Heather Sundberg has practiced insight meditation since 1993, and was first invited to teach meditation classes in 1999. She has taught residential retreats in Insight Meditation since 2004. She completed the Spirit Rock/IMS Senior Teacher Training under Jack Kornfield & Joseph Goldstein in 2010. She is currently a member of the Spirit Rock Teacher’s Council.
Beginning her own meditation practice in her late teens, for twenty-five years Heather has studied with senior teachers in the Insight Meditation (Vipassana) and Tibetan (Vajrayana) traditions. She is one of a new generation of “home-grown” teachers, who did her entire early meditation training at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, under the guidance of eastern and western teachers. Important influences on her practice include many of the senior teachers at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, as well as meditation masters Ajahn Jumnien, Ven. Tsoknyi Rinpoche, Lama Wangdo, Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Heather also values her long-term association with Abhayagiri Monastery through Ajahn Pasanno and Ajahn Amaro. Ajahn Amaro was a main mentor during her Senior Teacher Training.
Heather has sat just under a cumulative 3 years of retreat in her adult life ~ her retreat training includes Insight Meditation, concentration (Jhana), the Heart Practices (Brahma Viharas), Wisdom Awareness (MahaSati), and Body-Based Energy Practices ~ upon which she bases the main themes of her teaching.
Heather teaches retreats in all of the above topics nationally as well as in Canada & Europe. At her home in the CA Sierra Foothills, she has been a Teacher for Mountain Stream Meditation since 2011, at the community-center in Nevada City, CA, as well as local residential retreats. She has taught retreats at Cloud Mountain since 2014.
In addition, Heather has completed two years of training in Somatic Experiencing and a seven-month Hakomi training; both mindfulness-body-centered psychotherapy models, which she incorporates into her teaching and work with individual students. She also has what she calls a ‘long-term beginners Qi Gong practice’, which her colleague Teja Bell has authorized her to include in her teaching as appropriate.
To her great surprise, between 2010-2015 Heather spent a cumulative one-year in study, retreat, and pilgrimage in Asia. In 2010, Heather spent six months traveling in Thailand, India, and Nepal. She spent her time there studying, sitting retreat, and learning about the cultures that gave birth to the Buddhist traditions she loves so dearly. In 2012, Heather co-led her first Buddhist pilgrimage to sacred places of India and Nepal, including Bodhgaya, where the Buddha was enlightened. In 2014 she returned to India again for intensive teachings, retreat practice, and dharma-road-adventure. She continues to seek out the dharma in Asia as often as she is able.
As a teacher, Heather’s style is warm and practical. Her general emphasis is for embodiment (to balance out the ‘over-headiness’ of our general culture) including strong heartfulness in practice. She carries an interesting combination of supporting a ‘less is more’ easeful style of practice plus a passionate ‘no holds barred’ attitude about awakening.