- MA, Anthropology, Emory University
- MA, Economics, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland
- BA, Economics, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland
My overall research topic is entitled “Breath, stress and health: a biocultural study of hatha yoga”. On a practical level this stems from the concern of the growing worldwide burden of non-communicable disease, which are predominantly lifestyle oriented, typically display signs of a lack of stress resilience, and consequently proliferate inflammation which serves as the base for a variety non-communicable maladies. These are ironically “communicable” in a socially learned and engaged way, however. On an anthropological level, my interest is in the nature of these culturally inherited learned practices, separate to a kin relationship, passed over generations with a rich literature, to those interested enough to take them up and the consequent biological effects of such a regimen. Is there more to such a praxis than good health? Is good health a precursor for a deeper understanding of who we are as human beings? How do practices of the breath fit across these three areas: Social, personal health, spiritual? Yoga, its meaning and practice, focuses on the internal nature of a human being, with obvious external daily living consequences. This study attempts to access and assess the techniques of yoga with an internal character and how we can observe their effect on the external level with an attempt at measuring the degree of internal connection (sincerity, considered here under “engaged participation”) of each subject practicing.
Since 1995 I have been immersed in breath practices, the study of yoga and meditation, and the teaching of these to thousands of people. I have had the opportunity to study the yogic science of breath, “pranayama”, to a very advanced level. I have consistently studied philosophy and science related to the body and mind in terms of yoga and contemplative studies. I have earned the advanced certification from both the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute and Kaivalyadham Yogic Institute, India, the only person to hold both qualifications, which take at least ten years to earn. I have taught and spoken at international yoga conferences and workshops all over the world. In 2003 I founded, and continue to direct, a Yoga and Health institute based in Thailand (Samahita Retreat) with a large international student body who come for training, studies and practices. My previous University education was at Trinity College, Dublin (Ireland) with a focus on Economics. I speak French, German, with a basic capacity in Sanskrit and Thai. I continue to maintain a daily morning yoga-breath-contemplation practice which keeps the mind fresh and stamina high.
Advisor: Dr. Worthman