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Sean Oakes

Sean Oakes, PhD, teaches the Dharma with a focus on the integration of meditation, study, and self-inquiry with trauma resolution and social justice. He has studied in Theravāda, Zen, and Vajrāyāna Buddhist lineages, including training as a monk in Burma, and was authorized to teach Insight Meditation by Jack Kornfield in 2010. He completed the Dedicated Practitioner (DPP1), Mindfulness Meditation and Yoga (MYMT2), and Community Dharma Leader (CDL5) trainings at Spirit Rock.

In addition to mentor Jack Kornfield, Dr. Oakes’ primary Buddhist teachers include Sylvia Boorstein and Eugene Cash, Kitissaro and Ṭhānissara, Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu, Anam Thubten, and Sayadaw U Janaka, with whom he ordained as a bhikkhu for a Rains Retreat in Burma in 2002. He studied yoga with Alice Joanou, Rachel Shaw, Amanda Moran, and David Moreno, and taught mindfulness-based āsana and prāṇāyāma for 10 years. He studied and performed for many years in music, dance, and performance art, and trained in Somatic Experiencing (SE) and Organic Intelligence (OI) with Steven Hoskinson, integrating the complex systems approach from OI in a distinctively Buddhist approach to trauma resolution.

Sean teaches at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, East Bay Meditation Center, and online with Insight Timer, Yoga International, Liberate Meditation, The Sutra Project, and other lovely organizations. He received his PhD in Performance Studies from UC Davis in 2016, writing on states of consciousness in Buddhist meditation and experimental dance, and lives in Northern California on ancestral Pomo territory with his family and beloved community.

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Featured Audio Talk
September 05, 2023 - Breathing in Meditation: The First Four Steps of Ānāpānasati

On your very next breath, slow down the exhale, and soften into the pause at the base of the breath cycle before breathing in again. You’ll probably feel an immediate shift in both physical energy and the quality of your attention. Though we often practice the mindfulness instructions to observe the breath without altering it, working intentionally with the breath is absolutely part of our practice lineage. Through the breath we have a direct connection to our nervous system, and often much more ability to diminish a hindrance or process a difficult emotion than through bare awareness alone.

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