Inviting humor and lightness into all aspects of daily life for inner growth and outwards connection

Whether it’s a wish to investigate the joyous side of life, to take oneself a bit less seriously, to release stress, to have a bit of fun, to explore your funny, to give your thinking mind a break, to embody a feeling of lightness, to inject humor into various aspects of daily life…lightfulness abides.

Lightfulness was born because a Zen Master’s disciples took themselves too seriously. What began when a Zen Master went looking for a clown teacher ( “I want to learn tools of tricksterdom” said Bernie to me) has evolved over 25 years. The trainings invite participants to activate their sense of humor and embody it in non-verbal expression. To invite one’s sense of funny into everyday activities and enjoy placing a bit of mischief, of complicity in your eyes. Lightness is an essential element in these trainings.  It’s humor in it’s most subtle form, an ease blossoming from one’s inner smile, a powerful destination. If you are wishing for more levity in life, one grounded in mindfulness, Lightfulness offers skillful tools to accompany your journey.

Unlike humor, lightness requires no interaction, it can simply be present. Neuroscience shows that lightness positively influences connections subconsciously, that it can be felt, and is potentially contagious.

So what does a Lightfulness Training look like?

“Taking humor seriously enables people to not take themselves too seriously”

Mindful movement practices: chi gong, feldenkreis, tenshingoso.

Practices inviting lightness and humor into nonverbal expression

Stress release and resiliency practices

External & interactive mindfulness practices

Levity Awareness

Enjoyment and Mudita practices

Lightful walking meditation

Personal lightfulness practices and rituals

“What sheer delight it was to study with you…inspiration tickling my daily experience this week…”

“To be here and now with the strength of the earth and the wings of a bird. Thanks”

“The bottom line for me with Moshe’s work is how it can contribute to a wider range or palette within which to move in life…. I’m finding access to a new degree of lightness and limberness through physical movement …and awareness as a powerful tool.”

“I loved the definition of ‘levity’ as a lightness and a letting-in of light. Humor is always a possibility, but not an imperative. So freeing.”

“Transformational Mindfulness”

“It was so liberating…”

“This is a workshop for everyone and anyone who wants to bring joyous mindfulness into their spiritual practice…

Still curious? Here’s an article from the San Francisco Chronicle by a reporter who participated in a 1 day workshop in 2016.



For Current Offerings (please check calendar)

Levity Pause-Pandemic Relief.
An ongoing open weekly training.

Give your thinking mind a break and engage and embody humor and lightness.

Current series: Every Tuesday through September 21st
10:30am Pacific/19:30 Central European Time
Fall 21 Series: Every Tuesday October 19-December 14
10:30am Pacific/19:30 Central European Time

There is no goal other than to enjoy. Each session includes:

Centering, gentle physical and vocal warm-up based in mindful movement (20 mins).

Lightness and levity play inviting fun and humor-full expression into an everyday activity/situation (20 mins).

Walking meditation (butoh hoko) with lightness (10 mins).

For Invite to Fall series-register through zoom:  Click here

Clowning your Zen – Humor Your Human
the Art of Not Taking Oneself Too Seriously

“Humor is that thing that ushers a person’s mind from a place of constricted consciousness to a place of expanded consciousness.”

~Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov (1698-1760)

An opportunity to release stress, to have fun, to develop communication skills and capacity for active listening. Expand your capacity to not take yourself too seriously? How? By journeying into the land of funny––your funny––exploring your capacities to express and share humor. The workshop also explores humor in it’s subtlest form-Lightness and Lightfulness-and cultivating your capacity to embody that.

An opportunity to let go of habitual rational mind, to let go of every day stress, and hand over the conductor’s baton to creative/intuitive mind, and develop personal Tools of Tricksterdom and Lightfulness.

If you imagine that Tools of Tricksterdom implies smart witty language, you will discover that more-likely tool is a well-timed glance, or a subtle gesture. We will be working in the nonverbal realm of positive humor, rather than with spoken words and their sometimes destructive/making-fun-of humor. The workshop’s explorations and practices draw from physical theater practices, clown improvisations, elements from butoh dance, qi gong and feldenkreis movement.

Clown + Zen

Occasionally, Moshe has the opportunity to offer workshops alongside Zen Masters, most often in Zen Centers. Currently he is teaching with Anshi Zachary Smith at the San Francisco Zen Center and Cornelius Von Collande at St Virgil.

Moshe has taught with Roshi Bernie Glassman, Roshi Michel Engu Dobbs, Roshi Wendy Egyoku Nakao, Roshi Heinz-Jürgen Metzger, Ashi Zachary Smith, Roshi Cornelius Von Collande. He has also brought Lightfulness Trainings into numerous handfuls of Zen Centers.

A bit more about these trainings(from the description of “The Levity of Pause” at San Francisco Zen Center):

“….We’ll be exploring this question by juxtaposing Zen and Contrarian clown perspectives in the form of a series of exercises designed to bring lightness, humor, and a kind of agility to everyday activity, as well as engagement in zazen and a series of short talks. We will explore how, especially in this year, when the radically unexpected has become commonplace, we can live comfortably and skillfully with emotions and thoughts that arise.”

Some of the Places Moshe has taught:

Spiritual/Zen Centers

Zen Center Los Angeles, San Francisco Zen Center, St Virgil, Omega Institute, Le Forum (Paris FR), Tassajara, Village Zendo, ZLMC, Buddhistisches Zentrum Hamburg, Sivananda Yoga Retreat Bahamas…


Carlton College, World Philanthropy Forum, Alte Poste Kulturforum, Warsaw Academy of Drama, Cal Institute for the Arts, Walschule Flensburg, Children’s Day School SF, Nell-Breuning-Haus…

HealthCare Clown Groups:

CliniClowns Austria, Röten Nasen Deutschland, KlinikClowns München, ClownVisite EV, HaHaHa Akademie, Dream Doctors Conference, Emergency Smile, HCIM2018, KlinikClowns Nürnberg…

Clown/Circus Schools:

TUT schule, Ateneu No Barris, Ravensburg Clown Sommerakademie, SF Clown Conservatory, Wise Fool NM, Clown Encuentro.


Paypal, Dolby, Google Arts, Center for Council, Medecins du Monde, Procurador de los Derechos Humanos…

Moshe’s Teachers

40 years of performing

Clown : Richard Pochinko and Ctibor Turba

Movement Theater: Sigfrido Aguilar, Antwerpen Mime School, Daniel Stein Mime School

Physical Theater: Phillipe Gaulier, Monica Pagneux

Voice: Roy Hart Theater (Rossignol, Ahkmatova, Saul, Vincente)

Kyogen: Kaoru Matsumoto, Juro Zenchku

Butoh Dance: Kazuo Ohno, Hiroko Tamano, Yoshito Ohno

Zen: Roshi Bernie Glassman, Roshi Wendy Egyoku Nakao, Roshi Michel Engu Dobbs.


Upcoming training and workshops


Weekly Levity Pause

Weekly Levity Pause

Levity Pause for Pandemic Relief. An ongoing weekly training. An opportunity to release a bit of tension/stress and to give yourself an infusion of levity. All are welcome, no experience necessary, just a willingness to switch gears out of your rational mind and into your world of delight.
Open drop-in (register beforehand) every Tuesday at 10:30am (PacificCoast GMT-7) ~50 minutes. October 19th-December 14th, 2021
Click on the ‘read more’ link just below for registration link and more info!

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Butoh Clown. Nov-Dec.2021

Butoh Clown. Nov-Dec.2021

November 22-December 15, 2021. Monday & Wednesdays (classes twice a week). 10:30am-12:30pm Pacific Coast Time, 19:30-21:30 European time.
Butoh Clown. 4 weeks.
Maximum participants 12. Taught in English (possibility of German assist as needed)
Develop, Expand, Deepen your  clown world! Offered online numerous times last year with enthusiastic participation, this series is for performers who already have a sense of their clown, and wish to grow their mastery.

Using butoh clown techniques, this workshop looks to deepen your connection with both your clowning and your audience. From Butoh dance, we’ll use the principal of being part of the physical and ethereal space, slowing everything way down, to deepen your connection to inner impulses of funny, to develop your capacities to BE clown (as opposed to playing at clown,)  to break down and expand moments and actions, to work with the humor in changes of expression and the clown’s and the audience’s expectations.

Upon request and with agreement, possible limited language support for German….
click the ‘read more’ link below to register and for more details.

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Deep Winter Blues (in Deutsch) w/ Cornelius von Collande

Deep Winter Blues (in Deutsch) w/ Cornelius von Collande

jeden Mittwoch Abend online, 19:30-21:00, 19. Januar – 9. Februar 2022
 Nach dem Erfolg unseres Kurses vom vergangen Jahr ( “Pandemic Relief: Clown + Zen”) möchten wir das Format mit neuen Themen fortführen. Hier ist die Beschreibung dieses Workshops:

Die alte Zen-Literatur weist immer wieder darauf hin, dass der entscheidende Moment in der spirituellen Praxis derjenige ist, in dem Erwartung und Selbstbild mit der Realität konfrontiert werden. In diesem Moment haben Sie die Wahl, im Bekannten zu verharren oder etwas Frisches, Unerwartetes und Angemessenes zu tun. Die Frage ist, mit welcher Haltung Sie am ehesten das Unbekannte wählen und wagen?

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Heiliger Bimbam

Heiliger Bimbam

Postponed until April Alte Poste.Kulturforum. Neuss (D). Registrierung noch nicht auf ihrer Website
In allen Lebenslagen. Als der Zen-Meister Bernie Glassman 1998 als Pionier zu Moshe Cohen kam, um „Clown“ zu studieren, suchte er nach humorvoll-provokanten Möglichkeiten im Umgang mit denjenigen seiner Schüler*innen, die sich selbst zu ernst nahmen…..

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