Pearls of Wisdom – Q&A with Elaina Merlis
How did you get your start as a meditator?
For me, meditation was a natural progress. As a teenager I was interested in consciousness and felt there was “something else”. I guess you can say, I was looking for more. I met my Guru in 1972 and that put me on a path of Meditation.
Is there a life experience that stands out in your mind as one that brought you wisdom?
I was clear sighted when I decided to teach Meditation. It put me on a wisdom path of the Shambhala Buddhist teachings that added another dimension to my meditation practice and gave me the tools to teach today.
Any tips for people who are interested in meditation?
Practice, practice, and practice. Once you have a basic meditation technique go to the cushion every day. If you miss a day, start again the next day.
What is the favorite part of your work?
My favorite part of teaching meditation is having an impact on someone’s life. A student wrote, “Since I got so lucky and attended your practice – I literally had a light bulb moment, Eureka! With conscious meditation, without pressure, to switch your mind off. I am bragging about you every time I get the chance.”
Denise Ganz, SWC Founder
Denise Ganz has practiced law since 1985 and is a partner in a large national law firm. Her passion is learning about the metaphysical arts, yoga philosophy and meditation techniques. Denise has a 200-hour teacher certification from Anuttara Yoga in Delray Beach, Florida, a meditation training certification from Ishta Yoga in New York City and a certification in mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) techniques from the Shambala Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. She also has a reiki mastership, has taken courses in meditation techniques with Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield, studied Sanskrit, the yoga sutras, astrology, the chakra system and aromatherapy, and recently completed an intensive workshop with Seane Corne, Hala Khouri and Suzanne Sterling of Off the Mat into the World, a program that encourages yoga practitioners to make a positive difference in their communities and the world. Since 2017, Denise has served as one of the leaders of Palm Beach Indivisibles, a non-partisan progressive grassroots political activism group. Her heart’s desire is to empower others to find peace of mind and their own unique voices, so they can bring their special purpose into action. Sattva Wisdom Center is the culmination of her dream. You can find out more about Sattva Wisdom Center at www.sattvawisdomcenter.com.
Heather Berg, E-RYT, is a former Montessori teacher who has been a yoga practitioner since 1990 where, as a college student, she took her first “Intro to Sun Salutations” at NYU. She was eclectic in her seeking of different yoga traditions over her 20 plus years, but it wasn’t until her yoga training with Leslie Glickman, where she was formally trained in Vinyasa Krama (detailed science of sequencing) did she find her true calling. Heather’s passion is to share her enthusiasm of yoga and to create a positive experience for her students. Her mission is to meet the needs of individuals as well as to teach at a deeper level beyond the postures about creating a sustainable practice for life. Heather is most interested in teaching others to be discerning practitioners who can then integrate information for themselves. This way, Heather’s students will truly learn to practice yoga as a way of life that breathes differently in every body. Some of the teachers who have paved her path are Elena Brower, Rod Stryker, Seane Corn, Jason Crandell, Sarah Powers, and J Brown. Along with teaching local workshops, Heather leads yoga classes at larger events such as: Okeechobee Music, Art and Yoga Fest; The Yoga Expo; I Am Complete Women’s Retreat; Campowerment and Rancho La Puerta. When asked what she loves about yoga, Heather says, “It’s the perfect opportunity to see who I really am. It brings me home.” You can find out more about Heather and the services, courses and information she provides by visiting her website at www.soulgardenyoga.com.
Fern L. Conn
Fern is Co-owner and Founder of Dancing Lion Yoga in Dancing Lion Studio located in Delray Beach, Florida. She is E200, RYT500, YACEP who has been teaching for over 30 years! She leads Teacher Training programs, retreats, expos, workshops and classes as well as Corporate Wellness and Leadership Programs. Her studio is a place of wellness and healing. Fern leads every class with the goal of building community and creating a space of love and light. Fern teaches all types of yoga, meditation, Yoga Nidra, Barre and even tap dancing classes throughout Florida. She is also a Certified Personal Trainer, has a business degree and is a Licensed Real Estate Broker. She has studied with many bright lights in the Yoga Community such as Rod Stryker, Rolf Gates, Seane Corn, Hala Khoury, Shiva Rae, Elena Brower, Coleen Saidman Yee and more! Fern teaches at local events such as the Yoga Expo, Yoga FUNday and The Mind Body Expo. She helps work with University students and other business professionals to help alleviate stress and gain better focus through mindfulness techniques and Yoga. Her passion is teaching but she is forever a student as she shares the beautiful practice of yoga. Fern can be reached at 561-703-3522 or email@example.com
Anna Crane began her study of meditation in 1972 in the United States and India. In 2012, she embarked on the Shambhala Buddhist practice of meditation and became a trained Shambhala Meditation Guide. Shamatha teaches the practice of peaceful abiding whose intent is to ground us in our own basic goodness. Meditation has had a profound impact on her life. Anna’s purpose in teaching is to provide people with a deep experience and the techniques necessary to practice on their own. She believes meditation can have a positive effect on anyone interested and willing to explore these sacred, ancient teachings. Scientific studies have shown meditation can reduce stress and anxiety, strengthen the immune system, promote heart health, improve memory, enhance sleep and lower blood pressure.
Anna has been part of the South Florida yoga community for over twenty-five years. She has taught meditation at the Shambhala Meditation Center, Yoga Journey and other yoga studios, at the Institute of Learning in Retirement, at the Integrative Acupuncture Center and in private, individual instruction. Anna can be reached at 954-415-1779 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mary Dennis is an educator and researcher of the effects of Feng Shui and the spoken word as a workplace strategy. She is the co-founder and President Emeritus of the International Feng Shui Guild and holds the title of EDAC, Evidence Based Design Accredited and Certified, by the Center for Health Design. MD, as she is affectionately called, has authored several articles on “Intentional Design” and has been the subject of numerous publications and TV interviews relating the ancient art of Feng Shui to modern design concepts. She is the Director of The School of Graceful Lifestyles, where many graduates furthered Intentional Design awareness across the globe. Within her study of energy, she has become a Reiki Master. Her life’s work has been to prove that design can impact human outcomes. To this point, she has been engaged in creating healing environments for both residential and commercial spaces since 1988. Her research focuses on the relationship between the built environment and the well-being of its occupants. With her expertise in design, she melds décor, conscious language, and the balance of energy to create a complete design integration that is “felt and experienced” and has become a signature for her work. The blending of design and sensory experience has created the catch phrase “Interior Attunement.” MD has also successfully combined “Conscious Languaging” with her Intentional Design by identifying words that shape our lives. She states, “Our language and our feelings directly influence our health, wealth, success, unity and our abilities of understanding.” Her awareness of the “I Am” words is used as an approach to a positive co-creation and experience of life. Although she is proud of her accomplishments, she is proudest of the fact that her Intentional Designs have facilitated over 6 million people around the world. You can find out more about Mary Dennis and the services, courses and information she provides by visiting her website at www.consciouslife.style.
Jan Kinder, RN, BA, HN-BC, HWNC-BC, CMT, is a pioneer in the wellness paradigm and the healing arts, and among the first certified Chopra Center instructors (1995) in meditation and Ayurveda. She is a registered nurse and board-certified health and wellness nurse coach, music therapist, international speaker and author. Her private practice specializes in holistic stress management, meditation and spiritual mentoring, and sound and color therapies. Her mission is to help people live a healthier and happier, more vibrant and resilient life with ease and peace of mind. Ms. Kinder has been featured in publications like Palm Beach Illustrated, Organic Spa, The Wall Street Journal and LA Confidential. Dr. Deepak Chopra says, “Jan Kinder has dedicated herself to heal, to love, to transform and to serve others. She is an inspiration to those around her.” You can find out more about Jan and the services, courses and information she provides by visiting her website at www.jankinder.com.
Stephanie Levenston is an Intuitive Channel and Spiritual Guide/Coach who offers Individual and Group Readings via phone, Skype, or in-person. Stephanie has trained under the mentorship of Sally Baldwin and Sonia Choquette. Stephanie helps people find clarity in their lives by providing insight through her channeling and coaching gifts. She believes we all have the innate ability to channel and connect to our Higher Selves and our divine nature. Stephanie feels it is her role to support her clients in finding their inner voice and trusting their inner wisdom. Stephanie’s sessions have been described as “healing,” “magical,” “transformative,” “powerful,” “life-changing,” “affirming,” “peaceful,” and “compassionate.” You can find out more about Stephanie and the services, courses and information she provides by visiting her website at stephanielevenston.com.
Paulette K. Peloquin is a very gifted “prophetess” and healer. She has been aware of her spiritual gifts since early childhood and began her service to humanity over 52 years ago in New York City. For over 13 years, she owned and operated the largest organic/natural wholesale-retail market on the Eastern seaboard, which offered her the opportunity to successfully present her spiritual services to the public. Paulette has traveled extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe, offering her services as a prophetess, healer and reiki master/teacher. She has been written up in major newspapers and magazines, has made numerous guest appearances on various metaphysical talk shows in both the New York and Florida area, and co-hosted a radio talk show in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in the 1990s, “The Hour of the Seventh Star,” with the late Dr. Louise Leguina. Paulette studied Eastern philosophy, Kundalini, and Tantric yoga with Yogi Bhajan at the 3HO Foundation in Washington, D.C. in 1972. In 1982 she had the gift of a private session with and blessing with Dalai Lama. In 1987, she studied Shamanism under the guidance of Archie Fire Lame Deer, a Lokota Indian Medicine Man and Shaman (Paulette’s lineage includes Cherokee and Blackfoot Indian). After completing 4 years of study with the late Rev. David G. Jarrell, founder of the Reiki Plus system, and then with Ed Michaud, Reiki Master, she received her Mastership in reiki. Paulette is a teacher and lecturer in the metaphysical arts, including palmistry, numerology, introduction to astrology, the usage of the pendulum, the fundamentals of healing and two types of meditation, astrological charts and interpretation, and has an extensive background in nutrition, herbs, aromatherapy, Bach Flower Essences, crystals and stones. Paulette is certified as a past life regressionist, is certified in restorative and chair yoga and is a polarity therapist and an ordained minister. She is available for entity removal and spiritual house clearing. In her reiki sessions, Paulette is a pure and empowering conduit to the benefit of all that choose to work with her. For over 20 years, she has owned a photonic triangulation unit, channeled and brought forth by Marcel Vogel in 1984 (not to be confused with the one-dimensional crystal bed used in Brazil at John of GOD), as well as Vogel crystals and healing wand. Paulette says she has never experienced a method or practice that is more powerful in facilitating multi-dimensional healing and “spiritual growth” for both the client and the practitioner. Paulette can be reached at 561-504-7544.
Elaina Beam is a kriya yogi, mentor and visionary celebrating and exemplifying the value of spiritual life and holistic well-being. Her personal mission is to awaken consciousness – igniting a spark of joy in every soul she meets. She teaches and writes regularly on subjects including astrology, yoga cosmology, and conscious living. She offers one-on-one spiritual guidance and group facilitation. You can find out more about Elaina and the services, courses and information she provides by visiting her website at www.starlightmuse.com.
Suzanne Wachtel, LCSW, is a psychotherapist who has a private practice in Boca Raton, Florida. Suzanne also runs workshops nationwide to help people get through the difficult times in life… turning “lemons into lemonade!”
Suzanne uses an eclectic approach to inspire the people she works with to find self-awareness and a positive outlook. Helping others find their peace and happy place is always her biggest joy!
Silvia Ruch is passionate about teaching others to blend art and meditation as a way to find inner peace and a hobby for a lifetime! Born in Argentina, she received a B.S. in education and taught kindergarten. Silvia moved to the U.S. in 1996 where she and her husband raised their children. All the while, Silvia pursued a spiritual path, studying the Silva Method of Mind Control and learning from spiritual guides, including Louise Hay, Wayne Dyer, Abraham Hicks (Esther and Larry) and Deepak Chopra. Inspired to pursue her passion, she eventually earned a B.S. in Art. Upon being introduced to Mandalas, Silvia immediately saw an opportunity to combine her art experience with love for meditation. She obtained Mandala teaching certifications, including in the Zentangle technique, and developed a series of classes so that even those with no prior art experience can use sacred geometry to create their own personal Mandalas as a form of self-expression and self-understanding. Silvia’s dream is to show people they really can visualize the lives they want into being.
Passionate about intelligent movement, mental wellness, and devoted to mindfulness, Juli is a professor of health education and lectures nationally regarding the mind-body connection. After six demanding years, while concurrently earning numerous additional yoga and mind-body certifications, Juli earned her prestigious Iyengar yoga certification in 2017. She is author of the book Mind Your Body and has a Masters Degree in Educational Psychology with an emphasis on life-long learning, Juli’s greatest delight is sharing her knowledge with others and helping people realize their own inner joy!