I am soon to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and begin this Master’s program. I moved to North America four years ago from Pakistan to pursue my undergraduate degree at Queen’s University in Canada. Moving so far away from home in my late teens was both scary and exciting and quite arguably the best decision I made. I consider myself to be extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to grow and learn in an environment that was kind and accepting, allowing me to come into my own. As I embark on this new journey, I hope to bring along with me a deep sense of gratitude along with a sense of responsibility to make the most of what God has blessed me with. I seek to combine my passion for my faith and spirituality with my passion in the science of psychology and be able to show what a positive impact it can have on us individually as well as collectively. I really look forward to moving to NYC, and to meeting all of you!
Incorporating spirituality into musical performance and engaging students are important to me. As Director at the JALC Middle School Jazz Academy, Bronx, I implement mindfulness as a major part of our learning day. We have a morning meditation, peer coaching and mindful dismissal. As I teach, I learn a lot by watching and listening to shared reflections of students on a weekly basis. As a Jazz Ambassador for the US statedepartment, I conducted and participated in a variety of interactive educational seminars and performances. My mindful mantra, “When we teach, we learn twice,” reminds me to be a learning student as I experiencevarious cultural exchanges. My journey has now led me to SMBI. My goal is to integrate spirituality and music in counseling adolescence and adults. I am so excited to be a part of the SMBI family to share and learn with everyone.
Shoshana has held a life-long interest in the intersection of spirituality, health and psychology. With a BA in psychology from UNC Chapel Hill and an MSW from New York University, Shoshana practiced as a mind-body psychotherapist at the Continuum Center for Health and Healing. There, she also researched complementary modalities and helped develop integrative medicine programming. Having found yoga and meditation to be powerful tools for personal development, Shoshana completed yoga teacher training at Laughing Lotus Yoga Center. A graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, she brings holistic wellness perspectives into her teaching and daily life. Shoshana now lives in Vermont, raising three beautiful children and teaching yoga part-time. Shoshana would like to explore multi-modal therapeutic interventions, spiritual determinants of health care decisions, and strategies to support women’s transitions into and throughout motherhood.
I, Maddie Callis, hail from Columbia, Missouri and will be forever grateful for the hardworking values and practicality instilled in me from birth. My path to arrive at the Spirituality Mind Body Institute has taken me through Memphis, Tennessee, Buenos Aires, Argentina, a first stint in New York City, and most recently, Rio de Janeiro Brazil. An indirect route, but without thejourney, I would never have found my passion to investigate how to invoke conscious decision making in leadership roles. I enjoy traveling, especially in Latin America, eating delicious food, speaking Romance languages, reading, writing, rituals, and sharing my yoga practice. I look forward to meeting everyone and getting to know you all.
I’m a transgender man, a seeker, sometimes silly, mischievous and often quiet. I work both as a research assistant on Native-led community research initiatives concerning Indigenous identity development and traditional knowledges, and as a psychotherapist within trans and Indigenous communities in Toronto, Canada. Recently, I completed a MEd in Counseling Psychology at the University of Toronto, where I was fortunate to receive counseling training that incorporated Indigenous philosophies. My work in transgender andIndigenous communities focusses on strengths-based approaches to healing, and on fostering clients’ belief in their own wisdom. As I join Columbia's Spirituality, Mind, Body Intensive this summer, I am hopeful about the paradigmatic shifts this program, and other like it, will foster within the Western psychological system, such that other ways of knowing are increasingly honored, partnerships with diverse communities are formed, and much needed holistic healing is more deeply incorporated into Western practice.
Jeanine Cerundolo is a workshop facilitator, yoga instructor, writer, and personal development coach. She dedicates herself to the arenas of personal transformation, healing modalities, and community building. Jeanine supports others in "following their bliss," as she believes that much lasting change begins from the inside out. After graduating from Tufts University, Jeanine worked as Site Coordinator withLIFT-Boston where she partnered college student volunteers with low-income clients at the CambridgeMultiService Center. She then worked in alternativeeducation at Eagle Rock School in Colorado, serving “at-risk” youth in an engaging and mentorship-focused classroom setting. Most recently, Jeanine has co-facilitated 20 -week "women's circles" around cultivating passion and purpose, and has designed and deliveredcurriculum to unite and inspire mission-driven entrepreneurs during powerful weekend summits. Jeanine's passions also include creative expression(poetry & dance!), and meditation.
Hello, my name is Deborah Eagan and I am excited tobegin this new journey with you. Five years ago, I was lucky enough to join a newly created non-profit organization whose mission is to work with low income high school students to help them connect to their full potential and to make a plan for their future. We support our students through character building workshops, job prep programs, college prep programs, community service programs and one on one coaching.Working with this group has changed my life in significant ways. I know there is so much I can learn from the SMBI program. I’m excited to grow in a newdirection and to develop a vision to bring back to the students I work with to help them develop a deeper connection to their best self and their future.
Sarah Gonzalez is a Master’s student in the Spirit Mind Body Institute. She is completing her studies in Clinical Psychology while specializing in Spirituality and Child & Family in the Clinical and Counseling Psychology department at Teachers College, Columbia University.
Currently, she serves as the Parent-Partner Coordinator at Morgan Stanley's Child Hospital- New York Presbyterian and Columbia Medical Center in the Pediatric Psychiatric Clinic where she acts as a liaison between families and clinicians and facilitates Psycho-educational groups on mindfulness and positive psychology. Previously, she’s worked at the Omega Institute, 92Y, and NBC Universal. She is a current Research Assistant in Dr. Lisa Miller's Spirituality Lab and is a frequent speaker at the Fashion Institute of Technology on "Personal Growth, Perseverance, and Inner Callings”. Her interests include spiritual awakenings, positive psychology, and child development. She is multilingual in English, Spanish, Italian, and Galician.
Hello! My name is Angelica and I am thrilled to be an integral part of the Spirituality Mind Body network at Columbia! My journey into understanding the mind-body link began at a very early age, and was originally instilled in me while in utero by my intuitive and free-spiritedmother. It has been said that I am aptly named, as I experienced a spontaneous healing miracle. For the past 6 years I have been pursuing careers as both a Licensed Master Aesthetician, and more recently, a Licensed K-12 Health Teacher. My aesthetics career satisfies my creativity, and being a health teacher has awarded me the opportunity to mentor several adolescents and support the development of finding their innermost self. In teaching Health Education, especially at the high school level, one cannot delve very far into the issues and topics of health without addressing mental health and the emotional and spiritual landscape. It has become my goal to learn counseling techniques to foster and facilitate others to seek a life of meaning and balance at an early age, and to inspire others to live in a higher state of consciousness for a more purposeful, enlightened world. Through the practices of stilling the mind, meditation, and visualization, I have learned to trust and live by the intuitive information that springs forth from these practices. The more I listen to the thoughts and feelings that surface within, the more authentic my life becomes. Beautiful scenery and music is what recharges and nourishes my soul. Pursuing the Clinical Psychology and Counseling Spirituality Mind-Body Masters Degree at Columbia is without a doubt, a time for evolution, growth, introspection, and community. I very much look forward to the time, space, and opportunities this program provides to forge meaningful connection with individuals of like-mind, heart, and spirit! Namaste!
My name is Christa Griggs, and I am so happy to be ‘home’. For many years, I have worked in business consulting. However, I knew that there was something more I wanted to do with my life – to find a profession that is an extension of my personal values and truth. The SMBI’s program is a major leap in this direction, so I couldn’t be happier or more excited to be part ofsomething so visionary and pioneering. My personaland professional goals include integrating spirituality into healthcare to not only support and also drive the healing process across body, mind and spirit through business & technology enablement. In the meantime, I am continuing to walk down my own personal healing path. I can’t wait to see what a group of like-minded individuals can do collectivel
Hello everyone! My name is Stephanie and I am from Westchester, New York. I am a recent graduate from Fairfield University with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in English. Growing up, I’ve always found my passions to be spiritual. I sought refuge in books and in the piano, and until this day those continue to be the most important form of therapy to me. This only grew as I pursued my education at Fairfield University. During my years of undergrad I dedicated a lot of my time volunteering at Head Start, which is a programthat focuses on providing education and care to underprivileged children. Through this program I discovered my love for psychology, and grew very passionate about becoming involved in this field ofstudy. After graduating from Fairfield University, I spent the past two years studying at and taking classes from Harvard University. During this time I took severalcourses focusing on therapy and unique forms of it,such as art and music therapy. I also went on to study the psychology of creativity, which is very involved in spirituality. I am looking forward to integrating the world of psychology with the world of spirituality.I am thrilled to be involved with such a diverse group of scholars! The field of psychology is constantly growing, and being a part of the Teachers College at Columbia is certainly the right place to be to watch this expansion. I look forward to being a part of this change with myfellow classmates. See you all in New York!
Who am I ? Palestinian Canadian living in Dubai. What do I do? Chemical Engineer working at GE Oil &Gas as Drilling Commercial Manager. Previously, Brand Manager at Procter & Gamble. Why am I here? To understand how the mind works, what are the underlying reasons behind our fears and insecurities and how we can address them, while connecting with our body and spirituality. And? To share my leanings with others and help relieve their emotional suffering. What do I love to do? To dance, travel, hike, read,spend time with family, continuously learn and improve and have new experiences (another reason I am here)What are my traits? Curious, loyal, dedicated, fair, respectful Why am I really here? To learn how to live wholeheartedly, how to practice mindfulness and to find my life passion!
As a student of both psychology and spirituality I have learned that human nature is a combination of brain and mind. We are both the subject and the object. As a seeker I have learned that the quest holds what is being sought. We are both the questioner and the replier. As a father I have learned that the child is the student and the teacher. We are both the listener and the speaker. As a husband I have learned that friendship frees the self. We are both the lover and the beloved. As a person I have learned, well… that I am still learning from life. It is a teacher, a student, a child, a lover, a seeker, and a friend. Most of all, it is what it is.
Julia is a feminine coach, celebrating and empowering feminine essence in women. She is a founder of HappyFeminine programs, JourneyDance Guide and certified teacher of Art of Feminine Presence practices. Combining movement, awareness and leadership practices, she empowers women courageously step into their feminine essence and to become authentic leaders of own life.
Julia has been working on coaching individuals in personal leadership development on a daily basis, integrating spiritual growth into their lives and creating long-term results.
At the same time, she is a world traveler for 10 years, visiting and volunteering in countries around the world. Creating communities of powerful authentic leaders around the world.
New Yorker living mostly in San Diego. Lifelong believer and practitioner of healing and spirituality. Playwright, journalist and tech geek wannabe. Creating and studying interdisciplinary collaborations focused on how we approach large life issues in all areas but particularly focused on aging and end-of-life. Fascinated with how to share triggering information in engaging, effective and innovative ways. Love putting together those who know what to say with those who know how, where, when and why to say it. Spirituality at Columbia? Arequired reading list of books no one has to require me to read? A program, faculty and cohort of like minded individuals looking to explore and expand our innermuscles and outer reach? A gift and a dream come true. Practicing, only somewhat successfully, being here now, while simultaneously, waiting and wanting to be there now.
Hello everyone, I'm Rishi from Long Island, New York! I'm absolutely thrilled to join this dynamic and multifaceted cohort! A little about myself: Upon completion of my bachelor's degree at Stony Brook University, I set out abroad to attend medical school, with the goal of incorporating an integrative and holistic approach to healthcare. After completing the basic science portion of my medical education, I wanted to further explore the spiritual and psychosomatic component of healing, from a medical perspective. Consequently, I decided to take time off prior to commencing my final clinical years of medical school to embark on this journey of spirituality, and mind body practices. I hope to focus on evidence based research pertaining to the benefits, and applications, of yoga and mindfulness in a clinical setting. I sincerely hope we can all collaborate and share via my website (www.mindbodymed.org), all the amazing things we will learn over the next year through this unique opportunity at the Spirituality Mind Body Institute of Teachers College, Columbia University!
Scott Morgan has been teaching communication skillsfor over 20 years. His clients include the NationalInstitutes of Health, Mount Sinai, the Mayo Clinic,Merck, Celgene, NASA, EPA, and several universities: Harvard Medical School, UC Berkeley, UNC Chapel Hill, Cornell, Maryland, Ohio State, Minnesota, Duke. He has 30 years of broadcast experience and teaches media and communication strategy to many think tanks in the Washington DC area. He is a Senior Associate at theLeadership Academy (AILA) of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Scott graduated with honors from the University of California, Davis and authored the book Speaking about Science published by Cambridge University Press (2006). He is an ordained minister in Divine Metaphysics and recently launched 3rdi, the first game-like app designed to bring mobile mindfulness to teens and young adults.
I feel very fortunate to have California’s quiet deserts, vast mountains, and radiant oceans as my teachers. My love for Mother Nature heartened me to study environmental sciences at California State University, Fullerton. With this discipline, I sought to heal our “Pale Blue Dot.” During that time, I viewed life outwardly. Problems that cause suffering like pollution from industrious overabundance really rattled me up! Oneglorious evening I was isolated atop an island promontory where I felt very grounded and clear-minded. Over my right shoulder to the west, our mighty sun was dancing gracefully on top of the Pacific Ocean. However, over my left shoulder was something more awing—it was the island. There was so much beauty looking in to the island. That moment, my outward point of reference shifted inwardly. That moment, my Soul awakened, it was my moment of “kensho,” and soI began to follow my intuitive heart. Mindfulness and spiritual practices provide me with the boundless curiosity to want to compassionately learn about all sentient beings, my Self, and the Cosmos. I am now on my rightful path that involves human healing through self-understanding and interconnectedness. I have so much faith that my journey will be faced with unexpected challenges and opportunities for growth within and without. I am grateful for everything and should like to always be present. Thank you for reading. Shanti.
Charles Ethan Paccione has always been interested in the embodied mind: the notion that our mind and body participate in a strong bidirectional communication that can modulate and improve our health. He performed contemplative neuroscience research at the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with Dr. Richard Davidson and Dr. Lisa Flook where he researched how meditation expresses cognitive, emotional, and behavioral changes in toddlers, returning combat veterans, and Tibetan meditators. Charles developed the Contemplative Therapy for Cancer Care program at Albert Einstein College of Medicine for cancer patients suffering from psychosomatic pains, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress. In April of 2013 he gave a TEDx Talk titled Mindful Medicine about his research and work with patients. He has on multiple panels and published several articles in various neuroscience journals, medical journals, and popular science magazines. Charles holds a Bachelor of Arts from Sarah Lawrence College and a Masters of Science from Columbia University’s Narrative Medicine Program at the College of Physicians and Surgeons. Charles is currently receiving a second Masters Degree in the Spirituality Mind- Body Clinical Psychology Program at Columbia University ́s Teachers College and working as a researcher in neuropsychology at the National Advisory Unit (NAU) for Neuropathic Pain and an integrative mind-body therapy consultant at the Pain Management and Research Clinic at Oslo University Hospital. Charles currently resides in both New York and Oslo, Norway.
There is this quote from Alan Alda that says, You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition; what you'll discover will be wonderful, what you will discover is yourself. It largely sums up both my personal and professional life thusfar. Born in Germany, spent time growing up in Croatia, Germany, and France and moved to Los Angeles, California when I was 19 years old where I have been a nanny, student, project manager, and company director. Challenges and obstacles over the past 2 years havebeen immense blessings without which I would have not come to experience the spiritual aspects of life, of the universe, and of humanity. It has also opened my eyes to the invaluable benefits of presence and mindfulness practices, acceptance, humility and compassion. It has changed my point of view on what I want to do in life and led me to this program. I am grateful for this next step in my journey and look forward to meeting each of you!
I currently live in Toronto, Canada and completed my schooling at The University of Western Ontario. My fascination with the mind led me to a BSc in Psychology and a MSc in Neuroscience, with a focus on imaging.Throughout school I found myself exploring the brain through research by day, and furthering the inquisition of my own consciousness through yoga, meditation, and Buddhist psychology, by night. This program is a unique opportunity to combine science and spirituality to more fully capture the mind, and I couldn't be more thrilled to be a part of it. My current interests include exploring the potential role of psychedelics as a tool to expand consciousness and to access spirituality. A recent resurgence of psychedelic research has revealed promising effects of psychedelic -assisted therapy in the treatment of PTSD, addictions, and anxiety in end-of-life care. Another related vein of interest is the topic of death itself. Death is an incredibly difficult and uncomfortable reality that we in the west tend to avoid discussing. Connectionwith spirituality can help to open our minds and conversations in order to reach a level of societalacceptance and preparedness surrounding death and dying. My ultimate goal is to research and develop the potential applications of entheogens in medicine and psychotherapy.
Around 2012 I began my initiation to spirit. Through knowledge and understanding, I started to apply principles of cosmic law that granted me wisdom along my path. I started to see the microcosmic and macrocosmic connections between individuals and theworld around us, illuminating truths that became less obfuscated the more I grow. The current human condition greatly concerns me. As many of us collaborate, I hope to impact consciousness with you, towards true freedom mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Healing and shifting consciousness is my personal objective while here. Before I incarnated here, I made an allegiance to earth, humanity and animals, not to a nation, kingdom, or controller’s personal interests. This allegiance was to help guide humanity towards harmony, to understand true nature and evolve, as well as influence higher conscious values like freedom, individuality and responsibility. These values get distorted with ideals like jingoism, nationalism, egoism and other self-destructive ideologies that are toxic to True Will and self. That being said, I look forward to contributing to The Great Work with you all, as well as learning from each of you.
I'm a proud southern California girl, born and raised. As a trained biologist with a passion for all things cancer biology related, this career course has taken me across the globe and blessed me with a number of amazing opportunities for growth, and allowed me tomeet inspiring people. I also have a volunteer history in public health and palliative care as well as teaching experience in yoga and other energetic healing modalities. Through my interests over the past decade, I’ve come to recognize the need and demand to increase focus on patient care, health and healing through a holistic scope. I look forward to not only enhancing my own personal spiritual practice, but I’m excited at the prospect of bringing these ideals to the masses alongside my fellow colleagues and classmates in this year’s class.
I am a graduate of Cornell University. I’ve been a labor leader, a teacher, an entrepreneur and a real estate developer among other things. I am currently CEO of LaborWorks Software, Inc. I am also managing partner of a real estate firm that develops and builds mixed-use projects by transforming suburban commercial districts into livable suburban villages through the permitting process thereby creating a more coherent and integrated sense of community in stakeholders. I am at Columbia to enhance my own ability to articulate and advance the notion that spirit and health, both physical and psychological are inextricably tied together. My hope is that I might develop an ability to validate and substantiate some of my ideas as they relate to thespirit and validate the notion that the power of Love is not only redemptive but it can be the salve that heals the conditions that make our bodies susceptible to psychiatric and physical illnesses.
I recently came into my calling to do mind-body healing work, through my own personal healing and wellness journey. I received a Masters in Public Health from Drexel University, but after a short time of working in the field, I came to realize that it was time to make a shift. I had completed some training in Reiki, Integrative Energy Therapy®, mindfulness and other mind-body holistic therapies, but wanted to gain a deeper understanding of the connection between spirituality and mental health. My prayers were answered when I found this program at just the right time! It’s my desire to learn how I can create spiritually centered programs to support women who are seeking healing through mental and physical traumas and diss-ease. I live with the purpose of being a vessel of Light for the Love of the Creator to flow through, and it is It is my passion to use my gifts, to heal our planet and co-create a better world for us all. I am playful free spirit who enjoys music, taking pictures of flowers, watching the animals play, dancing, singing, blogging and spending time in Nature! I have awakened to a new passion for life and I look forward to growing on this journey with you all and this program!
My Name is David Schuh. I am originally from Cincinnati, Ohio. After graduating from Vassar College with a degree in economics, I decided to move to Kagyu Thubten Choling (KTC), a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Wappingers Falls, NY. I spent the majority of the following 6 years living at KTC andimmersing myself in the practice of meditation and the study of Buddhist philosophy. During this time, I spent over 15 months in isolated intensive retreats, studying and practicing a variety of different forms of meditation. While living at KTC I became increasingly interested in the dialogue between eastern spirituality and western psychology. I am interested in further developing my knowledge and experience and learning how to integrate it with psychology in ways that will worktowards the greater health and well-being of our modern world. I'm grateful and excited to have the opportunity toparticipate in the SMBI program and look forward toseeing where it will lead
My name is Ian Sholl and I graduated from Fordham University in the Spring of 2015 with a B.S. in Psychology. I grew up in San Diego, California with my parents and two older sisters. Sports have always been the center of my life, and recently I have begun toexplore the mindful and spiritual aspects of surfing, running, and cycling. My yoga practice has perpetuated a passion for the integration of psychology, spirituality, and athletic endeavors. I especially love hot Vinyasa yoga because of the emphasis the practice places onminding your breath and alignment while maintaining a dynamic flow. I think that being mindful of our breath is one of the most powerful and underrated things thatwe can do to control our emotions and overall mindset. I am undecided about my future career plans, but I am interested in receiving my PhD in Clinical Psychology and conducting research and psychotherapy. Four things you should know that I like: I like to read (favorite book: Meditations by Marcus Aurelius) I like to travel (favorite city: Barcelona, Spain) I like food (favorite food: Thai food) I like to ride bikes.
Although my name is Mark, my morning coffee buddies affectionately nicknamed me “Question Mark”. I come to SMBI with an open heart, looking inside to find new meaning for the next phase of my life. I was raised in the suburbs of San Francisco, and I am a graduate of the University of California – Santa Barbara with a degree in Political Science. My career has been in corporate real estate, both as an executive at Bank of America, and as principal of my own firm. By contrast, I have been trained in Spiritual Direction at Stillpoint – Ghost Ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and I am an Associate of a Benedictine monastery. A current interest is spirit in video storytelling as it relates to the power of digital media, a way to connect from the heart, that we are one. I am also passionate about architecture, and I’m a minimalist.
When studying for my B.A. in music, I found my focus took a shift from wanting to work as a full time musician, to discovering a state of emotional and physical freedom that has superseded my love for writing and playing music. This acted as a catalyst for me into the world of spirituality, awakening me to foreign lifestyles that I otherwise would have never explored. As somebody who has directly experienced the healing powers of Ayurveda, Yoga and Buddhist philosophy, Icannot wait to further explore the effect an integrative healing approach can have on a persons well-being. Also, having recently been traveling across North India, Bhutan and Nepal, I believe it is time to alert the west of its spiritual deprivation, and help others to live in unity with themselves and the world around them.
Yali Szulanski is a writer, speaker, teacher, and creative guide whose passion is to uncover strength and healing within herself and others. She created The "I Am" Project in 2012 to provide students with tools and techniques to relieve stress and tend to themselves in productive and healthy ways. She combines her studies in psychology, energy healing (Reiki), physical fitness instruction (Boxing, Diving, Zumba®, and Yoga), andcreative therapies in a way that allows students toaccess their innate strength. She shares techniques that support recovery and long-term healing. She currently has active programs in New York and Philadelphia, and has taught in classrooms Haiti, Singapore, Israel, and Paris in hopes of reaching communities everywhere. Yali also speaks to students about her personal journey of recovery from personal struggle and her current work to offer insight and motivation.
Hi Everyone! My name is Alexandra Torres, but I like to go by Alex. I am 22 years old and just graduated from Florida State University with a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Sociology of Health and Aging. I could not be more excited and blessed to be a part of the SMBI cohort this summer! For the past 4 or 5 years, I have been actively practicing yoga and deep meditation, which I found helpful in my educational area of Psychology and eventually lead me to this program. I have always loved the mind body connection as I wasan athlete for 7 years and became well aware of howthe mind can not only enhance but also limit your physical well-being. And with that, I found my passion for helping others overcome the amazing obstacle that is the mind. I look forward to working with others who have similar interests and growing both mentally and spiritually from my time here at Teachers College.
Luke is an aspiring member of the Gaudiya lineage of Vaishnavas stemming from Sri Krishna Chaitanya, within the Brahma-Madhva Sampradaya (disciplic-succession). He currently resides in an ashram at the Hare Krishna Temple of Chicago. Growing up in a Catholic family in the suburbs of St. Paul, Minnesota, he was introduced to Eastern spirituality at a young age. His journey led him toNorthwestern University to pursue a B.A. in Comparative Literary Studies. Since 2011 he has been immersed in the practice of bhakti-yoga, as taught in India’s ancient scriptures, especially the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad Bhagavatam. Realizing the need for deep emotional healing in progressive spiritual practice, Luke hopes his research with the SMBI will help him develop a devotion-oriented model for emotional care based on the teachings of the Bhagavad-gita and insights from contemporary research in psychological phenomenon.
Our youngest child left home for school and then the dog died; the nest was empty and my career as a full-time, stay-at-home mom had ended. What in the world was I going to do to fill my days? It wasn’t too hard to figure out. I started practicing yoga, and became a yoga teacher. Yoga introduced me to meditation, and after several years I became a qualified Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction teacher. I am interested in the intersection between yoga, meditation and mental health, and went on to get a degree in mental health counseling. I also like to hike, swim, cook, and travel – especially in the company of family and friends. I look forward to being part of the SMBI community, and to continuing to explore how yoga and meditation can help therapy patients reduce anxiety and depression.
The wave does not need to die to become water. She already is water. For the past three years, I've worked in nonprofit, alternative art organizations around New York City. Through this work, I've become immersed in the possibilities for creative outreach across the world. Restless, I ask myself, how can I contribute and participate? A system that integrates the arts, health, and community practice does not exist today. The future our generations are tasked with bringing forth begins with the individual and moves toward the collective; by expanding and deepening the ways in which we relate to ourselves, others, and our social environments, progress becomes more than a word or a promise, it is experience. My interests span bioenergetics to the spatial politics of agriculture, artificial intelligence to sustainable development -- can we design the dream of a common language?
I’m a British/American independent creative producer, constellating people, projects and passions. I have been assistant to both quiet and prominent fine artists, photographers, film directors; and producer on feature documentary films, around the world– mainly in London, NYC, India and Africa. I directed my first short last year about my father’s extraordinary journey of physical, psychic and spiritual transformation from architect to artist, by way of a major stroke. It was both his journey, through surviving brain damage and growing into his new self, as well my own consequential, evolving experience of the Mind-Body-Spirit relationship that has lead me to my studies at the extraordinary SMBI, which crystalizes the vast terrain of my inner and outer studies. I am currently developing a guide to the spectrum of ancient and cutting edge psycho-spiritual practices worldwide, as well as film projects surrounding the mystery and awe of being human, with a particular interest in how Virtual Reality can be used therapeutically and technically to explore reality itself.
My heart is with the work of facilitating a space for people to explore what feels authentic to them in their body and in their spirit. This is the ongoing work of a lifetime, but finding ways to foster sustainable and healthy relationship to self is vital for us all. I am a strong believer in the power of co-creation and uplifting one another. Through relationship to others we can begin to recognize and claim our power within ourselves, learning to honor our gifts and greatness along the way. What could be of greater importance than cultivation of deeper connection with self, others and the world? When we learn to find peace and acceptance within your physical bodies, minds, and souls, life begins to unfold in a beautiful and meaningful way. There is an infinite sea of potentiality that exists beyond our limited perceptions of ourselves and what we believe ourselves to be. When we bring awareness to that place within us that is limitless, our whole world changes.
Leigh Winters is a New York native and recent graduate of Wake Forest University. At Wake Forest, Leigh became involved in research involving the mind-bodyconnection and was eager to learn more. In fact, interest in yoga and meditation inspired her thesis in the University's Honors Sociology program: “Fashioning a Gendered, Trendy Identity: The Casualization of Fashion and Growth of Athleisure in the United States,” which investigated the growing casualization of American fashion by economically analyzing the female “athleisure” activewear trend. Having had the opportunity to live on three different continents growing up, Leigh loves to travel and has a contagious, adventurous spirit. Her other passions include learning about art and fashion, voraciously reading non-fiction, and trying her hand at something new!
For the past 15 years I held an academic position in Psychology in Beirut. Up until approximately a year ago, my professional career was devoted to basic experimental research in the cognitive sciences, teaching and creating or revamping Psychology programs in the region. However a succession of professional and personal experiences have led me down a new career path. Today my focus is on understanding the brain-basis of spiritual development and to use clinical approaches and wisdom traditions to support the spiritual development of children and youth. For me, children and youth are especially unique leaders in societal transformation-especially within the Lebanese context. The following poem expresses somehopeful feelings about the relationship between adults and youth living in chronic societal conflict: and then I had this dream that the cursed ancestralclock would stop –the clock springs would pop. the repetition of stale rancid history would stop. And I looked at her, eyes of lakes and heart of light, and gave her this broken clock. Passed on from mother to her little frock. And we held hands, her and me- daughter and mother,soul friend and eternal glorious lover. We knew--her before me—that we, together, were free-as free as we were born to be. Now in synchrony- mother and daughter, daughter andleader, leader and visionary, deliverer and bird offreedom. The clocks are all broken. The timekeeper’s gone mad. Now is now and we are here, together, to figure out the rest.