Rice student helps bring internationally recognized yogi and spiritual leader to Houston

Rice University student Trent Navran was so profoundly moved by a Parish Fellowship experience studying yoga and meditation in Southeast Asia that he sought to bring Sadhguru, the yogi and spiritual leader who inspired him, to Houston for a Rice-sponsored event.


Sadhguru (Photo credit: Wikipedia/Isha Foundation)

Considered to be one of the most impactful spiritual leaders of the present day, Sadhguru will speak with Baylor College of Medicine neuroscientist and Rice alumnus David Eagleman ’93 at a public event, “In Conversation with the Mystic: Science and Mysticism,” at 7 p.m. April 23 at Congregation Emanu El in Houston. Eagleman is best known for his work on time perception, synesthesia and neurolaw. Rice’s Boniuk Institute for the Study and Advancement of Religious Tolerance is sponsoring the event.

Sadhguru founded Isha Foundation, a nonprofit organization that offers yoga programs around the world, including India, the United States, England, Lebanon, Singapore, Canada, Malaysia, Uganda and Australia. He has authored more than 100 books in eight languages on spirituality and enlightenment.

Trent Navran participates in the Isha Institute's annual World Peace Day.

Trent Navran participates in the Isha Institute's annual World Peace Day. (Photo credit: Trent Navran)

Navran, a senior studying cognitive science, had his first experience with Sadhguru in Houston in 2012.

“Before leaving for Nepal and India after my freshman year as part of the Parish Fellowship, I wanted an authentic meditation experience,” Navran said. “I learned that Sadhguru was coming to Houston to conduct a large yoga program called Inner Engineering. I attended with my co-traveler, Christopher Liu (’13), and learned yoga and meditation techniques that I practice daily.”

Navran visited the Isha Yoga Center while in India and deepened his involvement with the Isha Foundation as a volunteer and avid practitioner of yoga. After taking additional programs as a sophomore and learning more about Sadhguru, he was inspired to organize an event with him and Eagleman, who taught a neuroscience and law class that Navran took as a sophomore. Eagleman has continued to mentor Navran since the course.

Trent Navran and David Eagleman

Trent Navran and David Eagleman (Photo credit: Trent Navran)

“I realized that it would be amazing to have Sadhguru connect with Eagleman as part of Isha’s In Conversation with the Mystic series, which has taken Sadhguru to Stanford University, the University of Michigan, Emory University and MIT in recent years,” Navran said. “I proposed the public dialogue in 2013, and after Sadhguru and Eagleman met in California this past summer, the idea gained momentum.”

Since that time, Navran has been working to organize the event as the coordinator among the Boniuk Institute, the Isha Foundation and Eagleman.

Navran hopes that the event will inspire others as he was inspired three years ago.

“I feel that I have been able to take my study of cognitive sciences to another level of inquiry, exploring the human condition through a more experiential dimension,” Navran said. “Sadhguru offers a refreshing and compelling view of how people can experience life in a more vibrant and fulfilling way, starting with a basic meditative process and a striving to transcend self-created limitations.”

For more information on the event or to reserve tickets, visit https://boniuk.rice.edu/Science_and_Mysticism.


About Amy McCaig

Amy is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.