Welcome, and blessings on your path.

This site contains resources for Buddhist practice, trauma healing, and social action, as well as Dr. Oakes’ teaching schedule. If you benefit from the material collected here, you can support us with a gift of any amount. Thank you for your generosity.

Sean Feit Oakes, PhD

Performance Studies
Organic Intelligence
Insight Meditation
Haṭha Yoga

This month at Satsang (Feb 2020)

Nine months ago, in May 2019, we started exploring the Buddha’s extraordinary framework for spiritual cultivation known as the Noble Eightfold Path. And this month, as we start to approach the end of the sequence of limbs known as sīla — ethical/relational action — we’ll look at some of the juiciest topics in the sequence for those interested in social engagement and justice.
Through January, we’ve explored Right Action, the limb which contains the three ethical precepts associated with physical relational action: not killing, not taking that which isn’t offered, and not misusing sexuality. (The fourth precept, Right Speech, gets its own whole limb, which we looked at in Oct-Nov.)
Interestingly, the fifth precept, to not use intoxicants, doesn’t appear literally in the Eightfold Path. But it’s such an important inquiry now that of course we should talk about it. We began looking at the precept on intoxicants on 1.28, and we’ll continue for a week or more, as needed. Then we begin the last, and most overlooked, of the action limbs: Right Livelihood.
Insight Meditation Satsang
Tuesdays 7:15-9pm
Ashtanga Yoga Berkeley
933 Parker Street, Studio 38, Berkeley


As always, talks and practices weave together personal, relational, and systemic inquiry, exploring the inseparability of individual and collective liberation.

We begin with chanting a short Refuge & Precepts pūjā from the Theravāda Buddhist tradition, followed by 30 minutes of meditation, part guided and part silent. After a break, there’s a talk and discussion on an aspect of Buddhist practice.

Beginners are welcome anytime, and the group is offered fully on donation, in the beautiful and ancient practice of Gift Economy.

History of Yoga Course
A 20-hour online course diving into the ocean of ideas, practices, and culture that evolved into modern Yoga. Designed for serious students of Yoga and meditation, and for use in YTT programs, this is a university-level introduction to Yoga history from an engaging scholar-practitioner.
An exploration of one of the most gorgeous and enigmatic Mahāyāna Buddhist texts, The Heart of the Perfection of Wisdom, or “Heart Sūtra.” The course, hosted by our friends at The Sutra Project, combines a new practitioner-oriented translation by Dr. Oakes and Dr. Christopher Wallis, drawing on their decades of practice and study.

Teaching Schedule


Tuesdays 7:15-9pm
Ashtanga Yoga Berkeley
933 Parker/8th, #38, Berkeley

Meditation with instructions based in the Insight Meditation tradition and its sources in Thai and Burmese Theravāda Buddhism. The focus of the group is on deepening in both traditional Buddhist practice as understood in the Theravāda traditions, and exploring the links between individual & systemic liberation in the form of social justice and collective healing practice.

Learn more.

Our FB Group, called “In It To End It,” is a “place” for communal study and discussion of Buddhist ideas, focusing at least as we begin on my areas: the Pāli Canon of the Theravāda lineage, the Prajñāpāramitā vision that is the heartwood of the Mahāyāna, and the profound and liberating social inquiry of deconstruction.

I’m starting with a series of free videos for advanced beginners who want to dive into the beauty and richness of the Buddha’s discourses. This will be a space for inquiry and study together; ideally a virtual saṅgha

Join the Group.

The Mindful Life Summit
Online Speaker Series

February 11 – March 2

This compilation of 21 interviews, one posted each day, includes personal stories, teachings from several traditions, and tools for many aspects of practice in daily life. 
Alongside some mentors of mine including Rick Hanson and James Baraz, and teachers I respect but don’t know personally like Deborah Eden Tull and Meena Srinivasan, I’m happy to offer a short teaching on mindfulness and trauma in this series.
The Summit is entirely free and you will have the option to download additional resources from the instructors.
Energy, Embodiment, & Inquiry: Buddhist Approaches to Yoga & Breathwork

Saturday Feb 29, 10am-5pm
Spirit Rock Meditation Center, Woodacre

At the heart of both the Buddhist and Hindu lineages are practices that prepare the practitioner for transformative insight. These practices, called yoga in both lineages, cultivate states of stability, empowerment, and embodiment.
In this day retreat for students of either meditation or yoga, we’ll learn a sequence of movement warm-ups that lead into breathwork and an exploration of subtle energy. All of the practices are internally focused and accessible to all bodies. The focus is on intimacy with the body as an energetic field, and on bringing loving awareness to the complex beauty of our human experience.
The movement practices shared by the Buddhist and Hindu Yoga traditions are largely concerned with breath expansion (prāṇāyāma), joint mobilization, and the cultivation of internal energy. In this daylong we will explore simple versions of these practices, most of which can be done by any body type or skill level, sitting in chairs or on cushions or benches.
We will not be practicing on sticky mats, or doing postures oriented toward muscular strength or flexibility. Students who wish to have a full yoga āsana practice in their day should plan for that outside of the workshop time.
Pathways to Refuge: Awakening the feeling of being protected by your practice

Saturday March 14, 9am-4pm
Insight Meditation Central Valley, Modesto
, Sarana Kuti

From the earliest days of the Buddhist tradition, turning one’s heart toward liberation by committing to the path was described in terms of safety. Refuge speaks to the very real dangers of ordinary life, where we feel threatened by loss, by changing circumstances, by things being out of our control. To “go for refuge” is to bow to the truth that lasting peace cannot be found in managing our external circumstances, but only through the insight and wisdom brought about by walking the path of practice.
In this daylong, we’ll explore the concept of refuge in the Buddhist tradition, focusing on the experience of growing in confidence in the Buddhist path, and in ourselves. We’ll look at each of the three “gems” of Buddha, Dhamma, and Saṅgha, feeling into how each one offers a specific kind of protection, and how taken together they describe the entire path to liberation.
The day will include meditation with guidance, discussion, and inquiry, as well as gentle movement practice accessible to all bodies and ages. Beginners and those with more experience in meditation or Buddhist practice are welcome. Please bring your own lunch.

The teachings at Insight Meditation Central Valley are offered in the spirit of dāna – freely, without charge, as a gift to all who wish to come. Donations are gratefully accepted, but the wish is for those donations to come joyfully from whatever generosity may arise naturally from your heart as an expression of gratitude. There is no expectation or obligation to make a donation.

Register here.

Embodied Awakening: Trauma, Healing, & Collective Liberation

Sunday March 29, 10am-5pm
Spirit Rock Meditation Center, Woodacre

Many people come to meditation and yoga to help heal old wounds, both physical and emotional. Trauma is a nervous system injury, caused by shocking or dangerous experiences as well as ongoing relational and systemic threats. As nervous system interventions, meditation and yoga can be helpful in trauma healing, but like all interventions, they must be used with sensitivity.
In this day retreat, we will explore current trauma resolution theory and learn gentle practices that can support healing and resilience. This day retreat is designed for those who suffer from trauma, as well as caregivers, family members, and teachers of yoga and meditation.
Continuing Education (CE) credit available. Teachings are appropriate for health care professionals as well as the general public.  Health care professionals will be able to incorporate the tools and practices offered in this program in ways beneficial to clients or patients.  See below for attendance requirements and more information.
Learning Objectives for participating health care professionals-
At the end of the program you will be better able to:
  • Describe conditions that support or impede access to the body through sensation, the role of sensation tracking in nervous system regulation, and contraindications for sensation tracking as a clinical intervention;
  • Describe the physiological effect of trauma on the nervous system;
  • Describe how cultural factors contribute to the persistence of trauma symptoms, especially for people and communities subject to systemic oppression;
  • Discuss how cultural conditioning results in unconscious bias and habitual reactivity, perpetuating systemic oppression as well as stress and anxiety.
Continuing Education content level: Intermediate. 6 CE credits available.

Learn more & register.

2020 Spring Yoga & Meditation Retreat
4 night retreat

Wed-Sun, April 1-5, 2020
Double Bear Retreat Center

I’m thrilled to return to the gorgeous Double Bear Retreat Center for a 4-night retreat this spring. This will be an intimate retreat for students of Insight Meditation and Yoga seeking to integrate the practices of movement and stillness, dynamic breath work and precise mindfulness meditation.
We will focus this year on the body of heart practices known as brahmavihāra, or Divine Abidings, using the ancient instructions given in the Pāli discourses rather than the better-known instructions from the later traditions. The form of this ancient practice is to “radiate” the quality of love methodically in each of the compass directions, filling the body, and all of space, with it. As a contrast to the method of repeating phrases, this is an internally silent practice, supporting the aspect of meditative stillness known as samatha, or tranquillity, an aspect of samādhi, states of luminous immersion and inner focus.

Learn more & register.

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