Mark, with his newborn baby at Live Free Yoga Center in River Edge, NJ
Mark Van Buren ’10 – Major: Religious Studies Owner/Director, Live Free Yoga Studio, River Edge, NJ
What led you to study Religion, and why at MSU?
Nearly a decade ago, I had an inner calling to start learning about meditation. My passion for wisdom and self- knowledge, led me to go back to college for religious studies. I looked at many programs, emailing a variety of schools, and you gave me the quickest, most in depth response. Although I believe Dr. Rogers didn’t think she’d ever hear from me again, she gave me the time I needed on the phone and emailed me some information. A semester later I appeared in your office eager to begin my journey at MSU!
Which courses and/or professors did you enjoy the most while you were here?
Two of my most memorable Religious Studies professors were Dr. Johnson and Dr. Kogan. They had two completely different approaches to teaching religion, but their passion leaked through regardless. I was also fortunate to have met Professor Lisa Sargese. Although I never actually took her class, she has invited me to talk about Buddhism and Meditation to her class every semester – a tradition we continue to this day.
How have you used what you learned as a Religious Studies major at MSU?
When I was a student, many people asked what I planned to do with my Religious Studies degree. And now I use my degree every day as I teach yoga, meditation, Buddhism, and mindful living. I would recommend MSU’s Religious Studies program for anyone and everyone, regardless of your religious stance.
Ok, here’s the Big Question: What are you doing now . . . besides raising your adorable new baby?
I own and operate Live Free Yoga Studio and am releasing my second book, Your Life IS Meditation: Buddhist- Inspired Stories and Reflections, this November. My first book, Be Your Sh*tty Self: An Honest Approach to a More Peaceful Life, was a #1 Amazon Best-Seller in Meditation. I have also been published on popular yoga blogs and websites.