That's how it started..
I grew up in Alabama. In fact, most of my family still lives there. I credit my deeply religious upbringing as the origin of my unquenchable interest in philosophy. For some time, my curiosity for how life worked took me to the field of basic neuroscience research. I was a graduate student and then research assistant at the University of Alabama at Birmingham for around seven years.
In March of 2000, I moved with my two young children to Oregon. As you might imagine, the first year was quite a cultural shock, but adjust we did. In fact, we learned to thrive, and I was introduced to yoga at First Presbyterian in Corvallis, OR. Right through the doors of that very progressive church walked a teacher of Tibetan Buddhism. He began a series of classes, a series that would eventually last about seven years, examining Christian teachings through a Buddhist lens. I was in heaven. I absolutely adored comparative religion. This Buddhist teacher incorporated yoga as a technique of spiritual development. While most Westerners come to yoga through the physical practices, I came through the philosophical door, and haven’t looked back since.
Multiple certifications and fifteen years of practice have come and gone; I am still in love with yoga. My practice grants me space enough, grace enough, to navigate life with greater ease and agility. I count among my primary teachers Laura Amazzone, Sarahjoy Marsh, and Douglas Brooks. I still study multiple schools of philosophy, but my curiosity has come full circle back to neuroscience and how yogic techniques affect our nervous system.
Time after time, person after person, students report that yoga is different. It affects us differently. The difference, I believe, is the what the combination of movement, intentional breath, and meditation does to our nervous system. For example, there is a network in your brain called the default mode network. When active, we identify with labels we have adopted describing who we think we are or who we have been taught that we are. Certain forms of meditation quiet the default mode network lending opportunity for a sense of expanded identity. If fact, did you know that certain forms of meditation affect this network in a similar fashion to “mind expanding” drugs? The potential is enormous because we can train our brain, learn skills to enter specific states of awareness, and harness its potential.
Join me in a class, workshop or instructor training. Let’s explore the intersection of yoga and neuroscience together.
My training includes a MS in neuroscience, MS in special education, certification through the International Association of Yoga Therapists, 500+ hours training in teaching modalities through Yoga Alliance, over a decade of practice in various schools of yoga and meditation, as well as additional training in pain science.