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About Miami Meditation Center

Our Mission

Miami Meditation Center is dedicated to fostering a sense of calm, compassion and connection in our community. We provide an informal supportive space and dedicated teacher and community of individuals seeking to connect with the real world. We strive to be accessible and uncomplicated.

History

The Key Biscayne Mediation Group was formed in 2000 by Soan Poor, Elena Iglesias, Marius Robinson and Bill Durham. The group held weekly meditation sessions at Bill's home for 15 years. Over time a newsletter and many special events were organized and a community of supporters gradually developed. Bill owned a bicycle shop on Key Biscayne for 42 years. In August 2015 the bicycle shop was closed so that the space could be used for Miami Meditation Center

Board of Directors
Bill Durham Miami Meditation Center co founder Bill Durham

Bill graduated from the University of Miami with an BA degree in philosophy in 1974. While he was still a student he started Mangrove Cycles, a bicycle shop on Key Biscayne, which he ran for 42 years. In August 2015 he made a sudden decision to close the bicycle shop and use the location to open Miami Meditation Center. He began meditation practice in 1995 with Soan Poor. In 2008 he became a student of Sandy Gentei Stewart, Osho.


Juan Felisgrau Juan Felisgrau

Juan was born in a Spain and started meditation practice in 1990 at the International Zen Institute of Florida. He currently works in Health Care as a Nurse Manager for Dialysis patients. His hobby is running and has completed 3 marathons.


Alex schimel Alex Schimel

Alex Schimel is a lecturer and academic advisor at the University of Miami School of Law. He first encountered meditation while living in New York and has been practicing for 11 years. Alex enjoys bird watching and cares deeply about preserving natural areas in South Florida. He also enjoys drawing and recently started doing commissioned portraits of pets. "I did a portrait as a wedding gift and found it fun and challenging. Studying art, I was always very focused on the finished piece but now I enjoy the whole process and meditation skills help me focus on the details."


Natacha Wenger Natacha Wenger

Natacha grew up in the French part of Switzerland.

Diagnosed as a young child with severe scoliosis, she spent years “imprisoned” in various casts and braces, finally having to undergo surgery at the age of fourteen to install two stainless steel rods in her spine.

Her considerably reduced flexibility deeply influenced her passionate and inspirational style of teaching, inviting one to investigate one’s limitations with an open heart. She is a yoga teacher, Tony Robbins life coach and Realtor. At age 17, she started working as a model and actress and traveled extensively around the world for two decades.

In 2003, she met Amma “The Hugging Saint", which was a turning point in her life. From then on, a series of spiritual masters from multiple traditions shed light upon her path but only when she met her current Teacher Patrick Connor did the real work begin.


William Scott Wilson William Scott Wilson

William Scott Wilson is a translator of Japanese literature especially works from the martial arts tradition. His first translation was the Hagakure which has beome a classic and is prominent in feature film "Ghost Dog." William is a serious student of Iaido and Kendo and Japanese swordsmanship culture. His latest book is "Walking the Kiso Road." He lives in South Miami with his wife Emily and teenage son Henry.

Advisors
Susan Amick Susan Amick

Susan Amick moved to Key Biscayne in 1991 from NYC. While in New York City she studied dance at the Martha Graham Center and worked in commercial design. Susan began learning tai chi twenty years ago and is a certified Tai Chi and Qi Gong instructor. Over the past fifteen years she has applied her knowledge of design and it's energetic aspects through her passion as a certified Feng Shui Consultant and Life Coach. Susan enjoys immersing herself in the beauty of Nature that is readily available on the Key while walking, biking and swimming in the ocean.


Emlio G. Chavez Emilio G. Chávez

Emilio G Chávez was born in Havana, Cuba and moved with his family to Miami in 1961.

He holds a B.A. in philosophy from Florida State University (1977), and has studied for the priesthood with the Dominican and Discalced Carmelite Orders in Mexico, the United States, Dominican Republic and Spain.

He continued theological education at Harvard Divinity School, the Weston Jesuit School-Boston College of Theology and the Major Seminary in Madrid. He holds the J.D. from Harvard Law School (1981) and practised law in Miami for several years before obtaining the licence in Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome (1998).

He then obtained the doctorate in theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas ("Angelicum")in Rome, defending his thesis on the Gospel of Mark in January, 2000.

He has had an intense interest in world religions (especially Buddhism) and the spiritual life for many years. He chaired the Committee on Ecumenism and Intereligious Dialogue at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary, where he taught Sacred Scripture, for many years.He is also an avid student of Judaism.

His first priority these days is his spiritual growth.


Marco Cuono Marco Cuono

Marco Cuono is the founder of Americas Media Services, LLC. Through AMS Marco has started various businesses and has invested in a number of startup and early stage companies. Prior to founding AMS Marco practiced corporate law in Miami. He is a graduate of the University of Miami School of Law (1995.) Aside from being a father to his three sons Marco's personal interests include cooking, travel, fishing and writing.


Valerie York-Zimmerman

Valerie York-Zimmerman, Founder and Senior Teacher of Miami Mindfulness has been a teacher and tireless advocate for Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) in South Florida since 1998 and 2002, respectively. Valerie received both her training and certification from the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School where that work was pioneered by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn in 1979. She is one of only two CFM Certified MBSR Teachers in the state of Florida at this time. Valerie is a Trainer/Mentor with the Mindfulness-Based Professional Training Institute (MBPTI) at the Center for Mindfulness at the University of California San Diego (UCSD).

After years of ongoing study and teaching her MBSR, IJ-MBSR and Advanced Mindfulness Classes to adults, Valerie envisioned expanding these life-affirming principles to children.

In 2011 Valerie founded Mindful Kids Miami (MKM), a non-profit organization that brings the skills of mindfulness to children, grades Pre-K through 12, throughout Miami-Dade. From 2011 until she left in May 2015, she led that organization as Executive Director and Senior Teacher.

In 2015 Valerie obtained approval for a Pilot Program with Miami-Dade County Public Schools, providing mindfulness training to hundreds of teachers and counselors who implemented the principles in their classrooms and schools. In just one year results showed: enhanced academic and social-emotional learning and improved student behavior. The program has potential to improve school success and personal wellness of children for generations to come.

In May 2016 Valerie was nominated as one of three community finalists for the Miami Herald South Florida Visionary Awards in Education.


Myoshin Zeitler

Myoshin Zeitler lives in Germany and is a teacher at the International Zen Center in the Netherlands. Additionally she leads weekend meditation retreats in Germany and Switzerland. In 1991 she started Zen practice with Prabasha Dharma and Jiun Roshi.

Spritual Director
Sandy Gentei Stewart Sandy Gentei Stewart

Sandy became interested in mediation when he was 16 and heard Alan Watts speak on the radio. At age 29 he heard a radio interview with Joshu Sasaki Roshi and immediately knew he had found his teacher. In 1971 he was ordained as a Zen teacher (Osho) and became Vice-Abbot of the Cimarron Zen Center (now Rinzai-ji) in Los Angeles.

In 1975 he was appointed abbot of the Jemez Bodhi Mandala (now Bodhi Manda) in Jemez Springs, New Mexico. Three years later he moved to North Carolina with his wife Susanna and step-daughter Lara. Sandy has been the guiding force behind the North Carolina Zen Center.


Miami Meditation Center
260 Crandon Blvd. #6 Key Biscayne, FL 33149 info@MiamiMeditationCenter.orgwww.MiamiMeditationCenter.org • 305.361.5555