Paramedic turned Yogi, then Nurse, and then 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, habitual intoxication, violence, and a lack of basic health knowledge are all unfortunately very prevalent within our society– and many of these patients have neither the means nor the tools to pull themselves out of such reality. This realization was sad, frustrating, and disempowering. 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 (over the last eight) 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. It was within this world that 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 fact 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 pursuing a graduate degree as a Nurse Practitioner, dual-specializing in Family Primary Care and Emergency Medicine. The goal is to work with other providers to guide those who need it the most back to a healthy baseline, blending 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 a well-rounded form of care.
The track is a lengthy one, even though it is an accelerated program. My schooling 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, and we can practice online together. 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 online content and in-person workshops 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 last eight years. I hope we will continue to practice together, to work together, and to keep doing our own unique parts to help change the world for the better– let’s admit it, we live in a time that so desperately needs passionate citizens. 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.
In sincere gratitude and heartfelt appreciation,