Nischala Sara Cryer

Nischala Sara Cryer is an author and was founding Director of Ananda University’s undergraduate program, which she co-founded with her husband in 2003.  Since 2012 she has been part of a team creating the MA in Consciousness Studies and a new campus for this program.   She began meditating and practicing yoga when she was 12.  During college in the mid-seventies when she was 19, she became one of the first women to serve as an intern with UPI (United Press International).  After graduating from college, she worked in the field of mass communications, design, film, writing and marketing for 25 years, serving as VP Creative Director for Wylie, Wilson, Munn in San Francisco, CA, as a writer for BBDO in the Bay Area, and for Leo Burnett USA in Chicago.   She was Director of Publications for Stanford Law School, editor of the Stanford Lawyer, and adviser for the Stanford Law Review.  After Stanford, she founded and for many years ran an award-winning Communications & Design firm in Palo Alto, CA. Since 1986 she has been part of the Ananda Sangha and its householder community.  In 2009 she took formal Nayaswami vows together with her husband Nakula.  In 2002 she and Nakula moved with their 13-year old son to the remote Ananda Meditation Retreat to become Directors of the retreat.   During their time as Retreat Directors, they also founded and successfully ran the Ananda University at this 70-acre site.  Here, they remodeled cabins and designed and created a dynamic and beautiful contemplative space with botanical meditation gardens, sustainable vegetable gardens, bungalows, and a natural cob yoga temple hand built by students in the university.  She has taught art and graphic design in both the university and the Living Wisdom High School, and for many years ran the Living Wisdom Performing Arts Camps, serving international students throughout the world.  She holds degrees in Mass Communications, Art and English, and has attended Pacific University, San Diego State University and Northern Arizona University.
Dr. Kushler currently serves on the Board of Directors for a number of foundations and non-profit organizations.  He has had a regular meditation practice since joining the Ananda Sangha in 1996, and prior to that also pursued other meditation other meditation practices including Zen and Vipassana insight meditation.  His interest in the study of consciousness dates from his undergraduate days in the early 1970’s, majoring in Zoology and pursuing the study of the evolutionary process and its interaction with the development of consciousness.  He has also served as a teacher, previously teaching computer science classes at Michigan State University, and currently teaching Japanese at the junior high and high school level at the Ananda Living Wisdom School.