Hi, my name is Dr. Elizabeth Slator and I wanted to take a minute to introduce myself to you and share a little bit about who I am and how I came to be standing here, so it doesn't feel quite so one-sided when I ask you to share things with me or share things with your classmates. As you'll come to find out, the work associated with these classes is really pretty personal, and at different points, you'll be asked to be reflective and vulnerable about your own life. We'll all get more from this experience if we genuinely engage, so I thought I'd tried to start things off by being as open and authentic as I hope you are throughout our time together. So let's see. I'm the youngest of three children and I was born and raised in Houston, Texas. Growing up, I played all kinds of sports and was fortunate to get to play basketball and softball through college. I earned my bachelor's degree in health promotion and a master's in sports psychology from Auburn University, and I have a PhD in health and human performance from the University of Tennessee. I'm into all types of outdoor adventure and I'm an avid surfer, hiker, and still a sports nut. I live with my partner and our two teenagers, though the oldest is off in college now. We have an awesome ten-year-old Australian Shepherd named Bo, who I'm just crazy about, and two really sweet kitty cats. On any given weekend if there's no surf in the gulf, we like to spend our spare time riding bikes, practicing yoga, and finding cool spots to hike. For the last, it's been almost two decades now, I've been teaching, running programs, and consulting in the areas of health, human performance, and behavior change. I spent 13 of those almost 20 years at Rice University. My deepest passions lie in the intersections of mindfulness, well-being, and nature and I spent much of the last four years focusing my work in this area. My initial introduction to mindfulness came a little more than a decade ago when I started attending some drop-in mindfulness meditations led by a wonderful mindfulness teacher here in the Houston area. I loved her energy and her philosophy about life, and I found myself drawn in by her messages about presence and compassion, wisdom, and trust. I found that when I applied her teaching to my own life, the impact spread far and wide and it extended out into almost every aspect of who I was and what I did. It made a profound and positive difference in my relationships, my work, and my own mental health. Some of the early but resounding lessons for me included getting to know, accept, and trust my true self, and also seeing how the spaciousness that comes with regular mindfulness practice can facilitate greater peace and ease in everyday life. As a teacher by training, it felt quite natural to eventually land at a path that would bring me to share mindfulness with others. In early 2016, I pursued a certification in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction from the Mindfulness-Based Professional Training Institute at the University of California, San Diego. To be quite honest, this decision flipped my professional life upside down in all the best ways. Through this training, I deepen my own practice, I learned the value of teaching from the inside out, and I began to focus my career on sharing mindfulness with others. Mindfulness is an ancient practice and there's little that you'll learn in and through this class that comes from me originally. My understanding of the philosophy and science of mindfulness is influenced by dozens of meditation teachers and scholars and by my own personal experience with the practice. I'm a mindfulness teacher by training and grace, but first and foremost, a practitioner and a student. My journey with mindfulness has been healing and humbling, life altering and life-giving. I consider myself lucky to share what I know with you. I hope you enjoy the course, and that your own experience with mindfulness is as rewarding as mine.