Tina’s warm style, bright clarity and supportive presence helps students recognize their deeper nature, both on the cushion and in daily life. She has a decades-long commitment to cultivating her own and others’ deep spiritual unfoldment while functioning in an embodied, worldly life.
Tina learned to meditate in 1976, at age 13. In 2003, after many years of practice in Buddhist and modern non-dual traditions, she was drawn to undertake an intensive year-long solo retreat during which a profound awakening to Reality occurred. In 2005, Tina attended a retreat with Burmese meditation master Ven. Pa Auk Sayadaw, who ordained her as a Buddhist nun. During the retreat, Tina became the first Western woman to complete the entire Samatha path in this lineage. Tina also took refuge with Tsoknyi Rinpoche, a Tibetan Dzogchen teacher, and was initiated into the Nyingma lineage.
As an offering of gratitude to the dharma Tina, along with Stephen Snyder, wrote the book, Practicing the Jhanas, which was later published by Shambhala. In 2007 Tina became the first Western woman authorized by Ven. Pa Auk Sayadaw to teach.
After these life-changing experiences, at first Tina felt a strong pull to become a “cave yogi” and turn away from householder life to abide in the peace and bliss of Truth. However, over time, the possibility functioning from realization while living in the dynamism of the modern world became a more compelling life’s path. Tina then began participating in the Diamond Approach, a contemporary wisdom path designed for householders, that integrates the psychological and the spiritual into one continuum for living “in the world but not of it.” She has also been studied by Yale Neuroscience Lab for research on the effects of meditation on consciousness and the brain, has been featured in “Awakening Women”, Non-duality Magazine, and Conscious TV.
Tina now leads retreats and offers spiritual mentoring to practitioners worldwide. Tina has also worked as an organizational development consultant and coach for more than 25 years. She completed her Ph.D. in 1995, and has authored several published books on humanistic business practices.
Described as warm-hearted with a resonant presence, Stephen finds fulfillment in supporting students as they re-discover deeper inherent authenticity in the unfolding of their true nature. This deepening authenticity leads to a more profound, experiential knowing with greater refinement in everyday life.
Stephen has been a Buddhist practitioner for more than 35 years. After traveling through Asia as a youth, Stephen began practicing Buddhist meditation (primarily Zen) in 1976 at the age of 19. Following his awakening experience at 28, he continued the opening process of deepening and integrating the “unconditioned” in his everyday life. In 2004, Stephen took refuge with Tibetan Dzogchen teacher Tsoknyi Rinpoche, and has been initiated into the Nyingma lineage.
In 2005, Stephen attended a two-month retreat with Burmese meditation master Ven. Pa Auk Sayadaw. He completed the entire Samatha path as presented by the Sayadaw, becoming the first American male to complete this attainment. The Sayadaw authorized Stephen to teach in 2007. With Tina Rasmussen, Stephen wrote the book, Practicing the Jhanas, published by Shambhala Publications in 2009. As Stephen’s integration of realization into worldly life progressed, he discovered the Diamond Approach, a modern path for householders in living their spiritual understanding. He has also been Non-duality Magazine, and Conscious TV. Stephen now offers retreats and spiritual mentoring to students worldwide.