Visiting Teachers

Skilled and Compassionate Guidance Vallecitos Mountain Retreat Center guided meditation retreats are led by the most skilled and capable teachers...

Syra Smith (Choctaw-Chickasaw)

Syra Smith is an artist, facilitator and mindfulness educator interested in deep ecology and manifesting a culture where we can turn toward fearless abundance and generosity. Her grandmothers are Choctaw-Chickasaw and include those among the first freed black African women to own land in her country. Syra’s studies and practices are deeply rooted in the heart and awakening more fully to the truth of freedom in our lives.

A lifelong meditator and SF Bay Area native, Syra began her meditation practice as a teen in 1988 and has been practicing in the Theravada Buddhist tradition since 2009. She graduated East Bay Meditation Center’s Commit to Dharma program in 2011 and became a Spirit Rock Community Dharma Leader in 2017. Syra is currently participating in the multi-year MMTC Program through the Awareness Training Institute and Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley under the guidance of Amma Thanasanti, Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach.

Syra teaches Insight Meditation and mindfulness throughout the SF Bay Area and beyond and proudly serves as Core Teacher with the San Francisco LGBT Sangha. She co-leads the Midday Dharma Collective at San Francisco Insight and is a Resident Teacher with the women’s community of Assaya Sangha. For more visit:

Events with Syra Smith (Choctaw-Chickasaw)

Retreat as Ceremony: Mindfulness and Indigenous Presence for Wellness and Healing, A Retreat for Indigenous Peoples
August 28 - September 3, 2022

What you need to know : open to all Indigenous Peoples (including folks from outside the Ute and Jicarilla Apache Territories) with special attention given to those who actively work inside Indian country no prior meditation experience necessary ceremony, talking circles and periods of silent mediation will occur during this 6 night retreat bedding, towels, and bath products provided shuttle from Albuquerque and Santa Fe provided offered on a sliding scale (you choose) $0-870 must be fully vaccinated to attend have questions? See our FAQs for the IP retreat here or contact us Our Community Organizer, Kelzi Montepetit (mixed race…