Shell’s Experience

Shell Fischer, Mindful Shenandoah Valley’s founder and guiding teacher, offers more than 30 years of mindfulness training, practice, and study. She leads daylong and residential meditation retreats as well as longer meditation workshops in VA, MD, and WV, and nationally when invited.

As a teacher, Shell’s main focus is on metta (loving-kindness) practice.  Her hope is to guide her students in nurturing even more kindness and compassion for themselves, others, and for all the situations they find themselves in throughout their lives, through the practice of meditation and mindfulness.

She was trained and mentored as a Buddhist teacher in the Theravadan Vipassana (Insight) tradition in the Meditation Teacher Training Institute of Washington, D.C. by Dr. Tara Brach – one of the world’s leading Insight meditation teachers. 

In her mid-20s, Shell was originally trained in Buddhist studies at Naropa University, a Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhist-based contemplative university in Boulder, CO, long known as both the birthplace of mindfulness in higher education in the West and as the national leader in contemplative education. Along with studying Buddhism, Shell also earned a masters degree in creative writing at Naropa, studying with beat writers and poets. Prior to teaching, she worked as a journalist in New York City, where she wrote about yoga and meditation for national magazines, including Tricycle Magazine, Yoga Journal, Yoga International, and more. 

Shell was also trained as a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) teacher by Dr. Jon-Kabat Zinn, founder of MBSR and the Stress Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. For almost 7 years, she taught MBSR as an educational partner with Valley Health, a regional 6-hospital system in the Northern Shenandoah Valley, as part of its Integrative Care Program. (She still offers MBSR once a year in Winchester, VA.)

Embracing DiversityIn October 2015, Shell, she/her, completed a year-long training with a group that included white senior teachers and board members of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, D.C. called White Awake, designed to explore white privilege and the suffering of racism. She’s also an active member of Coming to the Table, an organization of people working together to create a just and truthful society that acknowledges and seeks to heal from the racial wounds of the past, from slavery, and the many forms of racism it spawned. Shell is deeply committed to shedding a light on this issue, and fostering healing through the practice and teachings.

787_1075285720890_2064_nIn 2009, after a decade of living in NYC, Shell and her husband of 27 years, Brent – an artist and partner in Mindful Shenandoah Valley – moved to the Shenandoah Valley, and now live in a little wood-heated cottage on a farm in Winchester, VA. Many of the photographs on this site were taken by Shell. 

Listen to talks by Shell
Read testimonials
Read some press about her work
Contact Shell