Daya Alexander Grant

Ph.D., M.S.

Mental strength coach. Neuroscientist. Yoga teacher. Triathlete. Mom.

For the past 10 years, I’ve studied the brain and how it relates to athletic performance.  But, it was my personal experience as a triathlete and a ballet dancer that revealed the peaks and valleys of sport.  It is my goal to help people perform better in their chosen athletic forum - through mastery of the ‘inner game’, strengthening of the body, and in some cases, healing/developing resiliency after a concussion.  

My story

Before my first triathlon, I didn’t really know how to swim.

Sure, I could survive in water.  I took swim lessons as a kid and spent the summers boogie boarding.  But as an adult, I couldn’t swim a single lap.  

In 2014, my husband (a 2x Ironman) inspired me to do my first triathlon.  I joined Team in Training, eager to swim, bike, and run.

Those first few swim practices were comical, as I floundered around in the pool and swallowed entirely too much chlorine water. Just as I started to feel more comfortable in the pool, we did our first open water swim. It was a disaster.  200 yards out to sea, I couldn’t breathe. I’m a yogi, for goodness sake, but I couldn’t find my breath. The jaws soundtrack played in my head and I darted toward the shore - on my back! Pacific Ocean = 1; Daya = 0.  

I wish I could say I conquered my mind and never had another moment of panic in the ocean. But, mental obstacles continued throughout training; only now, I put into practice the tools I used with athletes - visualization, focused breathing, goal setting.  Four months later, I did my first triathlon. Ten months after that, I completed my first Half Ironman triathlon.  

Professional Experience

After receiving a Master’s degree in Sport Psychology, I completed my Ph.D. in Neuroscience at UCLA, where I studied the chronic effects of repeat concussions. I exercised my love for education by leading a neuroscience outreach program for Los Angeles K-12 schools. My work with athletes centers on the mental aspect of performance and helping athletes who are recovering from a concussion. I’m also a Certified Yoga Teacher, with a decade of experience teaching elite athletes, weekend warriors, new moms, corporate employees, and grandparents.  

My passion for yoga and concussion education converged when I joined the LoveYourBrain Foundation, a non-profit co-founded by former professional snowboarder, Kevin Pearce. The mission of LoveYourBrain is to improve the quality of life for people affected by traumatic brain injury (TBI). I served as the neuroscience advisor for the nationwide yoga and education programs, and launched LoveYourBrain Tips, weekly suggestions for optimal brain health. Through this work, I spoke with numerous individuals and families, which broadened my depth of understanding about life after a TBI.   

I look forward to meeting and working with you - on the field, on the yoga mat, or wherever you play.