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Teacher Feature

Joan Dickinson
Anna Maria Island, Florida
Vedic Master

Joan Dickinson is a Vedic Master who teaches yoga, meditation, and Ayurveda in the beautiful setting of Anna Maria Island in Florida. Just two years ago, she was at a crossroads, feeling burned out and dissatisfied with her work as a stock trader.

In this month’s Teacher Feature, Joan describes the transformation that unfolded for her when she began to meditate and ask herself, “What is my true purpose in life?” These questions led her to the Chopra Center, where she immersed herself in its philosophy, and become certified in all three branches of the Teacher’s Path in just nine months. She has given birth to a new version of herself and says that she expects more joy and change as she continues to explore the deeper layers of herself and life.

“Neem Karoli Baba’s phrase, “Often ones goes for one thing and finds another,” represents my Chopra Center journey. And it makes me smile; I am the happiest I have ever been. Not stress free, mind you, but confident, no longer wringing my hands with worry or irritated. I have discovered an inner peace and light-heartedness from my meditation practice, I’ve developed greater physical health from my Ayurvedic diet, and I’m enjoying more and strength, flexibility, and balance thanks to my yoga practice. Even my Vata-Pitta dosha seems quite in balance! For all of these transformational gifts, I am thankful to The Chopra Center.

”When I approached the Chopra Center in March 2007, I believed that I could help start a life coaching program there. Instead, I ended up being helped myself . . . in a way that changed my life. At the time, I was a retired psychologist, professor, and health care consultant – and I had lost my way. I was burned out on running behavioral health centers and the business end of health care. I considered my career a success as I’d accomplished all my goals for it by the age of fifty-three, and I thought it was time to trade in my career for the beauty of the sea. I bought a home on Anna Maria Island and supported myself by becoming a stock market trader. I fished, kayaked, and swam in between placing trades.

“Living by the sea was a great choice, but being a stock trader wasn’t a good career fit for me at all. One day I picked up my old copy of The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by “chance” and that book changed my life. I had a Gestalt or aha experience as I was reading the chapter on the Law of Dharma. Working on the stock market is not my dharma or purpose in life” I thought. I’m not using my unique gifts and talents to serve others and myself. I stopped trading and returned to my skills as a psychologist.

“I also reached out to the Chopra Center and attended my first program, the Seduction of Spirit meditation retreat, and I was seduced! I wanted to learn as much as I could about the Center’s teachings and philosophy and so I chose the Vedic Master’s path, becoming certified as a meditation, yoga, and Perfect Health instructor. I did the training programs as a personal growth experience and didn’t have the intention to teach, but I soon rediscovered my inner teacher and love offering meditation and yoga classes on Anna Maria Island. I particularly enjoy teaching middle-aged or older students who are afraid of yoga and need a gentle introduction to it.

“I have a new zest for life and I feel like I have come full circle. I started out in the humanistic/existential movement as a psychologist in the 1970s with a sincere desire to help others. Now I’m teaching and have developed a life coaching business. I’m also writing a column for the Bradenton Herald and have discovered that I love writing as a way of inspiring people to be their best.

“I consider much of my coaching and teaching to be seva . . . a way of giving back. I also enjoy volunteering at the Chopra Center’s events and I’m having fun creating new ways of bringing more abundance into my life."

Joan Dickinson
Certified Primordial Sound Meditation, Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga, and Perfect Health instructor
Anna Maria Island, Florida
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