The entire spiritual life is good friendship, good companionship, good comradeship.
~ The Buddha

Jewel of Sangha
September 12-17, 2023

Mt Madonna Center
Watsonville, CA

Sept 12-17 2023
Mt Madonna Center
Watsonville, CA
With Anne Cushman,
Solwazi Johnson, Dawn Mauricio, and La Sarmiento

Celebrate community, nourish your body/mind/spirit, and grow your skills as a mindfulness teacher in the beautiful redwoods of northern California! In this first-ever retreat designed specifically for graduates of the Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification Program, we will weave together silence and connection, stillness and movement, the inner journey and its embodied expression in the world. All retreat teachers are mentors in the MMTCP.

You’ll spend your mornings in the alchemical vessel of sacred silence, deepening your personal practice of mindfulness and compassion through guided meditation and practice in stillness and movement. In the afternoons and evenings, you’ll connect with your peers for interactive workshops and teacher skill-building. Each day will include spacious unstructured time for building friendships, rest and renewal, and spending time in nature. As the retreat dates overlap with the Rosh Hashanah holiday, there will be time and place set aside for Jewish retreatants to self-organize and celebrate together.

Mount Madonna Center is a beautiful refuge in the redwoods on top of the Santa Cruz mountains. The land includes 360 acres of forest, meadows, and hiking trails. Delicious vegetarian meals are provided with non-dairy and gluten-free offerings available at every meal.


Anne Cushman


Solwazi Johnson


Dawn Mauricio


La Sarmiento

Anne Cushman (she/her) has been integrating mindfulness practice, embodied meditation, and creative expression for over 35 years. She is the Director of Mentoring for the MMTCP and  a member of the Teachers’ Council at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, where she founded the first multi-year dharma training for yoga teachers. She is the author of the memoir The Mama Sutra, the novel Enlightenment for Idiots, the mindful yoga book Moving Into Meditation, and the India pilgrimage guide From Here to Nirvana; and her essays on spiritual practice in daily life have appeared in the New York Times, Yoga Journal, O: The Oprah Magazine, Lion’s Roar, Tricycle, and many other publications.  She leads regular meditation retreats with a focus on creativity, embodiment, and daily life practice. 

Solwazi Johnson is an MMTCP Mentor and teaches mindfulness meditation classes, and leads meditation retreats and workshops throughout the U.S. and the world. He has practiced mindfulness meditation, focusing on Vipassana since 2003, for over 25 years. He has studied and practiced in Thailand, Burma, India, and South Africa. He leads mindfulness meditation classes and retreats in the Denver metropolitan area, and the U.S. He has also led numerous retreats in South Africa and Canada. He graduated from Spirit Rock’s Community Dharma Leaders’ Training and Spirit Rock’s four-year Retreat Teacher Training. Lastly, for over five years, Solwazi served as the guiding teacher for the Prison Buddhist Ministry Program in a Federal Prison located in Englewood, Colorado.

Dawn Mauricio (she/her), a Filipina-Canadian, has been practicing and studying Insight Meditation since 2005. She has graduated from the first teacher development group of True North Insight, and Spirit Rock’s Mindfulness Yoga and Meditation Training, Dedicated Practitioners’ Program, and 4-year Retreat Teacher Training. She teaches with a playful, dynamic, and heartfelt approach people of color and folks of all backgrounds. Dawn leads daylongs, retreats, multi-year programs, and workshops in Canada and the US for Spirit Rock, True North Insight, Sacred Mountain Sangha, and Insight LA. Dawn is a co-founder of the True North Insight BIPOC practice group, serves on the guiding teachers council of True North Insight, and the leadership council for Sacred Mountain Sangha. She is also the author of “Mindfulness Meditation for Beginners”. For more information, visit

La Sarmiento (they/them), is an immigrant, non-binary, Filipinx American,and has been practicing Vipassana meditation since 1998. La is a mentor for the Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification Program, a teacher with Cloud Sangha, and a contributor to the Ten Percent Happier app. They were a retreat teacher for the Insight Meditation Community of Washington (IMCW) with Tara Brach for 10 years, and the Guiding Teacher of IMCW’s BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ Sanghas for 16 years. La was the lead teacher for the Inward Bound Mindfulness Education Virginia Teen Mindfulness Retreats for 7 years. They completed the Spirit Rock Community Dharma Leader Training in 2012 and have taught meditation retreats around the United States.