Christmas and New Year Symposium: Unity in Diversity and the Interconnectedness of Life


Swami Swaroopananda

Swami Swaroopananda is a senior disciple of Swami Vishnudevananda. A practicing yogi from a very young age, Swami Swaroopananda has dedicated his life to the practice and teaching of yoga. He taught in Yoga Teacher Training Courses around the world and is currently teaching advanced yoga philosophy courses and lectures internationally. He is the director of the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat and the Acharya for the Sivananda centers and ashrams on the West Coast of the United States, the Middle East, and the Bahamas. He is a member of the board of directors of the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers.

Tenzin Palmo

Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo practiced under the 8th Khamtrul Rinpoche and became one of the first Westerners to be ordained as a Tibetan Buddhist nun. She founded the Dongyu Gatsal Ling Nunnery. In February 2008 Tenzin Palmo was given the rare title of Jetsunma (Venerable Master), by His Holiness the 12th Gualwang Drukpa, Head of the Drukpa Kagyu lineage in recognition of her spiritual achievements as a nun and her efforts in promoting the status of female practitioners in Tibetan Buddhism.

Tulku Sherdor

Tulku Sherdor is the executive director of Blazing Wisdom Institute.  Born in Montreal, Canada, he has studied Buddhist philosophy and practiced meditation intensively since 1981. He is a heart disciple of the crazy wisdom master Orgyen Kusum Lingpa, and an enthroned reincarnate lama at a major monastery in Tibet. Tulku presides over the annual Buddhist Prayer Festival for World Peace and teaches extensively internationally.

Stephane Vaillancourt

Stephane Vaillancourt studied and practiced meditation for twenty five years. Undertaking in-depth studies with the Franciscan friars of Quebec, he did many retreats each year under their guidance. Stephane shares his time between teaching meditation, yoga, spiritual counseling, conducting retreats, and personal studies (Buddhism, Christianity, and non-duality). He is also the director of Emmaüs Center of Christian meditation and yoga.

Rabbi Daniel Sperber

Daniel Sperber, Ph.D, is the Milan Roven Professor of Talmud, the President of the Institute of Advanced Torah Studies at Bar-Ilan University in Israel and serves as rabbi of Menachem Zion Synagogue in the Old City of Jerusalem. He has written extensively on how Jewish law can and has evolved, including addressing the possibility of inclusion of women in certain ritual services. In 1992, Dr. Sperber won the prestigious Israel Prize for Jewish studies.

Nathan Katz

Nathan Katz, PhD, is Distinguished Professor in the School of International and Public Affairs,the  Bhagawan Mahavir Professor of Jain Studies, and Director of the Program in the Study of Spriituality at Florida International University. Arguably the world's leading authority on Indian Jewish communities, he is a pioneer in the field of Indo-Judaic Studies. His books include Spiritual Journey Home: Eastern Mysticism to the Western Wall, Who Are the Jews of India? and 13 others.

Krishnan Namboodiri

Krishnan Namboodiri is a Tantric priest from South India. He is trained in the classical tradition of mantras (sacred sounds), pujas (prayer ceremonies), homas (fire rituals), and yantras (sacred geometric designs). He performs many special rituals on a daily basis for the ashram.

Karnamrita Dasi

Blessed to be raised from birth in an Ashram community of music, sanskrit, kirtan, japa meditation and a vegetarian lifestyle, Dasi Karnamrita was raised in West Virginia’s Appalachia mountains, surrounded by and practicing Vedic teachings. Dasi studied the grace of Indian Classical Music under the tutelage of Pandit Vidur Mallick and his main disciple Tarun Krsna Das for over 10 years in Vrindaban India. For the last 12 years, she has been invited worldwide to sing and offer the blessings handed down to her by her teachers. She therefore tries to incorporate the meaning of her name Karn (ear) Amrita (nectar) (the nectar of sound to the ear) as her life’s purpose.

Adhi Moonien (Two Owls)

Adhi Moonien Two Owls is a traditionally trained Shaman and healer. Her current research centers around expanding the human potential in relation to the mind and the physical body’s recognition of patterns and sound. Adhi facilitates community Shaman study groups and healing circles. Her vision is one of building healthy spiritual communities grounded in the practical application of spiritual principles, and living fully in this world. Adhi offers private sessions in person as well as remotely, and teaches internationally.