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Integrative Inqury Handbook - About the Authors

About the Authors

Authors of The Integrative Inquiry Habdbook: Practical Application of the Neuroscience of Learning and Development are Marilee Bresciani Ludvik, Ph.D, and Matthew Evrard, M.A., San Diego State University..

Marilee Bresciani Ludvik, Ph.D
Almost 9 years ago, Marilee contracted a disease, known as Transverse Myelitis.  The disease claimed the regular use of her legs within four months of its onset, and then began moving its way into her body’s core.  Having managed her stress with daily running and weight lifting, lying flat on her back in excruciating pain and experiencing the difficulty of breathing was taking its toll on her sanity.  Fortunately for Marilee, a dear friend of hers, Jan Winniford - who had been trying to drag her to yoga several times during the previous year - came to her bedside and taught her to focus on her breathing.  Prior to this moment, she had told Jan that she didn’t want to have anything to do with such a sedentary form of exercise as yoga.  Furthermore, while Marilee admired Jan’s strength, grace and elegance as an Associate Vice President, she saw no point in sitting still and breathing. It all seemed so unproductive!  In that moment, however, with Jan by her side, the focused breathing exercise that Jan so brilliantly and compassionately taught Marilee literally stopped the disease from progressing and the path to physical therapy opened.  Hope returned to Marilee’s body and mind with the ease of each breath and the loving care of physical therapists and Chinese and Ayurvedic alternative medicine practitioners. 

As soon as Marilee was able to regain the use of her legs without experiencing intense pain, she went to my first asana class at Core Power Yoga in San Diego.  In her first class, Marilee recalls how she toppled over countless times and the patient and encouraging teacher, named Tiffany, kept reminding her to move forward in non-judgment.  That was another concept Marilee didn’t understand and she found herself growing increasingly inquisitive in wondering why anyone would want to be non-judgmental.  Persistence and not perfection provided the rewards.  She will never forget when her good friend Kevin Donohue, walked slowly and carefully by her side, as she hiked Cowles Mountain for the first time.  She cried when she reached the top, as she never thought she would be able to hike again.

The healing and insight that these practices brought to Marilee’s life continue to be transformative.  Not only did she gain enough strength in her legs to ski down black diamonds at Mammoth and go on 65-mile bike rides, but the elasticity created in her mind opened up a space to find the possibilities in not clinging to judgments that she once held.  In not clinging to judgments, the creative possibilities that arise from compassion have emerged and fuel further transformations.

Seven years since the beginning of recovery, with her 200-hour yoga alliance certification via Baptiste Power Yoga Institute and a meditation-teaching certificate from the Chopra Center for Well-Being, she joined with other practitioners and launched a foundation called Rushing to Yoga (RTY - we hope you are giggling at that name.) Her intention is to share these practices embedded in ancient wisdom and emerging neuroscience in order to strengthen peace and compassion in higher education. She developed and piloted a 16-week program for undergraduate and graduate students called integrative inquiry.  The results of the program have been compelling.  They have seen significant decreases in participants’ stress and anxiety and significant increases in attention, emotion, and cognitive regulation as well as compassion.

In 2015, Dr. Bresciani recieved certification to teach the 2-day Search Inside Yourself training. She offers this to university students and staff as well as to public groups in the form of workshops and retreats.

Marilee desires to share this transformational story with others in the hopes that they are inspired to deepen their meditation and asana practice.  In addition, she hopes that in sharing this story and our research on the effectiveness of these practices, readers will be inspired to use the research and these effective practices to transform their own lives and the lives of those emerged in their local educational systems. 

Matthew Evrard, M.A - coming soon

 


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