Lisa Hartjen

Home City: Rochester, NY

Department: Creative Services

Q: Tell us about yourself.

A: Before moving to the Himalayan Institute, I worked for over 20 years holding a variety of roles within the arts, including photographer, motion picture lighting technician, design consultant, art educator, writer, and ink mixer. My passion is to create and refine images and words inspired by nature, music, dance, and joyful, everyday moments. I am a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art and hold an MA in Art Education as well as a BFA in photography from the Rhode Island School of Design. I grew up on the East Coast US, living in Rochester, Boca Raton, Pittsburgh, Brooklyn, Providence, Manhattan, DC, Baltimore, and the Eastern shores of Long Island.

Q: How did you find the Himalayan Institute?

A: In early spring of 2000, I signed up for a weekend workshop at my local yoga studio in Takoma Park, MD. Many of the senior teachers at Willow Street Yoga already studied with Rod Stryker, so I was curious to meet him. A few minutes into the class, I realized that something special was happening—nothing that I could put my finger on, but my connection to the content was powerful. Rod’s clarity conveyed his depth of experience with yoga and tantra in ways that changed my path—I knew then that I had to study with him again—and soon! A few months later I found the Himalayan Institute by way of a transformative weekend at Kripalu, co-taught by Panditji and Rod Stryker. I was initiated into the Himalayan Tradition the following year.

Joining the community was always a question of when, not why or how.
Q: What inspired you to join the community?

A: Visiting the Himalayan Institute Honesdale campus was always my “reset” button for calming jangled nerves. My quarterly visits felt like homecomings thanks to friends who offered love, compelling conversation, and recurring reminders of the life that I longed to live: a life steeped in practice and service to the Himalayan Tradition. Joining the community was always a question of when, not why or how. With a sluggish economy, my formerly lucrative freelance work slowed, so I sold my house and finally moved to my spiritual home.

Q: What have you learned during your time here?

A: In these past 18 months of residency, I’ve been continually enriched by the collaborative efforts of so many talented people that I have the pleasure of working with. I’m inspired daily by my Himalayan Institute peers’ talent, enthusiasm, and passion for making the world a better place to be. I’ve also learned to listen more carefully to the whisperings in my own heart.

Q: If there was one thing you could share about the Himalayan Institute, what would it be?

A: The Himalayan Institute is a vehicle for self-transformation. Whether you arrive as a guest or live here year-round, the spiritual fire here inspires practice, offers hope in difficult times, provides peaceful sanctuary, lights the fire within, reflects back what we need for growth, and reminds us of our innate joy—sometimes all at the same time!