The Leela School

Waking up from the Trance of Suffering


Eli Jaxon-Bear | Founder & Executive Director

Eli Jaxon-Bear

Through the 1980’s Eli Jaxon-Bear led the Clinical Hypnosis Certification Program at Esalen Institute and at the Institute Dr. Schmida in Vienna, Austria. This month-long training was a synthesis of the Enneagram of Character Fixation with Neurolinguistics and Ericksonian Hypnosis. At the time, Eli was certified as a Master Trainer in Neurolinguistics and was on the Board of Examiners of the American Council of Hypnotist Examiners. Many people who went through this program are now successful therapists and teachers.

After being invited to a Trance and Healing Conference in Morocco, Eli was faced with a series of tests and initiated into a Sufi clan in Marrakesh. He was appointed head of the first Tibetan Buddhist Meditation Center in Marin County by Kalu Rinpoche in 1978. In Japan, he was presented with a Zen Teaching Fan, passing on the authority to transmit the dharma from the oldest living Zen master in 1983.

After an eighteen year spiritual search, when Eli met his final teacher, in January 1990, everything changed. Papaji asked Eli to return to the world of therapy so that “both client and therapist can wake up!”


Eli teaches with Heart, Humor and Mastery.

Dick Price Co-Founder Esalen Institute



Yigal Joseph | Administrative Director

Yigal JosephYigal has a Doctor of Philosophy, a Masters of Arts, is a New York State Licensed Psychologist and has New York State Permanent Certification as a School District Administrator. He is the recently retired Principal of Columbus Elementary School, where he implemented a discovery-oriented, inquiry-based curriculum that led to NY State recognition.

He has served as Chief Psychologist of the Corsello Centers for Complimentary Medicine; and as Director of the NYC Psychologist - In - Training Program, where he coordinated the recruitment, training and supervision of psychology interns in collaboration with ten area colleges and universities. As senior administrator in the Office of Schools' Chancellor he enabled school leadership teams to incorporate exemplary teaching and learning standards.


Stevie Leppard M.D. | Executive Director Australia, Mentor & Teacher

stevie for webMeeting Eli Jaxon-Bear in 2009 was a life-changing event for Stevie. Experiencing first-hand the powerful transformation that Eli is able to catalyze through hypnosis, NLP, and the Enneagram, Stevie discovered his true nature beyond mind. Since that time he has increasingly devoted his life to assisting in the awakening of others. Stevie completed the Leela School 3-year program and Leela Therapy Training in 2011, and since then has been a Leela School mentor for students on the spiritual path under Eli’s masterful guidance. He is excited and honoured to be appointed the executive director, as well as teacher and mentor, for the newly formed Leela School Australia.

Stevie’s background includes 25 years working in the medical field; he worked for 20 years as an ophthalmologist where he was frequently involved in training up-and-coming eye surgeons. He became drawn to the spiritual search in 2003 after an existential crisis caused him to re-evaluate the meaning, and direction, of his life.



Lisa Schumacher | Mentor & Teacher

Lisa SchumacherLisa met Eli Jaxon-Bear In 1999 and in 2002, she enrolled in the Leela Foundation’s 3- year program. She then completed training in the Leela School, earning her certification as a Leela Therapist, Mentor and Teacher. She has been trained in Clinical Hypnotherapy, Neurolinguistics, and the Enneagram of Character Fixation in the numerous and ongoing courses she has attended with Eli.

She has co–taught the Enneagram with Eli and is a teacher in the Leela Foundation Professional Retreats and Advanced Enneagram courses in the US and Europe.

Lisa operates a private practice as a Leela therapist and clinical hypnotherapist out of Ashland Oregon. She offers spiritual retreats in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Europe in support of staying true and discovering for yourself the source of true fulfillment, as was shown to her by her teachers, Gangaji and Eli.

 Hypnosis Trainer, Hypnotherapy Trainer, Hypnotherapist,  Enneagram Teacher

Jared Franks | Mentor & Teacher, Administrative Director Australia

Jared FranksIn 2009, Jared met Eli Jaxon-Bear at a retreat in Sydney, Australia. This profound meeting led to an Enneagram retreat, and in 2010, enrollment into the Leela Foundation’s 3-year program. Upon completion, Jared received certification as a Leela Therapist in Clinical Hypnosis, Neurolinguistics and the Enneagram of Character Fixation. In continuing on into the following 3-year program, he was able to act as both student, and Leela mentor and teacher.
Jared has been the Regional Coordinator for the Leela Foundation in Australia, organizing the Australian tours for Eli and Gangaji since 2010. In 2012 Jared began offering private Leela Therapy sessions from his practice in Sydney, including Clinical Hypnosis, as well as teaching the Enneagram and holding retreats around Australia and New Zealand.

Hypnotherapy Trainer, Hypnotherapist, Hypnosis Teacher, Enneagram Teacher, NLP Teacher 

Grace Pretre | Mentor & Teacher

Grace PretreGrace met her teacher Eli Jaxon-Bear in 1999 and attended her first Enneagram Retreat in 2000.  She joined the Leela Foundation's 3-year program in 2001 and then continued her training in the Leela School. Upon completion she received her certification as Leela Therapist, Mentor and Teacher. Her training included Clinical Hypnotherapy, Neurolinguistics and the Enneagram of Character Fixation.

Grace has a private practice as a Leela Therapist and Clinical Hypnotherapist in Maui Hawaii. She coordinates the Leela Foundation's yearly Maui events and assists as organizer, teacher & mentor in Eli's various retreats, both in Europe and the US.

Her life is dedicated to support the discovery of inner Peace & Happiness in everyone – which is the gift she received from her teacher Eli.

Hypnosis Trainer, Hypnotherapy Trainer, Hypnotherapist,  Enneagram Teacher

Padma Wolff | Mentor & Teacher

Padma WolffPadma attended the first two 3-year groups in the US, and has functioned as interpreter for Eli Jaxon-Bear and Gangaji in Germany. In this capacity, she has attended all their training there and also participated in all 3-year groups in Europe. Throughout the different stages and forms of the Leela School over the course of the years, Padma has been involved in various functions and benefited immensely from all of them.

She has studied psychology with a Masters degree and thesis on “Satsang and Psychotherapy” (published by Verlag Dr. Müller in 2007 / Akademiker Verlag in 2014), was certified as a Leela Therapist by Eli in 1999, and has built a successful private practice since. The main foundation of this practice is putting insights and methods of Hypnotherapy, NLP and the Enneagram on the ground and in service of self-discovery and liberation.

Since 2007 it has taken the form of an office, the “practice for meditation and self inquiry” in Hamburg, and since 2010 of the “Bodhisattva School”, both together with her partner Torsten, in which they pass on these precious gifts.

Hypnosis Trainer, Hypnotherapy Trainer, Hypnotherapist,  Enneagram Teacher, NLP Trainer

Terry Shultz | Mentor

Terry ShultzI have been associated with Eli, Gangaji and all incarnations of the Leela Foundation for the last 28 years. I met Eli and then Toni Varner at a month long hypnosis training at the Esalen Institute in 1989. I was fortunate to have been at ground zero, attending intensive trainings on Maui in the spring of 1990 and 1991, immediately after Eli and then Gangaji’s initial contacts with Papaji. I attended some of Ganagaji’s first satsangs during these years, and received certification as an Enneagram trainer, NLP trainer, Clinical Hypnotherapist and Leela therapist as I trained with Eli and Gangaji.

I am an owner and the clinical director of a counseling organization that started out with 5 therapists, offering 24hr in-home crisis services to at-risk families in Central Pennsylvania as our initial function. The naturally arising principles of True Friendship have enlivened and preserved a service organization that has grown to 60 therapists and 20 paid support staff, offering a range of permanency planning programs and resources for families. In a field where turnover is the norm, approximately a third of our therapists have been together for 20 years and another third have been here for at least 12 years. Four of the original six therapists are still together. Our staff thrives in an atmosphere of Empowerment and Self Realization, where stress is consistently seen as opportunity.

 Hypnosis Trainer, Hypnotherapy Trainer, Hypnotherapist,  Enneagram Teacher, NLP Trainer

Avram Sacks | Mentor

Avram SacksI met Gangaji on Maui in 1995, and was stopped in my tracks. Then, in 1999 at my first Enneagram Retreat with Eli Jaxon-Bear, I saw with horror the tremendous suffering my 7 fixation was causing myself and others. I vowed to do whatever it takes to end the suffering. I spent 7 years in the Three Year Program with Eli and trained to be a Leela Practitioner. With Eli’s love and support, I discovered that this was truly my life’s work.

I have been joyfully working with clients since 2001, supporting them to deepen in the Silence and to inquire into the patterns and conditioning that are still causing suffering. I am so grateful to Eli and Gangaji for bringing the teachings of Ramana and Papaji into my consciousness and for teaching me how to use my skills as a therapist to support others in their Awakening.