Selena Brown, M.A., M.Ed., RYT200
Selena is a professional youth speaker and yoga & meditation teacher. Through Pramana Wellness, Selena leads meditative, growth-oriented, and breath-focused yoga and meditation sessions across the country and throughout the Americas. With a background in psychotherapy, education, and public speaking, Selena is passionate about helping others learn to listen to their unique truth, cultivate their authentic voice, and find the courage to live a life that honors their light.
It all begins with the breath.
I came to yoga in early 2001 at the tail end of my freshman year of college, while enthusiastically soaking up the wealth of experiences that characterize university life. I had no idea what to expect when I sauntered into the campus gym for my first yoga class. As the minutes ticked by, I grew increasingly overwhelmed watching the practitioners attack arm balances and grunt through inversions while I struggled to simply stop sliding across my borrowed mat as my shoulders screamed during my first ever attempts at Downward Facing Dog. During my sophomore year I acquired The Yoga Deck by Olivia Miller, and made sure to toss the small box into my luggage before heading off to study abroad. Before bed each evening that summer I selected a few cards that looked like fun, arranged them in an order that appeased my inner choreographer, and placed them on my borrowed bedside table before turning out the lights. Each morning I attempted to hold the preselected poses for a few breaths each, often with more than a little frustration, but by the end of my summer studies I’d learned the names of enough poses to feel confident enough to take a class at a local yoga studio. It was there, beyond the boundaries of my university campus, that I found my first - but not last - yoga home.
A student of psychology at the time, I began to recognize the patterns that governed my thoughts and behavior. It became clear that I had gotten very good at treating the present as a means to an end; it was always the destination, not the proverbial journey, that held by attention. Perhaps due in part to the simultaneity of studying psychology while practicing yoga, it dawned on me that if I continued keeping my eyes fixed on the horizon, I would run the risk of waking up one day to the realization that I had not been present for the actual process of living my life. I intuited that the postures (asana) that comprise yoga classes would become a gateway, and the stillness of meditation would become the path that would lead me to the present. Through the cultivation of conscious breathing I learned how to rest in the moment and began to marvel at the beauty found therein. Yet, before that milestone, meditation first taught me about myself.
While in graduate school I began experimenting with meditation by simply sitting still after a home asana practice. I have been no stranger to heartache, and while enduring the aftermath of a particularly painful romantic disappointment, I began the practice of sitting each day, allowing the tears to come. I closed my eyes, remaining in my best approximation of a Lotus posture, and as my focus went deeper, the tears invariably ceased, leaving a profound sense of calm in their wake. I used this experience as my internal clock, and would complete my sitting after the quiet settled in, following my sitting with morning prayers and journaling before going about my day. This combination of yoga poses, concentration, devotion, and self-study became the basis of a bespoke sadhana (dedicated home practice) that I carried with me across time and space, hardship and celebration. By virtue of mere repetition and as a natural consequence of watching the shifting clouds of my thoughts and emotions over the course of moments and minutes, days and weeks, and months and years, it became clear to me that, indeed, nothing lasts forever. At times returning to the cushion became a radical act of faith in my own ability to grow, and that faith blossomed into self-confidence, self-esteem, and, eventually, the kind of self-love that no amount of academic study had been able to foment.
While reading The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali during my initial yoga teacher training, I came across the term pramāna, which Sri Swami Satchidananda defined as “correct or right knowledge”. Taken alongside other translations that include “sources of knowledge,” “measure,” and "reliable means of knowledge," the term struck me as illustrative of my yoga journey. Pramana Wellness is both the means through which I seek to help others along their own unique paths, and is the means by which I do the same for myself. Becoming a yoga and meditation practitioner was how I uncovered my truth, and becoming a yoga and meditation teacher is how I found the courage to live a life that honors my light.
I am so grateful to be able to share this journey with you.