The idea for Next Step Dharma was born in the Insight Meditation Society staff dining room, during a three month retreat. Oren, Joseph Goldstein, and several IMS staff were talking over lunch about the need for ongoing practice support after a retreat. Taking the cue from Joseph, Oren decided to put to put his experience developing curricula and building online courses to use for the wider Dharma community.

Our vision for Next Step Dharma is to provide a range of courses focused on daily life practice. Our first course addresses the most common, gaping need in the Insight Meditation community: post-retreat integration. Subsequent courses may focus on other topics such as the precepts, devotion, Right Speech, and so on. Please join our email list below and we'll keep you posted on free events, upcoming courses, and other news. 

Course Leaders


Oren JAY SofeR

Oren has practiced meditation since 1997 and is a graduate of the IMS-Spirit Rock Teacher Training. He is the founder and guiding teacher of Next Step Dharma, a Collaborative Trainer with BayNVC. Oren teaches meditation and communication at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, the Insight Meditation Society, and around the country.


Jaya RudgArD

Jaya spent eight years as a Theravada nun in the Thai Forest Sangha in the UK with Ajahn Sumedho, and graduated from the IMS-Spirit Rock Teacher Training. She teaches mindfulness and Dhamma in the UK and elsewhere. 


Featured Insight Teachers


Joseph Goldstein

Joseph Goldstein has taught Buddhist meditation worldwide since 1974. A co-founder and guiding teacher of the Insight Meditation Society, he also helped envision and establish BCBS and IMS's Forest Refuge center. His books include Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening, One Dharma, Insight Meditation and others.



Joanna teaches retreats, day longs, and classes for adults and teens, and works with at-risk youth. Building multicultural community is top on her list of priorities. She is a co-guiding teacher at Against the Stream, a visiting teacher at Spirit Rock and IMS, and the grateful mother of CJ and Harris – her main inspirations.


Jack Kornfield

Jack trained as a Buddhist monk in Thailand, India and Burma. He has taught meditation internationally since 1974 and is a founding teacher of the Insight Meditation Society and Spirit Rock Meditation Center. He holds a PhD in clinical psychology. His books include A Path with HeartTeachings of the BuddhaSeeking the Heart of Wisdom; and others.


Joanna Macy

Joanna Macy, PhD is a scholar of Buddhism, systems theory and deep ecology. A respected voice in the movements for peace, justice and ecology, she gives trainings worldwide for eco-warriors and activists for global justice. As the root teacher of the Work That Reconnects, she has created a ground-breaking theoretical framework for personal and social change. Her books include World as Lover, World as Self and Coming Back to Life: Practices to Reconnect Our Lives, Our World.


Sharon Salzberg

Sharon is a co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society and Barre Center for Buddhist Studies. She has practiced meditation since 1971 and has been teaching worldwide since 1974. She is a guiding teacher at IMS and author of Real Happiness, FaithLovingkindness and other publications.


Dara Williams

DaRa has practiced Insight meditation for 25 years. She completed the IMS - Spirit Rock Teacher Training and serves as an Associate Guiding Teacher at IMS. She is also a clinician and certified trainer for Aboriginal Focusing Oriented Complex Trauma Therapy. 


Larry Yang

Larry teaches meditation retreats nationally and has a special interest in creating access to the Dharma for diverse multicultural communities. He has practiced extensively in Burma and Thailand, is one of the core teachers and leaders of the East Bay Meditation Center, and is on the Spirit Rock Teachers Council.

Guest Teachers & Dharma Leaders


Matthew Brensilver, PhD.

Matthew teaches about the intersection of mindfulness and mental health at UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center and is Program Director at Mindful Schools. Matthew is a graduate of the Spirit Rock-IMS teacher training program, and teaches classes and retreats at Spirit Rock, the Insight Retreat Center and Against The Stream. He spent years doing research on addiction treatment at the UCLA Center for Behavioral and Addiction Medicine and continues to be interested in the unfolding dialogue between dharma and science.


Rae Houseman

Rae is a graduate of the Spirit Rock Community Dharma Leaders Program and the Guiding Teacher for Brattleboro Insight. She has practiced extensively with the Mahasi method and with Sayadaw U Tejaniya, and also holds a Masters degree in Somatic Psychology. Rae leads workshops integrating somatic awareness and Insight Meditation, and is head of Coaching for the app 10% Happier.


Jill Shepherd

Jill Shepherd began practicing insight meditation in Thailand in 1999, and since that time has lived and worked at meditation centers and monasteries in the US, Australia, England, and Thailand. Jill is a graduate of the IMS / Spirit Rock teacher training program in the US, under the guidance of Joseph Goldstein and Gil Fronsdal. She currently divides her time between the USA, Australia and New Zealand, teaching Vipassana and Brahma Vihara retreats and offering ongoing study and practice groups focused on bringing the dharma into daily life


Dave Smith

Dave Smith is an internationally recognized Buddhist meditation teacher, addiction treatment specialist, and published author. His practice is rooted in the Insight Meditation tradition. He has extensive experience bringing meditative interventions into jails, prisons, youth detention centers and addiction treatment facilities. Dave teaches residential meditation retreats and classes, provides trainings and consulting in both secular and Buddhist contexts, and works with students through his meditation mentoring program.


EMily Carpenter

Emily Carpenter has been practicing insight meditation since 1998. She was on staff at the Insight Meditation Society in Massachusetts from 2009-2012 and continues to spend time there on retreat each year. She is a graduate of the Community Dharma Leader program through Spirit Rock Meditation Center and is a former meditation coach with the 10% Happier meditation app. Emily lives in Portland Oregon and loves spending time out in the mountains.