A mix of dedicated staff, incredible volunteers, and a wisdom counsel of supporters


Dr. Shahar Rabi, Ph.D, RCC

E​xecutive Director & Lead Teacher

Shahar Rabi, Ph.D., is a Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC) and an adjunct Professor of Counselling Psychology at Alder University. He formerly served as the Program Director of the Orchard Recovery Centre on Bowen Island, with years of experience in treating trauma, addiction, depression, and anxiety. He is also the Co-Founder and Director of Education for the New Earth Institute in Vancouver. His academic research has been mainly focused on contemplative, ecological and integral studies as means for well-being, connection, and growth. His therapeutic orientations include: mindfulness-inspired psychotherapy, acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), solution-focused therapy, existential therapy, narrative therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, archetypal therapy, and embodiment work, where he addresses issues such as grief and loss, trauma, pain management, spiritual and/or emotional crises, and personal development.


Shahar believes that counselling should provide a healing space for his clients to explore the feelings, thoughts, behaviours, and relationships that cause difficulties in their lives. For his work with disadvantaged soldiers, he earned a medal of honour from the President of Israel. Shahar also has a broad spectrum of work experience as a choreographer, philosophy teacher, yoga teacher, meditation instructor, and even a clown. He brings his knowledge from all of these fields to his work with students and clients. As a meditation instructor, he draws on years of study and practice with prominent non-dual teachers from various traditions at monasteries in India, Nepal, and Thailand.

Saskia Tait, Ph.D Candidate, RCC, MA, E-RYT 200, RYT 500

Program Manager and Co-Founder

Saskia Tait is a Registered Clinical Counsellor and Ph.D. Candidate in Contemplative Education at Simon Fraser University. She is co-founder of the New Earth Institute and co-founder and former owner of a yoga studio and education centre, The Well on Bowen. She transitioned from a decade long career in international development consulting based in South Asia (India and Bhutan) to a career in psychotherapy and educational leadership informed by contemplative philosophy and practice.


Saskia's PhD thesis explores the modern history of the dialogue between eastern and western philosophies of mind and proposes that we may be missing opportunities to really challenge taken-for-granted modernist presumptions about human development and potential presented by yoga and Buddhist philosophies due to mistranslations of some basic ideas about the nature of self. Her work will have implications for the bourgeoning field of contemplative education and psychology, as well as for yoga teacher training programs. Her interest is in the ongoing, evolving dialogue between East and West, and the possibility that deeper engagement could offer to those who wish to draw inspiration from from Asian contemplative traditions to challenge the taken for granted assumptions of an increasingly globalized modernity.

As Program Manager at the NEI, Saskia develops and works with educational partners to design and implement residential programming at The Ark Retreat House on Bowen Island. She also maintains a small private practice as a counselling psychologist specializing in mindfulness based interventions (MBIs) to address anxiety, depression, and existential crises. She is particularly interested in self-psychology and theories of self and self development. Her experience working in the field of addiction recovery is also translating into an interest in the growing epidemic of digital/technology and social media addiction, its politics, and integrative approaches to addressing it. 

Saskia is also the homeschooling mother of two little explorers (and a puppy!) on beautiful Bowen Island in British Columbia. 

Christina Atkinson

Program Facilitator 

Christina is a mystic at heart and is passionate about creating and building intentional community spaces to listen, share and grow with one another as a way to foster healing in our lives and in the world.  She has over 20 year’s experience building intentional community spaces with youth and young adults. Her primary areas of experience and interest are facilitating leadership development opportunities and exploring contemplative spiritual practices as a pathway to self-discovery and social change.


Christina lives on Bowen Island with her three daughters, husband, dog, chickens and a bunny.

When not engaging in community work, she can be found listening to music, playing board games, or hiking in the wood.  

Jan Tize, MBA

Business Development

Jan is a German/Canadian that has a varied background which allows him to draw on many fields. He holds an MBA from the Munich Business School, and a degree in Environmental Earth Sciences from UC Berkeley. He runs his own real estate business and acts as an angel investor in a diverse set of ventures. Jan has lived in four different countries, and has been a part of world championship rowing teams. He has the privilege of having wonderful teachers in academia, spirituality, sports, and personal development whose teachings have allowed him to have a more inclusive, integral perspective. What excites him about working with NEI is the chance for deep listening within a group or individual context to create from a place of intuition.

Nigel Mojica

Marketing; Social 

Justice practicum

student, Adler University 

Filipino-Canadian facilitator, host, voice narrator, and counselling psychology masters student born and raised on Coast Salish lands. My recent work has largely been in mental health support, marketing and communications, social innovation, and the arts. I am currently a psychotherapist in training at Adler University and Co-Host of the RADIUS Fellowship program. 


Creatively, I am a hip hop vocalist, radio host, writer, and arts-based facilitator, and work from a place of loving language, centring personal relationships, and welcoming new (un)learning opportunities. Favourite pastimes include music, friendship, and being in or near bodies of water. 

Apek Sapkota

Research; Social 

Justice Practicum 

Student, Adler University 

Apek is from Nepal and has also lived in the Philippines for a number of years. She recently graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Major in Psychology. Currently, she is a student at Adler University, pursuing a Masters in Counselling Psychology. She has always been passionate about working directly with people, and in recent years has found her passion for psychology.


This is why she is aiming to be a counsellor, to support individuals in improving their mental health, mental disorders, or any concerns they may have. She will also aim to find ways to provide this assistance to vulnerable populations that may not be able to afford mental health services. Additionally, she is also passionate about the planet, and finding community through shared values and understanding. 

Claire Dennis


"I'm a wannabe farmer, aspiring therapist, creative workshop facilitator and lover of song, dance and movement. I gravitate towards community based projects that bring a sense of play, curiosity and connection to adult life. With an ethic of community participation instilled at a young age, my career has been largely focussed on the development of volunteering projects within homelessness and environmental charities in the UK - supporting others to take action and contribute to their local communities and environment.   


Most recently in Canada, I have been exploring connection to the self - how this can lead to more fulfilling experiences in relation to others and help us to deepen our understanding of our place in the natural world."   

Harriet Joy

Research and Evaluation

"I’m a dreamer, a nomad, and a nature-lover.  Originally from England with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, I’ve spent the last 10 years working and travelling across the world.  I have a varied work background that has lead me to be the manager of a retreat centre in Europe – an area I feel most at home in!   


My passion is in self-development, natural healing and embodiment practices, with trainings in Reiki and Thai Yoga Massage.  You can usually find me sitting in a quiet corner drinking tea, rolling around on my yoga mat, or walking amongst the trees."

Tom Welfare 

Grant Writer

Similar to the New Earth Institue’s values, Tom’s focus has always been on community and the protection of the earth having worked in the Community Energy

 Sector across his career. Tom has recently taken the giant leap across the Atlantic to Canada and is already putting his grant writing craft to good use at the New Earth Institute. A food fanatic who loves exploring all corners of the earth through food, Tom’s

 latest culinary destination is Korea as he explores the art of Kimchi. A water baby, wild swimmer, and all-round aqua addict Tom finds peace when he is in or around water.