Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Back to School

As some of you already know, I’ve decided to go back to school. Returning to school is something I’ve long considered, and just recently it seems the planets have aligned in such a way that it seems doable.

So, what does a middle-aged yoga teacher study? Years ago I was admitted to a PhD program at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. I studied Sport and Exercise Science for a short while, then ultimately left the academy to focus more hours per day on the yoga mat. While spending my 20’s focused on yoga gave me the grounding of 10,000+ hours of practice, one of my few life regrets has been prematurely leaving my academic course of study. In support of this long-standing interest, I will be applying to the PhD program at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, this time in the Kinesiology Department.

I’m interested in how movement, and particularly aerobic exercise, impacts the meditating brain. There is growing evidence that meditation rewires the brain. And it appears that exercise also has the potential to remap the brain. My hunch is that the whole exceeds the sum of the parts; that there is a powerful synergy in combining regular exercise and meditation practices together. I would like to explore how combining the mental exercise of meditation with physical exercise may contribute to being a healthier human being.

If all goes according to plan, I will begin my studies in the fall of 2016. While that may seem like a long ways off, there’s a fair amount to be done between now and then.

One task on my plate is preparing for and taking the GRE. The last time I took a standardized test the Soviet Union was still intact, my hair was fully brown and the #2 pencil was an integral part of the process. Since it’s been 25+ years since I’ve taken a standardized test, I’m investing a good deal of time into preparing!

Over the next year, I’ll also be reviewing my teaching load and commitments. While I plan to continue teaching many of my current classes, it will be necessary for me to cut back on my weekly schedule. Rethinking my teaching schedule will be done in consultation with Alignment Yoga faculty and staff, and I welcome your input. Please be assured that I’ll make these decisions with a great deal of care and consideration.

I’m a bit daunted by the prospect of entering school as a decidedly non-traditional student. At the same time, I am finding a renewed spring in my stride as I contemplate adding more academic rigor to my thought process, writing and teaching.

Why would I go back to school? In an upcoming blog posting I’ll discuss my goals in embarking on a PhD, and what I hope to gain by this large undertaking.


Heather Longoria said...

Congratulations on going back to school! Your area of study sounds super interesting. I am sure you are going to love it!

Nancy Ellison said...

Your commitment to learning is lifelong. Regardless of a person's age, a deep thirst for learning propels us to learn even more. Cheers! Enjoy the journey

Julbear S said...

So glad to hear it! It's so much easier to tell people my teacher has a Ph.D rather than he almost got a Ph.D. LOL!