Amy Bloom Connolly
Amy Bloom Connolly, M.S., is the founder and director of the Center for Mindful Awareness (CMA) in Baltimore, MD. For four decades, Amy has worked with kindness, creativity, and joy to benefit individuals, families, organizations, and communities.
She has practiced and studied mindfulness for thirty years. For the past fourteen years her work has been teaching mindfulness practices to people who typically do not have access to them: low-income families; parents who are homeless; inner-city elders who live in subsidized housing; women in shelter; and parents of children with disabilities. The vision of the CMA is to bring mindfulness to lifeTM and make these transformational practices practical, relevant, and accessible to all.
The mission of the CMA is to introduce mindfulness to underserved people and the professionals who support them. We promote self-regulation, build resilience, reduce stress for individuals and families, and positively impact the culture of service-based organizations. The CMA teaches research-based mindful awareness practices through its signature SHINESM program. (Support Honor Inspire Nurture Evolve), which uses the innovative Keys to MindfulnessSM. Mindful coaching for individuals who are interested in creating or deepening their own practice is also available. Inquiries about partnering with and supporting the CMA are welcome.
Amy discovered yoga and meditation in 1998 after graduating from law school and realizing that she did not want to practice law. Immersing herself in mind-body practices helped her to know herself from the inside-out rather than from the outside-in, and to align herself with more deeply held personal values rather than chasing an image of who she thought she should become.
In the fifteen years since she embarked upon an introspective journey, Amy has taught high school math and coached club and high school soccer, chaired the Charlottesville Earth Week planning committee, and traveled around the world with Semester at Sea. She has also engaged in a variety of introspective practices in addition to daily yoga and meditation. She’s enjoyed weeks-long silent meditation retreats, immersion in nature through hiking, backpacking, camping, and a wilderness fast, and Holotropic Breathwork retreats, among other experiences. The insights gained through these exercises have led her to pursue a life of balance with space to enjoy quiet time, to connect meaningfully with others, and to engage with her community. She aspires to live more and more in tune with the natural world.
Amy has degrees in economics and law from Yale and Georgetown, and is currently self-employed as a math tutor, working with teenagers at the middle school through college levels, in addition to teaching yoga and meditation. She lives with her husband, Steve, near Charlottesville, and recently became a new mother whose young daughter is rapidly becoming her greatest teacher.
Throughout my life there were many times when I found myself in a kind of trance, letting life slip through my fingers. By inviting mindfulness into my life, I gradually began to awaken and open my mind and heart to my true potential. As I discovered the healing and growth in my own life, I was inspired to become a teacher so that I could share this practice with others.
Along with my two-year MTTI training, I studied (at the 500-hour level) in the Dharma Yoga tradition with Dharma Mittra in New York. Now, along with my pre-med studies at the University of Maryland, I’m continuing my meditation studies in Washington, D.C. with Tara Brach, and my yoga studies with Liz Marx from the Iyengar tradition and Diego del Sol. I am very grateful to have the opportunity to study with such kind, humble, and experienced teachers.
My strong belief is that one never stops learning. In fact, the more one knows, the more one realizes how little one knows. As a result, my passion for health, wellness, and continued learning has led me to now study yoga as therapy with Dr. Ganesh Mohan, in a way that combines Yoga and Ayurveda with modern medicine in a holistic way.
By combining these approaches to wellness in my classes, and by making it both simple and accessible, I help people lead happier and healthier lives.
Anne Ino Gould
This year, 2013, I turned 61. It’s good to be alive. It’s likely (though never certain) that I have another third of my life ahead of me. But this third is exciting because I’m walking a path that’s bringing me joy, a path that’s encouraging me to live life fully and to challenge my fears. Some basic facts: I was born and raised in Maui, joined the Peace Corps after college, and worked for the Federal government until my retirement in 2008. I have one son, now 29, and a marriage in its 36th year. I’ve been teaching mindfulness meditation to adults and children as part of my participation in the MTTI program, and will soon be teaching at a Howard County middle school as part of the MINDS, Inc. program. In the meantime, I hope to continue my active involvement with an interfaith social action network – People Acting Together in Howard County (PATH) – as well as in the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia, which embodies much of the Buddha’s teachings.
Falls Church, VA
What an exciting time of life for me – retiring from a 30-year career in financial services, watching my twenty-something daughters finding their way in the adult world, starting an in-person life with my long distance partner, looking for a place to settle that’s new for both of us, discovering who I am outside of my business identity and how I want to contribute – and it can feel pretty scary. Will anything stay the same? Will I be able to maintain community with folks I no longer live near? How will I create new community? What will I be called to do? So many questions to live, to discover. I want to be as awake as I can, in each moment, for this discovery. My spiritual practices support this aspiration, as does my meditation teaching. I continue to be drawn to opportunities for myself and others to wake up to the truth of our being. My active retreat attendance will continue. My teaching schedule might lighten up for a while as I resettle, travel, and explore my newfound freedom from a day job. May everything that arises serve the awakening of heart and mind and be of benefit to all beings!
Bill’s life has been blessed by curiosity and wonder. A thirst for understanding and for sharing the discoveries has primed him for teaching. A life-long runner, Bill found much desired time for reflection and inquiry in the solitude of those many miles. When a personal crisis induced him to begin meditating, he jumped in as he did with running – feet first.
His decade-long journey on the path of mindfulness has been largely self-directed, yet many teachers have provided guideposts for him along the way through their words—both written and spoken. It has been the very real experiences of his life, however, that have been Bill’s greatest teachers. He is quite grateful to his Fredericksburg dharma buddies for their support, guidance, and encouragement along the way; as well as to the MTTI sangha for deeply enriching his practice during their two years of mutual exploration and reflection.
Today, Bill leads meditation practice and shares the teachings for the Insight Meditation Community of Fredericksburg, and instructs introductory courses in mindfulness meditation at the University of Mary Washington and in the community. He also teaches yoga (RYT 200) at several locations around Fredericksburg. Bill received his yoga teacher training through the Integral Yoga Academy at Satchidananda Ashram. His passion and hope is that as a teacher he will serve to encourage others to accept the gifts of mindfulness and kindness into their hearts, bodies, and minds.
When he’s not teaching, Bill joyfully lives on a magnificent portion of Mother Earth lovingly known as Manse Fields. He is joined there by his Beloved Lynda and her teenage daughters, and occasionally by his children and grandchildren. There he practices being mindful while gardening, cooking, running (still),and hosting house concerts (Music at Manse Fields).