Laura Schmalzl, PhD

Visiting Teacher

Laura Schmalzl, Ph.D., is a Clinical Neuropsychologist and Cognitive Neuroscientist, as well as a longtime yoga practitioner and certified yoga instructor. Born and raised in Italy, Laura obtained a BA in Psychology from the University of Padua. She then completed a Masters in Clinical Neuropsychology, a PhD in Cognitive Science, and Post-doctoral training in Cognitive Neuroscience at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. This was followed by further Post-doctoral training and research at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, and University of California San Diego, as well as an Associate Professorship at Southern California University of Health Sciences.

Laura’s work over the past decade has largely been motivated by her interest in combining her clinical and academic training with her passion for practicing and teaching yoga. From a research perspective, her interests lie in furthering an understanding of the mechanisms through which yoga-based practices impact body awareness, emotional self-regulation and cognitive functioning. In educational settings, Laura implemented yoga as an experiential learning tool within the neuroscience curriculum for medical students. She also served as Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Yoga Therapy for six years, and has been part of the contemplative faculty for the Mind & Life Institute for the past three years. 

Laura is now based in Santa Barbara, where she is currently completing her Yoga Therapy Certification.