Yoga Alliance Expands Executive Team, Adds Prominent Industry Influencers to Chart a New Future Forward for the Organization

Yoga Alliance announced several strategic additions and changes to its executive team as the organization positions itself for the continued growth and expansion of its mission and vision.

5 minutes

ARLINGTON, VA (August 16, 2022) – Today Yoga Alliance announced several strategic additions and changes to its executive team as the organization positions itself for the continued growth and expansion of its mission and vision. Starting January 1, 2022 Jo-Ann Bance (E-RYT 200, RYT 500, YACEP) began her first term as Chair of the organization’s Board of Directors. Additionally, A.K. Sharma has joined the organization as its new Head of Shared Services, Maya Breuer (E-RYT 500, YACEP, Certified Vippassana Meditation Instructor), previously Vice President of Cross-Cultural Advancement, is now Head of Research and Yoga Advancement, Erin Vennie, formerly the Senior Vice President of Membership, is now Head of Professional Support, and Dani Hayes (RYT 500), formerly Director of Member Relations, has been promoted to Vice President of Community Engagement.

“Almost 25 years ago, a small gathering of yoga practitioners created Yoga Alliance as a voluntary registry to recognize yoga schools and teachers whose training met their existing standards. Today, Yoga Alliance is embarking on a new chapter of the organization’s history. We are building an era that extends beyond offering credentials for yoga teachers and schools, but that creates and supports avenues to platform and elevate yoga and its role in supporting individuals in living a life with intention and purpose,” said Shannon Roche, President and Chief Executive Officer of Yoga Alliance. “With these changes to the leadership team, Yoga Alliance is well poised to bolster its impact and innovation, create broader value for the yoga community and its membership, and invest more deeply in the professional support we offer.”

Bance has practiced yoga since 1999 and taught since 2013 and has served on the Yoga Alliance Board of Directors since January 2020. She has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Thompson Rivers University and a Master’s in Human Resource Management from University of Regina, both in Canada. She has worked in various senior management roles for both government and post-secondary institutions with 20 years of experience as an administrator and a strong emphasis on finance and human resources.

Breuer has 30 years of experience and commitment to expanding access to the practice of yoga. When she joined Yoga Alliance in 2018, she was instrumental in providing support for the advancement of cross-cultural competency across all Yoga Alliance programming and activities. In her new role as Head of Research and Yoga Advancement, she will lead the organization’s newly formed ‘think tank’ and build the infrastructure and initiatives that will house a network of experts and leaders in the yoga community.

Sharma brings more than 15 years of experience to Yoga Alliance and will lead the strategic integration of its human resources, technology, finance, and legal functions while holding the lens of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Prior to joining Yoga Alliance, he spent nearly two decades working in federal and state government, most recently as the Director of the Office of Disaster Strategic Engagement and Effectiveness at the Small Business Administration (SBA). He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from James Madison University, a Master of Business Administration in Business, Management, and Marketing from California State University, and is an alum of the Harvard Business School’s Executive Management program.

Vennie has served in a number of capacities during her tenure with Yoga Alliance and has been instrumental in leading its efforts to enhance the standards underlying the Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) and Registered Yoga School (RYS) credentials as part of its Standards Review Project (SRP). With more than a decade of experience in the wellness industry, she will oversee Standards, Credentialing, and Accountability along with the professional development of yoga teachers through Continuing Education, and access to scientific research findings.

Hayes has worked with Yoga Alliance since 2013 and is a global association management professional with a passion for yoga, community building, organizational and team leadership, and service. She brings more than 10 years of experience in the wellness industry to her new role, focused on creating new member benefits and value, community care, and community engagement opportunities.

“Yoga Alliance remains committed to supporting the yoga community during these challenging times, both professionally and personally,” said Roche. “With the action and support we provided during the COVID-19 pandemic, the recently launched Eka Wellbeing Services, and the forthcoming Member Assistance Program, we continue to evolve with the needs of the community and Yoga Alliance members as they embark on their own unique path of learning.”

As many professionals were forced to close their doors or transition to teaching online during the COVID-19 pandemic, Yoga Alliance launched a suite of resources, programs, and accommodations, while also waiving $180,000-plus in membership fees in 2020, $9,000-plus membership fees in 2021, and creating the Emergency Relief Fund distributing more than $500,000 in COVID-19 relief, which benefited 432 recipients from 31 countries.

To learn more about Yoga Alliance and the benefits of joining, visit

About Yoga Alliance

Founded in 1999, Yoga Alliance is a member-based, non-profit organization that serves yoga schools and teachers across the globe, providing world-recognized, best-in-class credentials and unifying its members around a shared ethical commitment. Yoga Alliance’s goal is to support and foster the highquality, safe, accessible, and equitable teaching of yoga. In addition, Yoga Alliance delivers a strong value proposition to its members through community-building initiatives, educational resources, advocacy efforts, and social impact programs. For more information about Yoga Alliance visit


Toni Carey, Vice President of Strategic Communications

Yoga Alliance

(571) 482-3351