About the Teacher:

Olga Louchakova-Schwartz, MD, PhD

Olga Louchakova-SchwartzEkananda (Olga Louchakova-Schwartz) started as Doctor of Medicine, and wrote her PhD dissertation in neuroimmunology. As a researcher, she was always interested in mind-body connections. This led her to conduct participatory research in several religious traditions: Advaita Vedanta, Kundalini Yoga, Slavic paganism and Orthodox Christian Hesychasm, Rifai, Bektashi, Jerrahi and Malamatiya Sufism, Tibetan Buddhism, Vipassana, and several movement and martial arts trainings. After deep immersion in such research, she was mandated to teach in several traditions and got ordained as a minister of mind-body healing. However, at this point she felt she did not sufficiently understand why the methods she was teaching have efficacy. Further, she saw the psychological and bodily effects of the traditional meditations and techniques of inner work had much in common, but it was not clear why, and where to draw the lines between religious, spiritual, and simply humanly emancipating outcomes. As a scholar at the Graduate Theological Union, Research Director and founder of the Neurophenomenology Center at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, she turned to phenomenology in search of a research method, and took as her approach the study of experience. By practicing herself and collecting many self-reports from her trainees and patients, un the 1990s he put together the Hridayam ® Method integrative training. The training was trademarked and was the first of its kind. Using Hridayam®, Olga-Ekananda (Wahida, in her Sufi designation) worked with disadvantaged communities in Turkey (prior to the terrorist events of September 11, 2001), in Mexico, in the United States, and in the UK , after the 2006 bombings of the London Tube. She also worked in trauma relief in Estonia, Moldova, and perestroika Russia, and conducted consciousness development seminars in Romania and the US. Her chief research interest is in what makes experience religious or spiritual, and in religious determinants in public health. She has published numerous papers in different areas of science and philosophy, many accessible on academia.edu, and has edited two books, The Problem of Religious Experience (Springer, 2019), and Image, Phenomenon, Imagination in the Phenomenology of Religious Experience (with Martin Nitsche, Bautz, 2023). She is currently working on the book Husserl and Suhrawardi: Reappriasing Apodicticity (Lexington Press), serving as founding editor for the book series on Phenomenology of Religious Experience (Lexington Press), and is founding president of the academic society of the same name.