interest. The thread continued to college, (the ancient times […]
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Caitlyn Conlin
Caitlyn Conlin is a Los Angeles-based actress, singer, musician, interdisciplinary artist and seeker of ridiculous play. A graduate of the 18 foundational course curriculum at Middle Way LA, Caitlyn is currently studying the advanced courses with her teacher Mira Kingsley. She holds an MFA from California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) and serves […]
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Lindsay Crouse
Lindsay Crouse completed the 18-course foundational program in 2004 and graduated from the advanced program in 2010. She helped found Middle Way LA and continues to serve as a Senior Teacher and Advisory Board member. Lindsay has taken teachings from His Holiness the Dalai Lama in the U.S. and India, and continues to study with Lama […]
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Jed Forman
Jed Forman has been part of Middle Way LA since 2011 under the tutelage of his heart teacher Mira Kingsley. Studying Buddhist philosophy at Amherst college and Tufts University in Massachusetts, he didn’t immerse himself in Buddhist practice until his arrival in Los Angeles. Jed’s undergraduate study in philosophy, volunteer work in South Africa, and […]
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Kelli Forman
Kelli Forman became a certified yoga instructor through Three Sisters Yoga while living in New York City. She is currently finishing her 500-hour Yoga Certification with Ganga White and Tracy Rich at White Lotus Yoga. Kelli completed her 900-hour Massage Therapy Certification through the National Holistic Institute. A graduate of the 18 foundational course […]
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Jeremy Graves
Jeremy Graves
Jeremy Graves is co-author along with Culadasa (John Yates, Ph.D.) and Matthew Immergut, Ph.D. of The Mind Illuminated: A Complete Meditation Guide Integrating Buddhist Wisdom and Brain Science. Jeremy has been meditating for over 10 years, having accumulated a year-and-a-half of intensive deep retreat experience. He is authorized to teach by Culadasa. […]
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Mira Kingsley
Mira has spent her adult life in the study and practice of the Buddhist and Yogic traditions along with participating in the development of contemporary somatic based spiritual practices. She offers a spacious presence in which others may witness their own unique spiritual path take shape. For those who are so called […]
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Marc Landau
Marc Landau has been part of Middle Way LA since 2011. Being involved professionally with Transformational work for nearly 20 years, Marc was drawn to Buddhism for its focus on transformation. He has completed a number of solo meditation retreats and regards meditation as one of the most important aspects of his life. A graduate of […]
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Darin McFayden
Darin McFayden was raised a Christian. He has practiced Yoga since 1998 in the Satyananda/Sivananda Yoga tradition. Darin has studied the great texts of Yoga as well as those of the Tibetan Buddhist Sutra and Tantra systems under Lama Marut. More recently, he has done retreat with and studied the teachings of Upasaka Culadasa (Professor […]
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Lilia Mead
In addition to completing 7 certifications and 2 trips to India, Lilia was the proud owner of Go Yoga in Williamsburg, Brooklyn for 15 years. She has taught Yoga full time in NYC since 1995, and recently moved to LA with her family to continue her practice, study, and teachings of all that the yogic path has to offer. […]
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Brian Reid
While admiring the unshakeable groundedness yet passionate preaching of his Pentecostal minister grandfather, Brian was raised in a strong Catholic household. Thanks to some of his parents’ closest friends, he celebrated many Seder meals and discovered how Christ was actually raised as a Jew. By the time Brian got […]
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Jason Rosenfield
Like so many of my generation of American Jews, I was raised in a tradition more cultural than spiritual, steeped in a powerful sense of responsibility for our relationship with God and the lineage I held. I went to Hebrew school and was Bar Mitzvah. But by the time my father died when I was 19, I realized I lacked a true spiritual connection […]
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Rebecca Stanley
Since finding her way to the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism and through the blessings of her teachers Lama Kimberley Teresa, Lama Douglas Veenhof, Kristina Pao-Cheng, Mira Shani and Ted Lafferty, Rebecca has been given the tools to help others help themselves. In 2009, she received her 300-Hour Yoga Alliance Certification through the Yoga Studies […]
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Claire Thompson
Claire began her Buddhist studies in New York City in the New Kadampa Tradition, while also practicing Yoga at the Sivananda Yoga Center. Upon moving to Los Angeles in 2007, she started studying with Lauren Benjamin and Lama Marut and under their guidance went on to complete the 36-course program of Tibetan Buddhist studies. Claire […]
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Alicia Tolbert
Alicia is a graduate of the foundational course curriculum and is currently studying the advanced courses with her teacher Lauren Benjamin. A previous Treasurer and Board member, Alicia continues to serve the Middle Way LA community as a teacher and a member of the [...] 
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Dima has been debating his own spiritual confusion since his first introduction to Orthodox Judaism at age 12 during a summer camp in his hometown in Ukraine. Since then, he has graduated from a Jewish seminary, completed the 18 core courses in Buddhism at Middle Way LA and continues to study the advanced curriculum. […]
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