Regulars and Shorts

Optimized Mind: Maya Myozen Hill

By Sophie Silverstone

New practice to Utah: Neurofeedback recalibrates your brain where it’s getting stuck.

I am not a therapist,” Maya Myozen Hill reminds me. She is actually an ordained zen monk and former fashion model who grew up in Switzerland. Although I am not averse to therapy, as I lie back in the recliner in her zen-like office space, I find it quite comforting that she is not about diagnosis, not about treatment, but about facilitating the work of my own brain. The goal, here, is to restore its optimal pathways using technology and sound waves.

Hill attaches small cords to my ears and forehead that monitor my nervous system and offers me a blanket. On a computer monitor, I see my brain—the left and right halves vivid in a rainbow of activity. I put in the earbuds for the accompanying meditation music, a facet of the program by which Hill is trained, NeurOptimal®. Developed by the Zengar Institute, the Canada-based company trains people worldwide to use their neurofeedback technology. Hill has been certified for three years now, and says she is the only practitioner of this type in Utah.

As the session continues, I drift into a 35-minute nap. I’m vaguely aware of subtle clicking sounds, almost like distant rain as the metal sensors respond to my brain activity. When the session is over, Ms. Hill takes a snapshot of my brain activity and compares it to the one she took before we began. The pattern is smooth compared to the jagged line of my earlier mindstate. I am intrigued to see which side of my brain is more efficient than the other.

Hill says clients mostly experience more alertness, better sleep, focus and memory, as well as living a lighter and brighter life from neurofeedback sessions. “People are often surprised with what seems to self-correct.” She has worked with people on optimizing a variety of conditions such as ADHD, anxiety, trauma, addiction and fixations, as well as finding athletic and creative flow.

Maya found her way to neurofeedback through her path of zen meditation. Meditation has been a large part of her life for 25 years. Her private practice, The Middle Way Practice, focuses on adult development. She also offers meditation instruction, Circling (a rela­tion­al practice) and Shadow Work (a liberation on fixations). She teaches  Circling at Two Arrows Zen, which is also where she was ordained as a zen monk under Diane Musho Hamilton.

“We can teach our nervous system how to self regulate. People are recognizing more and more how vital this capacity is. Our ability to calm down and let go of our thought patterns is often compromised and at the source of a variety of nervous system imbalances. One of the best known ways to calm our monkey-minds is with a mindfulness and meditation practice. In combination with the high tech of our times, we now have really potent tools available to us.”

I found Maya and the session helpful. My thoughts were more directed, and I will be returning to find out what I notice after a few more sessions.

Maya Myozen Hill: Tel. 530.292.0229. Neurofeedback sessions are offered on a sliding scale starting at $65. For more on the neurofeedback technology:

This article was originally published on November 1, 2016.