About Me

I am a fully-qualified registered Yoga Teacher with over 1,000 hours of training. I am in my sixth year of teaching Yoga and have been practising for the past 20 years. I also have a Ph.D. in Cognitive Science – an interdisciplinary field that incorporates neuroscience, psychology and computer science to investigate human cognition. My research examines how beliefs, perceptions, emotions and behaviors impact one’s capacity to learn and live well. I have spent over 15 years working as a university researcher and lecturer.

I am deeply passionate about sharing my expertise to help people build emotional resilience to better handle life’s ups and downs. Once key skills are learnt you can return to a more regulated and balanced state quickly and easily.

I run weekly yoga and meditation classes (in Sorrento & Padbury) as well as specialised workshops for improving stress, anxiety and depression. I also see clients in my home studio in Sorrento for private yoga classes, therapy and personal development.

My qualifications include:

Ph.D. in Cognitive Science, 2007

Postgraduate Diploma in Adult Education (PGDHE), 2009

VIYETT Diploma in Yoga Teaching 500 hours, 2018

C-IAYT: Certified International Yoga Therapist (to be completed 2024)

 

I am a life-long learner with a passion for understanding the brain and nervous system for optimal health and wellbeing. I have undertaken numerous postgraduate and professional development courses in nervous system regulation, somatic (body-focused) inquiry, body-based trauma therapy and counselling. I am on track to qualify as a C-IAYT – Certified International Yoga Therapist (the leading body in Yoga Therapy certification) mid 2024.

Susan Dowling in Yoga pose

Discovering Yoga

Back in 2001, as I was finishing off my Masters degree, I found myself stressed, overwhelmed and exhausted. A friend recommended that I try yoga. I was prepared to try anything so mat in hand I rambled into my first class…

I remember feeling so self-conscious – much more aware of what everyone else was doing than focusing on myself. I didn’t know then that yoga has nothing to do with how it looks from the outside! But when we got to Savasana (final resting pose in yoga), something magical happened. My mind quietened and a sense of relief and peace that I had never felt before flowed through my body. I was there but not there: blissful, contented and rested. It is this feeling that has taken me onto my mat for over 20 years now and time and time again I am in awe at the power of this ancient practice.

Researching the Mind

From 2002-2007, I successfully completed a PhD in Cognitive Science. My research focused on predicting success for undergraduates starting a university course. Through this I explored the concepts of self-regulation, motivation and meta-cognition, and used machine learning (artificial intelligence) to search for patterns of successful versus unsuccessful learners within a large dataset of demographic, behavioural, psychological and physiological factors.

The outcome of my PhD was a highly-referenced model that could predict with 80% accuracy how an adult learner was likely to perform after only two weeks on a university course. Of most significance was one’s own belief in their ability to succeed. In the years that followed my research team advanced this model significantly and it is currently being used in a large-scale longitudinal international study on learner performance.

Over the years I have became deeply interested in the study of emotional and mental well-being and in particular the role stress and anxiety play in our lives. This led me to numerous experiments using EEG and neurofeedback to monitor the brain in real-time and to sensor-based technology to monitor physiological indicators of stress and emotional arousal such as heart rate variability and galvanic skin response (sweat).

My current goal is to bring my knowedge and expertise as a cognitive scientist, reseracher, and mind-body teacher/practitioner together. Stay tuned for exciting courses and programs in the pipeline!

Yoga Alliance YACEP Continuing Education Provider Accreditation Badge
Yoga Alliance E-RYT 200 Accreditation Badge
Yoga Alliance RYT500 Accreditation Badge