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Winnie Nazarko

2023 Retreat Teacher 

Winnie Nazarko started her meditative journey a long time ago, 1981 in fact. Her initial retreat experience was not at all what she expected, but was exactly what she needed. Following John Lennon’s refrain “All I want is the truth, just gimme the truth!” she pursued the dharma path with full commitment from the time of the first retreat. For many years she balanced practice and study while working in human service management roles. She was asked to teach dharma by Joseph Goldstein, and has been doing so since 2005. She is a Guiding Teacher at Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA and the Board Chair at Barre Center for Buddhist Studies.


Winnie’s teaching is rooted in the Eight-Fold Path, with particular emphasis on aligning motivation with the student’s highest and wisest aspiration. Letting go (renunciation) and self-compassion are taught as essential, foundational attitudes in approaching and supporting practice. Meditation instructions draw from a variety of approaches, including the Mahasi style and its use of noting, and U Tejaniya’s emphasis on developing awareness of attitude of mind. When appropriate, students are given customized instructions which work with the actual experiences they are having, rather than insisting one method of practice works in all cases. There is an emphasis on skillful means, and an understanding that students come to practice from many different circumstances and experiences. Accordingly, while the dharma presented is within the broad mainstream of western Theravadan teaching, flexibility of approach is valued. Oh, and humor too. Very important.

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