Oren J. Sofer, also known by his Dharma name Nyāniko, is a teacher and practitioner of Buddhist mediation, Nonviolent Communication (NVC) and Somatics. He has practiced meditation in the Theravada Buddhist tradition for the past 16 years, beginning his studies in Bodh Gaya, India with Anagarika Munindra and Godwin Samararatne, eventually becoming a long-time student of Joseph Goldstein, Michele McDonald, and Ven. Ajahn Sucitto.
In the early 2000s, he developed a deep interest in the relationship between contemplative practice and communication. A graduate of the BayNVC North American Leadership Training, he began teaching the Nonviolent Communication system of Marshall Rosenberg in 2006 and has taught classes and workshops to a variety of individuals and organizations in the S.F. Bay Area and beyond. Since 2010, Oren and Spirit Rock teacher Donald Rothberg have collaborated to offer annually one of the only practice and study retreats in the U.S. exploring the intersection between formal Dharma practice, 'Right Speech' and NVC.
From 2008-2010, Oren was trained and certified in Somatic Experiencing (SE) by Senior International Instructor Steven Hoskinson. SE is a modality developed by former NASA-trauma specialist Peter Levine that emphasizes the role of nervous system regulation in the trauma healing process. Oren has a particular interest in how "chronic" or "stuck" patterns in the nervous system affect the experience of meditation and intimate relationship. His work with trauma and somatic awareness is also informed by his decade-long practice of Qi Gong, most recently training with Bernard Langan in Nei Gong and Somatics.
In 2011, Oren went forth as an Anagarika (Buddhist renunciate) and was given the Dharma name Nyāniko ('one of insight or gnosis'), by Ven. Ajahn Sucitto. He spent two and half years training at several monasteries in the Western branch of the Ajahn Chah Thai Forest lineage, wearing the traditional white as a sign of dedication to simplicity, renunciation and the Buddhist path of practice.
Developing a clear understanding of the teachings, and learning to fully inhabit the body have been core parts of his Dharma practice. These areas, as well as a strong emphasis on the heart, shape and inform his teaching. Oren also holds a degree in Comparative Religion from Columbia University and is currently in the IMS-Spirit Rock Teacher Training Program.