Yoga • Therapy • Community
I'm Dr. Juko, the founder and lead teacher of Ease Mountain. Most of my personal and professional endeavors revolve around my fascination with the intersections of psychology, ecology, non-dual philosophy, and the power of embracing creative responses to difficulty.
Yoga & Buddhism
My introduction to yoga was as a child in the 1970s, following along with the PBS show Lilias, Yoga & You. My first students were a group of classmates I rounded up to ‘play yoga’ during recess, a move that led to being punished and prayed over by the principal of the fundamentalist Christian elementary school I attended in Dayton, Ohio. That strong reaction left me with the sense that there was something powerful to discover beyond the fun stretches I loved, and was the start of an exploration that has ebbed, flowed, and endured for over 45 years.
I have called myself Buddhist since the mid-1990s, motivated by a desire to find relief from years of living with multiple mental health diagnoses. I took Jukai and was ordained as a lay precept holder of Bodhisattva vows in the Soto Zen tradition in 2009.
I have taught meditation & yoga to groups at USC, Brown University, Facebook, Google, and lead the Fire Practice Sangha, a virtual Buddhist-inspired meditation community that has met each week since March of 2020.
Psychology & Self-Inquiry
I have a master's degree in clinical psychology and a doctorate in transpersonal psychology, a field which includes experiences and world-views that extend beyond the personal level of the psyche as potential sources of healing and well-being.
In addition to teaching in-depth group yoga courses and workshops, I see individuals and families as an integrative mental health practitioner. I combine tools from therapeutic yoga, eco-therapy and psychotherapy, with a focus on supporting people living with depression, those integrating racial wounding, spiritual abuse, and/or recovering from traumatic loss. If you are interested in working with me, click here to schedule a brief phone call . If there are no appointments available, it means my schedule is full - please contact us to be put on my waiting list.
Ecology & Eco-Therapy
I have lived in spaces smaller than 400 square feet for well over a decade. Living in relative solitude and simplicity with my spouse, Jerry, down a dirt road in a Redwood forest on the edge of a 2,500 acre state park provided a kind of healing I didn't even know I needed.
I founded The Care Forest Project, a micro-conservation and eco-therapeutic initiative that took 45 acres of forest, including a grove of old-growth trees, out of timber production. The idea is based on the care farm concept and inspired by the work of one of my mentors, Dr. Joanne Cacciatore.
In August of 2020, a pair of tiny houses, four other structures, and nearly everything my spouse and I owned was destroyed in the CZU Lightning Complex Fire, which initiated us into a growing group of humans who have been directly and greatly impacted by the climate crisis.
An important part of my work before the fire was providing space in the Care Forest for the descendants of enslaved people to heal our relationship with the soil and earth, and to offer the forest as a healing grounds for people living with traumatic loss and grief. I hope to get back to holding this space for others again as I make my own way from post-fire transitional housing back to our forest home.
Idam Na Mama:
My Teachers & Lineages of Wisdom
Alongside humbling challenges, I have benefitted from multiple lineages of love and wisdom, embodied by a variety of contact with people I hold as teachers and transmitters of qualities and ways of being in the world that impact the way I share my practice and love with others:
Michael L. Johnson, Arzlene Johnson, Helen Brooks, Wanda Johnson, Lilias Folan, Victor Young, Greg & Mary Shooner, Lowry Marshall, Dr. John Emigh, the Akanke line of the Iota Alpha chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, DJ Johnson, Caleb Asch, Dr. Marina Bhumitra, Al Mancini, Emily Van Horn, Jerry Erdmann, Dr. Sarah Winter, Carla Becker, Dr. Edward Teyber, Ann-Marie Sayers, Dr. Ismana Carney, Dr. Judy Schavrien, Dr. Ana Perez-Chisti, Rev. Jundo Cohen, Rev. Taigu Turlur, Dan & Karla DeLong, Mark Stephens, Joshua Steinfeldt, Dr. Joanne Cacciatore, Karla Helbert, Dr.Judith Lasater, Thomas Chow, Dr. Pat Katsky, Camille Maurine, Dr. Lorin Roche, Indu Arora, and all of the students who trust me to witness and guide their practice.
Brief and prolonged, formal and informal, across varied disciplines, contexts, and relationships - each of these people planted or nurtured a seed of understanding and illumination that forms part of an inner garden of resilience and hope that sustains and encourages me. Anything I have to offer others is informed by what I have learned and observed from them, it is not mine - idam na mama.
I am grateful for my teachers' teachers & the influences they generously introduced me to, including Maya Angelou, George Benson, Alice Coltrane, Sri Swami Chidananda, Angela Farmer, Carl Rogers, Ad Reinhardt, Dean Meeker, Erich Schiffmann, Maty Ezraty, and Ram Dass.
Additional Notes About My Education, Experience & Training
I completed my undergraduate studies at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. My MA in Clinical Psychology is from Antioch University Los Angeles and my Ph.D. in Transpersonal Psychology is from ITP/ Sofia University in Palo Alto, California. My dissertation research, Stories Are Medicine: Responding to Deep Sadness with Spirit, focused on the lived experience of women who defined themselves as thriving despite living with affective disorders and was supervised by Dr. Judy Schavrien.
I am a Registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist (AMFT126486) working with The Antara Institute under the supervision of my clinical mentor, Dr. Pat Katsky, LMFT. I completed over 2,500 hours of MFT experience at Women's Clinic in Los Angeles from 2007-2009 before deciding to pursue a research doctorate. I restarted the clinical training process in response to an array of social and cultural shifts, including a shortage of licensed BIPOC psychotherapists and a deep desire to bring effective complementary tools more fully into the field of psychotherapy.
I completed my 200 & +300 hour YTT with Mark Stephens & am registered with Yoga Alliance as an experienced yoga teacher (E-RYT-500). I have trained in restorative yoga with Judith Lasater, was certified as a compassionate bereavement care yoga provider (CBC-Y) with Dr. Joanne Cacciatore and Karla Helbert, LPC, completed a 200-hour meditation teacher training with Camille Maurine & Dr. Lorin Roche, and engaged in 50 hours of level one training in Yoga Nidra with Indu Arora. My work and certification as a yoga therapist (C-IAYT) was via an evaluation of my experience and training by the International Association of Yoga Therapists, and not derived from my status as an E-RYT-500 with Yoga Alliance.
9573 Highway 9 • Ben Lomond, CA • 95005