Hugh Byrne - The Center For Mindful Living

Hugh Byrne (Sunday class)

Hugh Byrne, PhD is the Director of the Center for Mindful Living, a Guiding Teacher with the Insight Meditation Community of Washington (IMCW) and and a leading expert in the field of mindfulness and positive habit change.  

Hugh has practiced meditation for 30 years and completed a four-year meditation teacher training program with Jack Kornfield, Joseph Goldstein and other senior Insight Meditation teachers in 2000. Hugh also teaches Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and has completed a three-year training in Somatic Experiencing, a mind-body approach to healing trauma.

He teaches weekly classes on Sundays from 10:30-12:30pm at the Center for Mindful Living, leads retreats and workshops nationally and abroad, and is available for teacher interviews.

Hugh is the author of The Here-and-Now Habit and teaches classes and retreats in the Washington, DC, area, throughout the United States and internationally. He is a co-founder of the Washington Buddhist Peace Fellowship.

He is also a popular teacher on Insight Timer, with 20+ meditations for you to listen to!

More information can be found on Hugh’s website.


Weekday Morning Meditation Teachers

Karolynn Coleman - The Center For Mindful Living

Karolynn Coleman (Monday class)

Karolynn Coleman became interested in Buddhist psychology and meditation practices in the mid 90’s as a result of extensive travel throughout the Himalayan mountain regions. Having trained in Western psychology and psychotherapy since the mid 60’s, she was struck with the rich understanding of the human experience and the science of the mind which Buddhist psychology offers. She has done a two-year meditation group for psychotherapists at the Massachusetts Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy; completed the Professional Training for Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction offered by Jon Kabat-Zinn and Saki Santorelli; participated in The Year of Living Mindfully Program with Jonathan Foust; and graduated from The Meditation Teacher Training Institute’s two-year program with teachers Tara Brach, Jonathan Foust, Hugh Byrne and Pat Coffey in 2013. She has benefitted from numerous other trainings and Vipassana retreats.

Karolynn guides Monday morning meditation at the Center for Mindful Living. She has a private psychotherapy practice in Bethesda, MD. As both a meditation teacher and psychotherapist she integrates knowledge and practices from Western psychology and Buddhist psychology to help promote positive growth and development.

Gene Kijowski - The Center For Mindful Living

Gene Kijowski (Tuesday class)

In 2003, after a 40-year career as a hard-charging business executive, Gene began the practice of meditation and mindfulness, and a path slowly opened leading him to be in the world with a newfound sense of freedom, joy, and well-being. Having experienced the benefits of the practice for himself, he is committed to being of service to promote healing for others, by breaking the cycle of suffering wherever possible.

Since joining the IMCW community, he has participated in the Insight on the Inside (IOI) prison Dharma program, teaching meditation/mindfulness practices to the incarcerated; served on the Board of Directors; and in 2012, along with Hugh Byrne, started the Center for Mindful Living in Tenleytown, where he guides Tuesday morning meditation and facilitates the Saturday morning KM group.

He has completed the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction training with Jon Kabat-Zinn, the Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute SE Professional Training, the hospice/bereavement training at Hospice Caring in Gaithersburg, MD, and  graduated from The Meditation Teacher Training Institute’s two-year program with teachers Tara Brach, Jonathan Foust, Hugh Byrne and Pat Coffey in 2013.

Daniel Denecke

Daniel Denecke (Wednesday class)

Daniel Denecke learned to meditate 30 years ago in Boulder, Colorado. He knows first-hand the power of meditation to heal deep wounds and open vast spaces in the self for happiness, serenity, and deepened connection with others and the world we live in.

Daniel has attended 7- and 10-day residential as well as shorter retreats through various centers including IMCW and the Insight Meditation Society, Barre, MA, and is currently completing a two-year Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification Program with Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield. He is grateful to the many amazing teachers with whom he has studied in the Vipassana/Insight and Theravada traditions.

Daniel holds a Ph.D. from The Johns Hopkins University. He has taught at Georgetown University and the University of Maryland and worked for 15 years in the non-profit sector directing national education reform and research projects. When not on the mat, Daniel is out on adventures with his wife Alexandra and son Nicholas or feeding his soul with creative writing, jazz, and volunteer work to help his community.

Daniel currently guides Wednesday morning meditation at the Center for Mindful Living.

Peggy O’Kane - The Center For Mindful Living

Peggy O’Kane (Thursday class)

Peggy O’Kane has been meditating for seventeen years. She began using meditation as a stress management tool, and quickly came to understand its profound usefulness for self-knowledge, awareness and cultivating peace and contentment. She is eager to share the techniques of meditation and the teachings of the dharma with all who are interested.

In 2013 Peggy graduated from The Meditation Teacher Training Institute’s two-year program with teachers Tara Brach, Jonathan Foust, Hugh Byrne and Pat Coffey. She guides Thursday morning meditation at CML.

Sarah Pendergrass

Sarah Pendergrass (Thursday evening class)

Sarah Pendergrass has been studying Vipassana meditation for more than 20 years, with multiple silent retreats through the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, DC (IMCW) and the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Barre, Massachusetts.

She began practicing mindfulness to reduce stress, but now the practice has become a way of life. She has a deeply held belief in the wholeness and dignity of all beings. She believes that the practice of insight meditation and other forms of Buddhist and spiritual practice can assist individuals in reconnecting with their inherent wholeness, and their interconnectedness with all beings, that is ever present. Through this sense of connection, stability and growth can flourish.  

She is grateful for the gifts of the practice and the opportunity to share the practice with others. Sarah leads a Thursday evening sit and frequently substitutes for morning sits at the Center.

Silvia Garcia Pereira - The Center For Mindful Living

Silvia Garcia Pereira (Friday class)

Since moving to DC, Silvia became a follower of Tara Brach’s teachings and has been formally practicing Vipassana, Insight Meditation for over 10 years. In 2009 she graduated from the Year of Living Mindfully program guided by Jonathan Foust.

Silvia also graduated from The Meditation Teacher Training Institute’s two-year program with teachers Tara Brach, Jonathan Foust, Hugh Byrne and Pat Coffey in 2013. That year, she also received a .b mindfulness in schools, teacher certification.

She attends 7 - 10 day residential retreats once or twice a year with IMCW, the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA and the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, helping her to grow in living the dharma.

She currently guides Friday morning meditation at the Center for Mindful Living. As a video producer, Silvia is happy to work on multiple video projects to spread her love for the dharma. She has contributed as video producer to several of IMCW’s videos.

As a mother of two young adults, her practice is an integral part of daily life.



We are grateful for our substitute teachers, who sit in as needed for weekday classes.

Emily Best

Emily Best

Emily Best started learning yoga in 1992, studying the spiritual texts: Bhagavad Gita, Upanishads, and Patanjali’s Sutras. Attending many silent yoga retreats, she received her Yoga Teacher Training 200 YRT Certification in 2009. She also studied Mindfulness teachers like Jack Kornfield and Jon Kabat-Zinn. Discovering the Center for Mindful Living in 2014, she now volunteers regularly and finds her Mindfulness practice provides constant opportunities for growth.

Jo Cooper

Jo Cooper

Jo began studying and practicing Insight Meditation in 1997. She has a daily home practice, and is devoted to offering kindness and helping end suffering for others. She assists Sharon Bauer in co-volunteer managing the Center, frequently substitutes for early morning meditation classes, and is deeply grateful for our loving community. She is always available to help others begin or maintain a meditation practice.

Graham Townsley

Graham Townsley

Graham is a filmmaker and anthropologist. He started meditating in 2005 with Hugh Byrne.  His practice has slowly (and fitfully!) deepened ever since, bringing much joy in the process. He is a regular of morning sits at the center.

Karin Wilkinson

Karin Wilkinson

Karin Wilkinson began her mindfulness practice in 2008. She is certified by the International Mindfulness Teachers Association and is a graduate of the Training in Mindfulness Facilitation program at UCLA's Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. She also leads a much-loved Goddess Guided Visualization Meditation and Sister Bonding Group Share Circle monthly at the Center, generously donating all proceeds. By welcoming all with openness, humor, and nonjudgment, Karin seeks to create a safe bonding space.