Keynote Speakers
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SYTAR 2016 welcomes:
Our esteemed keynote speakers


Michael Lee  -  A 30 Year Perspective on the Evolution and Future of Yoga Therapy:  Where Have We Come From?  Where Are We Going?

Michael Lee, MA, Dip.Soc. Sci, E-RYT 500
Michael is a master educator with 49 years of teaching experience. He founded Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy in 1986 after many years of deep yoga practice and work in the areas of personal growth and transformation. Michael is the author of two books Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy—Bridge from Body to Soul and Turn Stress Into Bliss. He is also a contributing author to the American Psychological Association published book Beyond Talk therapy: Using movement and expressive techniques in clinical practice and the recently published Yoga Therapy & Integrative Medicine – Where Ancient Science Meets Modern Medicine. He has led workshops and training programs and presented at conferences worldwide for the past thirty years. 


Josephine Briggs, MD  -  Yoga Research - What is Ahead?

Dr. Josephine Briggs, an accomplished researcher and physician, is Director of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In addition to leading NCCIH, she has served as Acting Director of the Division of Clinical Innovation at the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences. Her research interests include the renin-angiotensin system, circadian regulation of blood pressure, and policy and ethical issues around clinical research. Dr. Briggs has published more than 175 research articles, book chapters, and other scholarly publications. She is an elected member of the Association of American Physicians and the American Society for Clinical Investigation and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Briggs has received many awards including the American Society of Nephrology John P. Peters Award and NIH Director's Awards for work on key trans-NIH activities such as leading the NIH Health Care Systems Research Collaboratory.



Sandra McLanahan, MD   -  The Open Heart:  A Doctor's Journey in Therapeutic Yoga

Amrita (Sandra) McLanahan, M.D., is a nationally recognized authority on preventive medicine, nutrition, stress reduction and primary family health care.  As Director of Stress Management Training at the Preventive Medicine Research Institute for twenty years, she worked with Dr. Dean Ornish to document the benefits of dietary change and stress management to prevent and treat cardiovascular disease and cancer. Dr.  McLanahan is the author of the book Surgery and its Alternatives: How to Make the Right Choices for Your Health and is the medical consultant for the book Dr. Yoga.


Gary Kraftsow  -  Antya Krama:  Meditations for the End of Life - Understanding the role of Yoga and Yoga Therapy

Gary Kraftsow, MA, E-RYT 500, has been a pioneer in the transmission of yoga for health, healing and personal transformation in the U.S. for more than 30 years. He is the founder of the American Viniyoga Institute and author of Yoga for Wellness and Yoga for Transformation.  Gary's journey began over 40 years ago at Colgate University where he majored in religious studies. He traveled to Madras at 19 where he studied the mystical teaching and practices of Saiva Siddhanta privately with a well-known mystic and scholar of south India, V.A Devasenapathi. During this same time, he studied the very practical science of yoga as taught with T.K.V. Desikachar, son of T Krishnamacharya. Back in the United States, Gary studied with respected scholars, including Kenneth Morgan, a leading authority on the study of world religions, M. Holmes Hartshorne, one of the foremost scholars on Soren Kierkegaard, often described as the "Father of Christian Existentialism", Dr. Raimundo Panikkar, a scholar of world religions and a world leader in interfaith dialogue and the great Tibetan Buddhist master, Kalu Rinpoche.