Beth Berila, Ph.D., Director, Women's Studies Program
My current work focuses on integrating feminism, yoga, and embodied learning. This work happens on several fronts. First, I teach a weekly Yoga for Balance class at St. Cloud State University that is free and open to students, faculty, staff, and community members (E-mail me for more information about that class). Second, I integrate various forms of mindfulness into my Women's Studies classes, so that students can develop more intentional embodied ways of learning. Third, I am a member of the leadership team of the Yoga and Body Image Coalition, a group of yogis, teachers, and activists dedicated to making yoga accessible to EVERYbody. We address the ways that systems of oppression (sexism, racism, heterosexism, classism, ageism, and so on) are present in the Western yoga culture. Finally, I write about the rich intersections of this work in my forthcoming book, Integrating Mindfulness into Anti-Oppression Pedagogy: Social Justice in Higher Education, is due out from Routledge in October, 2015. My website features my webinar: Toward an Embodied Social Justice, sponsored by The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society.
I am nearing completion of my 340-hour yoga teacher training and Ayurveda Yoga Specialist certification with Devanadi School of Yoga and Wellness in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Prior to that, I completed my 200-Hour Teacher Training Certification with Senior Anusara Yoga Practitioners, Jordan and Martin Kirk. As I examine my role as a feminist scholar, a feminist teacher, a yoga practitioner and teacher, I am discovering new ways of thinking about and implementing the role of embodied learning. By weaving feminist pedagogy with my yogic experience and my teacher training, I am forging significant ways of enhancing the learning process and of disrupting the Western mind/body split. This work will provide an important contribution in the field of feminist teaching and theory.