Ellen was born and raised in Berkeley, CA. She has been dancer, choreographer and teacher for most of her life. Ellen now lives in Oakland where she raised two children. She began her Zen practice with Joko Beck and Diane Rizzeto at the Bay Zen Center in Oakland in 1992. In 2002 she began practicing at BZC and received lay ordination from Sojun Roshi in 2010. She was the head student (Shuso) at BZC in 2018. Ellen enjoys hiking and backpacking and helps lead the Hills and Streams sesshins.