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Riitta H Rutanen Whaley, MS, MSPH

Instructor, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program

Riitta H Rutanen Whaley’s meditation journey began in 1987, with four months of yoga and meditation training at the Himalayan Institute in the US and India, and she have maintained a regular practice since then. She completed three professional Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) intensives from University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Center for Mindfulness (by Jon Kabat-Zinn and others); Mindfulness Yoga Teacher Training by Zen Buddhist teacher Frank Jude Boccio; and numerous silent meditation retreats. Since 2011 Riitta has taught mindfulness classes and workshops at Duke Integrative Medicine and produced mindfulness practice CDs.  As the founder of Yoga for Life LLC, Riitta’s work is informed by her intensive yoga therapy training at Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram (India), Himalayan Institute (USA), and Auroville (India). Her expertise includes yoga for cancer patients, yoga for seniors, eye relaxation, and mindfulness training for children.  Currently residing in the U.S., Riitta has also lived and worked in Europe, South Asia, and the Middle East, serving in various capacities, including as a technical officer of various governmental and international organizations.


  • MSPH, Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA, 1982
  • MS, Community Health, University of Eastern Finland, Finland, 1977
  • Certified Mindfulness Yoga Teacher, Frank Jude Boccio’s Mindfulness Yoga, USA, 2013
  • Certified Eye Relaxation Facilitator, Georg Buchheit’s Lebendige Augen, Pune, India, 2008
  • Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT), Yoga Alliance, USA, 2007
  • Certified Yoga Acharya, Yogalife, India, 2007
  • Reiki Master, The Women’s Group for Health and Wellbeing, Cairo, Egypt, 2001
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