EMT turned Yogi, turning Primary Care Provider.
When I was running 911 calls, fresh out of college and wet behind the ears, I had the chance to get a glimpse into a reality that not many of us see. Sparing you the dirty details, suffice to say that rampant drug abuse, extreme intoxication, violence, and a lack of basic health knowledge are all unfortunately very prevalent within society– and many of these patients do not have the means or the tools to pull themselves out of such existence. This realization was sad, and years of working in it nearly broke my faith in the goodness and potential of humanity.
The last straw came in the form of an angry ball of spit, straight to the face from a repeat drug seeker who was less than pleased with my care at two in the morning.
Flash forward and over the last seven years, I’ve been teaching yoga and anatomy around the world– a big lifestyle change from spending long nights on an ambulance. Being immersed in a completely different reality in which people actively take care of themselves, eat cleanly, move their bodies with control and grace, and want to help others to feel empowered, I stumbled upon my own interests and strengths in public health, social issues like LGBT rights as well as the environment, and most importantly– a renewed interest in the future of healthcare.
Let’s face it, the way we’ve been tackling healthcare has long been broken– it’s too costly, the poor and middle classes are underserved, and many physicians are too busy and too stressed themselves– just trying to meet insurance quotas– to effectively provide thorough health, lifestyle and wellness guidance. And even if they could, it’s not truly part of their curriculum. I am reminded of a time when a friend who had just finished medical school asked me about the peculiar ingredients on my slice of pizza. My response was “Oh, they’re golden beets! They’re just like purple beets, but different in color” to which he replied, “what’s a purple beet?”. Combine this with the facts that poor quality food is cheap and everywhere and that most of us are too busy to even want to exercise, and it’s no surprise that heart disease, diabetes, and all types of cancers are on the rise– and this still speaks nothing about our dangerous lack of comprehensive mental healthcare.
I’ve been radio silent for a while, working behind the scenes– not wanting to divulge anything too soon. After all, there were tests to take, pre-reqs to fulfill, and I had a hefty travel and teaching schedule booked in advance. But, taking the many lessons that the yoga world has given me over the years and returning to my medical roots, I am excited to finally announce that this year is my last year of traveling and teaching yoga because I will be starting a grad program to earn my Doctorate as a Nurse Practitioner, specializing in Primary Care and Psychiatric & Mental Healthcare (DNP, PC-PMHC). The goal is to work with other providers to guide those who need it the most back to a healthy baseline, blending Western Medicine with Wellness Techniques, utilizing a well-rounded arsenal including yoga, meditation, diet/nutrition and exercise– and whenever appropriate, medications, lab tests, clinical research and other medical therapeutic interventions. Both worlds have value and both are necessary in care.
The track is a lengthy one, even though it is an accelerated program– within five years, I will need to earn another Bachelor’s, a Master’s, and a Doctorate– this is full time with no semesters off and includes a full clinical schedule. Because of this, I cannot simultaneously sustain my current travel schedule. I will however maintain my local teaching schedule in Atlanta, I will still be teaching classes, courses, and programs on YogaGlo.com, and I will hopefully be able to teach one week-long yoga retreat per year during my mid-semester break (the ten days between Spring term and Summer term). It is important to me that I maintain a yoga practice and keep learning as well as teaching whenever possible– after all I owe so much to the communities that have given me the space and direction to grow over the years. My blog posts, podcasts, and even the ways that I teach are sure to change and evolve over the coming years, based more in psychology, wellness, and medicine. I hope you’ll continue to join me and keep the conversations going.
Thank you for your support, for sharing your lives and your stories and your passions with me over the years. I hope we will continue to practice together, to work together, and to keep doing our own unique parts to help change for the better a world that so desperately needs it. Your gifts to the world– whatever they may be– are so important, so vital. Explore them with vigor, with passion, and with a great thirst for learning. Then, go out and share them.
Find info on my last few traveling events here.
In sincere gratitude and heartfelt appreciation,