Date of Award

Spring 2022

Access Restriction


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Yoga Studies

School or College

Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

Amy Osborne

Second Advisor

Susan Chapman

Third Advisor

Christopher Key Chapple


I opted to write a memoir about my personal experiences in yoga, rather than a traditional research-based thesis. A key distinction between memoir and autobiography or auto-ethnography is that it’s not linear—much like my yoga journey. Often, experiences, particularly around healing emotional trauma, are more circular in nature, perhaps even more of a spiral. According to Carl Jung, “The spiral in psychology means that when you make a spiral you always come over the same point where you have been before, but never really the same, it is above or below, inside, outside, so it means growth.” (Jung 5, p. 21). In his book Why Therapy Works: Using Our Minds to Change Our Brains, Louis Cozolino, PhD explains that coherent narratives, such as Joseph Campbell’s “the hero’s journey”, are an important part of psychotherapy and provide a way for individuals to make sense of and heal from complex trauma. To illustrate this point, I will be employing the Jungian-inspired “heroine’s journey” model developed my Maureen Murdock, PhD—a similar framework to the “hero’s journey” but through a feminist lens.

Personal narrative can also be a form of (svādhyāya) self-study. I chose to organize my eventual memoir into three sections: Divine, Liberated, and Love. On their own, each word represents a crucial part of my yoga journey: Divine represents my invitation to the practice through isolated mystical experiences; Liberated represents the therapeutic benefits that kept me coming back to the mat, as well as my initiation into the depths of my shadow work and ultimately individuation from my saṃskāras, or “conscious our unconscious patterns of though, communication, and behaviors” (Yoga Therapy Foundations, Tools, and Practice 2021, p. 285); and Love represents my integration, a union of the paradoxical nature of divinity and individuality. Combined, the phrase “Divine Liberated Love” has taken my initial intention of integration to a much deeper level, helping me to remember who I truly am and what matters to me.