“The Mystery Schools method of teaching is based on the student’s inherent, or innate desire, to fulfill his or her own self-worth, dignity, happiness and real wisdom empowerment.”
Damalaya Agnijanma, Elizabeth St John Ives, Jocelyn Kennedy, Amrita Bhakti
Damalaya Agnijanma has always had a deep and abiding passion for the well-being of humans. Having studied in spiritual institutions around the world, she is now a Tushita Mystery School facilitator, encouraging people to understand their own inherent life-value and feel the confidence that comes when we breathe back into the source of ourselves. Her intuitive empathy and compassionate humour offer supportive and inspiring company on the path of restoring ourselves to our natural state.
Elizabeth St John-Ives is an experienced chef and has a Masters degree in human development, however much more importantly, she is undertaking a raw and uncompromising exploration of existence as a human. She undoubtedly knows that humans naturally are vital, spontaneous, wonderfully erratic…mirroring all other life forms in these qualities. She is exploring in a non-theoretical way (in a lived way) why we are typically living in dull, repetitive, robot-like ways, rather than living our natural, easeful, vital disposition which is full of constant wonder at existence itself.
Jocelyn Kennedy is the founder and director of Communication for Life and has over 25 years’ experience in group facilitation, mediation, personal growth, teaching, and community-building.
With her understanding of what has created the hard edges of “you” and “me”, she is committed to helping people soften their hearts and allow the feelings of separateness to dissolve.
Her style is playful, humorous, and direct.
Amrita Bhakti has a longstanding passion for leading Dances of Universal Peace, chanting, music and singing as a way of celebrating Life Itself. With many years’ experience in guiding groups and individuals, she is committed to supporting people to feel their innate worth without solely judging themselves based on their achievements. Warm hearted and genuine, her disposition is quiet and present.
Nyanaviro (Stephen Archer)
Nyanaviro is a mindfulness educator. He is passionate about creating contexts where people can explore mindfulness and discover how it can assist them to realise sustainable wellbeing and generate new and transformative perspectives. Nyanaviro has been involved with mindfulness for over 35 years.
Since 2006 he has been studying with Yanchiji at Tushita Hermitage, Northland. He originally began practicing mindfulness meditation while completing a degree in Eastern religions and then trained for 13 years as an ordained Buddhist monk in the Thai forest tradition.
Nyanaviro facilitates mindful leadership and workplace programmes, and offers residential retreats and professional supervision for other trainers and practitioners.
He is Director of Mindfulness Training www.mindfulness-training.co.nz and an associate of Mindfulness Works www.mindfulnessworks.co.nz
“The Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand strongly endorses mindfulness as a useful way to improve positive mental health and resilience. We recommend Stephen Archer (Mindfulness Training) as an experienced mindfulness practitioner.” – Hugh Norriss, Director of Policy & Development, Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand
Rachel Tobin has been practising meditation for over 25 years and is a qualified teacher in a varety of fields including the moving mindfulness practices of qi gong and Feldenkrais.
She is the director of the art of mindfulness, working individually with adults and children, teaching mindfulness in organisations and to the general public, and regularly running one-day and residential mindfulness retreats. She also offers programmes and individual mindfulness for children.
Rachel lives in Paekakariki, on the lovely Kapiti Coast, and comes often to Tushita Hermitage as a student of spiritual Master Sri Yanchiji.
“A fabulous, balanced, insightful, nurturing weekend taught in a supportive, relaxed way… Rachel’s teaching style is very allowing and i enjoyed the way the weekend flowed with just the right amount of downtime.” – J. Natusch, Auckland
“I enjoyed the balance of qi gong dynamic meditation, the sitting-still meditation, the mindfulness walking and the artistic offerings of poems etc… The meditation sessions held a ‘sit with me’ invitation and the number of sessions during the retreat helped deepen my meditation practice. And I learnt the importance of returning my mind from wandering and that this was a natural occurrence.
I liked the rhythm of life on the retreat with bells calling us to meditation and meals. I found the practice of being together in silence together both novel and refreshing. I feel I have experienced mindfulness practice that I can take from the retreat to my everyday life.
A heartfelt thank you for sharing your wisdom, life experiences and spiritual practice, Rachel.” – Gloria Henderson, Wellington
“Ten days after Rachel’s Moving into Stillness retreat [at Te Moata] and I feel physically energised and motivated, my mind calm and clear. I enjoyed the chi gong and the mindfulness equally.” – Kate Taylor, Auckland
“My wife thought it was a miracle that I would book myself into this retreat. It was a deeply fulfilling experience and one I hope to keep with me, if not return.” – Luc Hansen
“I found it fun adopting yoga stretches and poses since being a young child and found a yoga practice has given me a stable platform while always pushing passed limitations and status quo. My love of yoga has naturally evolved to teaching and offering it to others”
“I have studied and practiced Self-Realization Fellowship Meditation, Ashtanga, Iyengar and Hatha Yoga and now integrate all of it into the living form of union within the Sacred Substance we have all evolved out of – mind, body and ever present beingness… wow…I love it, I love the challenge, the intelligence , the discovery.
Yoga has been a constant companion throughout my life and it is through my love and natural disciplines that the vitality and joy of this has been revealed.”
Sitara recognises mindfulness among the best “methods” to prepare for and maintain a life of real and raw authenticity and peace. She appreciates the clarity of mind and peace of heart a regular mindfulness/meditation practise has inspired her own life and continues to grow.
Besides working as a mindfulness trainer for New Zealand’s largest mindfulness education organisation (Mindfulness Works) Sitara is a mosaic artist working from her home-based studio located in native bush near the Far North’s Mount Maungataniwha. Her work is exhibited and collected throughout New Zealand, as well as sold overseas, and she teaches mosaic classes and workshops from her studio and through REAP in Kaitaia.
Sitara holds a Degree in Social Communication Studies from the Hanzehogeschool Groningen (The Netherlands), a Counselling Skills Certificate from the University of Aberdeen (Scotland) and is also a certified creativity coach after training with Eric Maisel (USA). During her first decade in New Zealand, Sitara worked for Lifeline Taranaki, Healthcare and Rehabilitation and at the former Pippal Wellness Centre.
Originally from the Netherlands, Sitara’s lived in five different countries including the Middle East, and has previously worked in PR, journalism, translating and caregiving. Her reasons for settling in New Zealand after moving here in 2001 was her meeting with the New Zealand born living spiritual Master Yanchiji, whom she continues to study with. Sitara writes and makes music and whoopee in her spare time, which she loves to share with animals.
Sitara’s mindfulness website is www.preciousattention.com