Matthew Sanford is a nationally recognized yoga teacher, a sought-after public speaker, founder the non-profit Mind Body Solutions, and a paraplegic for the last thirty-five years. He is the author of the critically acclaimed WAKING: A MEMOIR OF TRAUMA AND TRANSCENDENCE (Rodale: 2006) and speaks at conferences, corporations, and higher learning institutions nationwide. Matthew has also emerged as a leading voice in the integrated health movement. He won the 2010 Pioneer of Integrative Medicine Award from the California Pacific Medical Center’s Institute of Health and Healing. Previous recipients include Dr. Deepok Chopra, Dr. Dean Ornish, and Dr. Mehmet Oz. He also has appeared on NBC’s Today Show, People Magazine, and American Public Media’s On Being.
Rolf Gates is a former social worker and US Airborne Ranger who has practiced meditation for over twenty years. He is author of the acclaimed book on yogic philosophy Meditations from the Mat: Daily Reflections on the Path of Yoga, conducts 200/500 Vinyasa Intensives, Retreats and 200/500 Teacher Trainings throughout the US and abroad and online. Rolf and his work have been featured in numerous magazines including ORIGINS, Yoga Journal, Natural Health and People Magazine and as one of Travel and Leisures’ Top 25 Yoga Studios Around the World. Rolf is also the co-founder of the Yoga Meditation and Recovery Conference at Esalen Institute, Big Sur CA and Kripalu Center, Lenox, MA. Rolf is honored to be a contributor to the upcoming 2014 publications: Yoga + Body Image (with Alanis Morissette, Seane Corn, Bryan Kest and more), Find Your True North: Wanderlust, as well as Survivors on the Yoga Mat. Rolf’s new book will also be released Fall 2015 (Random House).
Melody Moore, Ph.D., RYT, is a Clinical Psychologist and the founder of the Emboyd Love Movement Foundation, a social profit whose mission is to empower girls and women to celebrate their inner beauty, commit to kindness, and contribute to meaningful change in the world.Dr. Moore travels across the country teaching facilitators how to deliver yoga-based programs to foster shame resiliency and remind girls and women of their inherent worth and lovability. Her work has been featured in the books Yoga and Body Image and Yoga and Eating Disorders: Ancient Healing for Modern Illness, as well as in Yoga Journal, Yoga International, and Origin Magazine. Dr. Moore serves as a faculty member for Off the Mat, Into the World and as an advisor to the Yoga and Body Image Coalition and World Muse. In her private practice, she has specialized in recovery of Eating Disorders using the integrated treatment of psychotherapy, yoga, and holistic nutrition for the past 10 years.
Leslie 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.
Pam Dunn has been a leader and teacher trainer for Challenge Day, one of the best known organizations in North America teaching empathy, compassion and other core social & emotional skills to students, for over 10 years. She has worked with well over 100,000 youth in middle schools and high schools across the U.S., Europe and Canada. Her work with youth was recently featured in the Dutch Documentary series “Over De Streep (Cross the Line).” In addition to her work with Challenge Day, Pam is a Guiding Teacher for Mindful Schools, and she has been a lead facilitator and curriculum developer for Be Present, Inc. (BPI), supporting individuals of all ages, genders and cultures in developing leadership in their own lives as well as in their families and communities. Pam has consulted with numerous youth & family service agencies on youth program development, staff training and program evaluation, including the Family Childcare Training Project, The Mind Body Awareness Project, The Edgewood Center for Children & Families, Mission Neighborhood Centers, & Urban Tilth.
Melanie Klein is a writer, speaker and Professor of Sociology and Women’s Studies at Santa Monica College. She is a contributing author in 21st Century Yoga: Culture, Politics and Practice and is featured in Conversations with Modern Yogis. She is the co-editor of Yoga and Body Image: 25 Personal Stories About Beauty, Bravery + Loving Your Body and co-founder of the Yoga and Body Image Coalition. A body image activist and media literacy advocate, she is the founder of the Los Angeles chapter of Women, Action and the Media, is on the board of Global Girl Media and the Brave Girls Alliance and has worked with Proud2Bme.org and the National Eating Disorders Association.
Dianne Bondy is a E-RTY 500 master instructor, creator of Yoga For All Teacher Training, Yoga and Body Image: 25 Personal Stories About Beauty, Bravery & Loving Your Body book contributor, is featured in the book, Yes, Yoga Has Curves, and on the leadership team of the Yoga & Body Image Coalition.
Suzanne Sterling is a dedicated musician, yogi, activist and social innovator who has been performing and teaching transformational workshops for over 20 years. She is founder of Voice of Change, a co-founder of Off the Mat into the World and Director of the Global Seva Challenge. An award winning musician, she has released 5 solo albums and numerous DVD soundtracks. Her life work is dedicated to inspiring others to find their unique voice and to use self-expression as a tool for community building and conscious evolution.
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.
Danielle Rousseau, PhD LMHC is an Assistant Professor at Boston University and the director of Boston University’s Prison Education Program. She teaches in the areas of trauma, gender, and mental health. For more than a decade she has worked in the field of forensic mental health as a therapist in correctional facilities as well as in the community doing crisis response and victim advocacy. Dr. Rousseau’s professional focus has been in trauma services and gender advocacy. In addition to her trauma focused clinical work and research, she teaches yoga for veterans and is co-director of yogaHOPEs monitoring and evaluation team. She is published in Criminal Justice Policy Review, Gender, Race, and Justice, Law and Society Review, The Annals of the Academy of Political and Social Sciences, The Journal of Yoga Service and other academic journals and books and she has presented at a many national conferences. Dr. Rousseau received her MA from the University of Denver and her PhD from Northeastern University. Dr. Rousseau is a licensed therapist and certified yoga teacher.
Elizabeth Jackson, MPH is an experienced public health professional with 10+ years of global and domestic health experience. Her work spans from leading clinical and operational quality improvement initiatives with community health centers in Massachusetts to population health and health system strengthening efforts with partners in Africa, Asia and Latin America. She is knowledgeable in innovations for program implementation, operations analysis and management, project design, and evaluation. Her areas of expertise are in maternal and child health, nutrition, infectious and chronic diseases, and mental health and mindfulness-based interventions. She currently works with the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers and yogaHOPE. In the past she has worked for the Harvard School of Public Health, the World Health Organization, Partners in Health, the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation, and the Yale Global Health Leadership Institute. Mrs. Jackson received her Masters in Public Health from Yale University. Her work is published in the International Journal for Quality in Health Care, Journal of the International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care, BMC Infectious Diseases, and Yoga Service Journal.
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 http://www.theartofyogaproject.org/
Lisa Pedersen has been the Executive Director at The Art of Yoga Project (AYP) since 2009. In 2012, Lisa was selected as a Criminal Justice Fellow at the Women’s Policy Institute of the Women’s Foundation of California. Before entering the nonprofit world, she had a notable career in high tech with an impressive track record in the corporate sector. Lisa has lived and worked abroad for many years and has experience in fundraising and nonprofits through her volunteer work for the Junior League of Palo Alto Mid Peninsula and other Bay Area nonprofits. She is a certified yoga and meditation instructor through the Ananda Yoga Teacher Training program, which focuses on yoga’s spiritual as well as physical dimension. She has been mentoring women and teens for many years. Lisa believes that empowering women and children builds healthy families and vibrant communities.
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.
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.
Christopher Willard, Psy. D. is a psychologist and educational consultant based in Boston specializing in mindfulness with adolescents and young adults. He has been practicing meditation for over 15 years, and leads workshops internationally. He currently serves on the board of directors at the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy, and the Mindfulness in Education Network. He is the author of Child’s Mind (2010) Growing Up Mindful (2016) and three other books on mindfulness, compassion and mental health. He teaches at Harvard Medical School.
Peg Oliveira, PhD, E-RYT 500 holds a PhD in Psychology from Brandeis University. She is Deputy Director of the Gesell Institute of Child Development and consults for Connecticut’s Office of Early Childhood. Peg is the founder and executive director of 108 Monkeys, a nonprofit yoga service organization based in New Haven, CT. She believes in yoga as the great equalizer and that practicing yoga means practicing justice. Peg was originally certified as a yoga teacher at Yoga Center Amherst, after which she became a certified Baptiste Vinyasa Power Yoga teacher. She is also certified as a Thai Yoga Therapy Practitioner and has studied with Street Yoga, Holistic Life Foundation, Bessel Van Der Kolk and David Emerson. Peg’s essay “Mind Over Multitasking: What Would Buddha Do?” appeared in the collection The Culture of Efficiency. Peg’s public yoga classes offer a dynamic combination of strength, sweat and soul. Her style emphasizes sound alignment with an unpredictable flow. While challenging, it remains accessible to most beginners.
Traci Childress began studying yoga & mindfulness in 1996. She is Co-founder and Executive Director of the Children’s Community School in West Philadelphia, where mindfulness is a core component of the curriculum for children ages 2-6 as well as of her Teacher Reflection and Mindful Development, for teachers of the school. She is the founder of the Mindful Reflection Project, and offers workshops to parents, care providers, teachers, and yoga communities that support mindfulness skills, listening, self care, and community building.
Erin Garvin is one of the primary leaders of the Rochester Yoga Service Network and a yoga teacher in the Nazareth Yoga Kula. As a student of yoga for 14 years, yoga has helped her face her addictions and the fragmented self who needed an addiction in order to live. Her heart’s desire is to give this gift of yoga to others; to pass on what has so freely and lovingly set her free.
Lynne Boucher: As the Director of the Center for Spirituality at Nazareth College in Rochester, NY, Lynne shepherds the “Yoga Revolution” on campus, coordinating the work of ten yoga teachers and countless student leaders in offering extensive yoga programs to hundreds of practitioners in the campus community. Lynne is overwhelmingly grateful to receive and share the gifts of yoga, especially with those who have not yet had access to its healing power. Lynne has a special affinity for yoga with athletes, aerial yoga, acro yoga, and paddleboard yoga.
Jenn Kelly: Jenn is a yoga teacher and part of the Rochester Yoga Service Network leadership team. She has a Masters in Public Health and PhD in Epidemiology; She studies lifestyle factors related to outcomes and quality of life in cancer patients. Yoga has been absolutely transformational in her life, and as a public health professional, she feels strongly that everyone should have access to yoga and its overwhelming power to promote overall physical health, mental wellness, and life balance.
Leanne Wood Charlesworth
Leanne Wood Charlesworth, Nazareth College faculty member, directs the undergraduate social work major and is one of several yoga instructors offering yoga classes to the campus community through the Center for Spirituality. A founding member of the Rochester Yoga Service Network, she facilitates student involvement in yoga service and provides leadership to a variety of yoga service partnerships. Leanne has a Masters and PhD in Social Work and strives to unite the practice of yoga and social work in her work.
Jennifer Cohen Harper
Jennifer Cohen Harper, MA, E-RYT, RCYT, is a leading voice in the children’s yoga and mindfulness community, and 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 of Little Flower Yoga, an organization based in New York that directly serves over 2000 children a week, and reaches many more through a network of over 500 trained teachers. Jennifer provides therapeutic classes to children and families, and continuing education to mental health and education professionals. She is the board vice president of the Yoga Service Council, dedicated to supporting accessible, inclusive and sustainable yoga for all people regardless of circumstance. Her work has been featured in prominent publications including the NY Times, The International Journal of Yoga Therapy, Publishers Weekly, and Yoga Journal, and endorsed by thought leaders including Daniel Siegel, Sharon Salzberg and Congressman Tim Ryan.