Our Story

Life is busy. Crazy busy. No one understands this better than Julie Potiker whose life had become so stressful she started having serious medical issues and was sure she had a brain tumor. After a battery of medical tests, her neurologist recommended she try mindful meditation. This began Julie’s transformative journey to becoming a master practitioner and instructor of the healing art of meditation. After years of training and working with clients, she founded the Balanced Mind Meditation Center, a non-religious drop-in meditation studio where people learn simple techniques to enrich their lives. In addition to drop-in meditation, the center offers a robust selection of the best evidence-based classes being taught in the United States today. 

The Balanced Mind Meditation Center was created in memory of Julie’s mother, the late Ruth Jacobowitz, a passionate women’s health advocate, author, and lecturer. Julie and her father, Paul Jacobowitz are proud that Ruth’s lifetime of commitment to the betterment of humanity will live on through the center. 

We invite you join us for classes and workshops designed to balance your busy life.

 

Our Instructors

JULIE POTIKER


As a trained Mindful Self-Compassion teacher and longtime practitioner of mindful meditation, Julie Potiker has an elegant synthesis of many teachings, which she brings together in her unique program called Mindful Methods for Life. Students in her courses, workshops, and one-on-one sessions say Julie has an uncanny ability to keep lessons enjoyable and accessible to a broad range of people – skeptics included!

Julie was trained in the first cohort of Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) teachers trained by Kristin Neff, Christopher Germer, and the University of California, San Diego Center for Mindfulness. She earned her Bachelor of General Studies from the University of Michigan and Juris Doctor from George Washington University Law School.

LORRAINE M. HOBBS, M.A


Director of the Youth and Family Programs at the University of California, San Diego Center for Mindfulness, Lorraine M. Hobbs M.A. is passionate about helping families and teens achieve strong connections through greater emotional health. During her tenure at the Center for Mindfulness, she has developed and implemented curricula in mindfulness-based interventions for multiple age groups, including the Mindful & Compassionate Parenting program. 

Lorraine’s concern for the adverse effects of stress on the social and emotional development of teens led her to develop pioneering work in the area of self-compassion. She is co-author of Making Friends with Yourself: A Mindful Self-Compassion Program for Teens & Young Adults and provides teacher training in this curriculum. She also consults with educators on integrating mindfulness and compassion-based programs in schools, and offers workshops and public talks.

JENNIFER OPAKA


Jennifer has been a health and fitness instructor since the days of headbands and legwarmers, and is amazed by the advances in the field. She teaches strength and conditioning, yoga, and Pilates, and has seen students improve their overall health, energy, and well-being through physical fitness. In her 25 years in the field, Jennifer has also seen students struggle to manage pain from past injuries or degenerative disorders. Her experience as both a fitness instructor and meditation teacher led her to develop the Opaka Method, a moving meditation that incorporates a “roll and release” technique that incorporates massage balls to relax, rejuvenate, and restore the human body to its highest potential.

 

BARBARA METZ

 
Barbara has been hooked on Qigong since 1984 when she was first introduced to the Chinese exercise system that cultivates the energy of life. She became so excited about its ability to balance and heal the body, mind, and spirit that she began studying to teach Qigong. She loves sharing the practice with others and has studied with leading teachers in the United Stated through the National Qigong Association.She is a graduate of the intensive two-year Taoist Studies training program from the Taoist Sanctuary of San Diego, where she has been teaching since 1994. Barbara welcomes newcomers and Qigong enthusiasts to experience the transformative power of this ancient practice.

 

Amanda Ringalda

Amanda is a master educator at the Chopra Center for Wellbeing in Carlsbad, California, and serves as a host for many of the Center’s large live events. For over a decade she has studied closely under Chopra Center co-founders, Drs. Deepak Chopra and David Simon, and gleaned wisdom from many other luminaries. 

Growing up working at the family’s pet-store business in Lake Tahoe, California, the life-long animal-lover always felt an especially deep and soulful connection to dogs. After discovering a passion for the practices of Ayurveda later in her life, Amanda began exploring ways the timeless life-wisdom could support vibrant health, balance, and wellbeing for dogs too! She teaches classes on Ayurveda for Dogs and founded a non-profit organization called SoulPlayMates which focuses on dog wellbeing education, dog rescue, and animal advocacy.  


JACQUELYN SCHWARTZ


Jacqui is guided by a professional and personal interest in how the mind, physiology, and relationships interact to shape our individual sense of self and our experience. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice and family business consultant at Schwartz Advisors in San Diego. Jacqui’s expertise is the application of Bowen Family Systems Theory which she merges with the principles of mindfulness, and psychotherapy.  Additionally, she teaches mindfulness-based approaches to wellness and stress management to private and corporate clients. She is a trained teacher of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), from the University of California, San Diego Center for Mindfulness.

Jacqui holds a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy from the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University in San Diego. She continued her postgraduate studies at the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family in Washington, D.C. and earned a Certificate in Family Business Advising from the Family Firm Institute.

REBECCA TERIETE


As a yoga instructor, Rebecca enjoys active forms of meditation, such as dance, running, music, and martial arts. She sees these practices as integral parts of maintaining balance in her busy life, which includes parenting two children and serving as a yoga instructor and personal trainer. Rebecca says meditation helps her feel greater compassion for others and view herself more objectively. Meditation has created a small buffer between her automatic responses to external circumstances and her response to them. On her best days, she feels minimal stress and zero anxiety. Rebecca enjoys sharing her love of mindful meditation and active stress reduction with students at every stage of their journey in life.

MERRY WOODRUFF


As a Certified Life Coach, Merry helps healthy, creative and resourceful people be the best versions of themselves as possible. Her mission is to help others improve areas of their lives where they may be stuck or looking for more engagement, purpose or satisfaction. 
Merry also teaches Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), techniques she found transformative in increasing her own resilience in life. She was trained in those curriculums at the University of California, San Diego Center for Mindfulness. True to her name, Merry is also a Certified Science of Happiness Trainer!

Merry earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Masters of Art in Education. She is passionate about mindfulness and wellness, and enjoys guiding students through their personal growth and development.