Aaron Hoopes (B.A. Japanese Culture and Language, E-RYT500) has studied karate, kung fu, tai chi, qigong and yoga for over thirty years. A native of Vermont, he spent many years in Japan and Australia studying with a number of exceptional teachers. He is the founder of Zen Yoga and the author of numerous books including Zen Yoga: A Path to Enlightenment through Breathing, Movement and Meditation, Perfecting Ourselves: Coordinating Body, Mind and Spirit, Breathe Smart: The Secret to Happiness, Health and Long Life. and The Zen Anti-Diet. His best-selling Zen Yoga Daily Warm-Up DVD has helped thousands of people integrate breathing and gentle movement into their lives. He is a Zen Shiatsu massage therapist and a long-time student of plant spirit medicine. He teaches adult and children classes at his private center in the mountains of Vermont with his zen master cat, Katana. Visit him online at www.mountainqi.com. For more information about Zen Yoga please visit www.artofzenyoga.com.
Gregory Wilson (D. Min in Spirituality/Pastoral Counseling) grew up in the Baltimore area, crabbing in the (then) clear waters of the Chesapeake Bay, running through the woods, and observing his father and mother in their work as union organizer and NOW activist. The divorce that severed his family when he was ten ultimately inspired him to become a counselor, and for more than 25 years he has worked to bring healing to families, couples, and individuals as a Pastoral Counselor. As a teenager, he discovered the strength that comes from belonging to a church community, and as an adult becoming a minister enabled him to combine his love of constant learning and change with an opportunity to inspire others to engage in social and environmental justice. In his 12 years as minister to a Unitarian Universalist church, he has organized workshops on topics as diverse as Prison Reform, Healing with Chakras, Earth Jurisprudence/Earth Rights, Healthy Families/Healthy World, and the Globalization of Addiction. With his church members, he created an annual conference in Florida titled “Healing Our World and Ourselves” which for the past 3 years has brought together speakers, artists, healers, and musicians who weave together a transformative experience. He began to develop Earth Recovery Groups while studying the work of Bruce Alexander (The Globalization of Addiction: A Poverty of the Spirit), realizing there is no recovery process in line with Alexander’s understanding of addiction. It is also a response to the need for people to process and recover from the grief and anger they feel as they see the natural world around them dying. His hope is that engagement with Earth Recovery will both bring inner healing, and unleash energy and commitment to work for change in the larger community. He is the creator of Belief Systems Therapy, and co-author with his wife Helen of the book “Blessed, Know, Good and Loved:Belief System Therapy” and related workbooks on Codependency and Spirituality, Creating Intimacy, Calming Anger and Resentment, Recovering from Childhood Sexual Abuse, and Blending Families. His paintings can be seen online at www.CosmicTree.com, and information about his ministry and counseling is at www.Pathways-to-Healing.org. He can be contacted at email@example.com
Helen Wilson (B.S. in Psychology, Certificate in Spiritual Direction) grew up in the world of endless woods and flourishing small farms in southeastern Pennsylvania. She filled the nooks and crannies of her room and the basement with collections of the gifts of nature — rocks, leaves, feathers, cocoons — and the acquisition of a microscope one Christmas gave her a window into the wondrous variety of life in a jar of pond water. She loved learning the names of things, trees, berries, animals, and the ways they could be used for food, dyes, and healing. Working side-by-side with her grandfather in the family garden, she learned to love and enjoy growing food naturally. Her first job, beginning in 1970 was identifying Chironomid larvae for the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, in the early days of environmental research. Rachel Carson’s work had revealed the fragility of our world, and at the time even the best intentions of, for example, returning a stream to health came up against the reality that we didn’t really know what a healthy stream was. Ever since then, Helen’s path has been one of trying to live as non-destructively as possible, while working to expand our understanding of what a healthy world would look like, and how to “get back to the garden.”