Our Teachers

Our Teachers

Working with a Teacher

Working with a teacher is important. We usually look to a teacher to give us directions and tell us what is the right way, and by inference, what is the wrong way, to meditate. This approach is more individualized; we learn how to meditate from looking into our meditative experiences and seeing what actually is going on. In this way we become better able to discern the positive qualities that are developing in our meditation and the obstacles that are blocking us. Working with a teacher stimulates this inquiry. We recommend an ongoing relationship with a teacher as the best way to learn and develop within this meditation approach.

Nelly Kaufer is our lead teacher. Diane Yatchmenoff and Judy Butler lead meditation groups and work individually with students.

Nelly Kaufer

Nelly Kaufer is the founder and lead teacher at Pine Street Sangha. She was introduced to Vipassana (Mindfulness) meditation in 1978 and began teaching women meditation in the early 1980s, as there were no female teachers in her community at that time. In 1989 she received a master’s degree in transpersonal psychology with a focus on the integration of psychotherapy and Buddhism.

Shortly after that, she co-authored A Woman’s Guide to Spiritual Renewal (HarperOne,1994), a book for which she interviewed women about their spiritual experiences. In the 1990s she completed a 3-year mindfulness teacher training with Jacqueline Mandell. Nelly met Jason Siff at a Buddhism and Psychotherapy conference in 2004, entered the Skillful Meditation teacher training several months later and completed this in-depth training in 2008.

Nelly is a psychotherapist in private practice, integrating Buddhist psychology into her clinical orientation. She has been teaching meditation, mindfulness, and Buddhist psychology to therapists for over 20 years, continually refining her perspective and approach. She teaches continuing education workshops for psychotherapists.

Because she has witnessed an intimate understanding of dharma along with a kind regard for the variety of meditative experiences, she now teaches Reflective Meditation.

Contact Nelly: nelly@pinestreetsangha.org

Diane Yatchmenoff

Diane Yatchmenoff, Ph.D. began studying and practicing meditation with Nelly Kaufer in 2009 after working with Fourth Way practice and meditating in the Vispanassa tradition for many years.  Diane entered the Recollective Awareness Teacher Training Program, under the direction of Jason Siff, in 2013 and regularly goes on retreat with experienced teachers and students.

Diane works in the field of trauma and brings an understanding of the impact of trauma into her teaching at Pine Street Sangha. She currently leads an evening meditation group, works with students on an individual basis on request, and serves as President of the Board of Directors.

Contact Diane: diane@pinestreetsangha.org

Judy Butler

Judy Butler met Nelly Kaufer and Jason Siff at a psychotherapy conference in 2005.  She became involved in an on-going meditation group for therapists the same year and has since studied consistently with Nelly Kaufer in both group and individual settings.  In 2013 she entered the Recollective Awareness Teacher Training Program.  She regularly assists Nelly in workshops for therapists on the use of meditation as a part of self-care and ethical practice.  She also leads an open sit one Sunday a month at Pine Street Sangha and serves on the Board of Directors.

While retired as of April 2016, Judy spent the last 15 years as a Psychotherapist in Private Practice with adults.  Previously, she had worked for 14 years at CARES NW and 9 years for the State of Oregon.  Her specialty in both organizations was the assessment and treatment of child abuse.  She was frequently sought out as a trainer on this topic both in Oregon and other parts of the U.S.  She has a Masters’ in Counseling from Lewis and Clark.

Judy is a mother of three adult children, grandmother to five, an avid walker and a yoga practitioner for more than 30 years.  She values the balance and insight that meditation brings to her life.

Contact Judy: judy@pinestreetsangha.org