Virtual Classroom

MeganM On this page, you’ll find the virtual resources from the first-ever Embodied Positive Psychology Summit. I’m glad you’re here. Just click on the presenter’s name to view the available resources. You might find additional resources as well, as we’ve combed through the web to add even more substance to the slides to aid your learning process. We encourage a deeper dive into the material. There’s always so much to take in, and so little time!

Get grounded by watching the overview video below. Attendees were asked, “What do you want to learn, savor, remember, or serve forward?” The video has the answers, set to photos of the experience.

If you came to the live event, I’m thrilled that we had the opportunity to share this experience. If you weren’t able to make this one, I hope to see you at the next!

Wishing you well,

Megan Signature

Megan McDonough
CEO, Wholebeing Institute

These free resources offer you the opportunity to continue exploring the content shared at the Embodied Positive Psychology Summit, or to experience it for the first time!

At the summit, we learned research-based tools for cultivating happiness, and practiced those tools through movement, play, meditation, yoga, and more. We engaged brain, body, and heart with a powerful combination of intellectual rigor, authentic connection, and physical expression—and found out what it’s like to have an embodied experience of whole-person well-being.

May these resources help you in that journey!

Click here to view your digital eNotebook.

Need help? Contact our support desk, email help@wholebeinginstitute.com or call 1-541-BE-WELL1 (239-3551).

 

Watch The Video

Watch the video from the Embodied Wall of Learning: “What do you want to learn, savor, remember, or serve forward?”

Day 1

Embodiment is Wholeness with Megan McDonough

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Megan McDonough, cofounder and CEO of Wholebeing Institute, explores what we mean by “embodied positive psychology” and lays out the vision for a multidimensional understanding of whole-person well-being. WBI’s SPIRE model includes five dimensions of embodiment: Spiritual, Physical, Intellectual, Relational, and Emotional. Learn how to apply the wholebeing perspective throughout the summit—and in every aspect of your life and work. Megan’s warmth, humor, and clarity will set the stage for a powerful, connection-filled event.

Megan McDonough, cofounder and CEO of Wholebeing Institute, uses divergent thinking and creative perspectives to harness the best in people for the greatest good. Megan has held senior leadership positions in health care and directed numerous online-learning startups. Along with her entrepreneurial endeavors, Megan is a yoga enthusiast, having practiced for more than 20 years and taught for more than a decade. Her degree in nuclear medicine has nothing whatsoever to do with her current work, and everything to do with her radically receptive approach to life. Megan is the award-winning author of Infinity in a Box: Using Yoga to Live with Ease, A Minute for Me: Learning to Savor Sixty Seconds, and Radically Receptive Meditation.

»Download the slides




Day 2

Morning Keynote: How Character Strengths Support Wholebeing with Neal Mayerson

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Recent developments in positive psychology have uncovered important aspects of personality that can be powerful tools for constructing a thriving life—namely, character strengths. Like superfoods packed with powerful nutrients, these character strengths pack a powerful psychological punch. They can enhance performance and achievement, elevate well-being, and contribute to the collective good. They are primary tools for building good lives for ourselves and supporting others. They help us articulate and embody wholebeing. In this workshop, we explore the new science of character, and you learn how to quickly assess your character strengths and put them into action.

Neal H. Mayerson, PhD,, worked as a psychotherapist in hospital, community mental-health, and private practice settings for 15 years, with specialties in chronic pain and eating disorders. In 1999, he created the VIA Institute on Character, whose surveys and classification of character strengths are considered to be among the most important outputs in positive psychology. The Institute has spawned hundreds of scientific articles and helped millions of people worldwide discover their character strengths and how to use them to improve their lives and the lives of others. Neal was the founder of Hummingbird Coaching Services, pioneering online coaching services, and RISE Learning Solutions, providing professional development to preschool teachers nationwide. He is president of the Mayerson Family Foundations, dedicated to creating communities that are just, caring, and respectful.

»Download the slides

»Rodney’s Story: Re-building a Life Through Character Strengths

»Newark Boys Chorus School and the VIA Survey

»Cat Stevens-Father and Son

»LeighAndria Young “6:58” Poem

»Watch Drs. Neal & Donna Mayerson presenting at Harvard



Getting Unstuck: Activating Grit to Achieve Goals with Caroline Adams Miller

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For many of us, there comes a moment in our lives when change is necessary. How do you recognize that moment? Sometimes it’s an inner knowing, a gut feeling that propels you forward. Sometimes external events leave you no choice but to “get unstuck.” Regardless of the impetus, once you decide to set goals and go after them, there are many proven ways to increase your likelihood of success.

In this workshop, you learn about the science of goal-setting, why the happiest people set and pursue difficult goals, and why the quality of grit is essential to a well-lived life. Caroline also delves into

  • The differences between learning goals and performance goals
  • How to set meaningful goals that are leveraged, intrinsic, and aligned with your purpose
  • What research shows about the importance of being happy before pursuing goals
  • How to use your strengths successfully in goal accomplishment
  • What words and behaviors can predict social support
  • How to create an environment that triggers “implementation intentions” that triple the likelihood of success.

You also learn why grit is considered the secret to success, how to measure your grit score, and what you can do to cultivate grit.

Caroline Adams Miller, MAPP, is a pioneer in the areas of goal setting/accomplishment, grit, happiness and success. She is the author of six books, including My Name is Caroline, Positively Caroline, and Creating Your Best Life. A magna cum laude graduate of Harvard, she was one of the first graduates of the University of Pennsylvania master’s program in Applied Positive Psychology, and works with organizations around the world to help create positive change. A lifelong athlete, Caroline is a nationally ranked Masters swimmer, black belt in Hapkido, and yoga enthusiast. carolinemiller.com

»View the presentation

»View the TEDx Talk



Presence and Resilience in Difficult Conversations with Louisa Jewell

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Even the best relationships face challenges sometimes. In order to maintain positive relationships, we need to be able to speak freely to the people we interact with about difficult issues. Rather than ignoring issues because we are fearful of confrontation or afraid we’ll ruin a relationship, we need new techniques to approach difficult conversations with confidence and emerge feeling good about the outcome.

In this interactive workshop, you learn tools for having constructive conversations, including

  • How to confront a colleague or coworker without letting your emotions get in the way
  • A five-step approach to managing difficult conversations in positive and constructive ways
  • How to maintain a solution focus when having difficult conversations
  • Ways to build better work relationships by encouraging open discussion.

Participants take home a workbook that serves as a reference for using these techniques.

Louisa Jewell, is a speaker, author, facilitator, and positive psychology expert who has inspired thousands of people around the world to flourish with confidence at work and in their personal lives. She is the founder and president of the Canadian Positive Psychology Association and a graduate of Martin Seligman’s Master of Applied Positive Psychology program at the University of Pennsylvania. Her work has been featured in Forbes, The Globe and Mail, The Huffington Post, Live Happy Magazine, Chatelaine, Psychology Today, Women’s Agenda, and many more. louisajewell.com

»Download the slides



Embodying Compassion with Sam Chase

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As the saying goes, “You have to learn to love yourself before you can learn to love someone else.” But what if the opposite were just as true? How does our love for others change our capacity to love ourselves?

Today, yoga and contemplative practice are more popular than ever as a means of self-transformation and a path to personal enlightenment. But these tools can also be powerful catalysts for aiding others and cultivating a compassionate connection to the world at large. For every legend of the secluded mountaintop guru, there’s also a story of seva, or selfless service. Beyond the ideal of the Buddha, we find tales of the bodhisattvas—those who dedicate or even defer their own enlightenment for the betterment of all beings.

Using these models as a springboard, this workshop explores yoga and contemplative practices designed to charge the body with compassion. Through simple and accessible techniques of movement, meditation, and inquiry, we exercise our capacity for kindness and caring. Along the way, we mine evidence-based research showing how compassion and service transform us down to our very cells, and how the love we offer up circles back to strengthen our own self-love.

Sam Chase, is the author of Yoga and the Pursuit of Happiness, exploring the crossroads of yoga philosophy, contemplative practice, and positive psychology. He leads yoga programs for institutions such as the United Nations, the National Guard, New York University, and Yoga to the People. Sam is a graduate of the Kripalu School of Yoga and the Certificate in Positive Psychology, and holds a master’s degree from Harvard University’s ART Institute. samchaseyoga.com

»Download the slides



Lunch and Learn: Speaker Sessions

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    1. You Are Beautiful: Embodying Self-Image Using Positive Psychology with Shiri Rosenblat-Itzhak
    »View the presentation
    2. Happily Even After with Maureen Tarquini
    »Download the slides
    3. Protective Factors of Resiliency with Soraya Weill
    »Download the slides
    Thank you to our student sponsor, Ruth Pearce, Founder of ALLE LLC, for making it possible for local student, Soraya Weill, to attend and present at the conference.
     

    About ALLE LLC ALLE is short for “A Lever Long Enough”. Following in the footsteps of the great scientist Archimedes, our mission is to help you create a lever long enough to move your world. Offering a combination of organizational support for positivity and strengths practitioners already in the field, as well as strengths-based workshops and training materials, ALLE enables the spread of positivity and wellbeing by creating environments where groups thrive and individuals flourish. Please check out ALLE4YOU.COM to learn more.


Afternoon Keynote: Living with Lovingkindness with Sharon Salzberg

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Lovingkindness can be seen as a worldview, a deeply held aspiration, and an embodied ability to connect in a more profound way with ourselves and others. Lovingkindness meditation practice strengthens and integrates that ability. It is traditionally offered along with meditations that enrich compassion, joy in the happiness of others, and equanimity. These practices lead to the development of concentration, fearlessness, happiness, and a greater ability to love. In this keynote, renowned meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg offers a deeper understanding of lovingkindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity, and how they relate to one another.

Sharon Salzberg, cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, has been a student of meditation since 1971, and guiding meditation retreats worldwide since 1974. Sharon is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and author of the New York Times best-seller Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation: A 28-Day Program; Love Your Enemies; Faith: Trusting Your Own Deepest Experience; Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness; and her latest book, Real Happiness At Work: Meditations for Accomplishment, Achievement, and Peace. sharonsalzberg.com

» No slides used in this session



The Practice of Lovingkindness with Sharon Salzberg

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Building on her keynote, Sharon dives deeper into the teachings of lovingkindness and supports us in our own experience and cultivation of the qualities of compassion, love, and equanimity, through direct instruction and guided meditation. We also explore ways to formulate a personal lovingkindness practice. This workshop includes time for questions, and is suitable for both new and experienced meditators.

Sharon Salzberg, cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, has been a student of meditation since 1971, and guiding meditation retreats worldwide since 1974. Sharon is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and author of the New York Times best-seller Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation: A 28-Day Program; Love Your Enemies; Faith: Trusting Your Own Deepest Experience; Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness; and her latest book, Real Happiness At Work: Meditations for Accomplishment, Achievement, and Peace. sharonsalzberg.com

»No slides used in this session



The Art of Authenticity: Tools for Becoming an Authentic Leader
with Karissa Thacker

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Explore the art and science of authentic leadership. Research informs our practice, but living out authenticity in our own unique way is an art.

Through interaction and exercises, we examine the four components of psychological authenticity: selves awareness, balanced processing, transparency, and an internalized moral perspective. You learn tools and methods designed to support you in

  • Building trusting relationships
  • Embodying your deepest values in high-pressure situations
  • Making conscious choices instead of reacting blindly
  • Becoming more authentic in all your roles and daily interactions.

Karissa Thacker, is a management psychologist who has served as a consultant for 200 Fortune 500 companies, including UPS, Best Buy, and AT&T. Her specialty is executive coaching, with a focus on increased performance combined with increased individual satisfaction at work. Karissa is the founder and president of Strategic Performance Solutions, Inc., a management consulting firm creating innovative solutions in the space of human performance and job satisfaction. Her coaching method assumes that increases in effectiveness or productivity without increasing personal satisfaction are not built to last. She is a licensed psychologist, an adjunct faculty at the Lerner School of Business at the University of Delaware, a graduate of the Certificate in Positive Psychology program, and author of The Art of Authenticity.

»Download the slides



The Science of Touch: Tangible Happiness with Deborah Cohen

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Come learn how touch contributes to well-being. We examine research findings that demonstrate how touch improves immune functioning, assures healthy early human development, and even helps teammates win games.

Then we research the benefits of touch ourselves through a partner yoga session. Where touch incites emotion, yoga creates calm and clarity through a focus on direct perception. By design, the touch in partner yoga is cooperative, and offers a great way to experience touch safely and playfully. The yoga poses are accessible for all.

Deborah Cohen, MEd, MAPP, taught Positive Psychology with Tal Ben-Shahar at Harvard and during the first iteration of the Certificate in Positive Psychology program at Kripalu. A yoga teacher since 1996, Deborah is particularly passionate about her work teaching yoga in the Boston public schools.

»Download the presentation notes

»Download the partner yoga



Sponsor Speaker Session

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strengths clusters

Thank you to our educational sponsor, Giselle Marzo Segura, Founder of Strength Clusters™ for her support. 

About Strength Clusters™ Our mission is to help families, groups and teams to understand and see each other through strengths. Our Strength Clusters™ visual models and tools are designed to enhance our understanding and recall of character strengths in daily life and practice. These practical new tools are intended to elevate the learning of VIA character strengths through the use color, representation, form, and experience; helping core relationship groups deepen their connection with this universal language. Please check out Strength Clusters™ at www.strengthclusters.com.

»Slides unavailable



Evening Keynote: Embodied Gratitude: A Positive Approach to the Arts and Humanities with James O. Pawelski and Suzann Pileggi Pawelski

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The field of positive psychology was founded nearly 20 years ago when Martin Seligman, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, and others observed that psychology focused much more on pathology than on well-being. Today, there is a similar overemphasis on pathology and ill-being throughout much of the arts and humanities. This presentation will introduce the nascent field of the positive humanities, which calls for an explicit emphasis on well-being to balance current approaches in literature, music, art, movies, philosophy, history, religion, and other cultural domains.

A strategic collaboration between the positive humanities and positive psychology can benefit both fields in their ability to understand, cultivate, and measure well-being. More broadly, this collaboration can benefit humanity by creating new approaches to human flourishing. In this session, we will look at one such approach: embodied gratitude, integrating somaesthetics, a subfield of philosophy that emphasizes the use of the body for self-cultivation and well-being, and a new interactive model of character strengths.

Explore the somatic dimension of positive interventions and learn how to practice embodied gratitude interactively in your own relationships.

James O. Pawelski, PhD, is director of education and senior scholar in the Positive Psychology Center and adjunct associate professor of religious studies in the School of Arts and Science. He has served for more than 10 years as the founding director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Master of Applied Positive Psychology program, where he teaches courses on positive interventions and the humanities and human flourishing. He is spearheading pioneering work on the role of the arts and humanities in the pursuit of happiness. He has been awarded a grant from the Templeton Religion Trust to further his studies into “The Humanities and the Science of Well-Being: Toward a Strategic Collaboration for Understanding, Measuring, and Cultivating Human Flourishing. He is the author of The Dynamic Individualism of William James and of articles on the history of philosophy and its application to human development. He is also co-editor of The Eudaimonic Turn: Well-Being in Literary Studies, and On Human Flourishing: An Anthology of Poems. An international keynote speaker who regularly makes presentations in Spanish as well as English, he has given talks in more than 20 countries on six continents. He holds a number of key leadership positions, including founding executive director of the International Positive Psychology Association, president of the William James Society, and member of the steering committee of the International Positive Education Network. jamespawelski.com

Suzann “Suzie” Pileggi Pawelski is a freelance writer and wellness counselor specializing in the science of happiness and its effects on health and relationships. She is a contributing editor and monthly blogger for Live Happy, a columnist for the Newsletter of the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA) and Wisdom magazine, and has written for publications including Scientific American Mind, Natural Health, and Style. Her 2010 Scientific American Mind cover story “The Happy Couple” addresses how to create happier marriages based on the science of positive psychology and was selected twice for a special issue. It was included in a 2012 Scientific American Mind special issue on the differences between men and women and is now appearing in a 2016 special issue on sex and the brain. Suzie is currently writing a book on how to cultivate thriving relationships by applying the tenets of Positive Psychology, and using her certification in health coaching to help people make better food and lifestyle choices. She holds a master degree in applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. suzannpileggi.com

»Romance and Research with James & Suzie Pawelski



Day 3

Conversations on Wholebeing: An Open Panel and Audience Dialogue
moderated by Tal Ben-Shahar

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Pulling together different perspectives on wholebeing and embodiment, this forum serves as a broad wrap-up of the ideas presented throughout the summit. The diverse perspectives represented on the panel include:

  • Neal Mayerson, founder of the VIA Institute on Character: character strengths
  • James O. Pawelski, founding director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Master of Applied Positive Psychology program: philosophy and the humanities
  • Edi Pasalis, Director of the Kripalu Institute for Extraordinary Living: mind/body and yoga
  • Megan McDonough, CEO of Wholebeing Institute: leadership/organizational culture.

Bring your questions and prepare for a lively and comprehensive discussion.

Although the panel discussion at the Summit was not recorded, please enjoy this earlier webinar panel discussion about wholebeing and strengths with Tal Ben-Shahar, Megan McDonough, Maria Sirois, Ryan Niemiec and Lynda Wallace.

» Click here to view the webinar recording and use the passcode: strengths. The panel conversation starts at the 20 minute mark, just use the slider to get to that time.



Embodying Your Best Story: Positive Psychology and Narrative Practices
with Margarita Tarragona

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Stories are not just told or written—they are lived and embodied. This experiential workshop invites you to explore your life story through the lens of well-being and happiness.

This workshop integrates ideas from two different disciplines: narrative practices and positive psychology, both of which focus on what works well in people ́s lives, including personal agency, creativity, strengths, and intentional behavior. Narrative psychology proposes that our stories allow us to create meaning from our experiences—the ways in which we narrate life events have a powerful impact on our thoughts and feelings, our relationships, and our identities. We can construct stories that limit us and make problems bigger, or stories that expand us and generate new possibilities. Narrative practices strengthen our efforts to be who and how we want to be.

Come explore the role that various components of well-being play in your life, and identify personal stories that strengthen your preferred identity.

Margarita Tarragona, PhD,, is a psychologist specializing in personal and relational transformation. She incorporates scientific findings on flourishing from positive psychology with collaborative and narrative practices, to help clients expand their life stories. Margarita cofounded and teaches at Grupo Campos Elíseos in Mexico City, is an adjunct faculty member for the Wholebeing Institute, and is on the board of directors of IPPA (International Positive Psychology Association). She publishes regularly in academic publications and popular media, and is the author of Positive Identities: Positive Psychology and Narrative Practices.

»Download the slides



Move2Love: A Positive Fitness Experience with Elaine O’Brien

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Move2Love, a group dance exercise experience, began in the early 1980s, as a program to prevent alcoholism and drug abuse. More than 20 years later, this award-winning methodology has contributed to individual and community flourishing by priming positive emotions, engagement, relationships, and meaning in motion. The program comprises easy-to follow, uplifting rhythmic movement that enhances fitness, increases mindful movement, builds a community, cultivates character strengths, and inspires a state of flow.

In this session, we explore Move2Love through the theoretical, empirical, and experiential lenses, including

  • An experience of rhythmic group dance fitness
  • The powerful transformational benefits of embodying appreciative movement
  • Key concepts in the sciences of positive psychology and kinesiology, the psychology of human movement
  • How Move2Love relates to the VIA Institute’s work on character strengths, and the Wholebeing Institute’s SPIRE principles (Spiritual, Emotional, Psychological, Intellectual, Physical, and Relational).

Come join in a movement experience that has been proven to contribute to greater life satisfaction, meaning, connections, and joy.

Elaine O’Brien, PhD, MAPP,, creates uplifting, rhythmic group movement experiences for people in community, business, and academia, including for Martin Seligman’s Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program. An international presenter, trainer, consultant, and speaker, Elaine explores motivation, positive exercise as therapy, appreciative practices, and love connections. Her article, Move2Love and Vibrant Aging VIA Community Dance Exercise, was published in the American Psychological Association’s Journal of Women and Therapy: Positive Aging. She has contributed to several books as an editor and author, was recognized by Martin Seligman for her contributions in the field of positive health and fitness in his book Flourish, and advises AARP’s Life Reimagined.

»Download the slides



Gratitude in Action: The Power of a Virtual Gratitude Visit with Daniel Tomasulo

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The gratitude visit is one of the best-known positive psychology interventions. It’s simple: People are asked to deliver a letter of gratitude to someone who had been particularly kind to them, but who they never properly thanked. This exercise has been shown to increase happiness and decrease depressive symptoms for a month afterward.

But what if the person you wish to thank is unavailable or deceased? When we combine the gratitude visit with the practice of psychodrama—a therapeutic model that has been proven effective for uses ranging from educational role-playing to trauma work—the possibilities for positive change significantly increase. The “virtual gratitude visit” might be used on a fictional or historical character and, based on new research published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, it can even be done with God.

In this workshop, we look at research on the gratitude visit, examine the differences between written and enacted gratitude, and experience what a virtual gratitude visit might look like. This powerful technique can be particularly useful for coaches, therapists, and workshop leaders.

Daniel Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP,, is the first licensed psychologist and psychodramatist to graduate, in 2012, from Martin Seligman’s Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is now an assistant instructor for MAPP. Dan also writes for Psychology Today as the expert on group therapy, and writes the daily column Ask the Therapist for PsychCentral.com and its Proof Positive blog on positive psychology. He was honored by Sharecare as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. dare2behappy.com

»Download the slides



Lunch and Learn: Speaker Sessions

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    1. The Happiness Walk: 8000 Miles of Listening to What Matters Most in Life with Ginny Sassaman
    »Download the slides
    2. Songwriting with Soldiers: How a Positive Psychology-Based Program is Rocking the World with Mary Judd
    »Download the slides
    3. Touching the Surface, Stirring the Depths with Judy Malloy
    »Download the slides


The Connection Between Yoga and Embodied Positive Psychology with Edi Pasalis

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Explore the connection between yoga and embodied positive psychology with Edi Pasalis, Director of the Kripalu Institute for Extraordinary Living (KIEL). A decade of rigorous research by KIEL-affiliated scientists from leading academic institutions is demonstrating the powerful role of yoga in embodied empowerment of full potential. Edi shares their key findings, along with inspiring stories of individuals and communities who are achieving radical positive change through the transformative wisdom and practice of yoga.

Edi Pasalis, MBA, MTS, Director of the Kripalu Institute for Extraordinary Living, works with a wide variety of organizations, including those in education, health care, child welfare, corrections, and financial services, to decrease burnout and enhance all aspects of performance through the transformative wisdom and practice of yoga. She brings to this endeavor more than two decades of corporate and entrepreneurial experience and a deep study of yoga. A graduate of the Certificate in Positive Psychology, Edi holds an MBA from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and a master’s degree from Harvard Divinity School. kripalu.org/iel

» Slides unavailable



Breathe Your Way to Well-Being with Janna Delgado

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The breath is a powerful tool to enhance peace of mind and well-being. By regulating our breath, we can access greater states of calm and create long-term stress resilience. Studies show that breath regulation can even change our nervous system.

Come learn the benefits of mindful breathing and tips on how to use the breath as a tool for self-care in daily life. We also look at the physiology of breathing and the connection between optimal breathing and well-being.

Janna Delgado, E-RYT 500,, Kripalu faculty member and a Kripalu Yoga in the Schools program developer, is known for infusing humor and heart into her classes, retreats, trainings, and outreach programs. She is passionate about teaching people how to empower themselves with the self-care tools of yoga and Ayurveda. Combining her experience as an Integrative Yoga Therapist, Ayurvedic Lifestyle Consultant, and Kripalu Yoga teacher with her background in acting, she creates life-affirming and joyful experiences for students from all walks of life. Janna is the creator of the CD Moderate Kripalu Yoga and the online video Kripalu Beginner’s Yoga. kripalu.org

» Slides unavailable



Stalking the Gaps: Embodied Spirituality and Repair of the World with Maria Sirois

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Thomas Merton wrote, “There is always a temptation to diddle around in the contemplative life, making itsy-bitsy statues.” There is no need for this and no time. This world is ready to be stalked, seen, and experienced, in all its extravagant beauty and horror. It is in that stalking, that willingness to participate fully in the presence of life as it is, that we become fully and truly alive, in spirit, in body, and in heart.

Join inspirational speaker and positive psychologist Maria Sirois as she reminds us of those moments when all is invigorated, when our spirit is enlivened and our body awakened. It is those moments that bring significance and meaning to our lives, a sense of consequence that not only repairs that which is rent within us but inevitably brings repair to the surround of our days. Through introspection, small-group dialogue, and large-group conversation, we

  • Remember moments of awe, absurdity, suffering, and meaning
  • Investigate aliveness within ourselves as the doorway to the pursuit of meaning
  • Connect that inner wisdom to the research on and practice of mindful presence
  • Create a template for inquiry that elevates brain health, heart health, and a sense of the body as something far more than a collection of bones, cells, and nerves.

Maria Sirois, PsyD,, is a clinical psychologist who has worked at the intersections of psychology and well-being for more than 20 years, focusing on the resilience of the human spirit, life flourishing through positive psychology, and personal transformation. Known for her wisdom, authenticity, and humor, she brings a depth of experience to the worlds of health and wellness for corporate and nonprofit audiences alike. Maria is the author of the forthcoming book A Short Course in Happiness After Loss (And Other Difficult Times) and Every Day Counts: Lessons in Love, Faith and Resilience. A master teacher who presents internationally with Tal Ben-Shahar, she has been called an orator of great power and beauty. mariasirois.com

»Download the slides



The Grace Garden of Hearts and Souls with Megha Nancy Buttenheim

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For 20 years, Megha has brought the Grace Garden of Hearts and Souls, her signature movement meditation, to thousands of students and trainees. Moving through the Garden is particularly beneficial for students of Positive Psychology because it embodies the teachings of compassion, empathy, and kindness. The Grace Garden meditation not only broadens and builds positivity, it also builds community and connection in a unique, beautiful way, and acts as a gentle yet powerful inquiry into the nature of Grace as divine, unmerited benediction. Combining the practices of visualization, meditation, journal writing, co-listening, and quiet movement, we

  • Embrace our vulnerability, tenderness, and worthiness
  • Experience a deep bond with fellow participants, without words
  • Learn what it means to give from heart and soul, and discover the true yoga of receiving
  • Understand compassion in a new way
  • Explore ways to serve the Grace Garden forward.

Bring an open heart and prepare to dive into embodied Grace.

Megha Nancy Buttenheim, MA, E-RYT 500, is founding director of Let Your Yoga Dance. She serves on the faculty of the Wholebeing Institute’s Certificate in Positive Psychology and spent 30 years as a yoga teacher trainer at Kripalu. Megha is committed to bringing the dance of yoga to everyone, of all ages, including people who feel marginalized due to age, Parkinson’s, MS, or Alzheimer’s. She is the creator of the Yoga DVD Introduction to Yoga and Meditation and two dynamic yoga CDs, Moontides and Power and Grace. letyouryogadance.com

»No slides used in this session



Evening Keynote: Becoming True: What Our Bodies Teach Us About Authenticity
with Maria Sirois

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We’ve all had the experience of receiving a message from the body—a wave of emotion, a physical symptom, or a flush of heat. And we have also had the experience of our bodies taking over, bringing us into the deepest experience of what is true—through a shriek of joy, an overwhelming weakness that brings us to our knees, or a powerful ache in the heart or the gut.

The body has much to teach us about what is true and good for us, if only we care to learn. In this workshop, we explore what we mean by authentic living and how to listen to the body with a playful heart and an open mind in order to build a stronger sense of self. The session covers

  • What authenticity means from a whole-being perspective
  • Physiological reactions and their mental/emotional correlates
  • Listening skills for interpreting communication from the body
  • The benefits of play for increasing our authentic expression.

Maria Sirois, PsyD,, is a clinical psychologist who has worked at the intersections of psychology and well-being for more than 20 years, focusing on the resilience of the human spirit, life flourishing through positive psychology, and personal transformation. Known for her wisdom, authenticity, and humor, she brings a depth of experience to the worlds of health and wellness for corporate and nonprofit audiences alike. Maria is the author of the forthcoming book A Short Course in Happiness After Loss (And Other Difficult Times) and Every Day Counts: Lessons in Love, Faith and Resilience. A master teacher who presents internationally with Tal Ben-Shahar, she has been called an orator of great power and beauty. mariasirois.com

»Download the slides

»Watch the Parker Palmer video




Day 4

Morning Keynote: Prioritizing Positivity with Barbara Fredrickson

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What does it mean to prioritize positivity, and how can it help you maintain life balance and improve your mental and physical health? In this keynote address, Barbara Fredrickson shares recent research that she and Dr. Lahnna Catalino have conducted on this concept, and explains how it’s different from merely valuing happiness, which can backfire. People who seek positivity, by habitually taking into account their potential happiness when organizing their everyday lives, may be happier. Putting ourselves in situations in which we are likely to experience positive emotions can reap ongoing, life-sustaining rewards.

Barbara L. Fredrickson, PhD, among the most highly cited scholars in psychology, is the Kenan Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience and director of the Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Lab at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters and her books for a general audience, Positivity and Love 2.0, have been translated into more than a dozen languages. Her research is funded by the National Institutes of Health, and she serves as President of the International Positive Psychology Association. positivityresonance.com

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Closing Session: Enlivening the Next Steps with Megan McDonough

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Having a transformational experience (also known as the “retreat high”) does not ensure sustained change. In this closing keynote, Megan McDonough takes you through steps to help you integrate your learning, looking at what you’ve received throughout the summit and selecting the seeds to sow upon your return to “real life.” You take away a solid structure to support and maintain growth over the long haul, by

  • Savoring the week in review and consolidating gains
  • Connecting with support within the community for accountability
  • Creating a plan of action to sustain change when you return home.

Megan McDonough, cofounder and CEO of Wholebeing Institute, uses divergent thinking and creative perspectives to harness the best in people for the greatest good. Megan has held senior leadership positions in health care and directed numerous online-learning startups. Along with her entrepreneurial endeavors, Megan is a yoga enthusiast, having practiced for more than 20 years and taught for more than a decade. Her degree in nuclear medicine has nothing whatsoever to do with her current work, and everything to do with her radically receptive approach to life. Megan is the award-winning author of Infinity in a Box: Using Yoga to Live with Ease, A Minute for Me: Learning to Savor Sixty Seconds, and Radically Receptive Meditation.

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»My inSPIREd Story handout