Monday, May 28, 2012

Presenting My Research at the World Conference on Psychology Counseling & Guidance

Tim presenting yoga for mental health

The World Conference on Psychology, Counselling & Guidance was an exciting event for me. I attended the conference (May 9-12, 2012) as I was invited to speak and present my paper, Theorizing Yoga as a Modality of Therapeutic Care. This is the first of what I hope will be several publications from my research on yoga (more on what yoga is here). The World Conference was held in Kusadasi, Turkey. I was excited to travel to Turkey, I had never been before but have been interested in going for some time. I arrived in Izmir, Turkey, which is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen. The stretch of coast was gorgeous and I found myself just staring out across the rolling waves of the sea and enjoying the sunshine for hours.

I threw a chair on the stage and asked everyone to space themselves out, "Yoga is a nonverbal experience, and as such.. we're going to do yoga!"

I was scheduled to be the last presenter, on the last day of the conference. There was a fair number of people in attendance who I had met at that conference interested in my research and attending my talk. A problem arose, the conference was running more than an hour late. This not only delayed my presentation but also the closing ceremonies. I could sense the tension in the air and made a game time decision, I did something a little unorthodox. I decided to take those in attendance through a yoga practice. Yes, that's right. I broke convention and asked a group of academics expecting a formal presentation to take off their suit jackets and join me in doing yoga. I explained to the audience that yoga is primarily non-verbal, it has to be experienced to understand it fully. No amount of academia or writing could bridge that gap. I took off my jacket, threw a chair on stage and said "Please, join me in a seated sun salutation."

Can we call this a flash yoga class?

I am proud to say, it went off without a hitch! The audience appeared to really enjoy it and I was cheered at the end of my presentation. Every single speaker during the closing ceremonies made mention of my presentation, commenting how they were excited to learn about this interesting young man who came from the west to the east to teach "enlightenment." I had to laugh at that comment and was proud that my improvisation was well received. Many attendees asked me for my contact information and wished to learn more about the work that I'm doing and how they may introduce yoga into their practices. This is very exciting to me, that professionals working with different client populations from cardiology to mental health wish to use yoga to benefit their clients.

Stay tuned to the blog for more updates on my next article and where I'll be presenting next!


  1. Congratulations on making such a global impact! Can't wait to see what you do next. :)

  2. It seems like the conference was better this year. I went last year and it was an organizational disaster.

  3. Thanks for the kind words everyone!

    Peter, please contact me directly. I would like to chat with you more about your work.