About JOnathan

Jonathan Foust, MA, CSA, is a guiding teacher with the Insight Meditation Community of Washington and a founder of the Meditation Teacher Training Institute in Washington. A senior teacher and former president of Kripalu Center, he leads retreats, trainings and classes in the Washington DC area and around the country and works individually with those interested in healing and spiritual awakening.

He lives outside of Washington, DC with his wife, Tara Brach and their slightly demented dog.

Background and Training

When I was 25, my passion for awakening body, heart and mind led me to the Kripalu Yoga Ashram where I spent several decades studying with world renowned teachers. In addition to intensive practice and teaching yoga and meditation, I also facilitated groups in transformational work.

During this time and in subsequent years I’ve trained in a wide range of healing modalities.

These include:

  • Focusing (Certified Trainer)
  • Kripalu Yoga (500 hour Professional Level)
  • Kripalu Holistic Lifestyle Training (Director)
  • Trager Work
  • Structural Acupressure (Zero Balancing)
  • Cranio-Sacral
  • Kripalu Bodywork
  • Polarity Therapy
  • Reiki I and II
  • Clinical Hypnotherapy
  • Vivation (Transformational breathwork)
  • Deep tissue massage

Additional certifications include:

  • Master of Arts in Education
  • Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
  • Certified Focusing Trainer
  • Community Dharma Leadership (Spirit Rock Meditation Center)
  • Certified Pesticide Applicator for the State of Illinois (expired)

The Personal Side

I live a blessed life.

I was born and raised on a beautiful Pennsylvania Dutch farm set back on a dirt road, surrounded by animals and nature.

At about age 6, I had a mystical experience that set in motion a restless inquiry into my true nature. My parents were active in the Quaker tradition, and the concept of “the still, small voice within” was a big part of my childhood. I went to a Quaker boarding school where I learned transcendental meditation and experienced yoga for the first time. From this first experience of meditation, I knew I would be practicing meditation in some form for the rest of my life.

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In college in the Midwest, I joined an informal community of meditators on a working farm. Here my practice solidified and I realize the power of associating with like-minded people. All through college and graduate school I co-managed a 1,000-acre farm and was in charge of 500 hogs in a ‘farrow-to-finish’ operation.

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After graduate school I taught high school for a year in New Mexico, then joined the Peace Corps, teaching phonetics in L’ecole de Lettres in the University of Niamey in Niger, West Africa. After a failed attempt to cross the Sahara desert on my bicycle, I sacked the bike, returned to the United States and literally stumbled into the Kripalu Yoga ashram in Pennsylvania.

I stopped in for lunch and stayed for 24 years.

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Life in the ashram was rigorous. Living in a monastic setting and having vows of simplicity and celibacy provided a space for me to dive deep into transformative practices. Over my 24 years at Kripalu I got to study with many teachers and honed my skills as a body-centered teacher and counselor.

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In 1994 our spiritual community, which had been focused on one teacher, went through a dramatic change. I spent about three years traveling and teaching in Kripalu studios around North America, living in an RV.

Eventually I returned to Kripalu and helped create a new organization, an ecumenical, nonsectarian program center honoring all traditions. For a number of years I served as President.

Just as I was realizing that I wanted to be the teacher and not the guy worried about budgets, cash balances and strategic plans, I met and fell in love with my wife, Tara Brach. I left my community of 24 years and made the move to Washington DC.

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Here in DC I serve in a number of ways. I lead retreats and intensives, teach teachers of meditation, work 1:1 with those who feel drawn to explore Body-Centered Inquiry, serve as a guiding teacher for the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, support mentors of meditation, lead classes and year-long programs.

In the Buddhist tradition the teachings are considered priceless, therefore there is no charge. They are offered freely. Generosity is encouraged among all.

Much of what I do is offered in the spirit of generosity and I have been blessed to be supported in wonderful ways. In many ways I feel just as when I did in my 20s, happy to be serving and savoring.