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MEET OUR TEAM

Amy, our Founder and CEO, brings more than 30 years of corporate, entrepreneurial and non-profit experience to Just Meditate.
 

She holds an undergraduate degree in Physical Education from Ithaca College and an MBA from USC’s Marshall School of Business. Amy has held diverse positions including General Manager of Ceremony Operations for the Olympic Winter Games of 2002, CEO of the YMCA Tauranga in New Zealand, COO of Caerus Associates (a government R&D contractor), Vice President of Administration of an enterprise software company, Arthur Andersen Business Consultant, and founder of Knead a Massage Inc. (www.kneadamassage.com), a successful affordable massage studio which was acquired in its second year of operations.

 

She is also a volunteer puppy raiser for Guiding Eyes for the Blind and is raising Henley, her 14th puppy. Amy, a native Washingtonian, lives in Bethesda with her daughter Blythe, their cat Latte, and their career change dog Nexus.

Alexandra Arbogast is an Integrative Psychotherapist, Yoga Therapist and Mindfulness Teacher. She is excited to join the Just Meditate team as a way to expand her Mindfulness community.
 
In 2010, Alex helped establish the Mind-Body Medicine Program at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Since then, she has worked full-time as the Mind-Body Medicine Program Coordinator and Senior Mind-Body/Yoga Therapist. In this role, Alex teaches mindfulness and yoga-based skills to help service members and their families heal from the wounds of war. She also regularly teaches and presents on mindfulness to staff and providers at the hospital, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, and in the larger military/government community.
 
Alex’s meditation practice and style of teaching has been influenced by many great teachers from various Buddhist and Yogic traditions including but not limited to: Shinzen Young, Tara Brach, Jack Kornfield, and Richard Miller.
 
Alex loves mountains, water, and big sky. She adores playing and meditating on the beach, particularly at Sivananda Ashram in the Bahamas or on Assateague Island with wild ponies.She lives with her husband, 2 cats, and stepson in North Bethesda, MD.
 
Karen Bralove is a certified Yoga instructor, Level II Reiki practitioner and native Washingtonian. Her first experience with meditation was TM, Transcendental Meditation, in the early 1970's. She has been teaching Yoga and meditation for 20 years in in the DC area, Los Angeles, and Italy.
 
She is a graduate of The Holton-Arms School and Vassar College. Her previous career was acting, and she taught drama at Sidwell Friends School for 24 years, where she met Amy Thaler, the Just Meditate Founder, as a middle school student! She looks forward to sharing her experience and "sitting" and breathing with this new community in Bethesda.
Michelle Ann Johnson was born in Bethesda, MD and raised in Los Angeles, California. She has been teaching meditation and Yoga since 1999. She is an RYT500 hour teacher with over 1000 hours in yoga, Ayurveda and meditation training. She is an Ordained Minister trained in the healing arts that involve pranayama breath work, mysticism and healing energetics. She is an authority in the mind body field and has been engaged as keynote speaker at many health conferences and large organizations.
 
Michelle has suffered from PTSD and anxiety as a result of abuse and trauma since a young age. This was crippling her life and manifested in physical side effects that included severe panic attacks. Meditation was a catalyst that helped her learn tools that calm the mind and nervous system down. In turn, she learned how to effectively manage, deal, and heal her own life. She has personally used meditation and visualization as tools to help her, not only manifest her dreams and desires, but to help others achieve success.
 
It is her own story and pain that inspired her to help others. She began to alter her lifestyle, diet and exercise regime in a way that helped her feel better and more energetic. She used meditation to ground her energy so she could focus better and get clarity regardless of a once chaotic mind and life. Over time, she became a professional athlete in the sport of fitness and bodybuilding. This helped her feel empowered to lead the way for many others. She is the owner of her own sports team and three websites. She is a regular contributor for many world-wide magazines, continues to lead, heal, speak and write in effort to inspire others to become the best versions of themselves.
Devin is a practitioner and teacher of mindfulness meditation. He practices with the intention of cultivating awareness and compassion in himself and helping students learn to do the same. In addition to working with adults, Devin also teaches meditation to middle school students, high school students, and young adults, including individuals with learning and emotional disabilities. He has studied Insight Meditation since 2011, including several months of silent residential retreats. Tara Brach, Jack Kornfield and Jonathan Foust have been his primary teachers.

Prior to teaching meditation, Devin worked for six years in the labor movement as a strategist and lobbyist for the hotel workers union in New York City and Washington, DC. Before going into politics and advocacy, he taught middle school English in Oakland, California. Somewhere in his files he has a Masters Degree in Education Policy from Teachers College and a BA from UC Santa Cruz in history and literature. Mostly, he has really good memories of reading on the beach.

Cindy Maxted has spent her life in the mind, body, and spirit field. She has over 25 years of experience working with children and families as a registered nurse in the neonatal ICU, Operating Room, and School Nursing with a degree from Georgetown University. As a certified Mindful Educator/Yoga Instructor in conjunction with Johns Hopkins D-stress Baltimore, she has taught over 400 young people in the Baltimore City Schools. As a nurse, coach, and yoga teacher she has integrated Mindfulness into her plan of care and teaching for throughout her career.


Cindy has an interest in advancing the health and well-beings of individuals and communities by bringing awareness, compassion, and joy while teaching tools and strategies of ways to be present in our lives, with ease.

Chris Montone, was trained in meditation within the Shambhala Buddhist community, where he has served since 2003 as a Buddhist teacher, meditation instructor, and Head of Education (2002-2005). He has also served as Executive Director of both the Washington, DC Shambhala Center and Shambhala’s regional headquarters in Europe. Chris has studied closely with Shambhala’s lineage holder, Sakyong Mipham, since 2002 and brings an uplifted, non-jargon style to his workshops and sessions. As a lifelong leader, Chris brings his meditation training to bear in working with the challenges of leadership by developing practices to support leaders through contemplative exercises that build confidence, encourage genuineness, and foster connection.
 
Chris is the founder of Ennoble, LLC, a company that serves to ennoble spirit, enable leadership, and foster sane and healthy community. In this capacity he works with government clients, organizations, and individuals to develop personal, interpersonal, and professional skills that ennoble life and society
Ofosu Jones-Quartey has been practicing meditation since 1999. He studied under Bhante Buddharakkhita in the Burmese style of vipassana. Ofosu has taught with with the Insight Meditation Community of Washington (IMCW) since 2004 as well as working with Minds, Incorporated to bring mindfulness practice to schools, working with students directly in the classroom since 2014.

 

An accomplished musician, Ofosu also performs both domestically and internationally as a Hip Hop and Electronic Music artist. His writings on how he incorporates his Buddhist philosophy into his secular music have been published by Mahachulalongkorn University in Ayutthaya, Thailand. He currently lives in the Washington, DC area with his wife and their four children.

Farhan comes to Just Meditate with an extensive background in meditation with a special interest in the pragmatic value of the theta and alpha brain states. He has taken numerous courses and participated in many retreats ranging from Vipassana Meditation, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Transcendental Meditation, Loving Kindness Meditation and is also certified in Hypnotherapy and Reiki (Master-Teacher). Farhan's goal is to target the meditative state as a means to progress and develop the brain. Farhan has worked in Mental Health for ten years during which time he has incorporated many Mindfulness techniques. In addition, Farhan has taught Mindfulness at Johns Hopkins University and at Elev8 in Baltimore.
Born in India and raised in Southern California, Sumir began his meditation practice at the age of five under the instruction of his mother, who wanted to ensure that he embraced his heritage. His practice remained quietly personal until 2004, when he embarked on an eight year journey of discovery and education. After being certified in Fire-Walking and Breath Work in California, Sumir began developing unique workshops on overcoming fear and leading men's groups. He has led all of these classes as well as meditation classes across the United States, India, the UK and Germany, enlightening thousands of seekers. Sumir believes in the value of continuing to expand his consciousness and has learned from masters from around the world. One of his strengths is his ability to take esoteric knowledge from the East and deliver it with a language that is clear and accessible to those in the West.
 
 
Arnold Raizon began to learn about meditation and mindfulness to alleviate his once complicated life. He adopted a dialy practice and became a certified Meditation and Mindfulness Instructor at the McLean Meditation Institute, a 200 hour program of theory, science, and practice. More recently, Arnold completed the Search Inside Yourself Program, a training using tools of neuroscience, mindfulness and emotional intelligence.

Arnold was born in Zimbabwe and after finishing high school moved to Cape Town, South Africa, to attend medical school. In 1985, he came to the US to pursue his medical career. He has since enjoyed a successful Diagnostic Radiology career in Washington, DC. Arnold has an amazing wife and four children.

As a meditation teacher, yoga instructor, author, and rabbi, Benjamin Shalva leads seminars around the world in contemplative practice, mindfulness, and mysticism. He serves on the faculty of the Soul Center of Baltimore and the Jewish Mindfulness Center of Washington D.C. His writings have appeared in numerous publications including the Washington Post, Success Magazine, and Spirituality & Health, and he is the author of two books -- Spiritual Cross-Training: Searching through Silence, Stretch, and Song and Ambition Addiction: How to Go Slow, Give Thanks, and Discover Joy Within. Benjamin lives in Reisterstown, Maryland, with his wife, Sara, and their two children.
Dave joins Just Meditate with over 15 years experience in mind-body practices including Mindfulness, Yogic Meditation, Guided Imagery, Hypnosis & NLP, and the internal Chinese martial arts of Tai Chi, Qigong & Baguazhang. Dave is also the Program Director of MINDS (Mindfulness in DC-area Schools) and currently teaches mindfulness to school administrators, educators, parents and teens. Through his studies, Dave has developed a comprehensive set of tools to teach clients to live with greater peace, confidence, and well-being.
 
Patricia is a senior teacher and meditation instructor in the Tibetan Buddhist and Shambhala traditions, having studied and practiced for over forty years under the guidance of some of the most renowned teachers of our day. She was a close personal student of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche from the mid-1970’s until his death in 1987, and with his blessing received many teachings and empowerments from the Sixteenth Karmapa, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Dudjom Rinpoche, and other great masters. She later studied intensively with Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, and has a close personal connection with Mindrolling Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche, who has a retreat centre in Virginia. She also studied for many years with Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, the son and dharma heir of Chögyam Trungpa.

Patricia has led workshops and retreats throughout Europe, Canada and the U.S. for children, professionals, students and adults, from beginners to advanced practitioners of meditation and authentic presence in everyday life. Through these simple yet profound practices, people of all ages and backgrounds can gain confidence in their innate intelligence and worth and lead more full, productive and compassionate lives.


Patricia holds a J.D. degree and has spent her professional life in law, mediation, restorative justice, and non-profit leadership. She brings mindfulness techniques into these fields as part of the natural process of transforming organizational culture and working with conflict. She works with private clients and groups who wish to gain tools for improving the quality of their lives, work, and relationships with others.

Karin (aka Karina) began her meditation practice in 2001 under the tutelage of Dr. Iyanla Vanzant at Inner Visions Institute for Spiritual Development. In 2008 she began her mindfulness practice. Karina is a UCLA Trained Mindfulness Facilitator, having completed the TMF program at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior in 2016.
 
In addition to guiding meditation, Karina also works as a transformational coach. Her coaching style includes the facilitation of various types of meditations with therapeutic belly dance and movement to support the healing process. She works with at-risk youth, elementary school children, college students, sexual assault survivors, therapists, dancers and others seeking to live their life with purpose and passion.
 
Karina’s other passions include expressing herself artistically. In August 2016 she created BREATHdancing, “an exploration of the breath meets Black Lives Matter,” through songs, choreographed movement improvisation and breathing. BREATHdancing was presented at the 20th year anniversary of the Built on Stilts Dance Festival on Martha’s Vineyard, MA.Karina is also a published poet.
 
“Karina is the rare blend of creativity and systems approach. She easily weaves movement, poetry and the arts into the more structured format of mindfulness.” Gael Belden UCLA TMF Teacher/Advisor/Mentor
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