Dr. Marilee Bresciani Ludvik: Professor, San Diego State University & Founder, Rushing to Yoga Foundation

My NativeAdVantage:


I am Dr. Marilee Bresciani Ludvik. What’s the story of my life?  Thankfully, it’s still being written. 

So far, the most significant influence has been what happened before and after I was diagnosed with a neurological auto-immune disease. Facing the physician, unable to walk without assistance after enjoying a daily routine of running 5 miles, her words, “be grateful it’s not a terminal disease” did not fill my heart with gratitude. Instead, I felt anger because she believed there was nothing anyone could do to help me return to a state of human flourishing.

Over a decade later with the intervention of many who did not believe that physician’s words or the ones who followed her, I still have nightmares and I experience pain in the body.  Some days it’s difficult for me to walk well and I never know when those days might be coming. However, human flourishing is present in my life as is immense gratitude for every day I am alive.  The work that allows me to experience this flourishing is what we share through the Rushing to Yoga Foundation.   “I get to teach what I am discovering!”  

And we invite you to join in the fun! 

With joy in my heart,


Marilee Bresciani Ludvik, Ph.D. is a professor of postsecondary educational leadership at San Diego State University. Prior to that, she served as Assistant Vice President of Institutional Assessment at Texas A&M University and in a variety of student, academic affairs, and alumni relations leadership roles at various types of institutions.  Marilee has consulted with over 200 institutions on assessment and accountability matters.  In addition, Marilee assists organizational leaders identify and leverage opportunities to collaborate across division lines, using mindfulness-based inquiry practices, nonviolent communication, difficult conversation processes, compassion practices, restorative justice, and design thinking. Marilee is a certified meditation and yoga instructor, certified Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute teacher, and a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction teacher on the certification path.  Marilee’s research focuses on using translational neuroscience and mindful compassion practices to inform the design and evaluation of workshops and curriculum to decrease students’, faculty, and administrators’ stress and anxiety and increase their attention, emotion, and cognitive flexibility, as well as enhance compassion, inquiry, creativity, and overall well-being. 


What do I do best?

Ask questions.

What makes me the best version of myself?

"I have no idea, but I am very aware of the worst version of me and I am aware of what creates that – an absence of mindful compassion practice.

What are my aspirations?

“I am dreaming about the day the mindful compassion curriculum that I have collaboratively created becomes freely available to grades 6-12 students around the world.  In connection with that and perhaps preceding it, I am dreaming of the day when the teacher training course (which is ready to go) is also freely available to teachers around the world.  I also have aspirations to hold some mindful compassion retreats for groups of 12 women or so that cut across generations.  I am excited about all of this.

My Biggest Success?

 “I feel deeply blessed with this question.  So far, I feel most alive when I think about the mindful compassion curriculum that already exists for teachers and their students.  Now, to translate it into multiple languages, adapt it for cultural considerations and implement it…  I welcome any ideas and assistance. :) ”

My Most Challenging Moment?

“Wow, I have several challenging moments where courage was gifted to me to get “out” of unhealthy situations, relationships, and environments.  It didn’t matter whether it was getting the diagnosis of the neurological disease with the physician’s announcement that I should feel lucky to be in a wheel chair or the incredibly unhealthy dating relationship with a frightfully sadistic manipulator.  In both cases (and in others), the courage to make the one small choice (calling a friend who could help me see more clearly or listening to my father who said, “this doesn’t feel right”) – it was the one small choice to listen to the voice of wisdom that led to other choices to get stronger that lead to more courageous choices to get into healthier places.  I am deeply grateful for that gift that seemed to come out of nowhere.  Thank you to the gift provider!”

My Motto?

“I teach what I am discovering.”

My Favorite People/Role Models?

My husband, Robert – he embodies presence.  Ghandi, Mandela, Mother Theresa, and many of the students whom I serve.

My Favorite Places/Destinations?

My home. :) … and the Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.  OK, there are more.  We live in such a beautiful world.

My Favorite Products/Objects?


My Current Passions?

“Finding a publisher for the mindful compassion curriculum for grades 6-12 who will be willing to publish it for free and also translate it into Spanish, French, German, Arabic, Hebrew, and Chinese.  All ideas are welcomed.” :)