Rebel Human was founded by Jenny Arrington and Tait Medina, Ph.D. out of the shared desire to help people develop the skills needed to challenge the norms that are numbing us out, cutting us off, and making us sick and sad.
Like most good things, Rebel Human is a work of both sustained effort and serendipity.
After decades in the health and wellness field—Tait as an academic researcher, Jenny as a teacher, and both as ever evolving works in progress—these two came together quite by chance.
Rebel Human is the product of many of their shared interests, values, and expertise: A background in the neurosicence of contemplative practices; experience in evidence-based, holistic, and action-oriented approaches to mental health and wellbeing; a keen awareness of the interdependence of individual health and societal health; and a willingness to share openly and honestly about their own personal struggles, which they see as foundational to their work.
Co-Founder & Lead Teacher
“We can’t think our way into a better life. We have to do hard work to get there and it may not be fun along the way. Challenges are not obstacles in our way, they are the way. With the right support and training, those challenges can be the things that unlock our most tender, brightest, strongest, clearest, powerful, true, and joyful self.”
Co-Founder of Rebel Human, Jenny Arrington trained under Harvard neuroscientist, Dr. Srini Pillay, is certified under both the Kundalini Research Institute and the Yoga Alliance (E-RYT®, YACEP®), and serves as Wellness Advisor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
Jenny Arrington integrates ancient tools with the modern science of neurocoaching to help her students pierce the veneer of performative wellness. Her goal is to build her students’ competency in resilience, equanimity, and transcendence so they can break free from the status quo of their lives and find authentic, lasting joy.
After a decades-long struggle with clinical depression and eating disorders she found a combination of somatic therapy, asana, meditation, and neurocoaching that finally gave her the ability to process past trauma and heal. It was through these challenges and the healing that Jenny found her calling as a teacher.
Jenny has taught internationally in Iceland and at the International Yoga Festival in France. She’s worked with Fortune 500 companies, and has been featured in publications including US News & World Report, Chicago Tribune, Shape, CS, and Chicago Magazine to name a few. Her first book, The Kundalini Yoga Posture Manual: A Comprehensive Guide to Teaching and Practicing the Postures, was published in 2019.
Jenny’s unique approach to teaching is informed by her varied experiences, whether it be swimming with sharks, moving up the ranks in Shark Tank, leading a team of student archaeologists in Pompeii, moderating her YPO young adult forum group, scuba diving at 200ft depths, pitching her product at the MIT Entrepreneurship Bootcamp, teaching at her monthly fundraiser, chairing a non-profit board, meditating for seven hours, hanging upside down in an aerial silk 25 ft in the air, or running a marathon.
When Jenny is not teaching and developing programming you might find her on the flying trapeze or spinning upside down in the aerial silk because as she likes to say, “I try to do something that scares me at least once every day.”
Tait Medina, Ph.D.
Co-Founder & Research Adviser
“Meditation for me is a polishing of the lens, so to speak, so that I can have a clearer and more equanimous perspective. It’s not that I am no longer angry or outraged or afraid or jealous at times, but meditation affords me a meta awareness that prevents me from identifying myself in terms of my thoughts and feelings. From this new vantage point I can view thoughts and feelings as pieces of information that can guide me to doing less harm and more good. In this way, meditation is introspection in service of others. My goal with meditation is never happiness or comfort, it’s discernment with the intention of manufacturing less misery, for myself and others.”
Tait, Co-Founder of Rebel Human, received her Ph.D. in sociology with an emphasis in medical sociology and statistics from Indiana University. At the center of her research is the principal insight that health cannot be regarded as simply an individual or biological phenomenon. Health and wellness are intimately connected to and influenced by the economic, political, social, cultural, relational, and environmental contexts within which we live. As such, any successful approach to improving health and wellbeing must consider the impact of these macro-contextual factors.
Tait taught for a number of years at University of Michigan and later worked as a senior research scientist at the Institute for Health Research and Policy at University of Illinois Chicago. She has given talks at the Max Planck Institute in Berlin and at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center in Italy which convenes leaders from around the world to advance ideas for social impact. Tait’s research has been published in leading peer-reviewed journals such as American Journal of Psychiatry, American Journal of Public Health, and American Journal of Sociology; and in edited volumes such as the Handbook of Sociology of Health, Illness, and Healing: A Blueprint for the 21st Century.
Prior to attending graduate school, Tait enjoyed a career as a professional ballet dancer. At fifteen, she was hired by the First National Touring Company of The Phantom of The Opera as one of its original members and later performed with the Broadway company.
As a recovering “perfectionist,” Tait leans heavily on a daily meditation practice to help her remember that you cannot hate yourself into a version of yourself that you can love.
When Tait is not busy developing curriculum and evaluation strategies, you will likely find her spending time with her husband, son, and Black Lab pup, as she practices “wearing the world like a loose garment.”