ARLINGTON, VA (April 4, 2023) – Yoga Alliance, the largest nonprofit association representing the international yoga community, and Yoga Alliance Foundation, the organization’s charitable arm, announced today it has expanded its Boards of Directors with a total of seven new members. “Yoga Alliance and Yoga Alliance Foundation are committed to embodying a 360 degree approach to diversity, equity, inclusion challenging ourselves to look at all areas of our work and organizational structure to ensure it’s embedded throughout,” said Shannon Roche, President & CEO of Yoga Alliance and Yoga Alliance Foundation. “We embarked on an intentional board development process and, with guidance from Lassiter & Associates, self-assessed how the Board needed to evolve to support our missions and vision. Given their breadth and depth of experience, incoming Board members will add immediate value to Yoga Alliance and Yoga Alliance Foundation. In addition to bringing passion for yoga and a commitment to our shared vision for the organization, the variety of skills and conscious diversity will help drive our future growth.”
During 2022, Yoga Alliance worked with Lassiter & Associates to develop its board governance strategy, inclusive of board recruitment, to ensure that the Yoga Alliance and Yoga Alliance Foundation Boards of Directors represent a diverse set of skills, backgrounds, and lived experiences to guide the organization’s work and its future.
The internal recruitment strategy working group pursued a more expansive candidate identification effort than ever before. This included extensive outreach through Board members’, staff, and partner organizations’ personal and institutional networks, a direct appeal to the Yoga Alliance community, and broad-reaching public calls on the organization’s social media platforms, recruitment sites, and in the media. The recruitment priorities which the Boards of Directors identified for its candidates included a demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility; professional knowledge and skills relating to strategic planning and financial management; and representation of various ages and racial and ethnic groups and identities underserved and/or underrepresented in the yoga community. Sixty-three individuals applied for the open Board positions during the recruitment phase in the summer of 2022. Twenty-one individuals were invited to interview for the role, with 15 individuals participating in interviews focused on a pre-planned set of questions related to the areas the organization were seeking to find skills and expertise. Seven candidates were selected, voted on and accepted to join the Boards of Directors.
Yoga Alliance and Yoga Foundation’s new Board members are:
● Chandana Achanta, Yoga Teacher and Meditation Instructor (she/her): Achanta is a yoga teacher and meditation instructor specializing in the philosophy and psychology of yoga, and working to expand the accessibility of yoga to young children, teens, and anyone dealing with anxiety, depression, trauma, and grief. Her writing has been published in international yoga magazines, including OM Yoga Magazine. Achanta has spent 15 years working for the United States Government and holds a Master of Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley.
● Yoshi Aono, Founder of Hanuman Companies (he/him): Aono is the founder of the Hanuman Community (Festival, Academy, and Adventures) and has served as CEO of mid-sized companies throughout his professional career. His humanitarian work has led him to Kenya, Haiti, Cambodia, Thailand, Peru, India, Bali, and the state of Louisiana in the U.S., coordinating tent city aid distribution projects and leading teams into disaster zones.
● Marsha Banks-Harold, Owner, PIES Fitness (she/her): Banks-Harold is a certified yoga therapist and a certified Trauma Sensitive Yoga Facilitator and Mentor through the Center for Trauma and Embodiment. Her writings have been published in Yoga Therapy Today and she is a contributing author in Yoga Therapy Foundations, Tools, and Practice: a Comprehensive Textbook and Yoga Therapy Across the Cancer Continuum.
● Kristoffer “KC” Carter, Executive Coach and Author, Epic Leadership (he/him): Carter has coached executive leaders and taught meditation professionally since 2015. His first book, Permission to Glow— A Spiritual Guide to Epic Leadership, has been featured in Men’s Health, Success Magazine, and on NBC, ABC, and CBS news programs. He is also a professional songwriter, kirtan artist, TEDx speaker, and international retreat leader.
● Nisha Devi Rodrigo, Founder, KALA Wellness (she/her): Rodrigo is an Eastern Medicine practitioner dedicated to remedying the deepest of human conditions by enhancing chi flow through movement modalities, including yoga. Grounded in more than 20 years of apprenticeships, Rodrigo is the pioneer of Medicinal Movement™, a methodology rooted in the ancient lineage of medicinal masters. She currently works with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Jordan, and in 2022 Governor Newsom appointed her to the California Advisory Council on Physical Fitness & Mental Well-Being.
● Siddharth “Sid” Kulkarni, Market Research, Stripe (he/him): Kulkarni is an economist and researcher with more than a decade of experience in the economic development and technology sectors. In addition to yoga, he is a passionate student of martial arts, training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Kulkarni completed his undergraduate studies in Economics and Politics at University of California San Diego and has a master’s degree in Applied Economics from Johns Hopkins University.
● Lucia Pham-Sinclair, Finance Lead, Foundations at the Nature Conservancy (she/her): PhamSinclair has more than 17 years of experience in international public accounting and with a national audit regulator. With a yoga journey that started 20 years ago, she has been offering gentle yoga and mindfulness meditation as a community of practices at her workplace to promote mindfulness, self-care, and compassion. She earned her Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) 200 credential in 2019.
With the addition of the seven new board members there is a more balanced gender representation with 67 percent of Directors identifying as female and 33 percent identifying as male. Forty-seven percent identify as white, 40 percent identify as Asian, 7 percent identify as African-American, while 7 percent did not disclose. Twenty-seven percent are under 50 years old, while two-thirds are over 51 years old.
“There is no question that when you have more people in the room with different perspectives, identities, and lived experiences, problems are solved in innovative ways and a broader set of solutions are proposed. Working with these leaders undoubtedly will push Yoga Alliance and Yoga Alliance Foundation into a new era of growth and progress, allowing us to support the yoga community worldwide in new and innovative ways,” says Jo-Ann Bance, Board Chair of Yoga Alliance and Yoga Alliance Foundation Boards of Directors. “And, while this transformation is pivotal, there continues to be opportunities for expanded representation in future recruitment endeavors.”
Yoga Alliance and Yoga Alliance Foundation welcomes nominations to its all-volunteer governing Boards of Directors. If you or someone you know is interested, complete the nomination form at yogaalliance.org/ourboard. Additional inquiries should be sent to Kevin James Karas, Board Governance Manager, at email@example.com.
About Yoga Alliance and Yoga Alliance Foundation
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.
Its partner organization, the Yoga Alliance Foundation, leverages yoga for social impact and fosters an expansive, accessible, and equitable yoga community. It does this through broadening access to yoga’s healing potential, fostering greater equity and more diverse representation within the yoga community, and expanding educational, service, and economic opportunities for yoga teachers.
For more information about Yoga Alliance and the Yoga Alliance Foundation, visit yogaalliance.org.
Toni Carey, Vice President of Strategic Communications
Kevin James Karas, Board Governance Manager