Originally from Richmond, Ben came to the Washington, D.C. area in 1998 to attend college. He soon began working in the fitness industry where he undertook to increase his knowledge of physiology, cardiovascular conditioning, and strength training techniques. In 2002, he received certification from the National Strength Professionals Association as a Certified Personal Trainer.
After the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, Ben was motivated to enlist in the Army Reserves. His unit was deployed to Iraq in 2006 and he served in the war as a Psychological Operations Non Commissioned Officer. While the assistant team leader of a three-man Tactical PSYOPS team, he was wounded in an IED explosion.
After his return to the U.S., Ben obtained a master’s degree in Public Anthropology from American University. In researching his thesis, Ben drew on both his military and civilian experience to examine the burgeoning American fitness industry. He concluded that most civilian styles of fitness training are similar to the military’s “no pain, no gain” style of exercise—an approach he knew from his own experience to be unsustainable over the long term.
Ever since his Iraq service, Ben had struggled with a number of the same anxiety-related mind-body conditions reported by many returning service members—issues such as hyperarousal, insomnia, and back, neck, and shoulder pain. His continuing search for ways to restore his pre-war physical and mental well-being led him to try a yoga class at the gym where he was working. The result was dramatic: “It was the first time I felt my shoulder blades since the war!” And he finally was able to sleep through the night.
Ben continued taking yoga classes and later added mindfulness meditation and chi gong to his repertoire of self-healing techniques.He recognized these practices to be fundamentally more sustainable than most popular fitness approaches, so he incorporated principles of mindful awareness and yogic alignment and breathing into his existing training approach. He eventually created his own fitness regimen called Mindful Personal Training, which he currently practices and teaches both in classes and in one-on-one sessions.
Ben is also is a meditation and wellness instructor for Student Veterans of America at the National Veterans Center, George Washington University. In addition, he facilitates a monthly meditation class at Circle Yoga. Previously, he taught a class called the Wellness Workout at the Mindfulness Center in Bethesda.
Ben continues to update his knowledge with classes and workshops. Recent examples are:
Mindful Yoga Therapy for Veterans, Winter 2014
iRest Yoga Nidra level-one certification class taught by Richard Miller, Spring 2013
200-hour Multi-Disciplinary Yoga Teacher Training taught by Daniel Hickman, Winter/Spring 2013
Ben currently works with one-on-one clients at the Wisconsin Place Community Recreation Center, 5311 Friendship Boulevard, Chevy Chase, which offers well-maintained, state-of-the-art exercise equipment.