Niveen is a mother of two beautiful daughters, energy healer, yoga teacher and practitioner, and a perpetual social entrepreneur. After a long career as a microfinance expert in the MENA region, Niveen followed her intended path as an “education-reformist” by setting up the first eco-friendly preschool and kindergarten in the MENA region, where mindfulness and yoga are taught and practiced starting at the age of 2! Niveen is passionate about her work with children, adolescents and parents in teaching mindfulness techniques. She is also a holistic counselor, Reiki Master, and Quantum Healing Hypnosis Practitioner. When Niveen is not looking for new “out of the box” ideas to effect change through her work, she travels the world seeking spiritual adventures, deepening her connection with cultures across continents, and riding her motorcycle and “peace van” to spread the message of peace…
Anamaría Amador-Miranda is a professional dancer and choreographer from Puerto Rico. She graduated with a BA in Psychology from the University of Puerto Rico and earned an MFA in Dance and Choreography from Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. Anamaría has created numerous dances including choreographies for actors, visual art installations and works related to nature. Her choreographies had been shown at various main theaters in San Juan and she had traveled with her art to different countries. As an educator, she has worked with students from all ages and her teaching experience includes schools and university environments. For the past 20 years she has studied mind body practices in relation to dance and in her journey she intertwines art, psychology and education; developing research and promoting mind body relationship awareness with a broad audience of dance appreciators.
Iris Olivia Barber is a peace educator, yoga therapist and community activist. Born high in the rocky mountains of Colorado, Olivia’s work has been deeply influenced by the grace and humble power of the natural world. An avid adventurer, Olivia’s work has led her to schools and festivals around the globe to teach workshops on the Yoga of Social Justice and the Spirit and Science of Social Change. Olivia deeply believes that the key to building a peaceful future is to start by creating opportunities and environments for young people to become peaceful, self-aware and fully empowered. Her goal in the SMBI program is to design a framework for culturally relevant, spiritually based peace building and service learning curriculums for teachers and students of all ages. Find more information about her work at irisolivia.com
I am very excited and grateful to join the 2016-17 SMBI Summer Intensive cohort. Through this program I seek both a personal and professional pivot centered on realigning myself and my work with my soul’s purpose. As an 18 year veteran in urban education, I see a critical need to bring humanity back into public education. My intention is become a leader in thought and practice on transforming how we train teachers and educate children, by connecting traditional educational practices to mind, body, and spirituality.
On I lighter note, in my personal time I love to travel, especially to see live music. I love funk, straight-ahead jazz, old-school R&B, and REAL hip-hop, having had the opportunity to see some of my favorite musicians across the US, in Canada, and in Europe. I am also a spiritual seeker, having dabbled in mind, body, and spiritual practices over the past 20 years. I have a particular fascination with western astrology, which I have self-studied for the past four years.
I truly look forward to sharing my knowledge and experiences and learning with and from other members of the cohort over the course of the program.
“We are travelers on a cosmic journey, stardust swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity. Life is eternal. We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share. This is a precious moment. It is a little parenthesis in eternity.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
My journey today started many years ago. I have been continually amazed at how the universe has always brought me to multiple destinations that were right for me at the time. Looking back I recognize that in times when I try to chart my own course, the way forward wasn’t as clear; when I let go and allow the forces that be plot the course, I end up in the most perfect places such as here and now in the SMBI program!
We are the story of the many that have come before us. With that, I am glad to make SMBI part of my story and share with others. My name is Claudia Calero, and I am deeply grateful and humbled to be part of such an important program that has such a meaningful mission. Originally from Nicaragua, I received my Bachelors in Religious Studies from the University of South Carolina. Through my life journey thus far I have learned that once one is able to abandon the concept of the self, one can proceed to work from the heart and benefit all. Being in this program, I walk forward into this branch of study in order to unfold a calling. I want to continue putting love into motion, combining with this unique learning experience in order to manifest the brilliance in humanity. With gratitude I hope to build a greater world with my training for the possibility of the heaven on earth of tomorrow.
My passion lies in helping people find connection to themselves and the world around them. From a young age my analytical mind and desire to understand human emotions initiated my exploration. This lead me to an Undergraduate Degree in Biology and Psychology and then onto developing a spiritual practice through yoga and intuitive energy work. I believe that understanding others begins with understanding ourselves. My life recently has led me to studying at the university of life through travel and crawling into bed with my fears. The moments in life when anxiety and uncertainty creep in often open the door to self discovery and unveiling life’s greatest gifts. My most valuable growth and positive life changes have happened during or after these moments of discomfort. I am beyond excited for this next chapter and the places we will go.
Mallika Chopra is a mom, media entrepreneur, public speaker and published author. Her most recent book, Living With Intent: My Somewhat Messy Journey to Purpose, Peace and Joy, was published in April 2015.
Mallika is the founder of Intent.com, a website and app focused on personal, social and global wellness. Her intent is to harness the power of social media to connect people from around the world to improve their own lives, their communities and the planet.
Her books, "100 Promises To My Baby" and "100 Questions From My Child" have been translated and sold in dozens of countries worldwide. Her varied background includes launching the Heal The World Foundation in the 1990’s with Michael Jackson, being part of the initial team to re-launch MTV in India, and serving as a Health Ambassador for the Pepsi Refresh Everything Project in the US – an initiative that gave millions of dollars to individuals, non-profits and companies to for projects in their communities. Mallika is also the founder of The Chopra Well, a premiere YouTube channel, she launched with her brother, Gotham Chopra, and father, Deepak Chopra.
Mallika has taught meditations to thousands of people. She enjoys speaking to audiences around the world, and has shared her passion about Intent at TedXSan Diego and TedXBerkeley, Ideacity, Business Innovation Factory, the Green Festivals, LOHAS, Prevention R3, Wisdom 2.0, Women’s Conferences around the United States, and the Parliament of World Religions.
She is a popular speaker at companies, and has shared ideas on balance and purpose at Coca Cola, LinkedIn and Google. She travels internationally for workshops on meditation and balance, as well speaks regularly at the Chopra Center for Wellbeing. Mallika’s writing and work have been featured in many publications including Time.com, Self Magazine, Women’s Health, Prevention Magazine, OWN, Glamour, Oprah.com, Mind Body Green, the LA Times, and Huffington Post. She currently is featured in Time Magazine’s Special Issue on Mindfulness.
Mallika has a Bachelor of Arts from Brown University, an MBA from Kellogg Business School, and is currently pursuing a Masters in Psychology with a mind body spirit concentration at Teachers College, Columbia University.
My name is Morgan-Taylor Copper and my spiritual journey has been excruciating, exhilarating, yet entirely worth it. In fact, I believe the purpose of my existence is to self-actualize here on Earth. Being accepted to the SMBI, to me, represents a confirmation that my dream is indeed about to come true.
For the past seven years I have worked for my parents' insurance company as a licensed agent. For those seven years I, too, have felt my soul slowly be extinguished by entitled clients, the minutiae, and simply not being understood or accepted by most. What I mean by the later is that in the South (side note: I am from Atlanta, GA) using the word 'Universe' as a synonym for 'God' typically is not well received.
That said, I am eager to immerse myself in a program that represents everything that I am .I am simply grateful to have the privilege to study alongside students and faculty that share my same thought bubbles, aspirations, and belief systems.
With a passion for helping girls understand the connection between their minds, bodies, and spirits, Maggie DiPasquale created the Modern Mentor Program to help foster a generation of happy, healthy young ladies. As a wellness resource for girls, she implements her program in schools and groups across the tristate area. Maggie is the author of From Stressed Out to Zenned Out and her work has been featured on Boston’s 103.3 Amp Radio, Teen Vogue, Yoga Journal, and Millennial Talk with Chelsea Krost. She’s also a 200 hour yoga teacher studying under Amy Pastore. Maggie graduated from Boston College and if she’s not mentoring, you can find her dancing! www.maggiedipasquale.com
Miracles occur naturally as expressions of (self) love." After reading this quote by Marianne Williamson and shifting it slightly to empower the self, Erin decided to leave her comfort zone marketing job, cozy Chicago apartment and supportive family and friends to backpack The Middle East and India for 11 months. She lived in many different Ashrams and spiritual centers studying yoga, meditation and holistic medicine. Erin is a Functional Medicine Health Coach and social media influencer creating more positive virtual spaces. When she isn't living the nomadic lifestyle, Erin leads young adult programs to Europe and Israel educating youth on WWII and The Zionist movement. Erin is also training tour guides and religious educators on how to teach spirituality and Peace through a "human" lens to promote Oneness. Erin runs her own practice where she works with stressed out adults and teens teaching self empowerment and care through meditation, yoga, and holistic eating to generate unapologetic self acceptance. Erin is a Certified 200 hour Yoga Teacher and meditation educator holding workshops throughout the Midwest. Her overall goal it to lead workshops internationally and to teach self-love practices in the American school system. Feel free to follow her on Instagram @bullshitfreebabe or on her virtual love site www.erinracheldoppelt.com
The astronomer Maria Mitchell once said, “We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but it is somewhat beauty and poetry.”
I am passionate about studying the influences of cognition, spirituality, and religion on the development of behavior and psychological, emotional, and physical health.
I plan to cultivate my scientific interests while espousing the beauty in science that Mitchell speaks of.
I currently work at NYU Medical Center's Department of Neurology, administering cognitive tests for an Alzheimer's Disease Research study.
Fun fact - one of my favorite books that introduced me to spirituality is Many Lives, Many Masters by Dr. Brian Weiss.
I can’t wait to continue on my journey with all of you this summer!
Soon after I discovered the healing benefits of meditation for depression and anxiety, I decided that I want to help people discover lasting change through brain plasticity, prayer and visualization. My belief is that each of us is connected to God through parts of our brain. I added many different methods to my life to get to the level of calmness and assurance that I have reached and I intend to research the best way to share my knowledge with others. My healing methods are featured on my YouTube channel, Love, Life, Meaning TV. The four sections are: Meditation Instruction, Guided Meditation, Creative Visualization and Mental Conditioning. My YouTube channel is: lovelifemeaningtv.
I was recently asked to write a biographical statement in two sentences: one about a passion and the other about a belief. This is what flew out of me:
I live with a passion for knowing the essence of something… and the seed of what longs to become.
I believe in curiosity as an approach to everything.
When I saw these sentences in black and white I knew they were not only true for me but my truth. The chapters of my life that had seemed disjointed…interior designer to hypnotherapist to director of admissions to wife and step-mom…became connected. I understood that curiosity and seeking what is at the heart - no matter the context - are the threads that sew my story together. They are the threads that bind me. They are also the threads that set me free...
If you feel lost, disappointed, hesitant, or weak, return to yourself, to who you are, here and now and when you get there, you will discover yourself, like a lotus flower in full bloom, even in a muddy pond, beautiful and strong. -Dr. Masaru Emoto
For the past seven years, Jennifer has worked as a holistic health counselor and teacher. Born and raised in California, she has resided in New York City for seventeen years. Her personal experiences in this lifetime and extensive trainings in healing work have allowed her to build a practice of clients from all over the US and abroad. Flower essence therapy, energy healing and curanderismo are the center of her work. She looks forward to her coursework and the new relationships that she will make at SMBI. Jennifer holds a M.A. from New York University in Humanities and Social Thought and has worked as a writer, editor and in the arts. She resides in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and two children.
In 2011 I was sitting on a bench in Central Park in NYC with my boyfriend falling in love; just at the time I started to practice with yoga asana and to engage in raw food cleansing. I felt an inner love like I had never before been uncovered and wondered why I or anyone else could not feel this sense of wholeness and love independent of any outside circumstance or romantic relationship; I also awakened to the potential for living healthier and happier lives through changing our diets, minds, and routines. Since then my spiritual journey has been about uncovering the love within, and re-conceptualizing how I view myself and others through learning to relate to myself differently and undoing and my fears and illusion. The more I engage in yoga, a plant-based diet, mindfulness practices, and learning a new way to think and be, the world and life become a precious place to live, the beauty of humanity, of Nature, and of the love within our own beings becomes apparent and potent; the most pure and potent beating of our own and collective hearts becomes the baseline for our happiness and wholeness.
Attending SMBI will offer the opportunity to understand spiritual healing, and the connection between the mind, body, and spirit as it is supported and illuminated by empirical research to ultimately serve others; this intersection will also help us as a culture to understand and begin to define the intersection of spirituality and science. In turn, this intersection will help to illuminate the depths and preciousness of our humanity, and our capacity to develop love, compassion and wisdom to awaken to the eternal love that resides within our hearts and minds, and how to integrate and merge these two within the container of our bodies, minds, and hearts. The support of science will only help to demystify some of the healing modalities that exist today and will help us to live more fulfilled and meaningful lives, individually, culturally, and globally. In addition to pursuing these studies, I am a mentor for self-love, 200 RYT from The Bhakti Center in New York City, and certified in Reiki.
Hi, all! I have arrived at this program through a transformative journey of Self-discovery and personal healing. After graduating from Middlebury College with a degree in English and Environmental Studies, I set off on a backpacking adventure throughout India and New Zealand. While there I worked on organic farms, conducted research in the social enterprise sector, lived out of a car, and practiced exploring without expectations. Ultimately, I ended up returning stateside due to a debilitating illness. My experience, which involved prolonged periods of bed rest and paralysis, served as a profound curriculum for awakening. It also gifted me the time and desire to consume teachings on contemplative practices, nutrition, living spirit, and psychology. Now I am eager to continue investigating the relationship between ancient wisdom and modern science. My other interests include biking, kayaking, folk music, brewing coffee, and photography.
My name is Simone Krame and I am a fun-loving, free spirit with a passion for traveling, meditating, lifting weights, hiking with my boyfriend and dog, and spending time with family and friends. I believe that Spirituality is not a state of mind or attitude; it’s a way of life in which one recognizes that the mind, body, and soul are one. I began my career at Canyon Ranch, a premier Health & Wellness Resort in Tucson, AZ where I held various positions ranging from Operations Manager of Health, Healing & Spiritual Wellness to Director of Guest Experience. After three wonderful years, I decided I wanted to take my passion for spirituality & health one step further by working with people in a one-on-one capacity and started Conscious Living & Lifestyle, a concierge lifestyle coaching business built on the principle of using spirituality as the foundation for change. The SMBI program has been instrumental in both my personal and professional development and I am looking forward to continuing this journey during my second year!
Qubie Tang is a graduate of The University of Hong Kong and works as a Social Worker in Hong Kong now. She is thrilled to discover Spirituality, this burgeoning field which brings in new psychotherapies for the existing clinical interventions. Instead of waiting for some effective spiritual interventions to fill the service gap and improve the client’s mental wellness in her profession, she wants a more active participation by enrolling in SMBI herself. Fascinated by Chinese traditional wisdom, she will devote herself into integration between Spirituality and Chinese culture, an indigenized psychotherapy.
Ten years ago, when I was 33 years old, I decided to change the job title I use when introducing myself to "life-long learner". I had gotten so tired of being asked “What do you do?”, which usually just means how do you make a living or make money, and which is to me is a boring question. When I would respond, "I am a learner !”, it aroused people's curiosity right away! They would keep asking what I was learning, and I would keep sharing what I learned. It seemed I had become a "cool person" of some sort, not someone who just thinks about how to make more money or how to achieve more success.
Over the ten years that have followed, I have systematically studied a wide range of meditation and therapy practices, including energy and breathing work, Reiki healing, and various forms of art therapy, including dance, theater, and painting. I also have practiced Satir family therapy among many other models. Eventually I chose to become a life and business coach, and in recent years I attained my Professional Certified Coach credential issued by the International Coaching Federation. I felt that through my pursuit of coaching and training I could integrate and apply all of the practices I had learned, and that is what I have tried to do.
Learning is my main work. But in addition to our professional careers, my husband and I founded and co-own and run three restaurants in Beijing -- Vietnamese and Thai -- which are quite popular and make us very proud!
I’m a native Carioca from a small town in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I moved to Seattle, WA at a young age and later attended the University of Washington where I studied Developmental Psychology and Comparative Religion. At the time, it felt like I was pursuing two completely separate interests and I was very happy to learn about the SMBI program where they could so naturally be explored together. After graduating from undergraduate, I had the opportunity to travel abroad and embark on what would become a year-long spiritual journey of self-discovery. I spent the first 4 months studying Tibetan Buddhism and meditative practices at Kopan Monastery in Kathmandu, Nepal. This experience is the main foundation behind my interest in the practice of mindfulness and how it can be used to enhance learning and resilience. I then continued my travels through the Everest region of the Himalayans, visiting monasteries and retreat caves, received my 200 RYS yoga teacher certification in Northern India, attended a series of lectures given by H.H. Dalai Lama at his home in the Tibetan refugee colony of Dharamsala, visited the Sikh Golden Temple in Amritsar, and attended Christmas mass at the church of the Nativity in Bethlehem where I worshipped alongside thousands of people from every corner of the world. I feel incredibly lucky to have found such a unique program such as this and am very excited to meet you all!
A recently-naturalized American citizen of Filipino descent, I was born and raised in Saudi Arabia (it was home for 27 years). I attended a Connecticut boarding school as a high schooler and now work at one as the director of multicultural affairs and an English teacher. I'm married to my high school prom date, and we love to travel and spend time with family. This will be my first time staying in New York City for more than a weekend, and while attending Columbia Teachers College, I'd like to check out the music festival in Central Park and connect with friends.
Hello! My name is Farnoosh – born in Tehran, raised in Montreal and lived in Dallas ever since middle school. After getting my bachelor in Crime and Justice Studies, I attended CUNY law school, and a little after graduating, decided to shift gears and enter the field of education as an inner-city Math teacher. I’m an avid writer, and I also enjoy reading, yoga, singing, blogging, meditating and cooking plant-based Middle-Eastern stews.
For most of my journey, I’ve lived unconsciously – as a hostage to my own conditioned mind. In the words of brain scientist, Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor: “The cells in my left hemisphere had been capable of dominating the cells in my right hemisphere… The judging and analytical character in my left mind dominated my personality.” And that is, because, I was never taught otherwise. It wasn’t until I shifted my perception inward and experienced a shift in consciousness - that I discovered through the fields of spirituality and science – the existence of a deeper reality that is shaping my outer world.
I believe a whole new world awaits us - one in which we are no longer reactive victims trapped in time, but empowered beings living consciously in the present moment. I’m grateful for this pioneering program, as it will provide the opportunity to explore deeper into these matters - and allow for a merge between my personal and professional journeys!
I have a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from a University in Mexico and a post baccalaureate in Special Education from Brigham Young University in Utah. Helping others find peace and healing in their lives has been my passion but life has taken me to work in the field of education most of my life.
I started working as day care teacher at a very young age. In 2003, my husband and I founded a private elementary school in Mexico. Working as a principal has given me the opportunity to use some of my abilities to create an environment where children, parents, and teachers feel as part of a community where we all have opportunities to grow. I always take advantage of any opportunity to give the teachers and students enriching experiences where they can grow in a personal and spiritual way. Yoga, meditation and art are part of the curriculum of our school.
I also find joy exploring nature, traveling, and creating art. I look forward with great enthusiasm to connect with people that share many of my interests in the SMBI.
Hi! My name is Ash, short for Ashritha, and I am a dancer, scholar, and artist. I began training in the ancient Indian dance art form of Bharatanatyam during my childhood, and continue to pursue my passion for dance alongside my academic and professional life. Through dance, I developed an awareness of my inner spirituality. With my practice of meditation and mindfulness, I explored spirituality in greater depth to reach a heightened sense of self-awareness. I look forward to deepening this inner growth in the SMBI program, in order to implement change in the world around me.
After earning my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology in 2015, I went on to work at a behavioral health center. Here, I co-facilitated group therapy sessions for individuals managing chronic mental illness (e.g. schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder) and substance abuse recovery. Alongside traditional therapeutic techniques, I taught meditation and mindfulness strategies to assess its impact on this clientele.
As a result of my passion for dance, spirituality, meditation, and my work at the behavioral health center, I embarked on this journey to immerse fully with spirituality and mind body medicine at Teachers College. My future goal is to earn a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, in order to one day see meditation and mindfulness strategies become a traditional and widespread practice for individuals, especially in the lowest socioeconomic status, managing chronic mental illness and substance abuse.
I am so thankful and humbled to be a part of the 2016-2017 SMBI Cohort!
I am honored to join this passionate group of individuals for SMBI Summer Intensive 2016! I truly believe that when we nurture an honest, open sense of understanding, we learn the most spectacular truths from all we meet. I foster a long-standing fascination with world religions, mysticism, and all things esoteric, and an absolute adoration for healing and meditation crystals. In 2014, I graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Arkansas with a degree in Creative Writing. I’ve also had the unparalleled privilege to backpack Western Europe and parts of South America. Having spent the last two years engaged in the curious minds of my 3 year old students, I’ve discovered that in all ages, places, and times, love runs rampant. We share a beautiful, unspoken connection with the Earth and each other. My ultimate goal is to help others find and cherish this bond. Looking forward to the enriching journey ahead!
Hi my name is Maggie! As a young child, my parents offered me the option of continuing Catholic religion classes, or studying spirituality. As a seven year old, desperate to never have to attend another religious class, I chose spirituality, not knowing that this decision would have a profound influence on the rest of my life. I was taught and continue to study Raja and Hatha Yoga. Reflecting on the journey that has brought me to SMBI, I would have never imagined the impact of such a simple, spontaneous decision. Through my study, I have recognized that there is more to man than the physical, mental and emotional. There is a higher consciousness, or Spirit, that is often ignored. It is through this Spirit that we are all connected. I am so excited to continue my spiritual journey through SMBI and to have the opportunity to grow and learn with all of you!
Stemming from a multicultural upbringing I have always been fascinated by human universals, cultural distinctions, individual expressions, and personal narratives. I have explored these aspects of the human experience personally, academically and professionally- as a visual anthropologist, documentary filmmaker, spiritual seeker, mother, wife, friend, daughter, sister, and fellow human being.
After a nomadic upbringing, I finally became rooted - in LA- yet then again uprooted, ultimately landing recently in New York. Discovering SMBI felt fortuitous and a culmination of all that has preceded this moment. I'm so very honored to be part of this program and cohort and greatly look forward to deepening, expanding, and connecting...!
Hello Everyone! I’m Anna, born in Poland, living in New York since 2007.
Always a Truth Seeker, over time I have developed a deep interest in clinical psychology and the wisdom of Buddhism. Currently I volunteer as a facilitator of mood disorder support groups at MDSG center in New York. I find MDSG to be a wonderful place for people to connect on an intimate level, without shying away from more complex personal issues, resulting in psychological and spiritual growth and overall well-being enhancement. Recently I traveled to Colombia to explore the teachings of indigenous peoples of la Sierra Nevada who call for necessary global environmental changes. Looking forward to connecting with like-minded students at SMBI and advancing my knowledge of psychology and spirituality on interpersonal, community and global levels.
Eli Scheier was born a guardian. A guardian of man, creature, earth and spirit. He has cultivated a community of 300 people in the Black Rock City desert and a flock of 300 sheep across the Israeli desert. Out of these deserts grew a man of resilience and strength. His passion for tending to the needs of a community are vastly developed. After a successful career on Wall Street, Eli awakened one day to questions of purpose, meaning and fulfillment. He followed his calling to Bali and India, Vidia Gurkal Ashram, Anand Pakash Ashram, Toshita Meditation Insitute, where he learned about the power of truth, stillness and non-attachment through Yoga and Meditation. Upon returning to his home state of New York, Eli was introduced to organic farming where his practice of meditation and stewardship flourished Eli's deep connection with Gaia has rooted him firmly in his presence. His laugh and wisdom will never cease to charm and inspire. Eli looks forward to spending time with you in a community setting based on meditation, understanding and spiritual nourishment.
Hi All, I’m Beth. I live in India, with Amma, (commonly known as “the hugging Saint”) and have for the past three years. I met Her six years ago, and She is pretty much my whole life at this point. I am a bit obsessed. To be perfectly honest, I am not sure I know how to hold a proper conversation about anything else… I ask your forgiveness in advance. I also studied Chinese medicine and practice Acupressure, and am hoping to set up a small practice during the time we are in New York for school. I am not sure what else to say beyond that. I look forward to meeting you all!
Carly graduated from SUNY New Paltz with a degree in Psychology and Disaster Studies. She has a passion for integrating holisitc health and well-being into both her own life and the lives of others. Currently Carly assists in research at NYU Langone Hospital examining the effects of contemplative techniques during the recovery period of various injuries and chronic diseases. Additionally, she works as an educator at the Queens County Farm Museum where she combines her deep love for nature and working with children.
I am fascinated with organically flowing between spirituality, art, and science. There is a way in which those three fields deeply reach into what it means to exist, what it means to be human, and to have this earthly experience.
I have always felt that we are more powerful than we are taught to believe and one of the most gratifying things one can do is become aware of and live from the state of their limitless potential. At this point in my life it’s pretty accurate to say that spiritual growth is my highest priority and I feel that my individual soul-searching needs to be shifted to the next, collective level.
Nearly 20 years ago I heard the call to be a midwife. I wholeheartedly pursued my passion regardless of adversity along the way and it has proven to be a most rewarding and enlightening path. I realize my purpose as a midwife is to be a guide during the transition to motherhood, and to empower women and families through the process. I have had the honor of witnessing true transformation and the power of spirit. In addition to midwifery, I am trained in Arvigo Therapy of Mayan Abdominal Massage, and Holistic Pelvic Care™ bringing knowledge of complementary modalities such as herbal medicine, homeopathy, and nutrition to my work. Again I am hearing the call, this time to enrich my knowledge of psychology, spirituality, and healing which brings me to SMBI.
I live with my amazing husband and 2 passionate and creative sons in Hamden, CT. I enjoy going to little league games, climbing competitions, hiking, biking, camping, and generally anything in nature. I love working and playing with flowers, plants and herbs.
I look forward meeting, learning and working beside you all. Sharing a common vision of evolution, healing and enlightenment is truly be a dream come true.
Hello fellow, inquisitive researcher! I cannot help but wonder what brought your fascination my way. What is your story?
Mine has been a constant seeking of answers to the "why's" in our world. My first big why was: "Why is there suffering in Vietnam? Or the world?" That question ultimately led me to the University of Hawai'i at Manoa where I earned a BA in History with a focus on Indigenous, Southeast Asian, South Asian, and Middle Eastern cultures. Also being a person in education, I found myself asking my second big why: "Why is the education system failing us?" That brought me to Teachers College where I studied in the Philosophy and Education Program, earning my first MA. My third big why: "Why am I here?" has brought me to a place that requires my application, actualization of what I have sought.
I have begun a new chapter into the inquiries of not only "why" but also "how": "How do I...?" And so, it is here in the SMBI Program that I have begun to learn the how's of others and consequently piece together the how's of myself. I hope to continue to apply what I learn and find in my education to the larger education as fulfilling my part in humanity's evolution.
Mary Oliver asks the question, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” in her poem “The Summer Day”. I always come back to these words. My name is Saranya and I am a Second Grade teacher in Boston, MA. Working in low-income schools as a teacher, I have seen the intense effects of stress on children and teachers. I am excited to embark on this adventure bringing together psychology and spirituality. I think it is necessary to focus on the emotional well-being and the whole child in education and that is what draws me to this program. I want to live my one wild and precious life by focusing on something that is meaningful to me.
Pervis Taylor, III is an award-winning celebrity life/identity coach, inspirational speaker, contributor and author. Pervis is a graduate of the University of Miami, where he received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Marketing.
After graduation, Pervis launched his career in New York City, working in the entertainment industry. He spent his early career working and interning for iconic brands such as Def Jam Recordings and the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences, also known as the Grammy’s. From there, Pervis was discovered by a talent manager who signed him to the prestigious modeling/talent agency Wilhelmina Models, where he pursued a career as a print model and actor.
After appearing in commercials, feature films and print ads, Pervis discovered his true passion for inspiring others to reach their most maximized life.
He has written two international-selling, inspirational books, Pervis Principles Volumes 1 & 2 and is co-author of the relationship book, Single Man, Married Man, which won The Award Judge Organization New Book Award for best relationship book.
When Pervis is not writing, he spends much of his time life coaching and equipping his clients for greatness. His clients range from celebrities to young adults. His young adult clients, especially young men of color, are near and dear to his heart. Pervis has been called an Emotional Health Specialist, as he aims to help young men to discover their identity through developing healthy masculinity and emotional intelligence.
He also encourages the masses daily with his #BEGREAT morning inspirational messages via social media.
He has worked with various organizations, such as New York City Department of Education, Red Hook Initiative, YWCA, DC Trust, and Young Men’s Initiative and more.
As a speaker, Pervis has delivered several keynote speeches at graduations, non-profits and national conferences. As an expert life coach, he has contributed to a strong list of publications that include Black Enterprise, Vibe, and Beliefnet, to name a few.
Recently Black Enterprise Magazine named Pervis a “BE Modern Man” for his contribution to excellence in his field of life coaching. In addition to Black Enterprise, Pervis and his work has been featured on Fox, The Today Show, Daily Mail UK, Essence Magazine, The Root, and The Network Journal.
Currently, Pervis is finishing a new book and working with new clients and organizations. Pervis resides in Brooklyn, New York.
Hi everyone, I’m grateful to be in this program!
Life is beautiful, and I can’t wait to see where this journey takes us. A little about my past… After receiving a master’s degree in economics in the UK, I immersed myself in a field I am passionate about – education. Through working in five boarding schools in South East Asia and the Middle East, I became aware of the immense impact that inner work – such as meditation and mindfulness – can have on one’s overall quality of life. This is now what most inspires me.
Prior to arriving at Columbia, I decided to defer, and spent 18 months searching for and studying with spiritual teachers and schools across India, Bali, Thailand and Mexico. This was a period of exploration where I delved into a variety of lineages that were completely different from anything I had come across before. It included healing work, energy work, 10-day meditation retreats, and meditation teacher trainings. This culminated in a 49-day period of silence, from which I sought to gain a greater understanding of myself and of the inner workings of my egoic mind.
Last fall, I started at Columbia, in the developmental psychology program. I arrived from my travels, grateful to study inner work from the perspective of western psychology. During this past year, I was elected to the student senate, hosted wellness workshops, and organized a weekly meditation group with friends and fellow seekers. I’ve since transferred from the developmental psychology program into the SMBI program.
I believe that the more that people look inside and engage in inner work, the more that love and joy can flow, effortlessly, into our lives.
My hope is to bring this work, as well as the wonders of spirituality, into mainstream avenues. SMBI is a great place to do this, and I couldn’t be more excited.
I am a married mother of three. My family escaped oppression from the former Yugoslavia in 1972 when I was two years old.
A Speech & Language Therapist, Certified Applied Behavior Analysis Provider, Certified Autism Specialist, EFT trained practitioner.
Spiritual & Health Practice:
Reiki 1 & 2, practice Transcendental Meditation, attend spiritual & energy healing group coaching, practice Yin Yoga.
Some favorite things:
Swimming or just jumping into an ocean or sea. Touring old Castles. Walking in the woods or sitting by a river. Drinking dark roast Fair Trade coffee. Reading books that are about magic or Fictional stories of witches and vampires such as All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness. Watching countless hours of HGTV.
Entenmann's chocolate chip iced cake, Bavaria lemon beer when in the Balkans, Psychic and tarot card readings. Obsessed with Game of Thrones Series.
It has been obvious to me throughout my life that connecting to the world on a universal energy level has both guided and enlightened me. I have felt the most peaceful and pure when I have been open to accepting my passions as indicators of the way in which I should direct my path. For as long as I can remember, I have felt that my path is that of a healer.
It is with humble gratitude that I have been given the opportunity to be a part of the SMBI community. Throughout my life, I have looked to connect with those who are willing to roll up their sleeves, grab a large cup of coffee and have open conversations about the universe at large. I look forward to sharing many caffeinated conversations with all of you!