HOST: Jonathan (Sudhir) Foust
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 individual on one with those interested in healing and spiritual awakening.
He lives outside of Washington, DC with his wife, Tara Brach, her mother and two slightly demented dogs.
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.
- Focusing (Certified Trainer)
- Kripalu Yoga (500 hour Professional Level)
- Kripalu Holistic Lifestyle Training (Director)
- Trager Work
- Structural Acupressure (Zero Balancing)
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Musical Director(Keys/Guitar): Matt Oestreicher
Matt Oestreicher currently arranges and plays keyboard and guitar for the Apollo Theater Amateur Night Band. He is a multi-instrumentalist, producer, educator, and writer who has performed/worked with Stevie Wonder, Cee-Lo Green, Will i Am, Ray Chew, Jon Bon Jovi, Ben E. King, Jamie Foxx, Alicia Keys, Bettye LaVette, Jeffrey Osbourne, Jennifer Holliday, Onree Gill, John Legend, Joe Perry, Raphael Saadiq, Kelly Rowland, Talib Kweli, Travie McCoy, Ruben Studdard, Melvin Sparks, Mike Gordon, Krishna Das, Wah!, The Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and many others. Matt also did extensive international touring with Chester French opening for Lady Gaga, Blink 182, Weezer, Q-Tip, and many others. He has written arrangements for the BET Music Awards, Bruno Mars, Rick Ross, Alicia Keys, Stevie Wonder, Joan Jett, Michael J. Fox and others. Matt has composed for TV and Film, He recently worked on the score for the documentary “We Cause Scenes” which premiered at the 2013 SXSW Film Festival.
Matt has appeared on national television shows including Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and The ESPY Awards, and he has played venues and festivals such as Jones Beach, Gathering of the Vibes, and Summerfest. After receiving degrees in both Philosophy and Music from Tufts University and New England Conservatory respectively, Oestreicher chose to pursue a different kind of education. He spent the greater part of 4 years living at yoga centers and meditation centers where he worked in exchange for instruction in Eastern spiritual and body practices that included yoga, chi gong, martial arts, and meditation. He has studied with many of the great living masters of these arts including a winter living in the Maui home of Ram Dass(Richard Alpert.) Oestreicher is certified as a yoga teacher, chi gong teacher, massage therapist and energy healer. He also leads the M.O.B.(Matt Oestreicher Band.)
VOCALS, SIDEKICK: JOE GRAY
Joseph Gray hails from Rocky Mount, North Carolina and made his way to New York as drummer for the renowned R&B funk band “Cameo”. While in New York he performed as vocalist, keyboards and drummer for the group Steppingstone, along with popular recording artists/producer Kashif. He then went on to sing background for such artists as Lenny Kravitz, Angela Bofill, Lilo Thomas and has recorded a CD with Ray Chew And The Crew. He has also been featured twice as a singer-songwriter on the TV show “It's Showtime At The Apollo.” During one of her performances at the theater, the diva herself Patti LaBelle, called Mr.Gray out on stage to perform with her.
BASS: DAVE LIVOLSI
Born in Derby Connecticut on February 6th 1971, Dave has been playing bass guitar since the age of nine. Brought up listening mostly to rock groups such as Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Rush, Yes and numerous others, Dave was also exposed to Jazz Fusion around the age thirteen. Return to Forever, Chic Corea, Jeff Beck, Stanely Clarke, Jaco Pastorius, Weather Report, are just a few of the groups which inspired him to pursue a career in music. Dave also attributes his strong groove and big sound to the influence of R & B, Funk, & Soul Music heard on AM Radio as a child.
At the age of 16, a junior in high school, Dave attended a weekly Jazz Ensemble class at Western Connecticut State University (W.C.S.U.) where he developed a deep love for the art of Jazz improvisation. Some of the artists that he was exposed to at that time were John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Dexter Gordon, Herbie Hancock, Paul Chambers, Charlie Parker and many more. Dave states, I love the spontaneous interaction that goes on in Jazz music, yet everybody knowing their roll on their instrument and being able to communicate their feelings through sounds. After graduating from High School in 1989, Dave attended Berklee College of Music. It was there in Boston where he began combining all of his influences of Rock, Jazz, R & B, Blues, Fusion, Funk, and Soul Music to create his style of bass playing.
Dave's view on music was best summed up in a W.C.S.U. article which solicited his views; "Music is meant to be played with passion and honesty. Communicating with the other musicians through music is how are souls connect".
Some of Dave’s Recording/ Performance credits include:
John Scofield, Jazz Is Dead, Nelson Rangel, Guitarness (Jeff Pevar & Scott Murowski), Bill Evans, T Lavitz, John Tropea, David Spinozza, Idris Muhammad, Melvin Sparks, Chuck Loeb, Chieli Minucci, Tower Of Power Horns, Sam Rivers….
DRUMS: Thierry Arpino
Born in Paris, aug, 24, 1961, Thierry Arpino stands atop a
family drumming lineage which spans four generations.
His father, the renowned Andre Arpino, introduced him to
the drums at age of three years old. Thierry's prodigious
gifts flowered through and inspired and mindful process
that enabled him to far exceed the ten thousand hour rule
A musicians musician, Thierry also studied classical
percussion, piano and harmony. He is a graduate of the
prestigious St. Maur National Music Academy in France in
the summer 1980, Thierry Arpino continued his musical
education at Berklee College Of Music in Boston MA,
USA where he was invited to study with big band master
Herb Pomeroy and master drums teacher Bob Kaufman.
Thierry's career has been punctuated by stints with such notables as Joe Beck, Larry Coryell, Bill Evans and Jean-Luc Ponty to name but a few.