Oren Jay Sofer teaches mindfulness, meditation and Nonviolent Communication in both secular and Buddhist contexts.

Oren has practiced meditation in the Theravada Buddhist tradition since 1997, beginning his studies in Bodh Gaya, India with Anagarika Munindra and Godwin Samararatne. He is a long-time student of Joseph Goldstein, Michele McDonald, and Ajahn Sucitto, and a graduate of the IMS - Spirit Rock Vipasanna Teacher Training.

Oren the author of Say What You Mean: A Mindful Approach to Nonviolent Communication, a practical guidebook for having more effective, satisfying conversations. He is also co-author of two books on teaching mindfulness to teens and adolescents: The Mindful Schools Curriculum for Adolescents and Teaching Mindfulness to Empower Teens.

Oren first became interested in contemplative practice in high school, when he picked up a little book called The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff. He went on to complete a degree in Comparative Religion from Columbia University, and later spent two and a half years of living as an Anagarika (renunciate) at branch monasteries in the Ajahn Chah Thai Forest lineage. Today, his teaching combines classical Buddhist training with the accessible language of secular mindfulness.

Since the early 2000s, Oren has had a deep interest in the relationship between contemplative practice and communication. A graduate of the BayNVC North American Leadership Training, he has taught classes and workshops in Marshall Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication (NVC) nationally since 2006. His innovative retreats and online programs in Mindful Communication offer one of the only opportunities in the U.S today to explore the intersection between formal meditation practice, Right Speech and NVC.

Oren’s work is also informed by his professional training in Somatic Experiencing (SE) for healing trauma, his personal practice of Qi Gong and Hanna Somatics. His teaching is known for its clarity, warmth, and its emphasis on embodiment. 

Oren  is the founder and Guiding Teacher of Next Step Dharma, an innovative online course focused on bringing the tools of meditation to daily life, and co-founder of Mindful Healthcare. He is a CNVC Certified Trainer of Nonviolent Communication, a member of the Spirit Rock Teacher Council, and visiting teacher at the Insight Meditation Society. Oren has served as the Senior Program Developer for Mindful Schools, teaching and developing curricula for one of the international leaders of Mindfulness in Education, and has created mindfulness programs for organizations, companies, and apps including Kaiser Permanente, Lumosity, Calm, 10% Happier, Simple Habit and others.

Photos: Sheila Menezes

Tisarana Buddhist Monastery, 2013 (Anagarika Nyaniko)

Tisarana Buddhist Monastery, 2013 (Anagarika Nyaniko)

San Francisco, CA. 2016 (teaching Mindful Communication)

San Francisco, CA. 2016 (teaching Mindful Communication)


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