Ronya Banks is a Vipassana (Mindfulness or Insight) meditation instructor, teaching meditation to individuals and groups for over 10 years. She began meditating daily in her twenties and has been practicing for over 30 years. Sitting over a year cumulatively on silent Vipassana meditation retreats, Ronya has received instruction from over 30 different Vipassana teachers, including Jack Kornfield, Tara Brach, Rodney Smith, Phillip Moffit, Pat Coffey, Gina Sharpe, and Sharon Salzberg. She has also been influenced by teachers such as Goenka, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Pema Chodron.
In addition to a renunciation as a Buddhist Theravada nun in 2014, Ronya is a graduate of the joint IMS/Spirit Rock Community Dharma Leader training program. She also received weekly personal dhamma instruction for five years from Burmese monk and Buddhist scholar, Bhante UJotika Bhivamsa.
As the founder and lead teacher of the Asheville Insight Meditation in Asheville, North Carolina, Ronya has been instrumental in providing programs and resources for individuals and groups to enhance their lives with meditation’s many benefits. She leads and co-leads meditation retreats several times per year.
Ronya is also a certified mentor for the Power of Awareness program offered by Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach. As a mentor, she trains participants in a mindfulness teaching certification program that is sponsored by Sounds True Publishing. She has also taught mindfulness meditation in organizations such as the Red Cross, the University of North Carolina-Asheville, A-B Technical College, the City of Asheville, the Hospice Solace Center, Jubilee Community, and at yoga studios and recovery centers.
Ronya writes articles on Buddhist themes for her Blog and published the article How Buddhism Helped Me Embrace My Palestinian Heritage in Tricycle Magazine.
Ronya has an extensive entrepreneurial background as well. She owned and operated several Subway restaurants, a martial arts studio, and a financial institution. As a leadership coach, Ms. Banks has enjoyed working with business owners, CEO’s, and other leadership professionals, helping them maximize their productivity and business results.
She is also a speaker, workshop facilitator, fourth-degree black belt instructor of Traditional Tae Kwon Do, and an ordained minister.
Born in Kuwait, Ronya is of Palestinian-American descent and was raised Muslim. As a child, she felt the sting from the discrimination she experienced from her peers in the United States. As a result, she is very passionate about treating each person as a unique, valuable, and loved member of the human race, regardless of race, gender, sexual identity, or country of origin.
Ronya’s most rewarding role has been as a mother to Vince Horn and Ashley Banks, and as a step-mother to Ethan Morris.
She presently resides in the beautiful mountains of Asheville, North Carolina.