Kelly McGonigal, PhD, is a health psychologist and lecturer at Stanford University, and a leading expert on the mind-body relationship. She teaches for the School of Medicine’s Health Improvement Program and is a senior teacher/consultant for the Stanford Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education. Kelly is a founding member of the Yoga Service Council and an advisor to many nonprofit organizations bringing yoga and meditation to at-risk and underserved populations, including Yoga Bear (yoga for cancer survivors) and The Art of Yoga Project (yoga for at-risk teen girls). She is the author of Yoga for Pain Relief (New Harbinger 2009), The Willpower Instinct (Penguin 2012), and the audio series The Neuroscience of Change (Sounds True 2012).
Hala Khouri, M.A., E-RYT, has been teaching yoga and the movement arts for over 20 years. She earned her B.A. in Psychology from Columbia University and her M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute. She is trained in Somatic Experiencing, a body-based psychotherapy that addresses trauma and its symptoms. She is a co-founder of Off the Mat, Into the World. Since age 16, Hala has taught yoga and the movement arts to a variety of people ranging from those with mental illness and youth at-risk to mommies and rock stars.
U.S. Congressman Tim Ryan is the United States Representative for Ohio’s 17th congressional district, currently serving his fifth term. A mindfulness practitioner and a long-time champion of efforts to improve the health and well-being of American families and children, Congressman Ryan is also a public advocate for mindfulness-based programs in schools, the military, and the health-care system. For the past several years, he has been meeting with educators, doctors, researchers, and military, business, and environmental protection leaders to explore innovative programs to use our innate mindfulness as a source of resilience and innovation. Tim Ryan currently serves as a member of the House Armed Services Committee, with jurisdiction over national defense policy, ongoing military operations, the organization and reform of the Department of Defense, counter-drug programs, acquisition and industrial base policy, and technology transfer and export controls. He serves on the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities and the Subcommittee on Readiness. Congressman Ryan also serves as a member House Budget Committee, which, through its annual budget resolution, sets the aggregate levels of spending and revenue expected to occur in a given fiscal year. This Committee is at the center of the ongoing debate on reducing the national deficit and debt. He serves as co-chairman of the Congressional Manufacturing Caucus and remains a leader in the fight to strengthen America’s manufacturing base and reform United States trade policies. Congressman Tim Ryan is a longtime practitioner of mindfulness meditation who often speaks on its potential benefit to society.
ROXANNE “NIKKI” MYERS is an E-RYT500 Yoga Teacher and Somatic Experiencing Practitioner. She is also the co-owner of CITYOGA School of Yoga and Health. Nikki is an accomplished yoga therapist, teacher and practitioner on the path of Yoga. Nikki’s study led her to The American Viniyoga Institute, under the leadership of Gary Kraftsow, where she received certification as a Viniyoga Teacher and Yoga Therapist. She has completed her second year of study in Somatic Experiencing, the distinguished trauma healing methodology developed by Dr. Peter Levine. She regularly assists and co-teaches with international yoga teacher Seane Corn at workshops and conferences across the U.S. Her extensive travels have lead her to joyous work/study in Africa, Cambodia, India, Thailand and more. Born out of her personal struggles with addiction, Nikki is a cofounder of Y12SR, the acclaimed Yoga of 12-Step Recovery program featured in the New York Times and Yoga Journal. She is quick to tell the world, ‘The 12-step program and Yoga saved my life – one is my lifeboat, the other my launching pad’.
Molly Lannon Kenny
Molly Lannon Kenny is the founder and director of The Samarya Center and The Samarya Yoga School, a 501 c 3 non-profit service and training organization dedicated to individual transformation and radical social change. She created, published and trademarked a unique therapy method, Integrated Movement Therapy®, built on these same principles of acceptance, inclusion and healing of self as a means for healing others and our communities. She has written and taught extensively on the topics of Yoga as Therapy and Yoga as a means to individual and social change, and has taught many hundreds of students in her specialized yoga teacher trainings both locally and internationally. She has been featured in Yoga Journal, Yoga Chicago, Wisdom Magazine, and The New York Times, among many others. She is past Vice President of the International Association of Yoga Therapists, and was the board liaison to the international committee on educational standards for the field of yoga therapy. She is currently an advisor to the Yoga Service Council. In her other life, Molly has been the bass player and front person for several local bands over almost twenty years, and is a part of a large, raucous, multi-ethnic and culturally and socially diverse family of origin. She spends about a quarter of each year at her home in a small fishing village in Mexico, thinking about things like cultural relativism, paternalism, social change, and delicious food. Her book, “No Gurus Came Knocking” – a sort of yoga and real life memoir – is due out in early November. Molly is widely known as a vibrant, funny, accessible and super knowledgeable teacher, with a heart of gold and a spirit of fire.
Jay Fields is not your ordinary yoga teacher. As the author of the book Teaching People, Not Poses, Jay is praised for walking her talk and for supporting her clients in showing up authentically and unapologetically. Tapping the vein of guidance and integrity that arises from a life dedicated to embodied spiritual practice, she guides others to unearth this same vein within themselves. Jay’s gift lies in her practical and poetic approach to helping people lead more inspired lives that are uniquely their own. She has spent the last 15 years leading vision quests, teaching yoga and helping people fall to pieces so they can come back together whole. She holds a Masters degree in Integral Transformative Education.
For Mark, yoga is an everyday survival skill, a practice he has shared with thousands of youth as founder and president of Street Yoga, a Portland, OR based non-profit. His teaching emphasizes cultivation of the best within each of us. Mark has developed many special yoga curricula in addition to the core and advanced Street Yoga trainings, specialized work for young patients recovering from illness or injury in the hospital, for young people recovering from sexual abuse, and workshops for adults moving through entrenched traumas or grappling with high-intensity communication situations.
Bidyut ‘B.K.’ Bose is the founder and Executive Director of Niroga Institute. Bidyut earned his Ph.D. in Computer Science from University of California, Berkeley and spent many years in research and development in Silicon Valley. He has multiple patents to his credit, and has presented at international conferences and at universities around the world. Having learned yoga and meditation from his father since he was a child, and later with monks in the Himalayas, he longed for greater integration of his personal and professional life. Inspired since childhood by the twin ideals of self-realization and selfless service, he founded Niroga Institute in 2005, and his research interests have now shifted to the scientific application of TLS and developing cost-effective architectures for lasting social transformation.
Chelsea Roff is the creator and director of Yoga for Eating Disorders, an not-for-profit program that teaches practical yoga-derived tools for overcoming eating disorders. Chelsea is a nationally-recognized author, speaker, and yoga instructor, and her own story of overcoming anorexia and a subsequent stroke was featured by Sanjay Gupta on CNN. Chelsea integrates her background in science, women’s health, and humanitarian issues in her teaching and speaking. She is known for her intelligent, inspiring, and tell-it-like-it-is speaking style, and for weaving together profound personal experiences with her scientific background to deliver deeply moving insights. Prior to becoming a yoga instructor, Chelsea worked as the lab manager for a Psychoneuroimmunology laboratory and completed two Honors Theses on the effectiveness of mind-body practices like yoga in improving treatment outcomes for women with breast cancer. Chelsea is a fierce advocate for the role yoga can play in mental health treatment and recently raised $46,000 to do an evidence-based study on yoga for eating disorders. She is currently working with The Give Back Yoga Foundation and researchers at UCLA to conduct a clinical trial on the effectiveness of yoga in eating disorder treatment.
Teo Drake is a spiritual activist, an educator, a practicing Buddhist and yogi, and an artisan who works in wood and steel. He is affiliated with Off the Mat, Into the World and the organization Transfaith. When this blue collar, queer-identified trans man living with AIDS isn’t helping spiritual spaces be more welcoming and inclusive of queer and transgender people or helping queer and trans folks find authentic spiritual paths, he can be found teaching martial arts, yoga, and woodworking to children.
Sue Jones, Founder and Executive Director of yogaHope has practiced yoga for over 14 years and is a leading voice in the subject of mind body practices for self regulation and personal empowerment. For the last six years Sue has trained, inspired and lead hundreds of volunteer yoga teachers who have donated their time in substance abuse rehabilitation centers, domestic abuse safe houses and homeless shelters for women. She dedicates much of her time to researching the effects of yoga and mindfulness practices on survivors of trauma and those suffering from traumatic stress response. Sue’s life and work have been profiled in Yoga Journal, The New York Times, Shape Magazine, Body + Soul Magazine, Martha Stewart Whole Living Magazine, CNN Headline News.
Lisa Flynn, E-RYT, RYT 500, RCYT, is the founder of ChildLight Yoga® and Yoga 4 Classrooms®, organizations providing yoga and mindfulness-based education to children in schools and communities, and training for professionals whose work supports the well-being of children. It is her mission to teach strategies that help children and youth develop resilience, positive perceptions, good health habits and mindful awareness. Lisa speaks regularly at state and national-level conferences and serves as a leader and collaborator in the school yoga and mindfulness movement and greater kids’ yoga community. She is author of Yoga for Children: 200 Yoga Poses, Breathing Exercises, and Meditations for Healthier, Happier, More Resilient Children (Adams, 2013) and the Yoga 4 Classrooms Card Deck (2011).
Geri Topfer has been dedicated to the path of yoga for 10 years. She blends the teaching of Kundalini Yoga, LifeForce Yoga®, and the alignment principles of Anusara Yoga®, bringing to each heart the nourishment it needs to live more courageously and powerfully. She is the founder and President of Kula for Karma, a community of yoga teachers who offer yoga to those who have been challenged by illness, abuse, neglect, addiction, and other life obstacles. In 2010, Geri launched teenkula, creating a dynamic community of philanthropic teens, and she is co founder of Emotion in Motion, a workshop for transforming trauma in the body.
Jasmine is the Founder of Yoga Activist, a nonprofit outreach organization dedicated to improving accessibility and trauma sensitivity in yoga and mindfulness instruction. She has trained with teachers from a wide variety of yoga traditions (Dharma, Power, Vinyasa, Kundalini, and Sivananda) and taught students of diverse backgrounds (from homeless shelter residents to White House staff). In her role as a yoga educator, Jasmine serves on the Faculty at George Washington University, advising yoga teachers in training. She also directs the yoga teacher training programs at the Washington DC-based yoga studio collective she founded, Yoga District. Jasmine believes yoga instructors have a responsibility to adapt their classes with sensitivity to individual student needs, while also dealing with the realities of group instruction and honoring the integrity of their yoga tradition. As an advisor in continuing education yoga programs, to yoga teacher trainees, and to experienced yoga teachers, it’s Jasmine’s goal to skillfully share yoga’s teachings and assist other instructors in doing the same.
Bob Altman is the Co-Founder of Centering Youth, a yoga service initiative based in Atlanta, Georgia, with the mission of Empowering Youth with Yoga and Mindfulness. As a yoga practitioner and attorney, Bob began working to establish this yoga service initiative in 2008, culminating in a sustainable non-profit program bringing Yoga and Mindfulness to kids in the juvenile justice system in Georgia, while raising service awareness and training in the Atlanta yoga community.
Mary Lynn Fitton
Mary Lynn Fitton has a commitment to young women’s health, empowerment and well-being. She is Founder and Program Director of The Art of Yoga Project, a non-profit that offers a trauma-informed, gender-responsive Yoga and Creative Arts Curriculum to at-risk teen girls in the California juvenile justice system as an integral part of their healing and rehabilitation. Mary Lynn received her Masters in Science and Family Nurse Practitioner degree at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) in 1994. She has been a registered nurse for over 25 years with specialties in neuroscience and women’s and adolescent healthcare. In 2013, she was accepted into the Child Trauma Academy’s train the trainer program for the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics. A certified yoga teacher since 1998 and founding member of the Yoga Service Council, her work has been featured in Yoga Journal, The San Francisco Examiner, Spirituality and Health, Elephant Journal, The Huffington Post and the International Journal of Yoga Therapy. In 2010, she was nominated for the California Governor and Maria Shriver’s Minerva Award, for women who devote themselves to improving their local community, state or country.
Booker found her calling to empower youth affected by incarceration through yoga and meditation in 2007. She currently teaches with several programs NYC that serves LGBTQI teens, women in recovery and is the Director of Teacher Trainings with the Lineage Project, an organization that brings awareness-based practices, like yoga and meditation, to incarcerated and court involved youth in New York City. She’s facilitated a mindfulness-based intervention on Riker’s Island through NYU, and has taught with the Prison Yoga Project in San Quentin Prison in Northern California. She is also the founder of Urban Sangha Project, a collective that supports the sustainability of front line ChangeMakers through Mindful Yoga, Meditation and Dialogue. She has become a regular presenter at conferences around the country, and offered her services at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in North Carolina. She is committed to collaborations that support bridging the gap between yoga, mindfulness and grass roots activism.
Penni Feiner completed her first 200 hour teacher training at Naturally Yoga in Glen Rock, New Jersey in 2004. Penni is a licensed Kundalini Research Institute-certified yoga teacher as well as a LifeForce Yoga® level II practitioner. Penni integrates sacred sound with movement, encouraging participants to open their hearts to explore their own inner song. Her Bhakti yoga experience includes studying with Jai Uttal, Snatam Kaur, and Guru Ganesha. Penni performs with Rasa Lila a Kirtan band and as a solo artist, in and around the greater metropolitan area. Penni is Executive Director of Kula for Karma www.kulaforkarma.org a 501©3 not for profit community of yoga teachers who offer yoga to people challenged by illness, abuse, neglect, addiction, and other life obstacles. With Penni’s guidance Kula has grown from a small grass roots organization to a Brand Name organization recognized in the field of Health and Wellness. Penni cofounded Emotion in Motion, a workshop for transforming trauma in the body and co leads a workshop at Kripalu called “Finding your Passion”
Gillian Arthur is a member of Omega’s staff; after a personal practice of many years informed by the Krishnamacharya tradition, she delved more deeply into her study of Yoga in order to find her path to service. This has been expressed in her work with Omega’s staff where she leads them in restorative and other meditative practices. She is also a member of Omega’s catalogue faculty offering a Restorative Yoga retreat weekend, and a Restorative Yoga teacher training.
Jennifer Cohen Harper
Jennifer Cohen Harper, MA, E-RYT is a leading voice in the children’s yoga and mindfulness community, and dedicated to making these powerful practices accessible to all children regardless of circumstance. Jennifer is the author of Little Flower Yoga for Kids: A Yoga and Mindfulness Program to Help Your Child Improve Attention and Emotional Balance. She is the founder and director of Little Flower Yoga , a national organization based in New York, and The School Yoga Project , which brings yoga and mindfulness to schools nation wide. Jennifer is the vice president of the Yoga Service Council. She holds a master’s degree in education and youth development from New York University’s Gallatin School and her thesis work was on the use of yoga in education. Her work has been featured in prominent publications including the NY Times and the International Journal of Yoga Therapy. Jennifer is a talented presenter, offering powerful information in a practical, easy to implement format with warmth, humor and joy.
Rob Schware is the Executive Director of the Give Back Yoga Foundation http://givebackyoga.org/, President of the Yoga Service Council https://yogaservicecouncil.org/, and Seva Advisor to Hanuman Festival http://www.hanumanfestival.com/. He has been married to Alice Trembour for 29 years, which, like yoga, is in and of itself a regular commitment to a practice. They have three children.