Foundation > Teaching for Equity Program > Teaching for Equity Participants

Teaching for Equity Participants

  • 2022
  • 2021
Abigail Jefferson
"I believe we are all children of the Creator, and each person who dwells upon the Earth comes from the Divine. I am dedicated to the mission of using creativity, sacred dance, prayer, yoga, spirituality, and meditation to bring peace, happiness, and healing to my community. Let us all work together, one person at a time, to ultimately, heal our planet."

Abigail Ifatola Jefferson is a spiritual wellness coach, ordained interspiritual and interfaith minister, and a teaching artist. Her programs have blended story, hatha yoga, and dance--keeping traditions alive. Audiences have described her as inspirational, energizing, and spirit-filled! Abigail's presentations and classes are interactive and fun-filled. She is certified in Kripalu Yoga, Yoga4cancer, Karma Kids Yoga, Kemetic Yoga and is presently a participant in a medical study for Yoga for Osteoporosis. A resident of Harlem, Abigail has released a beautifully illustrated children’s book titled Imani’s Heart: The Dancing Angel. Her story "1968" is prominently featured in Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center's Visible Ink 2020 Anthology. (she/her)

Ajoke Ibrahim
"By sharing my journey, and teaching to inspire and share the benefits of this practice."

Ajoke Ibrahim is a yoga teacher and student from Nigeria. She has been practicing for about eight years, following an accident that left her with back pain. Ajoke teaches and speaks on yoga, wellness, health, empowerment of women, and other related topics and issues. She is on a path to make yoga accessible and share its healing tools, especially with black women, children, and other marginalized communities in Nigeria. (she/her)

Aly Slaughter
"As a legally blind yoga practitioner (both as a teacher and a student), providing detailed verbal description is an extremely important aspect in my class offerings, which are open to all people of all abilities and in all bodies. My classes typically consist of both blind and sighted participants, all of whom have expressed appreciation for the descriptions, as they feel they can follow along through listening and being, helping them to become more introspective, and allowing them to really learn about their own individual needs of the body, breath and mind."

Aly Slaughter, RYT-500, received her initial 200 hour yoga teacher training in May 2018. Since then, she has completed her 300 hour YTT, as well as trainings and certifications in Accessible Yoga, Mind Body Solutions, Yoga For All, and Yin. In dealing with anxiety, depression and PTSD issues for most of her life, Aly has found that yoga can be a tool for healing mentally, emotionally and physically, both within oneself and also with others. Aly holds a B.A. in Mass Communications and Sociology from Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, IN; a J.D. with a certificate in Health Law from St. Louis University’s School of Law; and is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. Legally blind her entire life, Aly believes in breaking down the barriers imposed by society, and is hoping to do her small part to contribute to a more equitable world. She believes that yoga is truly for all people, in all bodies, and of all abilities. Aly is currently based on the land of the Osage people in her hometown of Alton, IL (the St. Louis metro area) and is excited to be able to offer 12 virtual classes at no cost to members of the blind and visually impaired community, through the generosity of the Yoga Alliance Foundation's Teaching for Equity grant. With transportation and financial barriers being removed, Aly hopes that more blind and visually impaired individuals will have easier access to enjoy the benefits of a yoga practice. (she/her)

Arpita Roy
"Yoga is for Anybody. It doesn't require you to be flexible or able-bodied to do Yoga. Yoga helps us to grow from inside and understand the true self. So losing any part of body or color or anything outside can't define us. We need to find our true self to get real happiness that is where Yoga helps us."

Arpita Roy started her yoga journey after losing both legs in an accident from above the knee. She practices yoga with and without artificial limbs. She completed her 200-hour YTT from Integral Yoga Institute San Francisco, and she is currently doing YPS300 towards her 500-hour certification. She began teaching yoga to able-bodied students and now is teaching amputees as well. (she/her)

Asrat A Degaga
Asrat is the Director of Physical Wellness for a Non-Profit Organization in Washington, D.C. called In The Streets, whose goal is to disrupt generational mind and body trauma in the impoverished communities of Columbia Heights, DC. Asrat helps to work body trauma out from participants through Yogic practices and intentional workouts.

Asrat Degaga is a certified yoga instructor and healer who has over 25 years of experience in wellness. He achieved multiple dans in several martial arts including Karate, Tang Soo Do, Wing Chouw, and Krav Maga. He practices Ashtanga-Budokon, Power, Vinyasa and Ashtanga-Rocket styles of yoga. Asrat teaches yoga for AARP, The White House, Living Well, MGM and Vida Fitness. Asrat enjoys helping people become better to themselves. He found yoga after having back surgery and tries his best to aid other people in healing themselves through the practice of yoga. (he/him)

Auri Whitaker
"I bring yoga to my community by first practicing the yoga principles and living with awareness. This is how we cultivate the spark of interest, it's naturally contagious because the light lives in all of us. From there, I connect in the ranchos, fincas, casas of the people in my community to move the body, breathe deeper, alleviate pain, and awaken bit by bit."

A forest explorer, painter, and beach bum, Auri is a Costeña, California native building a yoga studio and art residency foundation with her partner in the mountains of Costa Rica. A recovering overachiever and former project director, she strives to create an environment where stillness, exploration, and self-acceptance can thrive by teaching students how to do less in order to access more bliss and truth from life. Auri aims to guide students toward cultivating an inner awareness while balancing effort and ease in both the body and mind. She has a gift of holding space for everyone’s dynamic expression and creativity. Her practice mixes anatomy education with mindfulness and intuition to deepen physical awareness and boost inner alignment. Luscious movements are driven by curiosity, rhythm, sass, generosity, flow, and tenderness so that practitioners have the space to discover deeper insights within themselves, and leave with a renewed sense of sweetness in their body and connectedness with one another. (she/ella/they)

Bernard Gitonga M'mauta
"I bring yoga to my community from the bottom of my heart with love and compassion."

Bernard Gitonga was born in a very poor family in Central Kenya. His parents did not have the means to support his education, but luckily he met inspiring people who brought him into the world of yoga and wellness. He was able to get certified as a yoga instructor, which has enabled him to sustain himself and support his family and community. He loves teaching yoga, and he loves to inspire others to grow through the practice of yoga and compassion. He believes that sharing his life story and his yoga journey with others can change many lives for the better. Nowadays he is a happy and healthy person with mental and physical strength, with much hope in his heart and a deep love for humanity. (he/his)

Brirkellia Álvarez Franquiz
"I strive for each practitioner to have a true moving meditation, a strong sense of self-care, compassion and listening to their body, as well as a space of introspection for wisdom and emotional strength, applicable to everyday life, outside of the mat."

Brirkellia Álvarez is a lawyer and Hatha Vinyasa Yoga teacher (RYT 200). Her childhood and adolescence was marked by economic limitations, and this led her to get involved in projects to overcome social inequality, working with various international organizations (UNICEF, World Bank, UNAIDS, etc.), promoting education and defense of human rights. Based in Caracas, Venezuela, she is the founder of "Todos En Yoga", an initiative to develop inclusive programs to spread the practice of yoga in sectors with low purchasing power. Her vision is to create a movement focused on yoga and meditation as an instrument of social transformation, to generate resilient communities and violence-free environments. (she/her)

Dea Lott
"I encourage my community to strengthen their bodies, discipline their minds, and deepen their spiritual connection with the Creator as a means of achieving healing, growth, resiliency, and unity during challenging times."

Dea Lott is the founder of Spiritual Living by Che, a natural living boutique and yoga studio that combines spiritual wisdom from the Black Diaspora and Yoga to curate multicultural and eco-friendly wellness products and create yoga programs for individuals and organizations. She is a trauma-informed Raja Yoga teacher and has studied spiritual traditions and natural living practices for nearly two decades. Before working in wellness, Dea worked alongside oppressed communities as a social justice attorney, legal educator, grassroots organizer, anti-racism advocate, and facilitative mediator.  Her strength to persevere beyond intergenerational trauma, mental illness, poverty, racism, oppression, and violence in her personal and professional life lies in her faith in Spirit, spiritual practices, a loving support system, and a sense of humor. Her practices comfort her during life's challenges, relieve mental, emotional, and physical distress, inspire growth, and deepen her relationship with Spirit. (she/her)

Dylan Maina
"We must come together to become bigger than we have been, more courageous, greater in spirit , large in outlook."

Dylan Maina is a trained and certified yoga instructor who graduated from the Africa Yoga Project academy in 2018. He is 25 years old and lives in the slums of Kangemi in Nairobi, Kenya. Teaching yoga has been his greatest and most valuable tool to keep off the streets. Yoga has become his first love and has made him connect with different types and races of people. Yoga has helped him build and earn respect in his community, where is recognized as a leader. He cherishes every day that he is able to serve his community and give back the little that he has.

Eden Shaw
"Being playful and lighthearted is always a big lesson in life. We explore freedom of body movement and creative exploration in the hammocks, this creates a mental framework of not taking anything too seriously and just having fun in life."

Eden has been a Licensed Massage Therapist for 12 years, a yoga instructor for three years, and an entrepreneur for 10 years. She studied Thai massage in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and she received her Associate's degree in business in 2012. She has studied yoga and aerial yoga from Heartwood Retreat Center, and she believes that flexibility is youth. She has practiced yoga since she was a teen and still practices Hatha yoga and aerial yoga today. Yoga and massage have helped her own spinal issues, and she now helps others with this knowledge. Eden also offers yoga classes to mentally handicapped adults at Promise in Brevard. She is continuing her education into yoga therapy, and soon she will help her community through insurance providers. She long dreamed of opening a studio, and she is so grateful to have a supportive community. (she/her)

Edwin Odhiambo
"Since I was the one who introduced yoga to my community I will make sure that I buy more yoga mats to accommodate more people in the community. And also through the community social hall I will make a program for yogis and yoginis and let everyone know about it through social media."

Edwin Odhiambo began practicing yoga back in 2016. He was introduced to the practice by a childhood friend, following the violent death of another friend. Before yoga he was involved in crime, drugs, and violence. With the introduction to yoga, everything shifted and he realized he needed to change his ways. He had to change from a person who was not wanted in the community to now a leader that brings people together through the transformational practice of yoga, especially youth. He has received an award from local leadership for making yoga one of the best physical activities in the community. He is also an official representative of International Yoga Olympic committee for Kenya, and he is proud to serve his people.

Etou Stuart
"If you can breath in and out, you can do yoga."

Etou Stuart is 27 years old and lives in a small town in Uganda. When he was introduced to yoga it enabled him to understand himself and find happiness within himself. Over the past five years he has shared the practice with his community, and it has positively impacted the community during these tough COVID times. He also loves to dance.

George Okurut
"When you listen to yourself, everything comes naturally. It comes from inside, like a kind of will to do something. Try to be sensitive. That is yoga. Growing up in war zone area and in slum gave me a lot of the reasons to teach children who are in slums, villages, rehabilitations center and in organizations which deals with children."

George is a certified yoga teacher who completed 300 hours of training at S-VYASA (Swami Vivekananda Anusandhana Samsthana) Yoga University in India, and 60 hours of Satyananda Children’s yoga training at Yoga Pura Vida in Tanzania. In the future he plans to enroll in a yoga therapy course, to help expand his impact in different communities. He started his yoga journey in 2015. Having lived in a war zone area and coming from a poor family background, he found that yoga helped him with stress, depression and anxiety. After two years of practice, he was motivated to start teaching in his community--recognizing that yoga had the potential to change the lives of many young people, just as it had done for him.

Grace Solano
"I bring yoga to my community with love, compassion and in service of others."

Graciela is a certified yoga teacher, holistic minister practitioner, and reiki master practitioner. While working in the nursing profession, Graciela discovered a way of blending nursing and holistic practice to help heal others. With her background in nursing, her passion for helping others has shaped her love of using her healing gifts to bring balance to the mind, body and spirit.

Harpinder Mann
"The practice of yoga profoundly awakened and transformed me, it gave me a way to connect with Spirit and to know that I deserve to heal and live with great awareness and joy. Now I work primarily with folks of color who are looking to reclaim their power and intuition to be free."

Harpinder Mann is a Sikh-Buddhist Punjabi-American yoga and meditation teacher currently living on Tongva land, colonially known as Los Angeles. She is actively working to decolonize wellness by creating community and providing real accessibility to her ancestral practices for BIPOC, as the co-founder of the Womxn of Color Summit. She has over 800 hours of yogic training within the traditions of Raja, Vinyasa, Kundalini, and Prenatal Yoga from the Ananda Sangha Center in New Delhi, India, Stretch Yoga in Brisbane, Australia, Swaha Yoga in New Orleans, and Living Now Yoga in New York. Without her teachers, ancestors, and womxn before her, none of this would be possible. As the Founder of Harpinder Mann Yoga, Harpinder works one-on-one with womxn of color on reclaiming their power and intuition to be free through yoga asana, meditation, breathwork, and spiritual connection. As a survivor of childhood domestic violence, sexual abuse, and bullying, Harpinder knows personally how yoga has helped heal her. Yoga is a spiritual practice for Harpinder - one that takes her back to her true self without the noise of the ego and society. This practice gave her the freedom and power to be seen and live authentically, to know that there is nothing wrong with her. It has healed parts of herself she never even realized needed tending to. (she/her)

Inaruti Araní
"The wellness of my community is everything. No matter what race, gender, body type and ability, and/or class status everyone has the right to a safe space to connect to their body, emotions and to community."

Inaruti Araní (given indigenous Taino name) has always considered herself a soul that was destined to serve. She passionately believes that offering her skills to better the lives of others is her sacred responsibility. She is abundant in this way and feels beyond grateful. In early 2013, she was introduced to holistic healing and the powerful medicine of meditation and yoga. Soon after, she was certified as a yoga and fitness instructor. She understands that a high caliber of life stems from a balanced integration of mind, body and soul; this is what she offers. (she/her/ella)

James Mwaura
"Drishti-focused gaze seeing beyond the horizon that leaves no one out. I aim to provide a learning environment that is safe and supportive to everyone, and to equip my community with the skills to deal with stress and trauma, and improve their health and mental well-being. Ensuring access to yoga and inclusion to all, by working across the cultural, marginalized and heath barriers that inhibit people from taking part."

James Mwaura was born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya. He is a certified Baptiste yoga teacher/leader who began practicing yoga to regain clarity in life and to restore his health from inside out. Yoga sparked a fire of transformation within himself and as a desire to deepen his practice and study. In 2013 he completed his first training, a 2-week intensive 200-hour certification with Africa Yoga Project; the same year he completed level-one certification with Baron Baptiste. The experience was life changing and opened a deep connection to the practice of yoga, making it a foundation of his daily life. When he first had the opportunity to teach in the community in 2014, he discovered a passion for teaching, serving, loving, giving, and sharing the gift of yoga with others--and since then he has never looked back. He finds immense joy, satisfaction and inspiration in seeing students discover their own personal yoga journey. He hopes to nurture and encourage them along their way to awaken their own healing power and to experience the joy of living more fully through the magical transformation of yoga.

Jennifer Non
Jen facilitates trauma-informed, accessible yoga practices to segments that are currently underserved such as lower-income and special populations. More recently, she has also started focusing on yoga for mental health - a topic she is passionate about, both as a mental health advocate and as someone who herself has struggled with depression and anxiety.

It was love at first sweat as soon as Jen stepped onto the mat for a Bikram Yoga class in 2004. Soon after, she started exploring other styles of yoga and was also introduced to other aspects of the practice such as meditation and pranayama. Over the years, yoga has become a constant grounding force that got her through life’s many ups and downs including recurring bouts of depression, anxiety, and body image issues. The healing power of yoga led her to eventually pursue yoga teacher training so that she may share the same benefits with others. Through trauma-informed, accessible practices, Jen hopes to share with her students a mindfulness toolkit so that they may be better able to adapt, cope with and recover from stress as well as to build resilience. In her classes, students are encouraged to approach the practice with an open curiosity and are given the space for play and self-exploration on the mat so that they may feel strong, empowered and with an improved sense of well-being. (she/her)

Jeny Rae Vidal
"To me, an important revolutionary approach to well-being comes from a decolonial practice that centers our connection to ourselves, each other and the planet moving us towards right relationship. I teach and donation-based community Yoga classes as a vehicle for understanding the interplay between collective and self-care, empowerment, responsibility and resilience."

Growing up in the suburbs of Los Angeles, Jeny Rae Vidal was a teen punk rocker-turned-teen mom at age 19. Desperately seeking relief, in 2003 she stumbled into her first yoga class at a gym as a stressed-out single mom. She fell in love with the practice of yoga and never turned back. Now Jeny Rae integrates the hard and soft edges of life experience through her work as a yoga teacher, community organizer, sociologist, coach, and writer based in Pomona. She is devoted to the work of yoga and (r)evolution, social justice, and environmental sustainability. She can be found teaching personal empowerment through decolonized wellness, working on the Advisory Board for Gente Organizada, coaching youth on socio-emotional wellness, or getting her hands dirty in the garden. (she/her/hers)

Jessica Young
"By collectively creating space where we honour our emotions, our bodies, our spirits."

Jessica Young is a Chinese Canadian movement facilitator, artist and advocate for accessibility within wellness. She is the founder of Jess Be, a space that offers BIPOC exclusive classes and workshops that focus on rest, creativity/art and community. Since becoming a teacher in 2017, Jessica has led and developed yoga programming for Anishnawbe Health Toronto, created Meaningful Movement, an accessibility training for yoga/movement teachers and Uplift Asian Women, connecting her community and offering virtual support during the pandemic. (she/her)

Jewell Singletary
"I like to say I specialize in taking yoga out of the studio and into the streets to make it accessible to my community."

Jewell Singletary is a creative entrepreneur, educator, and multidisciplinary artist. She is the founding owner of Gratitude Griot, a trauma-informed well-being-based business, a documentarian filmmaker, and host of Yoga Wit the Ohmies Podcast, a free community resource that centers Black and Brown professionals working in mental health and holistic wellness fields. Jewell has been living with lupus and rheumatoid arthritis for nearly three decades, and she began teaching yoga, meditation, and art journaling to share some of the tools that have been transformative on her own healing journey. (she/her)

Jorge López-Martinez
"Through Rashna Yoga, I aspire to create a queer portal and yoga community that conjures embodiment, self-compassion, and sense of belonging. I incorporate trauma-informed practices and embodied ways of connecting with self and others, especially LGBTQ+ folks looking for spaces to heal in community and explore their bodies freely."

Jorge Iván, RYT-500, aka Rashna Krishna, was born in Boriké land (now known as Puerto Rico) between the Guaorabo and Yagüé rivers. Rashna Krishna became a yoga teacher in 2018 at Mahadevi Wellness Center, a sacred space influenced by the teaching of Leela Mataji and Yogi Hari from the Sivananda legacy. After years of yoga practice, he decided to expand his knowledge and surrender to a calling of serving underrepresented communities through a perspective of healing justice and safe(r) embodiment. Currently, they develop Rashna Yoga, a queer portal and yoga community that conjures embodiment, self-compassion, and sense of belonging. His classes incorporate trauma-informed practices and embodied ways of connecting with self and others, especially LGBTQ+ folks that seek spaces and practices to heal in community and explore their bodies freely. He’s also a death doula, tarot reader, somatic practitioner and spiritual activist who loves spending time of silence and meditation in front of water bodies. (he/they)

Kathy Chu
"I teach an outdoor community yoga class nearly everyday and bring our neighbors and community together. We uplift each other and raise our ability to do more and have a greater impact for change."

After practicing yoga for more than a decade, Kathy Chu decided to make the practice a more central part of her life by becoming a certified yoga teacher. While pursuing certification she began realigning not only her physical body but also her inner self. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, she decided to follow her intuition and devote herself fully to delivering the holistic benefits of yoga to the local community – and beyond. She is a certified yoga teacher through CorePower Yoga and a certified prenatal yoga teacher through Ma Yoga. She is committed to helping people achieve physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing, and above all, a sense of inner peace.

Kennedy Omondi
"My intention is to break down the yoga practice and make it understandable for everyone."

The basis of Kennedy Omondi's teaching philosophy is to provide the practice of yoga to all individuals. His classes are intuitive and brings out the strengths of the students, while challenging them towards greater possibilities. Students leave his class feeling energized and calm. His classes are accessible to everyone, including beginners and intermediate students, with each student getting individual attention.

Kiran Bhagat
"I am committed to defying the lie of who gets to be well. I've connected my lived experience of intentional self-care and healing to create radical self-care and collective healing experiences that support the psychological wholeness of black indigenous people across the diaspora through the Y.A.M.S (Yoga, Agriculture + Art, Mindfulness and Self-Justice)."

I am Kiran Bhagat, Lived Experience Expert in The Application of Radical Self-care and Collective-care. Kiran is a Self-Justice pioneer devoted to promoting holistic wellness and radical self-care for The Souls of Black People. Kiran Bhagat uses yoga as a tool for "black liberation" and wellness. She empowers and supports others to heal themselves by creating radical self-care and collective healing experiences through Y.A.M.S an acronym for yoga, agriculture + art, mindfulness and self-justice.

光明(Koumei) van Zeeland-Machida
"Continue to learn is one of the most important and powerful tool for living one's life fully. The spirits of YOGA and ZEN teaches us how to become the person we want to be, through our body, mind and thoughts. He wants to stand for equity for all kind of minorities like LGBQT+ and disabled."

光明(Koumei) van Zeeland-Machida began practicing yoga in 1998 and began teaching in 2004. He has completed his RYT-500/RPYT/RCYT and is currently preparing for the RYS. In Japan, the human rights of LGBQT+ and of people with disabilities still do not reach the global standard, and this has motivated Koumei's yoga work. He has organized closed and protected classes for LGBTQ+ for more than 10 years. He has integrated his knowledge as a physiotherapist with his yoga teaching to support people with physical and mental disabilities, as well as for the many lonely elderly people living in Japan. There are also many parents and children who are disconnected from their communities, and so he targets his yoga teaching on development of self-esteem and self-affirmation to be one's own self through yoga. He seeks to share his knowledge and experience of yoga with as many people as possible, especially those who most need his skills and help. Koumei is focusing this phase of his professional on supporting the wonders of Yoga and ZEN spirits to help others and make the world better.

Lara Alsen Armgart
"In collaboration with the tourism board, I teach classes of 'Yoga in the Park', where interested people have free access to enjoy Hatha flow yoga. Practicing in a group at a very special place in nature, no matter the various levels of fitness or different ages - folks have fun doing exercises together, are inspired and motivated and come back to join all of the sessions during the summer season."

A Special Educational Consultant, MEd, and seasoned Yoga Teacher, RYT®200, Lara excels at championing the needs of neuro-diverse learners. Extensive experience teaching in a variety of classrooms and leading multidisciplinary teams in international schools led to her co-founding an innovative inclusion network in Dubai. Now, she's developing "The Yoga Project" which aims to bring differently-abled students, taught in separate schools, into the same space to move mindfully together. The goal is that this pilot project leads to improved well-being, positive attitudinal changes towards (dis) ability, authentic friendships and sustainable funding. For those seeking healing, change and growth, Lara offers, online and locally: private mentoring, Yoga classes, workshops and wellness retreats. Canadian born, Bavaria-based with her husband and family, she’s joyfully on a bilingual journey and speaks English and conversational German. (she/her)

Laura McQuarrie Salter
"I provide trauma-informed, culturally-sensitive, accessible yoga offerings to people in need."

For Laura McQuarrie Salter, yoga is everything. Through the vast practice of yoga, she strives to use her privileges to support our collective liberation from needless suffering. Knowing that the spiritual connection cultivated through yoga can radically transform communities for the better, she advocates for everyone in need to have access to this practice. She teaches trauma-informed, culturally-sensitive, accessible yoga within a socially-conscious framework. Her offerings meet at the intersection of modern trauma science and the ancient practice of yoga. Guided by the wisdom of the traditional keepers of this knowledge, she prioritizes cultural literacy through honouring yoga's roots. She acknowledges that she practices on the traditional, unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.

Lauren Galloway
"I offer movement and stillness practices to those that don't feel included in society, so they can find their own strengths within. Creating community through JEDI (justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion) yogic approaches that can be practiced to ripple off the mat."

Lauren Galloway is a yogini, counselor, trauma informed teacher, and spiritual activist serving her community of New York City. She offers guided services to help others go deeper in connection with self to create a ripple of inclusion out into the world. She began her teachings with the Bhakti Center 200 hour teacher training, and she has continued to learn and grow her practice with the Radical Darshan community by obtaining her 300 hour teacher training. She is dedicated to dismantling systemic oppression as a spiritual practice and makes sure to create a safe inclusive space for ALL. Galloway offers an approach of movement inside the physical and emotional states of being through studies of Vedic Philosophy, Ayurveda, and Bhakti Traditions--flowing through alignments in order to create strength-based grounding practices that one can take on and off the mat. (she/her)

Maria Antonieta Pimentel-Elger
"To share my love of Yoga and how it is making my life healthier holistically in all aspects and still continuing to learn and study more about its traditional & modern poses (in safe & practical ways), practices, principles and philosophies. I offer yoga as a lifestyle, accessible to all and inject my cultural traditions if possible, tai chi moves, intuitive and creative practices- but in a very approachable and practical way."

Maria Antonieta Pimentel-Elger is grateful to share her love of Yoga, which makes her life holistically healthier in all aspects. She is still continuing to learn and study its traditional and modern poses (in safe and practical ways), practices, principles and philosophies. She offers yoga as a lifestyle, accessible to all. She injects her cultural traditions when possible--tai chi moves and even intuitive and creative practices--all in a very approachable and practical way, accessible to all. "If anyone can breathe then we are doing yoga!" (she/her)

Marika Ripke
"It is a great honor and pleasure to share the pearls of wisdom I have gleaned from yoga over the last 20 years with my community. My classes are inspired by and tailored to the specific needs of individuals as well as the community as a whole."

Marika is a devoted Mother, avid yogini, dancer, soul surfer, writer, Reiki and Holistic Healing Arts practitioner. She has been practicing yoga for over 20 years and teaching yoga for more than a decade. She is a 200-hour Yoga Alliance Certified teacher. Marika is also a dance choreographer, teacher, and performer. She currently guides dance, yoga, and meditation classes on the Big Island of Hawaii. Marika also holds a Master of Arts in Child Development and a PhD in Human Ecology. (she/her)

Mira Siblini
Mira teaches yoga in Beirut, Lebanon, amidst its worst economic crisis in decades. Despite a collapsed bank system, power shortages and multiple steep surges in COVID-19, among many other obstacles, Mira continues to offer yoga and a healing space in order to support her community through these immense challenges.

Mira Siblini founded Shiva-Lila Yoga Space in Beirut, Lebanon, in 2010. The studio offers unique Vinyasa Flo classes and organizes workshops, events, teacher training, advanced training modules, and retreats. (she/her)

Miranda McCarthy
"Myself and my team of four volunteer teachers are providing free adaptive yoga classes for the Disabled community during Covid-19. We represent an underserved community with undertreated pain. We aim to remove the biggest obstacles to wellbeing within the Disabled community: inactivity, stress and loneliness, promoting disability awareness and education. No one should suffer needlessly, and nothing should stand in the way of the right to be well; physically, mentally and socially."

Miranda McCarthy is a disabled yogi. She recently won an award from the British Prime Minister for bringing @adaptiveyogalive to the disabled community during COVID-19 and making yoga more accessible--especially for those who have injury, physical restrictions, or disabilities. Through the last 40 years of operations, rehabilitation and medication her focus was only on managing my disease. At the age of 42, after discovering adaptive yoga, she realized her ‘relationship’ with her body had only just begun. Yoga, for her, was about crafting a new healing, accepting, and loving narrative around her own body image. She no longer judged myself or compared herself to non-disabled people. Yoga showed her a way of re-inhabiting her body, with harmony and ease, no matter how painful. Learning to live with the body rather than fighting against it is truly the path to a richer, more satisfying quality of life. She hopes to help empower the disabled community through the practice of yoga! (she/her)

Mukisa Jackson Scott
"Teaching yoga in marginalized communities has opened a space for selfless service and provided a platform for holistic community transformation."

Mukisa Jackson Scott is a yoga teacher from Kampala, Uganda. To him yoga is a safe space through which we connect to ourselves and step into our greatness with freedom, self-acceptance and mindfulness. He is accredited for his fun flavored, unconventional teaching style that holds the space for his students to practice from a place of freedom and self-acknowledgement. This approach creates the opportunity for each student to practice with non judgment and self-acceptance, and it eliminates the feeling of being right or wrong. Scott loves to combine creative sequencing with fun and a pinch of challenge to help students deepen their practice. His aim is to lead students through a practice where they leave feeling nourished, refreshed, grounded and balanced. (he/him)

Mustapha Seidu
"Yoga means Union, hence bringing people together in unison to practice yoga is of essence."

Mustapha Seidu is a yoga student and teacher who is ambitious to learn, research, and experiment. He favors education that utilizes the body as well as the mind. He is a trained Theatre Arts graduate from University of Ghana who loves life and having fun, works hard to be free, and enjoys freedom. (he/him)

Nancy Nganga
"Be Yourself."

Nancy Wambui is a certified yoga teacher who come to the world of yoga practice in 2012, as she was looking for a new transition in a different type of physical practice and fun, after more than a decade of being trained as an African contemporary dancer. A friend brought Nancy to her first yoga class, and she was inspired by the teaching and the positive therapeutic vibration she felt in both mind and body connection. Off the mat Nancy is a dancer and actress; she is passionate about yoga and multi-art discipline. She appreciates its benefits of self-expression, transformation, strength, and flexibility and as healing components. She likes sharing the practice of yoga and art with her community, and spreading the love and power of yoga. Her intention is to provide an open space for her students to quiet the mind and strengthen the body, to cultivate a transformative self-experience--and she offers a space for everyone, from beginners to seasoned practitioners.

Oboma Alfred
"I did a training with Africa yoga projects in 2019 in Nairobi, Kenya, and I became the second person to bring yoga in my community. I was a dancer at youth center in the camp were I live, and after my yoga training, I came back to the youth center to create awareness to others about yoga. On Facebook I go for live yoga practice and have many followers."

Oboma Alfred Olaa is a native of South Sudan, living in Kenya's Kakuma Refugee Camp since 2016. He was introduced to yoga in 2019 through a friend who did teacher training with the African Yoga Project in Nairobi. He began attending yoga class and a year later attended the same Africa Yoga Project teacher training program. He completed his O level in 2010 from Uganda's Kiradongo Refugee Camp, where he also lived for several years.

Oscar Rivas
"I teach Ashtanga Yoga as a way to release addiction, sickness, and all bad habits that keep us in low vibrations. I teach to all that want to learn regardless of race, creed, or religion."

Oscar Rivas was born in El Salvador and moved to Los Angeles, California at age four. A proud husband and father of three, he has been doing yoga since the age of 27. In 2015 he was diagnosed with GIST cancer; he had surgeries, and the cancer is now in remission. The lessons he learned from that experience will stay with him forever. Yoga had been a gift that got him through the worst times in his life, and his life mission is to share that gift with those who are sick and down. He has been teaching yoga at the Crunch gym for nearly three years, and he is asking the universe for his own studio. (he/him)

Rafaela Garcia
"I bring yoga to my community by offering yoga and meditation in Spanish or bilingual to Latinx and BIPOC folks in the community of Ventura County; I intend to keep these community classes free and always welcome in other BIPOC and Latinx instructors as well. This is not about what I can do alone, it is what we can do together in an effort to grow and strengthen the community."

Rafaela Garcia was born and raised in Oxnard, California by two very hard-working, loving parents. She grew up surrounded by others with a similar background, whose parents traveled to the United States to give their children a better life. She remains very grateful that she can spend her time doing something creative, spend time with her loved ones, and do yoga! She discovered yoga seven years ago when a roommate gave her a free class pass, and she never stopped after that. She was in a rough place in her life, and this new practice peeled her open and set her on a path of healing. While she never could have seen herself teaching at the start, after she did her 200 hours of training it was always with the intention to be able to provide something back to a community that helped raise her. (she/her/ella)

Rox-anne Sanchez
"I chose to sustain a yoga studio called Casa Yoga here in my community that is faced with poverty, addiction, historical traumas, is a food desert and lack of jobs due to how rural it is. I have been teaching yoga for 6 years here and working with the Pueblos. I am here to serve the minority, people of color, indigenous and unite (do yoga) together for the generations and overcome inter -generational trauma so that a story of Truth of Love and Resiliency can be expressed and settled."

Rox-anne Sanchez was born and raised in New Mexico and currently remain a native resident, with her roots very grounded and deeply invested into these sacred lands and the people. Her native name is Toh’tcho-OhLonē, Baby Hummingbird, Sister of WolfClan, Guardian of the North and Wisdom Keeper of the Earth. She is united with mind, body and spirit; every single part of her life is aligned with yogic principles, and she adheres to the eight limbs as her Yog(a) practice. She was first introduced to this life practice at age 25 and is proud to be a teacher with leadership abilities to share it with others. Yog(a) has completely transformed her life: it healed her from chronic pain and serious disabling injuries, and enabled her to live with enthusiasm and do all the activities she wants to experience. Her teaching style is about motivating and inspiring other to cultivate hope, inner power, love, light and kindness within--so they can live a high-quality life, share their inspiration stories, express themselves through movement, sit with what is, and know they can manage succeed at all three levels of life. She chose to start her studio and teach Yog(a) in the rural small village of Penasco, New Mexico, over four years ago. As the only yoga studio within a 45-mile radius, she is honored to be a part of this "movement" and to share the practice with the community, creating an opportunity for self-care and actualization.

Samuel Kitali
"I empower and motivate."

Samuel was born in Nairobi. He sees yoga as art and a tool to help with the puzzling life journey. Samuel appreciates honest, God-fearing people who are intentional and committed leaders.

Sandy King
"I hope to host inclusive classes for the queer and trans community to safely explore spirituality, chanting, meditation and the nourishment of yin yoga and restorative practices."

Sandy King (they/them) is a queer, non-binary yoga teacher based on Gadigal country (Sydney, Australia), and they have been teaching yoga full-time for over 10 years. In 2011 they began studying formally with their teachers Sharon Gannon and David Life (founders of Jivamukti Yoga Method). Their lineage is important to their sense of belonging within the yoga community because it reminds them that they are part of a living tradition that has been passed down over hundreds of years. They are passionate about dismantling the modern exclusionary yoga "fitness" culture, and instead teaching yoga as an integrated holistic approach to the radical acts of self-exploration, self love and self care. They have also witnessed the power of yoga in bringing people together, as a means of building community through finding common ground--what in Sanskrit is known as Satsang. For them, yoga has never been a purely physical practice, but instead an access point for regulating mental health and emotional wellbeing, while embarking upon spirituality in a fun and exciting way.

Santhosh Kumar
"I would like to share my yogic knowledge to all the people around me. I want to share the importance of yoga and how to integrate in daily life."

Santhosh Kumar is a yoga teacher and therapist. He has been practicing yoga since 2008, and he began teaching yoga in 2011. As he started practicing, he realized that yoga is not just physical practice, it's a way of living. Since then he has been living his yogic life everyday. He has been working as an asana, pranayama and meditation instructor for 10 years. He has also taught in many yoga teacher training programs.

Stephanie Congo
"Experiencing a traumatic brain injury (TBI) 4 years ago opened my eyes to the world of invisible injuries and the limited support options available. Yoga therapy studies and my own healing have enabled me to help fill this gap for my community and support individual journeys to wellbeing and wholeness from a deeper place of inclusivity, compassion and understanding."

Stephanie Congo is a yoga therapist, energy practitioner, and mindfulness consultant in Memphis, Tennessee. She first began Pilates, Bikram and Vinyasa classes 20 years ago to complement her engineering career and mountain climbing adventures. After in-depth studies in the yoga and healing arts fields, she established a private practice. In 2017, her world was literally turned upside down from a fall on her head. As part of her traumatic brain injury (TBI) healing, she completed a 500 hour training in yoga therapy, specialty training with Love Your Brain (LYB), and also began teaching yoga to underserved populations. She now develops and leads virtual and in-person workplace programs, yoga and energy medicine blended movement, kids' yoga courses, and chair yoga classes for people who have experienced a TBI. Her mission is to share her love of embodying yoga, nature and the outdoors, mindfulness and other healthy ways of living through individualized attention and specialized and ongoing group programs. She is currently devoted to regaining her bike riding ability, a personal goal since her debilitating TBI! (she/her)

Tiffany Baskett
"In January of 2020 I opened a small, boutique movement studio in South Fulton, GA where I provide a variety of yoga and other movement classes. I do Community events at the studio and even offer courses, workshops, and events outside of our weekly classes to help bring yoga to the people of my community from my heart."

Tiffany Baskett is an AFAA licensed group fitness professional, liturgical/contemporary dancer, former Licensed Massage Therapist, Level 3 Medical Fascial Stretch Therapist, Soft-Stretch Release Techniques Practitioner, Level 2 VOILA Method practitioner, 500HR Vinyasa + 200HR Kemetic Yoga Instructor, and Buti Yoga Master Trainer. She became an Energy Channeling Healing Practitioner to maintain her own health and wellness, then used her knowledge to serve her growing tribe. Currently, Tiffany is studying to receive her Master’s in Metaphysical Science at the University of Sedona Metaphysics and plans to finish her PhD. Tiffany is dedicated to releasing her fear and being a catalyst for change in the African American community, regardless of the racial climate, for both her family and society’s sake. She is now E-RYT 500 and YACEP (Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider) Certified and plans to continue to teaching yoga workshops and classes for those who feel called to the practice, especially to the BIPOC community of South Fulton, Atlanta, and the rest of the world! She continues to study Yin/Restorative, Kundalini, and Ashtanga Yoga. (she/her)

Tiffany Brown
"I am committed to being part of the movement to help BIPOC communities embrace the practice of yoga. I believe it is an essential balm for healing with the power and potential to positively enhance mind-body-spirit wellness in our lives, communities, and the world!"

Tiffany L Brown APRN aka Tiffany NP is a family nurse practitioner, YTT 200 yoga teacher, circle keeper and owner/visionary of a holistic healthcare practice, Healing Wisdom Health + Wellness, where she believes in providing person-centered care that is sensible, practical, rooted in nature, and honors the body’s innate healing power and the uniqueness of each person's culture, family and life experiences. During the pandemic she has shifted her nursing practice to focus on mind-body-spirit wellness, including yoga, mindfulness and herbalism. She is also embracing a writing and storytelling journey to reflect the beauty, strength, hope and resilience that dwell within and among us as beautiful souls living this human experience.

Tina Fitts
"I hope that I can help others experience peace and serenity, even if it is just for a moment."

My name is Dr. Tina Fitts and I am a practicing psychotherapist. I am a professor at Walden University preparing masters and doctoral level students to become therapists. I turned to yoga more than a decade ago to heal my body from physical injuries of running marathons. As my yoga practice continued, I realized the power of yoga in all other aspects of my life, and particularly on my mind. Through practice and serving of yoga, I have been able to reach and connect with others at a deeper level. Being part of Yoga for Equity program will allow me to serve my Orlando community, and particularly giving back to first responders and the LGBTQI+ community. To me yoga is peace, yoga is community, and yoga is humanity. (she/her)

Wei Lo
"In my local community, I offer 1:1 private yoga packages to students of all ages and genders. We work on their goals like improving mobility and flexibility, energy work, and mindset. "

Wei (Irene) Lo is the founder of Irene Yoga Flow, home of intuitive healing for women of color on their self care journey. Born in Taiwan and emigrating to the unceded territories of the Coast Salish Peoples (Vancouver, Canada) at a young age, Irene is a trauma informed yoga asana facilitator of Han/Hakka descent. For a decade, yoga has been an integral part of her health and well-being. As a dispeller of the Model Minority Myth, she approaches yoga through a decolonized lens to provide a space of liberatory practice for all. Irene works one-on-one with private yoga clients and also offers an online yoga club through her Patreon, Irene Yoga Flow, with live Zoom yoga classes, special Yoga for Radical Rest events, and tarot readings for the community. Outside of yoga she is an intuitive tarot reader that offers tarot readings individually and for events. Irene is the Co-Creator and Co-Founder of the Womxn of Color Summit, an equitable community organization focused on creating safe and inclusionary spaces for womxn and non-binary people of color to share stories and knowledge as well as make impactful change. (she/her)

Zainab AL Jawadi
"Everyone has a motivation to keep going - mine is to be of service and empower others. Studying and teaching Yoga makes me realize that Yoga has the capacity to change the brain away from stress and toward calm and relaxation. Teaching Yoga gives me a sense of self-satisfaction by making a positive difference."

Zainab is a Yoga Teacher based in Sydney, Australia. Originally from Iraq, she found yoga as a helpful way to connect with peace and calm when she resettled in Australia in 2013. Having experienced the healing power of yoga firsthand, in 2019 Zainab completed her 200-hour yoga teacher training and has since been sharing trauma-informed yoga that is suitable for all bodies and abilities. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Social Work degree, and she serves through the Yoga Impact Charity as a teacher sharing yoga with refugees healing from torture and trauma, as a member of the 200-hour teacher training faculty, and as a refugee caseworker. (she/her)

Sowmya Ayyar
“I follow Swami Sivananda's mantra, 'Serve, love, give, purify, meditate, realize.'”

Sowmya Ayyar is the Founder-Director of Prafull Oorja Charitable Foundation, a Bangalore-based non-governmental organization (NGO), which trains yoga therapists to implement sustainable programs with communities in vulnerable conditions. Prafull Oorja has impacted hundreds of yoga teachers, special educators, and thousands of beneficiaries. Sowmya is also a musician (vocals, violins, keyboards) and performs Carnatic and global music, bhajans, and mantra chanting to bring peace and joy to those she serves.

Beatrice Bachleda
“As a Deaf person, I was constantly frustrated with the lack of access to information that can help improve my wellbeing, my health, and generally my life as a whole; and this is something many of us experience on a daily basis as d/Deaf people. Becoming a yoga teacher meant I could help fill that gap for my community and support individual journeys to healing and wellbeing.”

Beatrice Bachleda is a Colorado-based Deaf yoga teacher, as well as an E-RYT 200 and RYT 500. She has taught a variety of students in different settings, including Deaf, DeafBlind, hearing, trauma-informed, corporate, and youth. Beatrice offers live and recorded classes in American Sign Language (ASL), provides workshops on mindfulness and yoga, and supports healing through yoga with trauma survivor organizations. She also offers workshops for ASL interpreters and students, and her latest project is a series of online courses for the community. When she's not teaching yoga, Beatrice takes her adventure cat out on hikes in the mountains and is studying to become an herbalist and Reiki healer.

Sandy Boutros
“Introducing yoga to the communities I work with is like an introduction to the Self. The hardships of life make us forget to get in touch with the body, breath, and mind. Yoga brings back self-awareness and self-love.”

Sandy Boutros is a yoga teacher and practitioner based in Beirut, Lebanon, who started her yoga journey in 2012. After developing a keen interest in meditation, she left her advertising job and traveled to Bihar School of Yoga in India to take a four-month course in Advanced Yogic Studies. After the course, she completed her yoga teacher training and enrolled in Progressive Trainings on Raja Yoga with her guru Swami Niranjananda. In 2018, she established Koun, a non-governmental organization (NGO) that makes yoga accessible to economically marginalized communities and refugees in Lebanon to promote total wellbeing and mental health.

Namurembe Rita Brown
“As a yoga practitioner, I always tell my community members to be positive thinkers by saying ‘Yes’ to themselves as a creation, not a concept—to be ready to give up anything that's holding them back, to let go, and to step out of their comfort zones to start new beginnings.”

Namurembe Rita Brown was born in Uganda in 1992. In 1999, she traveled from Uganda to Kenya to look for refuge and became registered as a refugee under the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in 2000. In 2006, Namurembe received a scholarship with Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS) as an orphan child. She later passed her Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and joined Kakuma Refugee Secondary School, where she sat for her Kenya Certificates of Secondary Education (KCSE). Namurembe volunteered in her community and school as a reproductive health motivator, and later, worked for the International Rescue Committee (IRC)—a non-governmental organization (NGO)—as a healthy choice facilitator. Currently, she is working for Windle International Kenya (WIK) as a community mobilizer.

Ivelise Castillo
“My mission is to create a space that will provide shared practices for healing, strengthening, and self-love. By empowering each other, we are able to build resilience, clarity, and can explore self-expression through healing in various forms.”

Ivelise Castillo is a trauma-informed yoga instructor, Reiki practitioner, educator, and poet who enjoys the practice of self-expression through multiple healing modalities. She offers donation-based virtual meditation, yoga, and workshops to support and uplift communities in need. Ivelise created and facilitated a Yoga Club for children with special needs in a Title I school from grades 2–5 and has started to lead meditation and yoga workshops for teachers during Wellness Professional Development days. Additionally, Ivelise teaches a fusion of arts and mindfulness to teens in a pregnancy prevention program for a nonprofit organization. She is honored to be able to offer a four-week series on mindfulness, meditation, and yoga to remote fourth and fifth graders to alleviate stress during the pandemic, as well as a "Peace is Power" four-week virtual series to BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) communities.

Ameerah Craigg
“I bring yoga to my community by using a trauma-informed approach and by creating accessible spaces for us to feel good in. This means that in my sessions, consent and comfort is the primary focus.”

Ameerah Craigg has been practicing yoga for nearly two decades and leading yoga sessions for four years, operating from a trauma-informed, womanist/feminist, and harm-reduction framework. She uses Kundalini yoga and body movement basics to support folks in centering wellness in their lives. Ameerah is also an experienced counselor, facilitator, and community organizer who is passionate about supporting marginalized communities in accessing authentic self-care by connecting earth and spirit to community. Currently, she teaches in-person in the Greater Toronto Area and around the world via virtual sessions.

Marsha Danzig
“I believe yoga is a reminder of our essential wholeness. Losing a limb or limbs can make a person feel separate from their bodies, their communities, and their life purpose. Yoga brings them back home.”

Marsha Danzig, RYT 500 and IYAT certified yoga therapist (C-IAYT), is the founder of Y4A: Yoga for Amputees—a program dedicated to helping amputees worldwide reclaim their wholeness through the healing art of yoga. Marsha is a below-knee amputee herself, who was given death rites at the age of five and survived. She has been practicing and innovating yoga since the 1980s and is passionate about guiding people to a renewed sense of hope and purpose after major loss. She is the author of Yoga for Amputees: The Essential Guide to Finding Wholeness After Limb Loss and From the Roots, a spiritual memoir about embodying the divine in every moment.

Jennifer Fischer
“I teach in Pottstown, Pennsylvania—a very diverse community both culturally and economically—to share tools that empower each person’s individuality while developing compassion within the collective.”

Jennifer Fischer is a previous runner that thought life was “Go, go, go!” until she found yoga. Yoga revealed Jennifer’s true calling and allowed her to explore her passion for life and create space for others to connect with their Self.

Jasmine Hines

Leonie van Iersel
“With a diploma, you can come a long way, but without yourself, you're nowhere. I believe that by knowing who we are and understanding our possibilities, we can become the best versions of ourselves and contribute to a better world while finding purpose in life.”

Leonie van Iersel is an Education Manager and yoga teacher from the Netherlands who moved to Peru in 2017 to fight for equity and contribute to a better world. She founded the nonprofit organization Con Pazion to empower underprivileged children in the slums of Lima through yoga and holistic education. Recently, she signed a revolutionary agreement with the government that provides rights to have and manage the first holistic public school of Peru, allowing 680 students to receive quality holistic education (including yoga and meditation) for free. Her mission is to give children the chance to connect to themselves, each other, and the earth, helping them to reach their full potential and break the cycle of poverty.

D. Jylani Ma'at

Krista Marzewski
“We are all at different places in our lives, physically, spiritually, mentally, and financially. I want everyBODY to have the opportunity to experience yoga.”

Krista Marzewski believes in making yoga accessible for everyBODY—if you are breathing, you’re doing yoga. She is passionate about sharing the gifts of the practice, especially after personally noticing the changes it prompted in herself. As a person affected by trauma and in recovery, yoga taught Krista to reconnect to herself physically, mentally, and spiritually. She is continuously furthering her education and growing her offerings through her business, Yoga with Krista, where she specializes in trauma-informed yoga. Krista’s classes offer slow introspective postures, connecting breath to movement in hopes that students leave class filled with a new awareness.

Paul Menard
“I am honored to provide a series of classes for the LGBTQIA+ community. This series allows us to open our bodies while exploring that we are all divine.”

Paul Menard began studying yoga in 2002 and has maintained a passionate practice ever since. Their elegance and grace shines through both postures and the execution of their teaching. Paul’s pursuit of a more spiritual practice led to Karuna Center for Yoga and Healing Arts, where they are now the Director of this thriving center, offering yoga teacher training, workshops, bodywork, meditation, study of yoga scripture, and more. In addition to yoga, Paul has a fervor for education. Paul completed a master’s degree in Adult Education and Training in early 2011 and is a skilled Shiatsu practitioner.

Dede Monette
“I have the honor to work as a Regional Wellness Provider for many of our First Nations communities, facilitating specialized yoga workshops ranging from Prenatal Yoga, Baby and Me Yoga, Kids Yoga, Elders Chair Yoga, and Beginners Yoga.”

Dede Monette, Director of the Tofino Yoga School, is a passionate and inspired E-RYT and RCYT who has been practicing, teaching, and sharing various styles of yoga since 1996. Dede has the blessing to work very closely with many First Nations communities as a Regional Wellness Provider, facilitating specialized yoga workshops ranging from Prenatal Yoga, Baby and Me Yoga, Kids Yoga, Elders Chair Yoga, and Beginners Yoga. She is the grateful mama of two beautiful children and the wife of a wonderful nature-loving man.

Susan Ocholla
“I believe that what we have done for ourselves alone dies with us, and what we do for others and the world remains and is immortal. My mantra is: ‘Starting with nothing means you have more space for things to grow.’”

Susan Ocholla is a certified Level 1 and 2 Power Yoga teacher and certified Kundalini, Ashtanga, and TIMBo (trauma sensitive yoga) instructor. To her, yoga is a place where intellect and emotion converge in the human self. She believes yoga and meditation are continuous and lifelong practices and that we must maintain mental, emotional, and physical flexibility as a sense of personal identity. Susan challenges her students to grow by meeting both their physical and spiritual edge with friendliness and teaches them to practice listening to their bodies and each breath. She is dedicated to the growth and development of her students both on and off their mats and to relaxation and happiness in her daily life.

Victor Onyango Odhiambo
“Moving the mind positively by moving the body effectively achieves a sufficient mental and physical state.”

Victor Onyango Odhiambo is a dance and movement teacher who was born and brought up in Kibera slums. After years as a breakdancer, he transitioned into functional movement and healing. This transition was provoked by pain and injuries from breakdancing and began with the exploration of YouTube videos. His journey to movement started after post-election violence in 2007, during which he lost his close friends to tribal conflicts, drugs, and other vices. As an escape, Victor used his passion of dance as a channel to heal. Today, Victor teaches yoga and functional movement and runs a nonprofit in his community. In his organization, he teaches kids how to use art for healing, to avoid vices, and to always stay positive.

Maria (Amma) Claudia Fandiño Orozco
“I dedicate my efforts to provide students with a yoga practice that promotes self-empowerment, love, and appreciation as key aspects to connect with their inner essence and infinite capacity to transform their own lives.”

Maria (Amma) Fandiño Orozco, MSc, holds an RYT 500 credential. She has been a devoted yoga practitioner for over 28 years and enthusiastic biologist for 27 years. Amma's passion is sharing yoga with communities with challenges and vulnerable conditions—be them physical, mental, or emotional. Her work includes teaching yoga to cancer patients to help contribute to their quality of life and ability to cope with the difficult circumstances of the disease. She is also dedicated to providing space that promotes empowerment, rehabilitation, and healing for those deprived of liberty and supports substance use recovery processes. Amma lives in Colombia with her husband and two kids and loves to spend her free time in contact with nature.

Eternity Philops
“I encourage BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) and QTPOC (Queer and Trans People of Color) students and clients to explore union with Self, union with others, and union with Spirit on a deeper level that affirms their culture and identity."

A bodaciously Black and unapologetically queer conscious being, Eternity Philops works to educate and serve BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) and QTPOC (Queer and Trans People of Color) communities in yoga wellness. Certified in both Hatha and Kemetic yoga, Eternity began teaching professionally in 2017, and has taught hundreds of students through community classes, university courses, private sessions, and wellness retreats. Addressing the limited options for Afrocentric forms of yoga, Eternity created Kamili Yoga™, a modern Pan-African system for Black holistic wellness. Kamili Yoga™ is Eternity’s answer to the need for more yoga systems that are culturally diverse, de-center Whiteness, and recognize the beautiful depths of Black and African being.

Dawn Rivers
"At the end of almost every class, I say, ‘May you be happy. May you be whole. May you be free.’ It took me decades to live this myself, but now that I know the joy and light of it, I want to share it with others."

Dawn Rivers began her yoga journey in 1999 when she bought a Rodney Yee VHS yoga videotape. After that, she began practicing yoga in her basement as a means to invite fitness and stress relief into her life. A couple of years later, she discovered a yoga studio that ultimately became her home for almost 10 years. There she found love, acceptance, and community. In 2013, she became an RYT 200 through Cleveland Yoga, and, in 2019, Dawn completed her 300-hour yoga teacher training with Faith Hunter at Embrace Yoga, in Washington D.C. Her studio, Daybreak Yoga, opened in October 2018. In addition to offering daily classes at Daybreak Yoga, Dawn hosts yoga teacher training, mindfulness and yoga workshops, collaborative projects, and a coaching academy.

Elisha Fernandes Simpson
“I am passionate about creating inviting and supportive spaces through trauma-conscious yoga, mindfulness and art expressions to build self-awareness, and resilience and self-respect for trauma survivors.”

Elisha Fernandes Simpson is a licensed social worker and E-RYT, RCYT, and YACEP, who has been teaching yoga since 2006. She is also the Executive Director and Founder of Crossover Yoga Project (CYP), where she developed the gender-specific curriculum entitled “I Believe in Me.” She has led self-care and mindfulness training to social workers of Westchester County Department of Social Services (NY), trauma-conscious training throughout New York state and Massachusetts, and is currently teaching trauma-conscious yoga in the women’s, men’s, and acute medical units of Westchester County Department of Correction (NY). As a social worker, Elisha has worked in hospital settings, youth detention facilities, homeless shelters, and with teen girls who have experienced sexual trafficking. She is also a Mindful-Based Stress Reduction instructor who is trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT).

Gary Steeves

Gary Steeves teaches free yoga classes in some of the most underserved, inner-city neighborhoods of Buffalo, New York (NY). Regular weekly classes are held year-round for residents of the homeless men’s shelter Buffalo City Mission and women’s and children’s shelter Cornerstone Manor. This program is part of the City Mission’s Dream Transitional Housing Program that provides each individual with a pathway to a stable life through education and skill training resources. The classes are primarily Yin Yoga, pranayama, meditation, and opportunities for prayer. In addition, Gary provides free classes seasonally for an Eastside youth football program and several programs that offer youth music skills nurturing and development. Participants mostly come for the physical benefits and take away increased emotional, psychological, and spiritual grounding.

Casey Valencia
“I create a welcoming space and invite the MercyMed community into a joyful experience living in their bodies. I teach in English and Spanish with chairs, bolsters, blocks, walls—whatever it takes to facilitate exploration of intention in forms, movement, and stillness.”

As a female ordained minister, Casey Valencia understands that the body has a deep, spiritual wisdom that far exceeds size, aesthetics, or athletic ability. After leading group fitness for a decade, she found that yoga offers sacred space with God through body and breath. She imparts calm for chronic stress, and her specialty is welcoming those who are differently-abled, facing mental health conditions, or experiencing marginalization in the yoga circle. Her joyful and positive teaching style lends to an uplifting experience, whether flowing vigorously or meditating in stillness.

Carmen Oquendo Villar
“I have been working with the Latinx and Latin American LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) community for more than 20 years, and teaching yoga and mindfulness to LGBT and Gender Queer Older Adults in Puerto Rico since 2018.”

Wangui (Kui) Wanyoike
“Teach and share what you know.”

In 2015, Wangui (Kui) Wanyoike, completed her 200-hour teacher training in Rishikesh, India, under the capable guidance of Sadhviabha Saraswati, and immediately began teaching upon her return to Nairobi. Today, she teaches traditional Hatha yoga suitable for both beginner and intermediary practitioners. Wangui emphasizes awareness of breath and wants to share what she knows with her students to help them discover their own unique path within their yoga practice.

Adam Wetterhan
“We have way too many people behind bars in America and the conditions aren't conducive to healing or thriving. I apply a high-engagement and individualized approach to modifying practices to meet each individual where they are and believe we should always be training people to teach. So, ‘train-the-trainer’ is an important part of my work.”

Adam Wetterhan teaches and trains at Yoga on High Teacher Training Institute and is an E-RYT 500. He has been facilitating yoga, breathwork, and meditation at Marion Correctional Institution, Pickaway Correctional Institution, and Mansfield Correctional Institution since 2012. Adam has developed various beginner-friendly and inclusive approaches to teaching these mindful arts in carceral settings in a way that encourages folks to practice a little bit every day.

The Yoga Alliance Foundation leverages yoga for social impact and fosters an expansive, accessible, and equitable yoga community. Contributions support yoga professionals' livelihoods and their important work in sharing the benefits of yoga.



Learn more about Teaching for Equity.

Yoga Alliance is a nonprofit 501(c)(6). Yoga Alliance Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3). This website refers to the two organizations as "Yoga Alliance." Copyright 2023 Yoga Alliance. Yoga Alliance, the Yoga Alliance logo, RYS, RYT, and YACEP are registered marks with the USPTO and other jurisdictions.

Privacy Policy | Terms of Use

Copyright 2023 by Yoga Alliance