I was introduced to Dr. Stephen Parker by a friend who suggested I reach out to him given my interests in psychology, yoga, and contemplative practices. We worked together for a brief time in therapy, but quickly moved into a spiritual friendship. I received initiation from him in 2013, and he remains one of my principle teachers of contemplation. I am grateful for his warmth and generosity, and he has helped me to understand how yoga as the science of spiritual practice can be fully integrated into my practice as a Christian.
Dr. Stephen Parker was initiated in the Himalayan Yoga tradition by Swami Veda Bharati and was given the initiate name Stoma in 1971. Among the first teachers certified by the Himalayan International Teachers’ Association, H.I.T.A., he began teaching hatha-yoga in 1974. During that time he also studied Sanskrit with Swami Veda and South Asian languages and literature for his B.A. at the University of Minnesota. Stoma is an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher at the 500 hour level of the Yoga Alliance (E-RYT 500) and also serves on the Board of Directors of the Council on Yoga Accreditation International (www.cyai.com). A member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists, he was grandparented as a certified yoga therapist in August 2017 and he serves on the faculties of the Meditation Center in Minneapolis and the Swami Rama Sadhaka Gram ashram in Rishikesh, India. He is also a senior faculty member of the Himalayan Yoga Tradition Teachers’ Training Program. He has lectured on yoga, meditation, yoga psychology, spiritual practice, management and the science of ygoa in the U.S. and Canada as well as in Carribean countries, Holland, Italy, Austria, Hungary, Lithuania, South Africa, Korea, Hong Kong and India. In 2004 he helped originate and teach the first course on yoga in an American medical school at the University of Minnesota Academic Medical Center. In 2007 he received preliminary vows of renunciation from Swami Veda and the Shankaracharya of Karvirapitha.
Stoma has been a licensed psychologist in private practice in St. Paul, MN since 1985. He also serves as Adjunct Assistant School Professor of Counseling and Psychological Services at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Professional Psychology at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, MN. He teaches on the faculty of the Introductory Workshops of the Minnesota Society of Clinical Hypnosis. In addition to authoring journal articles and book chapters, Dr. Parker edited volume two of Swami Veda’s definitive scholarly work on the Yoga-sutras of Patanjali. He has also recently published a book on the process of spiritual purification in yoga entitled Clearing the Path, the yoga way to a clear and pleasant mind: Patañjali, neuroscience and emotion. He has been a peer review editor for the Journal of Men’s Studies, the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, the International Journal of Health and Applied Sciences, the International Journal of Yoga Therapy and Yoga-mimamsa.
Check out Dr. Parker’s recently published book for more nuggets of wisdom!