Ryan is a clinical social worker, mental health therapist and qualified MBSR instructor with over eleven years of meditation experience. He studied neuroscience at the Center For Healthy Minds and trained with the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts medical school. Ryan has developed mindfulness curricula for public school teachers and students, and has had the privilege of teaching stress reducing meditation techniques to veterans of the Iraq, Afghanistan, and Vietnam wars.
Rena is co-founder of Pause Meditation and has been practicing meditation and mindfulness for eight years. Her studies began at the University of Redlands Meditation Room, one of the first "contemplative classroom" spaces in the country. Rena continues to deepen her knowledge and practice through her work in the Portland community, and dedicates much of her time to the non-profit realm, using her degrees in graphic design and communications to support services for neighbors in need.
Max has been practicing meditation and yoga for over fifteen years. After receiving degrees in physics and geophysics, he set off to join the business world in green building consulting. A deep drive to empower others led him away from the desk, to teaching, writing, and a deeper practice of yoga and meditation. His journey with mindfulness has included Zen Buddhism, Hatha yoga, Tibetan Buddhism, and Vipassana meditation. His teaching is a secular blend of these techniques, focusing on present-moment awareness, compassion, and observing the architecture of the mind. In 2014, Max founded Office Mindfulness, where he teaches meditation at workplaces around Portland. He recently released a podcast of simple, free, guided meditations called "Meditate With Max," which you can listen to on iTunes or GooglePlay.
Heather was hoodwinked into her first meditation session in 2001 by her colleagues at OM yoga center (NYC) and couldn’t be more grateful. Over the years, she has stumbled on and off the path, fallen in and out of her seat, each time returning to the sense of coming home that arises from working courageously and compassionately with one’s own mind. A yoga teacher, contemplative counselor and practitioner of mindfulness/compassion based meditation in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, Heather is a graduate of the Interdependence Project’s Secular Buddhist Studies Program, as well as an active member of the Portland Shambhala Center. She is currently working towards a certificate in Contemplative Psychotherapy through the Nalanda Institute for Contemplative Science (NYC) under the direction of her mentor, Dr. Miles Neale. Heather draws inspiration from the wisdom of the traditional systems of Eastern philosophy and meditation, as well as contemporary neuroscience and health psychology. And of course, near and dear to her heart/mind, she continues to study with her first meditation teacher and longtime friend, Ethan Nichtern.
Find out more about Pause on their website.
Beginner's Mind (Tuesdays with Ryan, 7:15-8pm): Beginner’s Mind is more than just an idea. It’s an attitude, a powerful tool, and an orientation towards life that can help release us from fixed views that hold us back from our full potential. This class is perfect for beginners, “experts” and everyone in between. Bring your mind, your curiosity, and a willingness to not-know.
"In the beginner's mind, there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few." - Shunryu Suzuki
Unplug & Recharge (Wednesdays and Fridays with Heather, 12:30-1pm): In today's modern workplace, we tend to overwork our prefrontal cortexes (the area of the brain that controls executive functions including logical thinking, decision-making and creativity). Our instinct is to power through, but what we most often need is a little space to slow down, let go of our projects and to-do lists, and just breathe. This midday meditation will help you unplug from the perpetual sense of "busyness" and recharge your mind and body.
Breath (Wednesdays with Max, 6-6:45pm): Learn how to alleviate stress and anxiety with life’s most basic function - the breath. Research demonstrates that each emotion corresponds with a specific breathing pattern. The great news is, when we intentionally work with the breath, we can influence our emotional state. In this class, you’ll learn to calm the mind-body, train the “monkey mind”, and transform daily activities into mindful moments through conscious breathing. The breath is a powerful tool that is always available to you – this class will teach you how to use it fully.
Rest (Wednesdays with Ryan & Rena, 7:15-8pm): Our Rest meditation is based on an ancient practice called Yoga Nidra, which means yogic sleep, or sleeping with awareness. Yoga Nidra is a practice that is becoming increasingly popular as both a form of meditation and a mind-body therapy. This powerful meditation practice incorporates a systematic, guided practice that intends to induce total physical, mental, and emotional relaxation and often brings participants immediate benefits such as reduced stress and anxiety and better sleep.
Well-Being is a Skill (Saturdays with Ryan & Rena, 9-10am): Join the Pause Meditation community Saturday mornings to rest, refresh, and experientially explore this intriguing idea: well-being is a skill. We kick off the day with a guided meditation and enlivening conversation to help us refresh for the weekend ahead.
Into to Meditation (Sundays with Ryan & Rena, 6:30-7:30pm): This drop-in class is designed for beginners who want to learn the basic elements of mindfulness meditation. There are plenty of misguided notions about what meditation is and what it’s supposed to do. In this class, we’ll briefly clean the slate, help you learn how to find a comfortable posture, and lead you through a simple yet profound guided meditation that explores foundational techniques and tools to help you begin practicing all types of meditation. At the end of class, we provide an opportunity for you to debrief and ask individualized questions about your experience or how to begin a meditation practice of your own.