Yoga & Science is a series of 9 interviews featuring the most amazing minds in yoga and science research. This series discusses the neurophysiological mechanisms that support effective yoga and meditation practices and to present current scientific evidence in a rigorous and accessible manner. This show will give a fuller understanding of the benefits and ways of yoga, as seen through the lens of both Western and Eastern Sciences.
Dr. Erich Anderer is the chief of neurosurgery at NYU Langone Hospital in Brooklyn, and an assistant professor of neurosurgery in the NYU School of Medicine. He was born in Japan and grew up in NYC, where his family utilized a Reiki and Shiatsu practitioner in conjunction with the family physician for preventative health care and maintenance. He specializes in minimally invasive and complex spinal surgery, but also maintains an interest in self care and yoga as a means to prevent and treat most causes of neck and back pain. He is also helping to investigate ways to reduce the use of opiates in post-surgical patients, and eliminate their use in chronic pain.
Dr. Stacy D. Hunter is an assistant professor at Texas State University where she is the director of the Cardiovascular Physiology Laboratory. She is also the research director for Pure Action, Inc. She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Exercise Physiology from the University of Texas at Austin and has been a yoga practitioner since 2008. She has now published several pioneering studies on the impact of yoga on vascular endothelial function and arterial stiffness and presented her findings at yoga teacher trainings, yoga studios and symposia in the U.S. and abroad.
Dr. Sat Bir Singh Khalsa has conducted yoga research since 2001 and is an instructor of Kundalini Yoga. He is Research Director for the Kundalini Research Institute and the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. His research includes yoga for insomnia, stress, anxiety spectrum disorders, and mental health in public schools and the workplace. He directs the annual IAYT Symposium on Yoga Research and is editor-in-chief of International Journal of Yoga Therapy and chief editor of The Principles and Practice of Yoga in Health Care.
Dr. Parker is a psychologist and a certified yoga therapist. She is a faculty member in the Beaumont School of Yoga Therapy in the department of Integrative Medicine at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak Michigan, where she teaches mind/body strategies for reducing stress and healing emotional trauma to aspiring yoga therapists. Dr.Parker has a special interest in utilizing and teaching Restorative Yoga and meditation as self-care practices for managing ethnic and race based traumatic stress.
Pam Jeter serves as a Scientific Review Officer at the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) at the NIH in Bethesda. In this capacity, she coordinates the scientific review of grant applications on mind and body interventions submitted to NCCIH in response to various funding announcements. Her work at the Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute involved evaluating the therapeutic benefits of yoga for individuals with severe vision loss, who are at risk for falls and diminished quality of life. During her years in academia, Pam published peer-reviewed articles on yoga, presented at professional conferences and community-based groups and received recognition for her work in mind-body science. Additionally, Pam served as Adjunct Faculty at the Maryland University of Integrative Health, where she taught research literacy and academic publishing practices for Integrative Health graduate students.
Dr. Telles has a degree in conventional medicine (MBBS) and a MPhil and PhD in Neurophysiology and her theses were on the effects of yoga practice. She also received a Fulbright fellowship in 1998, and in 2007 she received an Indian Council of Medical Research Center for Advanced Research to study meditation’s effects through autonomic variables, evoked and event related potentials, polysomnography and fMRI. Dr Telles has been the director of Patanjali Research Foundation in Haridwar, India since 2007 and has written over 160 research papers cited in major databases.
Dr. Porges is Distinguished University Scientist at Indiana University, where he directs the Traumatic Stress Research Consortium within the Kinsey Institute. He holds the position of Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina and Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Maryland. He served as president of the Society for Psychophysiological Research and the Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences and is a former recipient of a National Institute of Mental Health Research Scientist Development Award. He has published approximately 300 peer-reviewed scientific papers across several scientific disciplines. In 1994 he proposed the Polyvagal Theory, a theory that links the evolution of the mammalian autonomic nervous system to social behavior and emphasizes the importance of physiological state in the expression of behavioral problems and psychiatric disorders. Polyvagal Theory provides an understanding of the neurobiological mechanisms through which music influences physiological state to promote mental and physical health.
Crystal Park is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Connecticut. She conducts research on managing highly stressful and traumatic events and life-threatening illnesses. Her recent work focuses on integrative approaches to health, particularly yoga. She is currently completing NCCIH-funded studies of yoga for stress management and the development of a research tool measuring the various dimensions of yoga as well as conducting trials of yoga for chronic low back and neck pain. She has published studies of yoga, including motivations for practice, desired teacher qualities, characteristics of practitioners, and yoga in the context of cancer survivorship.
Bethany Kok holds a Ph.D. in Social Psychology with a concentration in Quantitative Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Degree in Psychology, Statistics, and Computer Science from St. Olaf College. Her peer-reviewed publications on the science of meditation appear in leading scientific journals including Psychological Science, Science Advances, and JAMA Psychiatry, and her award-winning thesis work has been covered by The Economist and Scientific American. Bethany studied comparative meditation as a postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences before leaving academia for the private sector in 2017.