Compared to the extensive body of work on mindfulness-based practices, far
fewer scientific studies have examined the mechanisms underlying movement-based contemplative practices such as yoga or Qigong. One likely reason is the inherent challenge of dealing with their multifaceted nature, typically involving specific movement sequences, specialized use of the breath, and modulation of attention. Movement-based practices have, however, been shown to alleviate the symptoms of various clinical conditions, and elicit measurable changes in physiological stress markers, cognitive and motor functioning, as well as emotional states in healthy populations. An important challenge for contemplative scientists, therefore, is to advance our understanding of the mechanisms underlying these complex practices. This panel presentation will focus on the current state-of-the-art of research on movement-based practices including yoga, tai chi, the Feldenkrais Method and the Alexander Technique, and outline important avenues for future research within the field. This session will be moderated by Laura Schmalzl and Catherine Kerr.

Dav Clark

University of California, Berkeley


Eva Henje Blom

University of California, San Francisco


Catherine Kerr, PhD

Brown University

Convening Faculty, Fellow, Grantee

Catherine Kerr, PhD was director of translational neuroscience at the Contemplative Studies Initiative at Brown University. Her neuroscience research focused on neural dynamics underlying embodied attention and the sense of … MORE

Philip Nessel

Alexander Technique International


Laura Schmalzl, PhD

Southern California University of Health Sciences

Convening Faculty, Grantee, Reviewer

Laura Schmalzl is an associate professor at Southern California University of Health Sciences, where she teaches neuroscience, research methods, and yoga foundations for healthcare professionals. Laura initially trained as a … MORE

Peter Wayne, PhD

Harvard Medical School

Convening Faculty, Fellow

Peter Wayne, PhD, is a researcher and practitioner in the field of mind-body and integrative medicine.  Dr. Wayne is the Bernard Osher Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School … MORE