Navin Ahmed is a Fulbright Scholar (2019 cohort) from Pakistan. Before arriving at the Spirituality Mind-Body Institute, she was working as a full-time yoga teacher at her concept yoga studio ‘The Tranquil Trail’ in Lahore. Her class offerings are geared towards women and focus on creating a sacred and safe space to balance, explore and nourish the Self. Navin believes in healing, sharing and creating transformative change, first within and eventually without. Her areas of interest include yoga therapy, mindful movement, perinatal and maternal health, and multi-faceted integration of the Self. Previously, Navin holds a bachelor’s degree in Management Science with a minor in Literature from the Lahore University of Management Sciences.
J. graduated from Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota in May 2019 with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor is Spanish Literature. By his second year in undergrad he began presenting at international, national, and regional conferences focusing on several of his research projects that were supervised by Dr. Andy Johnson and Dr. Angela Sabates. Additionally he was on the research team for the Minnesota Violence Prevention task force housed at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities campus. His research interests include gender-based violence, dimensions of masculinity in religious congregations, and the interaction of spirituality in emerging adults. More specifically, his research examines the ideologies influenced by cultural factors and how the associated perceptions, behaviors, and emotions impact intergroup relations.
Jillian Bartels is a Los Angeles native who has spent the last 10 years traveling the world with touring Broadway shows, exploring her love of travel and new experiences. Now residing in New York City, she has come to SMBI to unite her passion for mental health and wellness in the entertainment industry and her lifelong pursuit of spiritual learning. Always an artist at heart, Jillian seeks to bring the beauty, joy, and spirit of the arts to a more centered and holistic place for the people who call the industry home.
Mara is a shamanic and intuitive practitioner, author of 365 Journeys: Shamanism for Every Day (coming 2021), Inner Divinity: Crafting Your Life with Sacred Intelligence, and a companion series of guided meditations. Her Personal Evolution Counseling™ method combines shamanic healing, intuitive consulting and energetic healing, and her Energy Ecosystem™ training helps create healthy energetic boundaries in an interconnected world. Mara teaches multiple modalities, emphasizing in-depth apprenticeships, and speaks about shamanism and spiritual healing to groups.
Mara lives in Durham, NC with a beloved family of people, animals, and plants.
She was a broadcast journalist/producer for ABC, NBC, CBS and PBS TV networks and recently an on-air talent, interviewer, producer and mastermind behind Bloomberg Media’s Multi-Award winning TV series “Big Problems Big Thinkers “.
Terre was Emmy nominated, a Cine Golden Eagle Broadcasting Award winner, a Webby Award winner and received the Walter Reed Army Medical Center “The Commanding General’s Award for Excellence”.
She was an MIT Research Fellow at The Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values, Boston, MA.
Sarah Blandford holds a B.A. in English from Dartmouth College and an M.A. in elementary education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She taught elementary school in the New York City public school system for six years, and eventually moved to Connecticut, where she now resides with her husband and three children. She is excited to be back at Teachers College in the Spirituality Mind Body program, studying the intersection of psychology, spirituality, and human development through the lens of being an educator and mother.
Jared is a firm believer in the power of authenticity and being true to oneself. While working in finance and international business for over twenty years, he realized he was not passionate about either. Recognizing this was no way to live, Jared left his professional life behind to travel with his wife and two daughters. After a year of journeying, he joined the SMBI program to further explore his interests in psychology and philosophy. With a focus on authenticity, the distinction between cognition & emotion, and the long-term impact of altered states of consciousness on a person’s psycho-spiritual development, Jared believes in “inner work for outer change”.
Originally from New Jersey, I ventured to Spelman College in Atlanta, GA to cultivate myself as a scholar that understood the importance and impact of public service. As an undergraduate at Spelman College, I majored in Comparative Women’s Studies with a concentration in women’s health while on the pre-medicine track. By combining my love for science and social issues, I discovered that I was passionate about learning how to approach medicine and healing from a holistic standpoint. From a young age, I had always been interested in spirituality, but it was not until my discovery of SMBI did I realize I could integrate all of my interests in a professional manner. I am a healer by nature and my wildest dream is to reclaim what it means to be a medicine woman in a modern context. I want to combine my passion for understanding the truth of what reality is and use spiritually informed psychological lens to help guide others and heal them as they strive for actualization. I hope to use my experiences at SMB to positively impact the field of women’s health through the integration of spirituality, psychology, and holistic medicine in maternal care. My penultimate goal is to help facilitate societal growth by understanding the wisdom that can be harnessed by understanding the full potential of the relationship between the human body, mind, and soul.
Arlène has served as an activist, healer, spiritual advisor, teacher, and writer for over a decade. Her experience teaching middle school and elementary school in New York City and New Orleans awakened her soul’s purpose of drawing on culturally sustaining pedagogy, social emotional learning, and trauma-informed teaching practices to hold space for others and to nurture their inner child, inner genius, and inner teacher. As a first generation Haitian American, Arlène recognizes the power of community, literacy, and spiritual resilience to help others live with personal integrity, transcend their circumstances, and author their own lives. She supports children, parents, teachers, schools, districts, and community-based organizations, both locally and globally, to design equitable and healing-centered learning opportunities imbued with love for outer transformation. Arlène has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and is pursuing an M.A. in Psychology & Education with a focus on Spirituality, Mind, and Body at Teachers College, Columbia University.
Evelyn Cordero is passionate about intersectional healing work. She is Latin American with immigrant parents who have passed down home remedies creating the foundation for her desire to promote accessible integrative wellness. Evelyn is a reiki practitioner who developed a simple touch group practice with an emphasis on mind-body-spirit and mindfulness. Wanting to further research the health benefits of platonic touch and the positive impact touch can have on young adults led her to apply to SMBI. Through this coursework, she seeks to deepen her understanding and appreciation for wholeness.
Ana Paula is a multicultural enthusiast from Brazil based in New York City. She travels the world seeking out cultural exchanges that inspire. Her eclectic professional background — politics, non-profits, the beauty industry, and coaching — gives her a broad perspective into her driving passion: the human factor. For Ana Paula, the SMBI program is a perfect bridge -- connecting her past work and life experiences with her new commitment to advocate for a cultural transformation of leadership around mental health and wellbeing, especially in the workplace. She hopes to serve as an agent of change by integrating psychology, mindfulness, science, and intuition in her work.
I am beyond grateful to be a part of SMBI. Through the program, I have discovered a passion for Jungian psychology and am excited to explore pairing that with studies in animal human bond and equine assisted learning.
As a horse person and lover of all animals, I am studying everything I can about the “languages” they speak, and parts they can play in healing and teaching human beings.
I am thankful to have found so many kindred spirits to learn from and alongside and look forward to continuing our journey together.
The combination of teaching yoga and studying psychology during my undergraduate years is what inspired me to continue exploring spirituality in a deeper way. My interests include nutrition and holistic health in conjunction with yoga, meditation and spirituality. I am so grateful to be able to continue my journey with SMB!
Maggie Donohue is a passionate truth seeker studying Clinical Psychology with a concentration in Spirituality and Mind-Body Practice at Teachers College, Columbia University. Growing up with an energy psychologist mother and an engineer father, she was exposed to a comingling of science and spirituality from a young age. Maggie’s passion for spirituality stems from a deep desire to connect to others and the world in a transformative way. Studying psychology in her undergraduate career, she followed her fascination of human connection and behavior. During this time, she found herself making many connections between traditional psychology and her own spiritual path. Through a series of life altering transformational experiences, Maggie underwent a profound awakening. And with that, her experience as a student of the world continued. Discovering the SMB Master’s Degree Program felt very much destined, as it perfectly aligns with her dharma in this lifetime. Her professional interest is focused in trauma, both ancestral and collective. Most recently Maggie has found herself engaged in global mental health and trauma and plans to continue her studies with an additional concentration in this field. Her hope is to be a part of the emergence of a global shift in consciousness regarding mental health.
Elizaveta Dorofeeva completed her undergraduate degree in Politics and International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), before joining the SMBI Program at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her experience at the LSE, as well as various internships in the field of banking and finance, helped her realize that her life purpose lies not in material achievements, but rather in assisting individuals like herself in reaching their highest potential. Liza believes that creating a positive change in the world is not based on laws, international institutions or political endeavors, but rather on showing individuals that everything they need is already within them.
After having had the opportunity to experience first-hand various educational systems around the world, Liza recognizes that it is essential and urgent to give children and adolescents the necessary spiritual tools that will allow them to excel in both their personal and career paths. In her professional path, she wants to focus on integrating spiritual practices into the curriculum of schools worldwide. Since children have different learning styles, teaching children not only what to learn, but also how to learn will allow them to acquire the necessary techniques to excel in every subject area. Integrating practices such as meditation and visualization into a school system will support future generations in not only achieving educational and career success, but also in achieving emotional and physical abundance across all areas of their life.
Liza believes that the limits we place upon ourselves are created by our own thinking. Through daily meditation and conscious living, we are able to step outside the boundaries of our mind and listen to our inner wisdom. Liza is committed to helping individuals worldwide reach their true potential and equip them with the necessary tools that will help them thrive.
I am an artist of the soul and fill my pallet with color, nature, energy, music, rain, dance, rhythm, clay, paint, food, water, chalk, wind, song, connections, stories… to fill earth with wonder, calm, and joy. Spiritual journeys are simple processes of creating your personal life masterpiece to find gratitude, peace, truth, God, and love.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Art Education and a dual master’s in early childhood/childhood education. My favorite career is a mother and grandma. I feel blessed to be in the SMBI program.
Fascinated by healing, Grace Emmons obtained a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Southern California. Emmons spent 10 years in the Biopharmaceutical industry, culminating as an Executive responsible for developing custom patient support programs for rare and chronic diseases. Emmons’ customers include industry leaders Novartis, Genentech, and GSK.
Emmons is a certified Practitioner of Usui Reiki (Levels 1, 2, and Master Level), and studied astrology under the renowned Debra Silverman (Levels 1 and 2). In 2019, Emmons launched Spirit Forward Healing, an evidence-based practice for healing of mind, body, and spirit. Emmons is completing her Masters in Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, with a concentration in Spirituality Mind and Body.
I’m from Lima, Peru and I’m an Embodiment & Leadership Coach. I have worked in Human Resources for the past ten years as well as holding my private practice as a coach.
I’m very passionate about meditation, yoga and conscious movement as ways to tap into our inner selves and live a more authentic and connected life.
Moving forward, I would like to bring a spirit, mind and body approach to learning & leadership development. As well, as support leaders in their personal growth to develop safe environments that promote collaboration & learning and encourage others to reach their maximum potential.
A nomad at heart, I navigate life through the guidance of my internal GPS, studying filmmaking at UT Austin, radio storytelling in Tel Aviv, Reiki and meditation in Thailand, Pranic healing in Miami, and Tantra in Bali. With a toolkit full of dynamic practices, I’m driven by a mission to ignite personal power within the hearts of the disconnected. As a meditation instructor and intuitive energy healer, I aim to expand my reach to college students and young adults, implementing early lessons for intuitive self-awareness and vulnerable communication in intimate relationships.
As a student of life, Olivia hopes to live each day full of purpose. When she ask herself, “What is my truth and what brings me happiness?” Her answer is truly connecting with people. Her greatest wish is to help people heal and grow. Olivia believes each person is so beautiful and rare and hopes to be able to help people discover their true self within. The SMBI program is an unbelievable opportunity for her to push the boundaries of the knowledge on consciousness. Olivia is grateful to be a part of the program and excited to embrace each step on this incredible journey.
Shenise is a firm believer in harnessing the power of Spiritual, mental, emotional, and creative energy in order to conquer obstacles that hinder success and to evoke personal transformation. She began developing a lifestyle of holistic wellness as a dance major seeking to integrate a Spiritual connection into her demanding lifestyle as a dancer, student, and educator.
She is thankful for the opportunity to be part of SMBI where she is crafting a Spiritually integrated life that combines Wellness and Creativity as resources to connect with our own power within.
Driven by her personal mental health struggles and her passion to help suffering souls to heal and thrive, Rawd Halawani decided to pursue a graduate degree in Psychology and Spirituality. She was drawn to the Spirit Mind Body program due to her profound interest in the mind-body connection and her belief in a holistic approach to human health. Rawd believes that our world is in mass need of a spiritual revolution, which promotes unity and togetherness and encourages the pursuit of self-fulfillment away from private gain and materialistic standards. Thereby, Rawd is planning on utilizing the knowledge and wisdom that she has acquired from this program to help individuals cultivate resilience, growth and purpose in the face of adversity.
With a background in elementary education and psychology, I discovered spiritual psychology as a natural extension of my interest in holistic mind-body wellness. I am a certified yoga instructor, Reiki practitioner, elementary school teacher, and in The Center for Resilient Leadership’s “Pathways to Empower” resilience curriculum. I am in the process of developing an individualized coaching process that guides individuals in specifying and following through on their own wellness goals.
I am delighted to be part of SMBI, which honors the spiritual, emotional, and interconnected nature of individuals it serves.
More than ten years of working experiences in the petrochemical industry in Taipei as investor relations, commodity trader and eventually started my own trading company. While business opportunities have driven my career, my intuition has led my pursue in life-long learning of spiritual mind body connection. Synchronicity has directed me into the education field just as it has led me to the SMB program. I am excited to join the SMB community to meet like-minded people, learn to facilitate transformative learning and spirituality into our students’ lives.
Victoria Jahns, B.A., M.A., a writer and poet currently pursuing an M.A. in the Spirit, Mind, Body Institute in the department of Clinical Psychology, at Teachers College, Columbia University. She holds a B.A. from Vassar College in Asian Studies with a focus on Daoism and Art History, as well as an M.A. from Fudan University, Shanghai, in Chinese Religious Studies. Her research interests include the phenomenology of altered states, the psychology of religious experiences, continental philosophy, Jungian analytical psychology, ritual theory, and comparative mythology.
Kizzy Joseph is a mama, Reiki practitioner, and soon-to-be certified Youth, Parent, and Family Life Coach. Kizzy is passionate about making holistic wellness accessible to Black communities as a form of healing justice and breaking cycles of generational trauma. She has experience working in children’s non-profits and New York City public schools, as well as teaching children’s yoga. Kizzy’s focus is specifically in creating wellness curricula, coaching, and spaces for children of color, parents (of color)-to-be, and families of color.
Out of the muddy waters, I now rise towards the sunlight, in my truest form.
Currently residing in Taiwan, I am a mother of two boys, youth wellness entrepreneur, lifelong writer, and empathic healer. I am a humble student of life seeking inner spiritual expansion for greater outward change.
My spiritual journey began long before I even knew, and this continuous transformation motivates me everyday to deepen my knowledge and heal others as I’ve been healed – mind, body, and soul. Today, I am most humble in being at SMBI with a community that is filled with support, kindness, acceptance and passion. Together, I’d like to create a better world for our children, where spirituality is integrated in all facets of life.
Aside from my family, writing, traveling, meditating, yoga, and dancing keep me grounded and alive! Child & Adolescent Development, Education, Counseling, Spiritual Entrepreneurship, Creativity, Energy Healing, Divine Feminine, Science of Spirituality, Archetypal Symbolism, Ancient Wisdom are all areas of my interest.
I used to work in finance and consulting services before co-founded her own educational consulting firm in Shanghai. The most enjoyable part of my startup is to work with different children and teenagers from different backgrounds. Sharing my own overseas education and living experiences with them, being friends with them and working as “life coach” to witness those kids grow into well-rounded young man/woman has indeed brought tremendous self-fulfillment into my life.
I also volunteer in an NGO for equal education opportunities in China, mentoring and coaching unprivileged students from remote areas in the country, which is very meaningful to my inner growth process as well.
I am happy to join the SMB community to explore and develop my spirituality. I always believe that you can only heal other people when you heal yourself, and every one of us is the best healer in the world.
Hi! I received my bachelor’s degree from Fordham University with a major in Psychology and minor in Environmental studies. Over the years I’ve been highly interested in studying people from a mind body AND spirit perspective but I found academia only focused on mind and body. I am extremely grateful to be a part of SMBI that takes a holistic perspective on psychology. In the future I would like to incorporate creative expression into healing practices within therapy. I believe that ultimately, is it the journey of discovering the soul that brings about an endless stream of healing and revitalizing energy.
Natalia is a mindfulness teacher and psychologist based in Bogotá Colombia. She has a passion for nature, food, culture, and spirituality. Throughout the past years, she has had the opportunity to visit several parts of her home country and has intentions of seeing much more. She is fascinated by her country's rich history and geography and hopes to incorporate this into her upcoming projects, marrying all of her passions into one.
Maria earned her bachelor’s degree from Sarah Lawrence College in 2013. Thereafter, she took a break from academia to take care of personal matters at home. In 2018, she traveled to India for a few months where she practiced Ashtanga Yoga under the direction of Sharath Jois. It was there that she connected her stagnant grief emotions to her tight hips, ultimately leading her to the SMB program. Maria has lots of ideas and ambition for the future, but for now, she is simply enjoying her time at Teachers College.
With years of experience in the hospital and healthcare industry, Shelby Parks has listened to the pain and suffering of humans all over. With this deep insight into the most intimate parts of people’s lives, she has recognized and honors her responsibility to help heal the world.
Shelby seeks to bridge the gap between human beings and the world around them. Specifically, she aims to understand and harmonize people's relationship with the Earth, examining the psychological processes that bond humans with and alienate humans from nature and other species.
Her work is rooted in the following:
1. How we treat the world around us is a direct reflection of how we treat ourselves.
2. We are all interconnected and we must overcome our narrative of the individual experience and the idea of separation as a way to love ourselves and our world.
3. We are all keepers of the Earth. The Earth is not ours, but it is our responsibility to tend to it.
Jason Reid is a graduate student in the Spirituality-Mind-Body program at Teachers College, Columbia University. He currently holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Masters in Management Studies from the Fuqua School of Business. His current research interests include topics on Sense of Belongingness and Transcendental Meditation. Post-M.A., Jason plans on pursuing a PhD in Clinical Psychology. A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, he enjoys hiking, traveling, exploring New York City, and cheering for North Carolina sports teams.
Sammie joined SMBI to initiate a lifepath change many years in the making. With a background (and ongoing side hustle) in content strategy, she seeks to work at the intersections of healing, creativity, community, and justice. She hopes to begin Dance/Movement Therapy training next year, with an interest in somatics and bringing a disability justice framework to body-based healing. She believes deeply in the role of community for both individual and collective healing, and sees justice from societal oppressions as an essential part of spirituality. She plans to focus her research on social justice activism as a ritual practice for spiritual transformation.
Tracy Toon Spencer is a certified life coach and yoga teacher. For over a decade, she taught Anusara Yoga to groups and individuals and created Fertility Yoga and Mind/Body programs for stress reduction as part of NYU Fertility Clinic’s Wellness Team. She envisions a professional future that incorporates somatic and shamanic practices and a re-membering of our sacred connection to Mother Earth for personal and planetary healing. She is studying at "The Sacred Stream" with Isa Gucciardi. She lives in NYC with her husband and 3 sons.
After several years leading HR teams here in NYC, I realized that what kept me going and functioning through life was my mindfulness practice. Whether it be yoga, nature walks, animal interactions or meditation, there was always something magical about connecting spiritually with the world around us and ultimately with ourselves. This is what brought me to TC and the SMB program.
I plan to use my past spiritual experiences with my current academic learnings here at TC to help further research in areas pertaining to animal-assisted therapy, youth education, and adult rehabilitation.
A native Texan, Noelle grew up in a rural community where she learned the importance of sharing a casserole and harmonizing in the church choir. After graduating with an Elementary Education degree from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, Noelle served as a classroom teacher and literacy coach in two Texas school districts. With her homebase now in Brooklyn, Noelle currently works as a Staff Developer for the Reading and Writing Project where she supports teachers and schools leaders in New York, California, Washington, Colorado, and Texas. As a Vedic meditator and Vinyasa yoga instructor, Noelle is passionate about the mind-body-spirit connection in healing trauma. She finds that laughing with children, swapping book recommendations, and singing with the windows rolled down allow her soul to shine.
Allison graduated from Columbia University in 2008 with a major in Socio-cultural anthropology and minor in Psychology. She spent the next 12-years climbing the corporate ladder in a Sales role on a Wall Street trading floor in NYC. After completing an MBA at NYU Stern in 2015, she realized that the path she was on no longer aligned with the person she had grown into – a healer. Her passion is to help others through psycho-spiritual development, integrating her trainings in yoga, meditation, reiki and other healing modalities into the practice.
Jody is a classically trained singer with extensive performing experience as a recitalist and concert soloist. She has sung works by Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Previn, Sondheim, Barber, Handel, and Porter among others. She has participated as a teaching artist with OperaWorks, is certified in Somatic VoiceWork, and is a certified yoga teacher.
Jody has run a successful private voice studio for the past 18 years. Her fascination with the transformative potential of the voice led her to create and facilitate Soma Voce: empowered expression through body, breath, and voice, leading classes and workshops integrating breath, movement, and vocal improvisation.