Jalaja Bonheim

Founder, Institute for Circlework
Ithaca, NY, United States

About Jalaja


Jalaja Bonheim, Ph.D. is an inspiring teacher, public speaker, author and workshop leader who touches and transforms audiences with her clarity, passion, and courage. Fresh, clear, and compassionate, her message is heart-centered and hopeful yet also down-to-earth and practical.

Raised in Austria and Germany, the devastating impact of war led her on a life-long inquiry into the causes of human violence and the journey of healing and transformation. Jalaja received her Ph.D. in literature from Freiburg University.

In her twenties and thirties, she explored a wide range of spiritual practices and traditions as well as healing modalities including Gestalt therapy, movement therapy, massage, bioenergetics and Jungian psychology. After teaching German language and literature at Warwick University in England, she went to India to study classical temple dance and Hindu philosophy. She has lived in the United States since 1982.

Jalaja is one of the world’s foremost experts in the use of circle gatherings as a tool for healing, empowerment and peacemaking. She has trained hundreds of ministers, social workers, activists, teachers, business leaders and other professionals in the use of Circlework, a method she developed that connects people from all walks of life in ways that are intimate, authentic and life-changing. She is the founder and director of the Institute for Circlework, which serves as a hub to a growing community of Circlework practitioners around the world.

While Jalaja Bonheim trains leaders to work with all populations, her own circles focus on two goals that she views as inextricably connected: Fostering inner and outer peace, and empowering women. Jalaja has led thousands of circles for women from around the world, and travels frequently to Israel and Palestine, where she works with Jewish and Palestinian women.

Jalaja Bonheim is the author of five books, including Aphrodite’s Daughters: Women’s Sexual Stories and the Journey of the Soul, which is explores the central role of sexuality in women’s spiritual journey. Witty, wise, entertaining and compassionate, Aphrodite’s Daughters has changed the lives of thousands of women.

Jalaja Bonheim’s latest book, Evolving Toward Peace: Awakening the Global Heart is being heralded as “exciting, compelling and groundbreaking,” “brilliant and visionary” and as “beautiful and vitally important.” Written for anyone who has ever wondered, “What’s wrong with us?” it reveals the inner dynamics that are keeping us trapped in unsustainable habits. Jalaja shows how these habits evolved, how they affect us and how we can move beyond them to create a peaceful planetary community.


English, German

Areas of Expertise

Women & Religion, women & mindfulness, Empowering , Empowering people, creating solutions, Peace Activism, Peace & Confidence Building , Peace & Human Rights Issues (Relating Religion & Religious Ident, Speaking - Motivational, Speaking - Leadership and Coaching, Consciosness