“Ian Baker’s journeys inspire others not only to venture into unknown lands on a geographical level, but also to discover the inner realms within which our own deepest nature lies hidden.” – His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama
Ian studied art history, literature, and comparative religion at Middlebury College, Oxford University, and Columbia University and Medical Anthropology at University College London. He is an international fellow of the Explorers Club and was honored by National Geographic Society as one of six ‘Explorers for the Millennium’ for his ethnographic and geographical field research in Tibet’s Tsangpo gorges and his team’s discovery of a waterfall that had been the source of myth and geographic speculation for more than a century.
Ian is the author of seven critically acclaimed books on Himalayan and Tibetan cultural history, environment, art, and medicine including The Heart of the World: A Journey to the Last Secret Place, Celestial Gallery, The Tibetan of Art of Healing, and The Dalai Lama’s Secret Temple, a collaborative work with His Holiness The Dalai Lama that illuminates Tantric Buddhist meditation practices. Ian’s latest book, Tibetan Yoga: Secrets from the Source, will be published in 2016. Ian has also written for National Geographic Magazine and has contributed to academic journals in the fields of Tibetan yoga and physical culture in Vajrayāna Buddhism.
Ian is an executive board member of Himalayan Consensus Institute and serves internationally as a consultant and lecturer in environmental and cultural heritage conservation. From 2011 until 2016 he collaborated with London’s Wellcome Trust, curating an exhibition of Himalayan art entitled ‘Tibet’s Secret Temple: Body, Mind and Meditation in Tantric Buddhism’ to which he also contributed texts, photography, and film.
Ian also leads private journeys and scheduled travel seminars in India, Tibet, and Bhutan. He has also designed and conducted academic travel programs in Tibet, Bhutan, and Nepal for Smithsonian Institution, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and National Geographic Society. Through the Hidden Lands Trust, he works actively to preserve indigenous cultures and ecosystems in the eastern Himalayas, based on local models of environmental conservation that ensure sustained benefit to local communities. Ian has also conducted extensive research in Myanmar among contemporary practitioners of Buddhist alchemy, the subject of a forthcoming book entitled Drinking the Milk of Dragons: Journeys among the Alchemist Wizards of Burma.
Ian’s speaking engagements have included London’s Courtauld Institute of Art, the Royal Geographical Society, Royal Society for Asian Affairs, Asia Society, Smithsonian Institution, the Explorers Club, and National Geographic Society. He has been featured on numerous radio and television programs including National Geographic Channel, Discovery Channel, CNN, and BBC.