The body as teacher . . . experience wisdom and creativity through the framework of your very own body.
Dr. Gabriella F. Buttarazzi (Uma Shakti Devi) is a teacher, teacher trainer and educational researcher in integral yoga, meditation and other contemplative, embodied, creative and spiritual practices, having established wellbeing meditation spaces, accredited meditation university courses and staff and student integral yoga programmes in both China and the UK. She is the founder of The Art of Integral Being® and the creator and director of education of the accredited 500-hour teacher training programme in Integral Yoga Studies®.
She holds a doctorate from the University of Nottingham on the integration of meditation into higher education pedagogy and curriculum, exploring direct first-person phenomenological experiences of meditation from philosophical, psychological and sociological perspectives. Her experiences of having lived in six countries–UK, Italy, Mexico, Japan, Spain and China–and of having travelled and studied extensively across the world have shaped and sustained her personal daily practice, teaching and educational research. She has trained extensively in Asia and Europe in a number of traditions and paths, including Integral Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Yin Yoga, Sound Healing, Trauma-informed Yoga, Taoist practices, Yoga Nidra, Tantra, Vipassana, Zen and Mindfulness meditation, and some elements of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Herbalism and Shamanism.
Gabriella has been teaching in adult education teacher since 2003, teaching in higher education since 2008 and since 2012, she has been teaching yoga, meditation and other contemplative practices. She began to research and teach the practice and philosophy of merging these two educational contexts and contents in 2014 and continues to this day, in the field of contemplative education. The reason for this merging is simple: every single experience, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant is both an educational opportunity and an education in its own right. This is what education is. The practice of integral yoga, meditation and other contemplative practices from wisdom traditions from across the world are powerful conduits for awakening to our Integral Being because they turn our attention and awareness inwards. It is in this very place, deep within the body, that insight, wisdom and creativity hidden in plain sight.
‘Compared to what we ought to be, we are half awake.’ ~ William James
She is a member of the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education (ACMHE), and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA) (now Advance HE), a member of the Philosophy of Education Society for Great Britain (PESfGB), a community partner of Yoga & Body Image Coalition (YBIC), a member of Plant-based Health Professionals UK, a registered teacher with the Independent Yoga Network (IYN), and a registered yoga teacher trainer with Yoga Alliance Professional (YAP). Her academic teaching and research profile is accessible through ORCID. She has published in British Journal of Educational Studies (BJES), British Educational Research Association (BERA), Time and Mind, and is currently writing her first academic book on the curriculum and pedagogy of Integral Being. She also works in educational development in the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) at the University of East London and now lives in North London.