MIND HEALTH YOGA™ in Chapel Hill, NC 2013 - present
UNC Family Medical Clinic, Chapel Hill, NC 2016 -present
UNC Wakebrook Primary Care, Wake, NC 2019 - present
Triangle Springs Hospital, Raleigh, NC 2018
Veterans Administration Medical Center, Durham, NC 2017-2019
Y.O.G.A. for "At Risk" Youth, Orange County Schools, NC 2013 - 2016
WE Love Yoga Studio, Long Beach, CA 2011 - 2012
The Village Integrated Service Agency, Long Beach, CA 2012
Yoga Wellness Educator Certificate, 2018-present
Yoga University, Online
Hatha Yoga Teaching Certificate, 2016-2018
Loving Kindness Yoga School, Carborro, NC
Warriors At Ease Teaching Certificate, 2018
Yoga International, Online
Restorative Yoga Teaching Certificate, 2017
Yoga International, Online
Connected Warriors Trauma Conscious Yoga Training Certificate, 2016
Yoga Connection, Goldsboro, NC
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Certificate of Completion, 2015
Duke Integrative Medicine, Durham, NC
Teaching Y.O.G.A. to "At Risk" Youth Certificate, 2013
Duke University Dance Studio, Durham, NC
Applying Mind/Body Interventions to People with Anxiety and Depression, 2012
Ram Dass Center for Humanology, New Mexico
Kundalini Yoga and Meditation Teaching Certificate, 2012
Golden Bridge Yoga Studio, Hollywood, CA
Master of Arts, Educational Studies, 2003
Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, CA
I first began studying yoga, meditation and Eastern philosophy when I was in graduate school in 1994. I met a teacher who was part of a school of yoga that incorporated Kundalini Yoga with Sufi teachings, Bon (Pre-Buddhist), Taoist and Tantric Practices. I was also studying Qi Gong with a Master from China at Claremont Graduate University, where my advisor was teaching Engaged Buddhism and Mindfulness. She was also a mental health professional, close associate of the Dalai Lama and a community activist. Her values and actions greatly impacted my studies.
At the time I was in a PhD program studying Educational Studies and planning to become an academic teacher. In my Master's thesis I wrote about using the body and movement in the classroom with various Somatic practices. In addition, I focused on helping people with mental illness by researching empowerment and recovery studies, mental health advocacy and community activism. I ended up with careers in adult education, designed a child advocacy program in a District Attorneys office as part of the juvenile court dependency system and worked as a Patients Rights Advocate for people with severe mental illness.
In 2011 I thought about developing Mind Health Yoga™ when I was thinking about integrating my academic and professional background in mental health with my studies of yoga and meditation. My dream was to bring yoga and meditation into psychiatric hospitals. I had worked in psychiatric hospitals, outpatient clinics and residential living facilities legally representing patients in hearings and I taught them their legal rights and how to advocate for themselves. I also registered them to vote and worked to help pass legislation to increase funding for mental health.
Presently I have turned Mind Health Yoga™ into a program that focuses on teaching people new to yoga and people with physical limitations, in addition to a form of yoga that teaches both Kundalini Kriyas and Hatha yoga postures, breathing exercises (pranayama), meditation (mindfulness) and Eastern philosophy combined with the principles of mental health empowerment and advocacy. I want to expand possibilities for recovery and community integration for people with mental illness.
I am also in the process of designing a curriculum with a research component to understand how to teach yoga and meditation to people with mental illness, and to not exclude them from these studies and practices, like they are often excluded and discriminated against in society. Social justice for people with mental illness is also an important part of Mind Health Yoga™.
My goal is not only to focus on people with mental illness, but to also offer yoga and meditation classes privately to individuals without mental illness, small groups, couples who can benefit and who need healing from the stresses of modern life. I have tremendous empathy for people who suffer from all types of maladies. I also know based on my own personal life experience how vital yoga and meditation can be in healing from personal tragedies and improving all aspects of one's life.
I teach to reach and bring strength, peace and joy, to those who struggle in both small and big ways. I am passionate about my work and how I am able to bring health, happiness, and a tranquil environment to my students. I am grateful to all of my teachers who have shown me this path and I hope to be an inspiration to others. Namaste. (i.e. Namaste is an ancient yogic word which we use in a greeting or at the end of a yoga class, and it means in a simple way, "The Light in Me Bows to the Light in You")
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