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Meet the team: Emily's Philosophy Story

How did you get interested in philosophy?

I was brought up in a household that encouraged philosophical thinking; my late step-father had studied philosophy and encouraged me and my siblings to always think outside the box. My family also has an interest in Buddhism; this combination led to my younger years being exposed to many ideas and ways of thinking that I found intriguing. We would have many dinner-table discussions on the meaning of life, and philosophical debates.

I read ‘Sophie’s World’ by Jostein Gaarder when I was about 14 – this is a story about a young Norwegian girl who meets an old philosopher who asks her questions such as ‘who am I?’ and she walks through a history of western philosophy. I went on to read philosophical and psychological fiction such as Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment and eventually went on to study A-level philosophy of religion and psychology. When choosing which degree to study, I remember reading the philosophy section of the University of York’s prospectus and I couldn’t believe there was an option to study the human condition! It felt so right. I ended up studying Philosophy at Newcastle University and later a master’s in mind, language and embodied cognition at The University of Edinburgh.

What made you interested in working with The Wisdom Collective?

I stumbled across the Wisdom Collective through my yoga classes at The Salisbury Centre. I saw on the website that they run workshops on philosophy for children. Again, I had that feeling that I must get in touch – to find out how I can be involved. I think offering philosophy to young people is so important, and such a wonderful opportunity which lasts a lifetime. I think that philosophy should be taught in schools and philosophical enquiry delivered to children across the globe – this is how we can grow and evolve as a species… by questioning our existing values and systems and creating better ones!

How do you think yoga and mindfulness are related to philosophy?

Interesting question – I think yoga and mindfulness are philosophy. Philosophy is to love wisdom, to explore and find out about ourselves (and beyond ourselves, if possible). Yoga is a kind of ‘active philosophy’ – discovering the self and learning about thought patterns and emotions. I did my master’s thesis on yoga and embodied skill, looking at automatic versus controlled coping – essentially how much ‘mindfulness’ is involved in yoga as compared to other ‘sports’ and activities we may do. Yoga is linked to phenomenology, philosophy of religion, philosophy of action and embodied cognition. It would take more than a short blog to explain the connection fully

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