‘Contemplative practices have a way of gracefully gerrymandering the borders that once rigidly defined self and other.’ ~ Kyle Parton
The Art of Integral Being is founded by Dr. Gabriella F. Buttarazzi (Uma Shakti Devi). Our mission is the teaching, teacher training and research in integral yoga, meditation and other contemplative practices in, as and of higher education. Influenced by Ergas (2019), who writes of mindfulness in, as and of education, the value of integral yoga, meditation and other contemplative practices can be understood, taught and researched in three distinct ways with three distinct educational aims:
In higher education: embedded within the services of the institution often for supporting positive mental health and psychological wellbeing, essentially as an economic-therapeutic intervention.
As higher education: embedded within the curriculum and pedagogy as a form of first-person inquiry for knowledge-seeking, essentially as a whole institution approach.
Of higher education: whereby the practices themselves ‘radicalise the ethos of critical pedagogy’, which is when the research moves beyond the terrain of personal transformation into personal and social transformation.
By bringing well-researched integral approaches to the teaching of yoga, meditation and other contemplative practices in a way that is accessible, inclusive and universal, this approach allows for and gently encourages the awakening of consciousness, individually and collectively.
Here the term yoga in itself here is adopted loosely to refer to all practices that are experiential, embodied and have the central goal of uniting the ‘individual self’ (Jivatman in Sanskrit) with the ‘transcendent self’, others and the world (Paramatman in Sanskrit) so as to live, know, do and be with the simultaneous awareness of both, ideally at all times. Ultimately, the teachings serve the awakening of consciousness: in learning to lead a life of integral being. This is an awakened life of creativity, wisdom, compassion and service to others.
This is an approach to teaching and teacher training that deeply respects and honours tradition whilst also being relevant for the modern world. Being research-active is to recognise the need for high-quality integral yogic approaches and the importance of support with the integration of direct first-person experiences.
Ergas, O. (2019). Mindfulness In, As and Of Education: Three Roles of Mindfulness in Education. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 53(2), 340-358. DOI.