• Arinna Weisman
    Arinna Weisman

    Arinna Weisman has studied insight meditation since 1979 and has been teaching since 1989. Her root teacher is Ruth Denison who was empowered by the great teacher U Bha Khin. She is the founding teacher of Insight Meditation Center of the Pioneer Valley. She is co-author of the book, A Beginner’s Guide to Insight Meditation and a contributor to Women Practicing Buddhism; American Experiences, edited by Peter Gregory and Susanne Mrozik.

    Her dharma practice and teaching have been infused with her political and environmental activism. She was the first out queer teacher with Eric Kolvig to lead insight meditation retreats for the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Gender Queer community. She also leads ‘Uncovering the Heart Retreats’ integrating the practice of awareness of the social dynamics of inequity with the dharma practice of liberation.

  • Ian Challis
    Ian Challis

    Ian Challis is highly trained in teaching Mindfulness meditation, including the world renowned program Mindfulness –Based Stress Reduction. Ian has practiced mindfulness meditation intensively for the last 12 years. He is a regular teacher at Insight Community of the Desert in Palm Springs, where he is also a founding board member and past president. In 2017 he graduated from Spirit Rock Meditation Center’s selective CDL training program. He is currently enrolled in the Mindfulness Based Training Institute of UC San Diego in the MBSR pathway. Trained in Architecture, he has had a long and successful career as an entrepreneurial product designer and manufacturer in the gift and home décor sectors. A native of Seattle, he now makes his home in Palm Springs and he is passionate about bringing mindfulness practices to our desert communities.

  • Leslie Booker
    Leslie Booker

    Booker brings her heart and wisdom to the intersection of Dharma + Embodied Wisdom + Activism. She shares her expertise nationally as a guest lecturer at conferences, universities, and Dharma centers, on expanding our vision around culturally responsive teaching, and changing the paradigm of self and community care. She has spoken at Mind & Life Institute’s International Symposium, Contemplative Minds in Higher Education, Mindfulness in America, and Omega Institute’s Mindfulness in Education conferences, along with other pioneers in the mindfulness field such as Jon Kabat-Zinn, Dr. Daniel Siegel, Linda Lantieri, and His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. Booker has been a featured speaker and facilitator at the Fetzer Institute, Vassar and Pitzer Colleges, as well as with the Peace Corps and Teacher’s College at Columbia University, and the Contemplative Sciences Center at the University of Virginia.

    She began sharing practice with vulnerable populations in 2005, and was a senior teacher and Director of Teacher Trainings with Lineage Project, where she worked with incarcerated and vulnerable youth for ten years. During this time, she also facilitated a mindfulness and cognitive-based therapy intervention on Riker’s Island from 2009-2011, a partnership between New York University and the National Institute of Health.

    She is a co-founder of the Yoga Service Council at Omega Institute and the Meditation Working Group of Occupy Wall Street. Booker is a co-author of Best Practices for Yoga in a Criminal Justice Setting, a contributor to Georgetown Law’s Center on Poverty and Inequality’s report: Gender & Trauma—Somatic Interventions for Girls in Juvenile Justice, YOGA: The Secret of Life, and Sharon Salzberg’s book Happiness at Work. She is a graduate of Spirit Rock’s Mindful Yoga and Meditation training (2012), Community Dharma Leaders’ Training (2017), and will complete Spirit Rock’s four year Retreat Teacher Training in 2020.

Hosting Institution

Dhamma Dena Meditation Center
Joshua Tree, California

More Info



Oct 01 2020 - Oct 07 2020



LGBT & Gender Non-Conforming Queer Retreat

This offering will be held Online

A Retreat for the LGBTQIA+ and Gender Non-Conforming Community

These two weeks are a wonderful opportunity to practice together in support of opening into love and wisdom. You can come for just one or both weeks. Two weeks offer a unique length of time for us to strengthen the conditions for insight. Open to beginners and long-standing students.

There will be guided sittings, walking and movement meditation, group sharing, and dharma talks. This retreat will be primarily in silence.

Retreatants are welcome to attend either the first or second week or both. We ask that you arrive either on October 1st or 8th. Coming any other time is strongly discouraged and needs the permission of the teacher.