As the daughter of a NASA scientist I was raised
to have an analytical mind. A part of me craves method,
data, and evidence. I started journaling at the age of
seven, carrying my notebooks everywhere. I lled
them with charts, graphs, observations, and plans
concerning everything from what I ate that day to
what to rent at the video store.
I was a curious child, constantly asking, “Why?” My
parents would send me to the trusty encyclopedia to
look up the answer.
At the same time, I have always been artistic, creative,
and interested in spirituality. My notebooks are also lled
with elaborate stories, poetry, and colorful drawings.
My undergraduate studies in art led to burnout. Like
many people, I came to yoga hoping to relieve stress
and anxiety during a dicult time—with the added
bonus of staying t. I didn’t expect that yoga would
transform me in an ineable, seemingly magical way.
When I started practicing, I aimed to make the
perfect poses. I slowly realized that yoga isn’t about
performing the pose “perfectly,” but instead about being
perfectly okay with my body and mind in the moment.
Now I know that many of the most profound eects of
poses transcend my anatomy of muscles and bones
to shape my neurology, psychology, and energetic body.
I vividly remember lying on my mat at the end
of a yoga class with my eyes wide open, looking
impatiently around when I was supposed to be
relaxing. I thought “What a waste of time; I have work
to do!” With practice, I started to enjoy the way
relaxation and meditation practices made me feel.
Now, through reading research, I know that when
I meditate, I am literally reshaping my brain. Ultimately,
I am impacting every single system of my body, and
optimizing function. What more important work
could I possibly do?
My shifting mindset drew me to the Himalayas to
study yoga, massage, and healing arts. My teacher,
Yogi Sivadas, renewed my interest in science. I
returned to the US and completed the pre-medicine
courses, in pursuit of understanding how and why
yoga works in such life-changing ways.
I will never forget the rst time I held a human
brain in the cadaver lab. The experience was
neither antiseptic nor clinical, but deeply spiritual.
That three-pound folded gray mysterious mass
once both computed mathematics and felt the
depths of love. Holding that brain, I knew that the
mind-body connection was a key mechanism
behind yoga’s benets.
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