After completing my PhD, I dedicated substantial time to learn about and directly experience various contemplative traditions and practices, alongside my scientific work. For example, in 2017, I completed a 200-hours Hatha Yoga teacher training in India with particular interest in yoga philosophy. I also participated in numerous other seminars and workshops regarding other traditions and meditation methods, and led yoga and meditation groups myself.
The practices I encountered struck me as extremely valuable–yet scientifically immensely understudied–interventions for boosting mental health, meaning, and relationship quality. Ever since, one of my aims is to contribute to the scientific understanding of these practices and to help make them accessible to more people who might benefit. For example, at the University of Pennsylvania we have been running a pre-registered, small randomized clinical trial on the effects of contemplative dyad meditation on mental health in young adults (see video below, funded by the Mind Science Foundation).