Born in Puerto Rico, Yaisha Vargas-Pérez teaches secular mindfulness and is a poet, translator, editor, blogger, and former awarded hard-news journalist. She is especially interested in cultivating mindful writing in her daily meditation and at work, bringing lovingkindness and ethics into her relationships, and developing mindful and loving awareness in everyday life. Since 2011, she has participated in 28 vipassana retreats, persisting through obstacles and witnessing the beautiful healing work and growth of awareness.
She started learning yoga in the early 2000s exploring different styles and became a solid practitioner of Iyengar and Restorative Yoga. In 2010, she traveled to India, met B.K.S. Iyengar, and practiced with two of his advanced teachers. After she returned to America and continued exploring yoga and Unity teachings, she found her first Insight Meditation teacher in Kansas City in 2011, who introduced her to the teachings of Jack Kornfield, Tara Brach, and others. Since then, Insight Meditation has been her main practice.
She is a graduate of the first class of the Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification Program (MMTCP-2019) directed by Kornfield and Brach. The certification was awarded by the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, in association with Sounds True.
In 2015, she moved from Kansas City, Missouri, to San Diego, California, to explore Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings at Deer Park Monastery. She lived close to the monastery, practiced there every week, and attended three retreats with the monastics. She has also practiced the traditions of Soto Zen and Rinzai Zen.
In 2012, she began writing for the spiritual magazine Daily Word/La Palabra Diaria and was the publication’s associate editor between 2013 and 2015. Her poems have been published in Daily Word and in El Nuevo Día journal, the main newspaper in Puerto Rico, where she has also published a Sunday column for 10 years narrating the journey of a spiritual seeker to find healing and a deep meaning in life. She is a former Associated Press reporter, awarded by the Puerto Rico Journalists Association, the Overseas Press Club, and the Laura Rivera Meléndez Foundation.
She currently teaches three mindfulness courses at Sagrado Global, the continuing education department of the University of the Sacred Heart in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and leads a mindfulness practice group at Centro Sofia, the Pastoral Department of the same institution. She belongs to the sangha Dharma en Español at Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City, California, and continues to attend Insight Meditation retreats. Yaisha loves to let the Dharma guide her and looks forward to continuing sharing this path of healing and happiness to help students cope with life’s challenges.