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16 Of The Most Respected Mindfulness Teachers Of Modern Day

meditation and mindfulness teacher deepak chopra

Written By Sean Grabowski

A passionate ambassador, educator and student of mindfulness and meditation. Advocate for unique experiences and life long learning.

April 13, 2020

Although Mindfulness is, and always has been a part of the ancient lessons of Buddhist as well as other eastern and native religions, meditation and mindfulness are experiencing their second coming in the present day modern era. The re-emergence of this traditional practice is due in large part to the vast array of incredible teachers who have either come or returned to the western world to share the knowledge they’ve acquired through years and sometimes even decades of studying in the south eastern nations of our planet. From Dr. Deepak Chopra, to sound healers and Tibetan monk’s, today we are gifted with some of the best spiritual teachers the world has ever seen. Though the many highly respected Guru’s of the east are never to be forgotten on this list, here is a list of 16 of the most well respected mindfulness and meditation teachers in the western world. These individuals are thought leaders, and have paved the way for the rest of society to follow along in their footsteps.

Pema Chodron

Who is Pema Chodron?

Born in New York City in 1936, Pema Chodron is widely known as one of the first American women to become an ordained nun of Tibetan Buddhism. Currently leading as the headteacher at the Gampo Alley meditation center in Nova Scotia Canada, she is well renowned for leading several of the world’s most well-respected mindfulness education centers. She is the former leader at the global Shambhala Meditation organization while having also written a collection of incredibly influential books on the topic of Buddhist philosophy in the west. She possesses an undying passion for Buddhist meditation that turns to learn with her into a unique and transformative experience. With powerful lessons paired with discipline and perspective, she is one of the most influential meditation teachers of the modern era. To learn more about Pema, visit her online at the link to her foundation below.

Click The Image Below To Browse Pema Chodron‘s Most Popular Books

Ram Dass aka Richard Alpert

Who is Ram Dass?

Ram Dass is the ex Harvard psychologist turned psychedelic science advocate, turned mindfulness and spiritual teacher who altered society for millions of people around the world throughout the last many decades. Originally pursuing high levels of education along the traditional path of western intellectuals, Ram Dass was initially a research psychologist at Harvard University where he stumbled across the wide range of mental-emotional benefits correlating to the use of psychedelic substances in therapy. According to him, the experiences he had while trying out these substances himself were the eventual catalyst for the spiritual awakening that eventually led him to India. Studying with his Guru, Maharajji was when his most noted transformation took place. Following his initial years in India, Richard Alpert re-emerged as the mindfulness and spiritual teacher currently known as Ram Dass. Since that time Ram Dass has been the educator responsible for bringing the lessons of Maharajji to millions of Americans. His books and lessons have been bought, followed and worshipped for their relatability across the western world. To learn more about Ram Dass, watch the new Netflix documentary about his last years called Ram Dass: Going Home, or visit the website for his organization below.

Click The Image Below To Check Out Ram Dass‘ Most Famous Book; Be Here Now

Deepak Chopra

Who is Deepak Chopra?

For many westerners who are interested in or practicing mindfulness, Deepak Chopra is quite likely one of the first people you will come across. This modern doctor, author, and spiritual teacher has quickly become one of the most established meditation teachers globally with a collection of written works, documentaries, celebrity talk show appearances, and meditation centers to back up his impressive credentials. This man is one of the most influential ambassadors for alternative medicine in the west, having helped what is quite likely millions of people approach and resolve their health challenges utilizing holistic mind-body modalities for medicine. Deepak is most well known for his content around health and wellness, though his presence in the world of meditation is as well established as any of the other modern teachers. To learn more about Deepak Chopra visit his website below. Here you will find content, news, events, courses, meditations and more.

Click The Image Below To Check Out Deepak Chopra‘s Most Popular Books.

Sara Auster

Who is Sara Auster?

As perhaps the leading voice in the western world when it comes to the masterful art of sound therapy, Sara Auster is one of the many women leading powerful and transformational mindfulness lessons in the modern era. Based in New York, she has traveled around the globe performing and teaching the many lessons of Buddhism and meditation. Having been featured by countless publications including The New York Times and Time Magazine Sara is as established as sound healers come. Sara’s interest in sound-based healing and therapy was originally sparked by a severe back injury that inhibited her blooming music career in New York at the young age of 23. Throughout that experience as well as the long recovery that followed, she found tremendous relief through the uniquely therapeutic vibrations from the marble bowls used. The relief she found through this experience inspired her to bring this underserved method to the masses. To learn more about Sara visit her online at her website.

Click The Image Below To Browse Sara Auster‘s Most Popular Books.

Jon Kabat-Zinn

Who is Jon Kabat-Zinn?

As the man who many regard is the person who has made the largest contributions toward the scientific research of the ancient art of meditation, Jon Kabat-Zinn is one of today’s most important mindfulness educators. He is the author of some of the most influential modern literature on mindfulness, meditation, and the subconscious mind. As the founder behind Mindfulness Based Stress-Reduction (MBSR) he has been widely considered to be one of the forefathers of the integration of mindfulness with care and treatment of mental health. In addition to his works on psychology and research, Jon Kabat-Zinn is a widely known meditation teacher with courses, training, and books on techniques and perspectives on the wide array of mindfulness approaches available. Although on the date that this is published he is resting at a hefty 74 years old, you can be sure that he is still teaching and training people and professionals on his learnings even to this day. To learn more about Jon Kabat-Zinn visit his Wikipedia page below.

Click The Image Below To Browse Jon Kabat-Zinn‘s Most Popular Book: Full Living Catastrophe.

Jack Kornfield

Who is Jack Kornfield?

As a former Buddhist monk, Jack Kornfield re-entered western society as a psychologist, a profession that has enabled him to bridge the gap between modern psychology and the transformative lessons, distinctions, and practices of the ancient philosophy of Buddhism. Jack first came across meditation in Thailand, where he first ventured as part of his experience working with the peace corps. Jack is a co-founder of the famous Insight Meditation Society with Sharon Salzberg and Joseph Goldstein. Since that time, he has also co-founded The Spirit Rock Meditation Centre in Woodacre, California. To learn more about Jack Kornfield, read one of his many highly rated and best-selling books, or check out his website at the link below.

Click The Image Below To Check Out Jack Kornfield‘s Most Popular Book: A Path With Heart.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Who is Thich Nhat Hanh?

Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Thien Buddhist Monk. Having published well over one hundred books, this man has become one of the world’s most influential spiritual and meditation teachers. The lessons within his teachings and books range from vegetarianism to stillness and encompass a wide range of relevant patterns we are seeing in the world today. Born way back in 1926, this man was ordained as a Bhikku in 1951, a decade before many of even touched down on this earth. Thich has taught at conferences as well as educational institutions, even spending a large chunk of his life as a teacher of comparative religion at Princeton University in the U.S. Since his time, this man has returned home to Vietnam where he continues to teach and spread his lessons around the globe. He is known most for his part in the peace movement alongside his many works on mindfulness. To learn more about Thich, visit him online at the website for Plum Village, an organization founded by him several decades ago. 

About Thich Nhat Hanh

Click The Image Below To Browse The Many Books from Thich Nhat Hanh Most Popular Book On Amazon: Peace In Every Step.

Kristin Neff

Who is Kristin Neff?

Kristin Neff is a professor and educator on the practice of self-compassion within mindfulness. As an intellectual at large, she is most well known for her work in linking the evidence of meditations benefits when it comes to improvements in self-compassion. She is credited with the creation of a sliding scale of self-compassion, consisting of 26 units on the first scale and 12 on the next. These scales are designed to identify where someone sits, along with methods they may follow to slide into an improved area of self-love and awareness. Inherently, her work pertains largely to the practice of meditation, and she has since become renowned as an influential meditation educator across America. To learn more about Kristin Neff at her website below.

Click The Image Below To Check Out Kristin Neff’s Most Popular Book; The Proven Power Of Being Kind To Yourself: Self Compassion.

Eckhart Tolle

Who is Eckhart Tolle?

For myself as well as countless other meditation teachers in my social network, Eckhart Tolle was the cause of our introduction to the world of mindfulness and ego observation on the whole. His books are commonly known as the most popular modern pieces of literature on mindfulness, helping thousands of people wake up to the reality that thoughts are nothing more than what we make of them. For myself, The Power of Now was the first book I ever picked up on modern spirituality, the human ego, consciousness, and thoughtlessness on a whole. It was a book that truly changed my life and provided me with a newfound clarity I have never imagined prior. Originally born in Germany, this new york times bestselling author now resides in Vancouver, Canada where he continues to engage in further writing, speaking engagements, and spiritual retreats. This man truly has a gift at expressing thoughts so esoteric in nature that many of us would be hard-pressed to explain them on our own. Though his concepts are at times quite deep, they are consistently powerful distinctions with the power to shift anybody’s mindset, no matter how rigid they may be. For anybody interested in learning more about Eckhart, I would recommend reading his two most popular books: The Power of Now and A New Earth. These reads are timeline altering and after close to a decade since first coming across them, I continue to regard them as some of the best pieces I have ever consumed.

Click The Image Below To Check Out Eckhart Tolle‘s Most Popular Book: The Power Of Now.

Emily Fletcher

Who is Emily Fletcher?

As the founder of Ziva Meditation and the recent author of her new book Stress Less, Accomplish More: Meditation for Extraordinary Performance, Emily Fletcher is a recent addition to the top meditation teachers list. After her recent publication, her name has launched into the front row of renowned mindfulness coaches. What sets her apart from most of the other meditation teachers you are likely to come across is the ethos behind her message; that meditation is actually a tool for high performance. This is the core theme of her lessons and written works. Both of these include a reference to a large number of scientific articles that emphasize the science behind her approach. For type A individuals like myself, Emily’s style is both relatable and enjoyable. Not only do her lessons bring calm to the mind of high performers, but she is also very careful to quote the science to back it all up. Her approach is not unique, but her angle certainly may be. Emily was the reason I boosted my practice to meditate for longer sits each and every day. Her lessons were captivating and educational and they definitely piqued my interest in a very unique way. For anybody looking to learn more about Emily, visit her website below.

Click The Image Below To Check Out Emily Fletcher‘s New And Amazing Book, Stress Less Accomplish More: Meditation For Extraordinary Performance.

Satya Narayan Goenka

Who is Satya Narayan Goenka?

Perhaps one of the most important people in the worldwide expansion of mindfulness and meditation beyond its roots in Asia is Satya Narayan Goenka. Many of today’s most influential teachers tote their spiritual awakening as being the result of a 5 to 10-day silent meditation retreat. In particular, Vipassana retreats, where lessons focus on this tried and true method of finding a special form of stillness rooted in focused awareness. Though this man may have not spent as much of his time in the public eye, he is perhaps the indirect catalyst for an enormous degree of the meditation education available in western nations today. To learn more about Satya Narayan Goenka visit his website or the information pages for his retreats at the link below.

Click The Image Below To Browse Satya Narayan Goenka’s Most Popular Reads Available On Amazon.

Sharon Salzberg

Who is Sharon Salzberg?

Sharon Salzberg is a best selling author and perhaps one of the most famous and well known spiritual teachers in the west. Born in 1952, Sharon has been one of the moguls paving the way for this eastern practice in North America, more specifically, New York City. After years of study from Asian meditation masters, Sharon eventually returned home, bringing her newfound expertise along with her. Though she teaches a wide range of lessons and has published many written works on the topic at large, much of her work takes focus on the specific Vipassana meditation techniques and their origins in Theravada Buddhism. In addition to all of this, Sharon is one of the well-respected founders of the ‘Insight Meditation Society’ near alongside the likes of Jack Kornfield and Joseph Goldstein.

Click The Image Below To Browse The Written Works From Sharon Salzberg Available On Amazon.

Andy Puddicombe

Who is Andy Puddicombe?

For anybody who may not know his name yet, Andy Puddicombe is the voice behind the world-famous Headspace Meditation App. As a former Buddhist monk having trained all across southeast Asia, Andy returned home to once again pursue a western-like in the UK before founding Headspace with his business partner Rich Pierson. What started as a small idea has since turned into one of the most popular apps on the planet, taking the world by storm and introducing the calming effect of meditation to millions of users across the planet. Since first launching the app, Andy has become an influential author and speaker on the topic of mindfulness, continuing to share his passion for meditation with the greater world around him. In my experience, Andy is one of the most relatable meditation teachers to learn from while still retaining enormous amounts of expertise and high-level meditation training. To learn more about Andy, visit his page on the Headspace website where you can watch his Ted Talk and learn a little more about him along the way.

Click The Image Below To Browse Andy Puddicombe’s Published Books Available At Amazon.

Susan Piver

Who is Susan Piver?

Susan Piver is an American meditation teacher most well known for her written works on mindfulness with the New York Times, as well as a hefty list of public appearances including The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Tyra Banks Show, CNN and more. As a student of traditional Buddhism since 1995, Susan has become one of the most well-known hosts of workshops and retreats, speaking around the globe on a wide array of topics regarding personal development, mental health, meditation, spirituality, and Buddhist philosophy. More recently, Susan has launched a new initiative called The Open Heart Project where she teachers lessons online, generating a massive community of followers. To learn more about Susan, her projects and her events, visit her website online at the link below.

Click The Image Below To Browse Susan Piver’s Books Available On Amazon.

Jeff Warren

Who is Jeff Warren?

Although possibly not yet a household name as far as meditation teachers go, Jeff Warren is without a doubt one of the best, if not the best (not that it’s a contest) meditation teachers I have ever stumbled across. As a Toronto local, Jeff first became renowned in his hometown as one of the leading meditation teachers province- and likely even, countrywide. Jeff is most well known for his books and workshops with Dan Harris, the rambunctious media personality and self-proclaimed “guy who had a nervous breakdown on national tv”. Dan and Jeff are the men behind the 10% Happier app and the Meditation For Fidgety Skeptics book. Dan remains the ambassador of the project, while Jeff teaches the mindfulness education portion of their curriculum. In addition to this project, Jeff is highly renowned for his Toronto based weekly meditation meetup known as The Consciousness Explorers Club. I’ve actually been a regular visitor of this group for the better part of the year, and have found it to be one of the most enjoyable communities I have ever meditated with. They are a welcoming group made up of a smorgasbord of different types of people coming together for one common cause, to calm and observe their mind through meditation. To learn more about Jeff visit his website below.

Click The Link Below To Check Out Jeff Warren’s Book In Partnership With Dan Harris: Meditation For Fidgety Skeptics.

Michael Beckwith

Who is Michael Beckwith?

Far from a traditional teacher, Michael Beckwith is a spiritual teacher for much more than the aspect of meditation. Although mindfulness and meditation are core elements of his lessons, Michael is a thought minister with more than 8,000 members in his congregation, known as the Agape International Spiritual Center, founded in Beverly Hills California. This man is renowned for his unique view on spirituality, religion, and mindset. His lessons encompass many of those from formal religious literature, with a mix of both new and ancient spirituality. Reviews of his ceremonies range from life-changing to enlightening. If you ever do have a chance to visit a congregation of his in person, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better so-called ‘church’ experience elsewhere. To learn more about Michael, visit his website below.

Click The Image Below To Browse Michael Beckwith‘s Most Popular Books.

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