We are a collective of secular mindfulness teachers who are volunteering our time to launch this project because of our shared commitment to growing Ann Arbor as a Mindful City.
Rita Benn trained originally as a clinical psychologist and focused much of her professional career on building support systems to strengthen the resilience of caregivers, children, and families as well as university students and faculty. She is on faculty at the University of Michigan teaching primarily about integrative healthcare, relationship-centered care and mind-body practices. Dr. Benn has practiced yoga and meditation since her college days and sees its value in her personal and professional life. As a result, she is excited to be part of Mindful City.
Dr. Benn presents widely on mindfulness, facilitating workshops, retreats and 8 week-mindfulness training programs. She is also founding member of the Ann Arbor Center for Mindfulness and the Michigan Collaborative for Mindfulness in Education. Painting, creative writing and playing with her 16 month old granddaughter are additional activities that keep her connected to the ever present mystery, experience and fullness of life.
Denise loves teaching mindfulness, leading drop-in sessions, and using coaching as a tool for empowerment and transformation. She moved to Ann Arbor in 2010, fell in love with the community, and created Mindfulness@Umich while working as an Academic Advisor.
Although she now lives in Bucks County, PA, her heart is still in Ann Arbor. She manages social media for Mindful City Ann Arbor and joins in mindfulness events whenever she returns to her favorite town. When she's not leading mindfulness or coaching, you can find her adventuring with her husband and adult children. She feels most present when she's doing something creative (photography, sewing, collage, encaustic wax) and cultivating a sense of curiosity, letting go, and non-judgment. She's deeply grateful for the opportunity to work with the founders of Mindful City and looks forward to serving the community in this new capacity.
Laura’s life work as a clinical social worker has been focused on stress resilience, wellness and creativity in the caregiving community and with adults who are living with chronic illness and cognitive loss. She has been inspired by the lessons in living well she has learned from some of our most vulnerable community members and is passionate about utilizing her mindfulness training as a volunteer to support the wellbeing of the Ann Arbor community.
A longtime meditator, Laura is thankful for her most in depth training in mindfulness practice, motherhood and marriage. She lives in Ann Arbor with her husband, two daughters and dog, Mavis.
Lynn has the pleasure and privilege of supporting people’s emotional health and well-being through her practice as a clinical social worker and mindfulness teacher. Being a member of Mindful City Ann Arbor connects her to this beloved community and her personal commitment to mindfulness as a foundation for relating, working, playing, creating.
Mindful moments for Lynn include walking through the farmer’s market in fall, appreciating murals, graffiti and street art downtown, and hanging around with family, friends and mindful kitties, Rosemary and Cinnamon.
In her professional career, Julie has worked as a clinical social worker, yoga instructor, mindfulness teacher, and health educator. Inspired to cultivate and share practices that connect mind and body, her background includes training in psychobiology, stress management, somatosensory psychotherapy and yoga for mood management.
As a member of Mindful City, Julie is eager to contribute to creating and exploring the possibilities of connecting with community members in mindfulness practice.
Julie and mindful moments find each other serendipitously-- practicing yoga with friends, walking on a path through the wildflowers with her dog, Harper, and in the smiles and hearts of her loved ones.