Alex smyo portrait


United States


I first experienced the dharma teachings through the writing of Pema Chodron; this, along with encouragement from my wife, led me to take the Art of Being Human weekend in New York City eight years ago. The teachings have resonated profoundly ever since, and I have since been involved with Shambhala sanghas in New Haven, Los Angeles, Santiago, and now Portland. Since arriving in Portland, I have been meditating daily and working with the Shambhala Sadhana as my main practice. I have also begun to integrate meditation/awareness into my musical practice as a trombonist on a daily basis.


In my professional life, I work as a jazz writer, improviser, trombonist and anthropologist---currently completing a PhD in ethnomusicology at UCLA. My academic project involves writing about jazz clubs around the world and the creative communities that sustain them, with case studies in Los Angeles, California; Santiago, Chile; and Novosibirsk, Siberia.

While writing my dissertation, I am currently based in my hometown, Portland, Oregon. Since moving here, I have been active in the Shambhala Center as the co-founder of the Meditation for Spanish Speakers group, as a regular attendee of the Young Meditators Group, and as a volunteer assistant to the Finance Officer.

In Los Angeles and Santiago, I was also involved in young sangha activities at the Shambhala Centers, and currently serve as the chair of the Finance Working Group for the Ziji Collective, a global network of young meditators inspired by the vision of basic goodness.

Main teachers

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche


My intention around attending Warriors Assembly is to be able to deepen practice and return to the Portland Shambhala Center with new tools to serve locally and connect more thoroughly with the community.


Donors will receive a recorded thank-you that includes a brief improvised melody played by me on trombone.

Cost breakdown

$1490: Tuition and Lodging (subsidized rate)
$265: Airfare
$45: Ground Transportation
$100: Offering Bowl and PayPal fees
$1900: Subtotal
-$600: Scholarship from Portland Shambhala Center
$1300: Total amount needed

Funding until

19 August 2017 (Ended)

Amount Requested





Recent donations

  • AR - We'll be at the same Warrior Assembly! - JG

    - Jenny Guth


  • See you at SMC again, Alex!

    - Renya Krempl


  • Sounds awesome Alex, glad to support it! I just moved back to Portland so hopefully we can catch up and you can tell me about this adventure

    - Danny Bauman


  • Warm wishes for your happiness, Lynda

    - Lynda Martin-McCormick

  • With great respect for pursuing and sharing your spiritual path ~ Jonnie Schmidt (aka Eric Schmidt's mom)

    - Jonnie Schmidt


  • Have a great experience at the retreat, Alex. Thank you for making me part of it too, secondhand.

    - Sarah Young

  • Enjoy! We're looking forward to a post-WA improvisation of yours! :-) KIKI SOSO!!

    - Julia & Christoph from Vienna

  • blessings on your journey

    - Anonymous

  • KI KI SO SO!

    - Robert Reichner


  • - Frank J Pacosa


  • Let's get together when you return.

    - Camilo Marquez


  • Have a nourishing retreat!

    - Kendall

  • Good luck, Warrior!

    - Charlene

  • Happy to help

    - Tom Abrams

  • Best wishes for a profound experience, Alex!

    - Fred Strathmann


  • - Alyssa Mathias


  • Have a wonderful time! :)

    - Frederick Meyer


  • - Deirdre Waters


  • This is from Ann & myself.

    - Jack Bodner


  • Ki ki so so!

    - Annica Crouse


  • Simply, yes.

    - Anonymous


  • - Anonymous


  • Enjoy the Assembly!

    - Anonymous


  • Really glad I can help support this!!

    - Hannah


  • I hope this helps. I definitely want you to have a good experience at WA. Talk soon! Take care - Eric

    - Eric Hamilton


  • So glad you're going to Warrior Assembly!

    - Anonymous


  • ki ki so so - enjoy the travel and share the benefits with all !

    - Diana & Jim Oleskevich

  • - Kelli Gann


  • Good luck with the fundraising ... & dissertation on jazz clubs (interesting :-)

    - Chris M. & Mary C.


  • Wish I could do more! I know you will be practicing for us all.

    - Deborah Einbender

  • Best of luck to you Alex!

    - Darci E Sprengel

  • From one YMA trombonist alum to another. I wish I had time to play more these days. Good luck with your studies!

    - Peter Nelson