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Episode 15: Steffany Moonaz, PhD, C-IAYT, Founder & Director of Yoga for Arthritis

“To assist people who are feeling disconnected from their bodies so that they can rediscover freedom of movement, and the inner power to live life on their terms. To foster a new concept of the possibilities for people living with arthritis. To free our students from pain, if only for a moment, so that they might experience pure joy and know that it is their true nature. To foster a change in our relationship to pain so that it might serve as a vehicle for discovering meaning, purpose, priorities and even greater joy.”

-Steffany Moonaz

Steffany Moonaz, PhD, C-IAYT is the Founder and Director of Yoga for Arthritis, and serves as the Director of Clinical and Academic Research at the Maryland University of Integrative Health (which offers the nation’s only Masters of Science in Yoga Therapy). She is the author of Yoga Therapy for Arthritis: ​A whole-person approach to movement and lifestyle

In this episode, Steffany shares a powerful story of how she found “her own unique and individual path, or dharma,” through her love of dance as a child. Steffany, who recognized that there was a certain “mindfulness in motion” that took place while dancing, also developed an understanding of the healing power of mindful movement. With a background in biology, dance, and public health, Steffany went on to develop and evaluate a yoga program for individuals with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, which became the basis for her PhD in public health.

Currently, Steffany leads Yoga for Arthritis teacher training programs nationwide and serves as a mentor for several emerging researchers who are working to study the effects of yoga for various health conditions. Steffany believes that through yoga, the arthritic population can recognize their own resilience and wisdom as well as control pain and reduce physical symptoms through mindful practices. With years of studies and evidence to support Yoga for Arthritis, Steffany has developed a program to educate and certify yoga professionals how to best work with this population through physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual guidance. Steffany Moonaz is on a mission to not only connect, but also educate fitness and medical professionals the benefits of catering to all aspects of the arthritic client.

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