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Meet the Yoga Alliance Boards of Directors

Chandana Achanta

Chandana Achanta is a yoga teacher and meditation instructor specializing in the philosophy and psychology of yoga. She holds a deep commitment to expanding the accessibility of yoga, conducting free workshops in the United States and in India for young children, teens, and anyone dealing with anxiety, depression, trauma, and grief. She is the Hindu representative on Loudoun County Public School’s Equity Committee and her writing has been published in international yoga magazines, including OM Yoga Magazine. Professionally, Chandana has been solving public policy problems for the United States Government for fifteen years. She holds a Master of Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley. While in college, Chandana helped empower indigenous populations and other marginalized communities in rural India as a Mahatma Gandhi Fellow.

Jo-Ann Bance, Chair

Jo-Ann Bance's yoga journey began with her first yoga class in 1999 during which she felt an instant knowing that there was so much more to learn. In 2013, Jo-Ann completed a 200-hour yoga teacher training program, leaving with an even greater knowing of what was still left to discover. Having graduated from a 300-hour training, she has been teaching ever since, finding opportunities to practice, teach, and grow via a student of yoga.

Jo-Ann has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and a Master’s in Human Resource Management. She has worked in various senior management roles for both government and post-secondary institutions. Jo-Ann has over 20 years of experience as an administrator, which is combined with her solid financial and human resources background.

Kristoffer Carter

Kristoffer Carter (“KC”) is passionate about applying timeless yogic teachings to the demands of modern leadership. As the CEO and Founder of Epic Leadership, a coaching and training organization for conscious leadership, Kristoffer’s teachings have helped thousands create a daily meditation practice. Kristoffer has coached executive leaders and taught meditation professionally since leaving his career in learning and development in 2015. His first book, Permission to Glow—A Spiritual Guide to Epic Leadership has been featured in Men’s Health, Success Magazine, Good Morning Washington, and on numerous news programs for NBC, ABC, and CBS.

KC has been a disciple of the teachings of Paramhamsa Yogananda through Self-Realization Fellowship and their lineage of masters since first reading Autobiography of a Yogi in 2011. Kristoffer is also a professional songwriter, kirtan artist, TEDx speaker, and international retreat leader. He is currently writing his second book (Permission to Chill, Spring 2024) and preparing to make his teaching debut at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in 2023.

Marion "Mugs" McConnell

Marion (Mugs) McConnell was first introduced to yoga in 1973. Her studies began in 1977 as a student of the late Dr. Hari Dickman. During her time with Hari she also attended the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Ashram to study with Swami Vishnudevananda where she graduated as a Yoga Acharya in Sivananda Yoga in 1978. Other influential teachers she has studied extensively with are the late Namadeva Acharya in Mantra Yoga, Erich Schiffmann in Freedom Yoga, and Dr Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani in Gitananda Yoga.

“Mugs”, as most people know her, is a founding member (1995) of the South Okanagan Yoga Academy (SOYA) and co-creator of SOYA’s Yoga Teacher Training Program (RYS200/500). She was the Canadian Representative for the International Yoga Teachers Association (IYTA) for more than 30 years. In 2012, Mugs received a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for tirelessly offering Yoga in Canada and abroad for over 40 years. Mugs is the published author (2016) of Letters from the Yoga Masters: Teachings Revealed through Correspondence from Paramhansa Yogananda, Ramana Maharshi, Swami Sivananda and Others.

Marsha Banks-Harold

Marsha D. Banks-Harold, Director, PIES Fitness Holistic Yoga Therapy and Yoga Teacher Training Programs; owner, PIES Fitness Yoga Studio; creator, My Body Don’t Bend That Way Yoga; executive engineering leader; and co-founder, Awakening Yoga Spaces, is a certified yoga therapist and member of the Board of Directors through the International Association of Yoga Therapists and a Trauma Center Trauma Sensitive Yoga Facilitator and Mentor through the Center for Trauma and Embodiment. She is published in Yoga Therapy Today: 1) Building the Business of Yoga Therapy and 2) Reclaiming Humanity & Community: Healing the Trauma, Pain, & Suffering of Prejudice and Disparity and is a contributing author in Yoga Therapy Foundations, Tools, and Practice: a Comprehensive Textbook and in Yoga Therapy Across the Cancer Continuum. Marsha is passionate about driving equity in yoga. This passion has guided her in leading successful initiatives creating supportive, inclusive, diverse, adaptive and accessible yoga therapy and yoga experiences. She is an experienced workshop leader and public speaker.

Nisha Devi Rodrigo

Nisha Devi is an Eastern Medicine practitioner dedicated to remedying the deepest of human conditions by enhancing chi flow through movement modalities, including yoga. Raised in Sri Lanka and the USA, Nisha Devi’s understanding of eastern and western medicine permeates true health into all facets of one’s life. Grounded in 20+ years of apprenticeships, her study includes time in Shaolin Temple and on Wudan Mountain. The pioneer of Medicinal Movement™, her methodology is rooted in this ancient lineage of medicinal masters. In 2012, she founded KALA Wellness. Four years later, she was inducted into the Asian Martial Arts Hall of Fame for promoting healing arts globally. Currently, she works with the CA State Government and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Jordan and conducts lectures world-wide on internal alchemy fueled through Medicinal Movement™. In 2022, Governor Newsom appointed her to the CA Advisory Council on Physical Fitness & Mental Well-Being.

Shannon Roche, President, CEO & Ex-Officio Member

Prior to joining Yoga Alliance and the Yoga Alliance Foundation, President & CEO Shannon Roche’s career has centered around driving social impact by bringing mainstream institutions’ strengths to bear in support of initiatives that bring communities and coalitions together for the greater good. She led stakeholder engagement for the U.S. Commerce Secretary to forward the Obama Administration’s top economic policy priorities and also served on the founding leadership teams of three innovative non-profits, including the Democracy Alliance. Shannon has Bachelor of Arts Degrees in Sociology and Women’s Studies from Duke University and a Master's in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. She lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband and her most enlightening and humbling teachers of all, their two children.

Siddharth Kulkarni, Secretary

Siddharth Kulkarni is an economist and researcher with more than a decade of experience in the economic development and technology sectors. Yoga has been a presence in his life from a young age through instruction and guidance from his mother, a dedicated yoga practitioner and teacher. Her influence started Siddharth on his own journey to explore the physical and spiritual traditions of yoga, which he has rediscovered as an adult and continues today.

In addition to yoga, Siddharth is also a passionate student of martial arts, training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Siddharth completed his undergraduate studies in Economics and Politics at UC San Diego and holds a Master’s Degree in Applied Economics from Johns Hopkins University. Siddharth lives in San Diego, California with two of his favorite yoga partners, his wife Avani and his dog Twix.

Swami Asokananda

Swami Asokananda, a monk since 1973, is one of Integral Yoga's foremost teachers, having absorbed the wisdom of his guru, Sri Swami Satchidananda, since the age of 19. He is the president and spiritual director of the New York Integral Yoga Institute and the primary instructor for Intermediate and Advanced Hatha Yoga Teacher Training programs. Much of his current teaching takes place around the world, including Europe, Australia, and China. In addition, he oversees the Integral Yoga Institute of New York and the Integral Yoga Global Network. He is writing a translation and commentary of the great Indian scripture, the Bhagavad Gita. He previously served as the president of Satchidananda Ashram – Yogaville and Integral Yoga International. He is pleased to bring his background as a swami and experience from a traditional lineage to the board.

Terri McDermott

Terri’s interest in yoga began as a seed planted in her childhood that slowly blossomed as time allowed her to pursue her passion. She completed her 200-hour teacher training at Yen Yoga & Fitness in Traverse City, MI in 2012 and currently enjoys sharing her yoga and meditation practice with members of her teacher training community. Her love of serving others is shown through her work in the education industry, including her service for the past 25 years on the Executive Board of the Michigan Education Association’s Educational Support Professionals program. Terri currently serves as the Co-Chair of Yoga Alliance’s Member Benefits Committee, and looks forward to this opportunity to continue in the growth with Yoga Alliance by serving as a board member.

Yoshi Aono, Treasurer

Yoshi is a mindfulness visionary, company builder, musician and humanitarian, whose mission is to bring high-level presence and consciousness into global entrepreneurship and community. Through his passion for music and communal wellness, he has participated in various social impact projects around the world. His humanitarian work has led him to Africa, Haiti, Cambodia, Thailand, Peru, India, Bali and Louisiana. He has coordinated and led tent city aid distribution projects along with leading teams into disaster zones.

Yoshi is the founder of the Hanuman Community (Festival, Academy, and Adventures). Throughout his professional career, Yoshi has served as CEO for various mid-sized companies, with his deep understanding of vision and brand development, strategic road-mapping, and investor acquisitions helping pave his way for impact and success. He is a 43-year student of the guitar and self-motivator. Yoshi joins the Yoga Alliance Board of Directors to help support the organization’s continued growth and yoga community support.

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