NOLA Mindfulness is directed by Dan Lawton, who teaches all courses.
Dan is a qualified instructor in mindfulness-based-stress-reduction (MBSR) and has extensive experience in mindfulness meditation as a facilitator and practitioner.
He began practicing meditation in 2010 in response to his own struggles with depression and anxiety. Since then, he has sat over a dozen multi-day silent retreats. Dan started meditating in the Vipassana tradition of S.N. Goenka. He expanded his practice by sitting numerous retreats at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, California, including a 30-day silent retreat in 2015. Dan has also practiced at Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery, the Bhavana Society in West Virginia, Insight Retreat Center in Scotts Valley, California, and Flowering Lotus Retreat Center in Magnolia, Mississippi
In 2015, Dan completed a 65-hour training program in MBSR under the direction of mindfulness instructor Bob Stahl. He followed that training by completing an 8-day teacher’s development retreat in MBSR, after which he was qualified to teach MBSR by the University of Massachusetts School of Mindfulness.
Dan also teaches at New Orleans Insight Meditation Group, in addition to serving on the group’s leadership committee. Additionally, he has conducted mindfulness workshops for teachers, counselors, health care professionals and other groups.
Dan has also taught mindfulness to teenagers. He spent a year teaching mindfulness to a group of students at SCI Academy in New Orleans and has also served as a counselor on teen retreats through the organization IBME.
Dan is a volunteer crisis technician with the New Orleans Police Department and also volunteers with Edible Schoolyard and the Broadmoor Improvement Association.
He holds degrees in English and journalism. Previous to teaching mindfulness, Dan worked as a reporter, covering criminal justice for newspapers in Louisiana and California. He has lived abroad in Ghana and Thailand.