Betsey Downing, Ph.D.

Betsey Downing, Ph.D., has been a yoga practitioner since 1972 and a meditator since 1974. Her teaching is a synergy of her core practices of meditation, pranayama, and asana. It is informed by decades of study of yoga and philosophical texts, writing, reflection, and personal growth work. Betsey’s teaching comes from a deep well of wisdom and practical knowledge, developed over her more than 40 years of yoga.

Betsey is also a Volunteer Climate Leader through the Climate Reality Project, has lobbied Congress for a fee on carbon through the Citizens Climate Lobby, and works with the local chapter of 350.org. Her passion now is to offer workshops through the lens of our shared humanity and our connection to the sacred. Betsey’s intention is to help facilitate an awakening to the unprecedented climate emergency we’re in, and the imperative of a WW II-type climate mobilization to avert the worst of possible scenarios for our future.


After obtaining a masters degree in Urban Education (Simmons College, Boston, 1972) and student teaching in the Boston city schools, Betsey worked for Action for Boston Community Development in an after-school work program for inner-city youth. She also tutored in an after-school program through The Bridge in Dorchester, MA.

Betsey began studying yoga in 1972 and at the encouragement of her first teacher, Joel Zimmerman, began teaching part-time a year and a half later. She studied asana and Jnana Yoga with Joel Kramer, meditation with Swami Muktananda, and attended workshops and teacher trainings in Sivananda Yoga. She also studied Iyengar yoga for 20 years.  In 1994, Betsey began Anusara yoga, and was one of the first certified teachers in 1999. Betsey has been privileged to study with many exceptional spiritual teachers, including Richard Rudd, Douglas Brooks, Bill Mahoney, Craig Hamilton, Jean Houston, Sally Kempton, and Paul Mueller.

In the mid-70’s Betsey began teaching full-time and has owned several yoga studios over the years. She teaches from a deep well of wisdom and practical knowledge, developed over her 40 years of teaching and practice. She regards the efficacy of practice to be revealed by the way we take our yoga off the mat: becoming aware and compassionate, as well as learning to respond rather than react to life events. Betsey is passionate about exploring the intersection of spirituality, science, and activism, as a way of awakening to our sacred obligation to make the world a better place.

Betsey was the founder and director of Garden of the Heart Yoga Center in Sarasota, FL, for 8 years, and the Health Advantage Yoga Center in Herndon, VA before that. Her passion now is to lead workshops and trainings through the lens of our shared humanity and our connection to the sacred.

Betsey holds a Ph.D. in Sport Psychology from the University of Virginia.