Board of Directors
Yoga Alliance’s volunteer Board of Directors provides strategic direction that advances the livelihoods of yoga professionals across the globe. Their dedication, wisdom, and energy act as a compass for Yoga Alliance and the Yoga Alliance Foundation to follow in the supporting and fostering of high quality, safe, accessible, and equitable yoga training and teaching everywhere.
E-RYT 500, YACEP | New York, United States
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.
E-RYT 200, RYT 500, YACEP, BBA, MHRM | Alberta, Canada
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.
E-RYT 500, YACEP, CIYT, BA, MS | Virginia, United States
As a military veteran and athlete, Thierry Chiapello first found yoga in 2006 while learning to manage pain from injuries sustained during his time in the U.S. Marine Corps. Through regular practice, he has learned how to manage the aftermath of a double hip replacement and back and foot reconstruction surgeries. Thierry’s experience in yoga improved his quality of life, and he chose to begin teaching to help others who are facing their own challenges, and to communicate the benefits of yoga through asana and pranayama classes, workshops, and special events.
Thierry focuses on teaching underserved populations including veterans, the Department of Defense military and civilian populations, and others experiencing stress. He teaches Iyengar yoga classes and workshops at the National Defense University, the Pentagon, Ft. Belvoir, and other studios, as well as at special events in the DC-metropolitan area and through VETOGA Teacher Training. His goal is to inform, educate, and share the healing benefits of yoga with underserved populations through compassionate, effective teaching and education. Thierry is CEO/Executive Director of the Department of Defense Explosives Safety Board and says that yoga changes his life every morning.
E-RYT 200, C-IAYT, PT, Ph.D. in PT, GCFP | New York, United States
Staffan Elgelid is a yoga teacher trainer and has been a physical therapist for over 30 years. A native of Sweden and graduate of the University of Central Arkansas, Staffan has worked in a wide variety of settings (including owning his own clinics) and has presented at conferences in the US and in Europe about topics such as guided imagery, healthy aging, mentoring, awareness, core strengthening, and Feldenkrais.
Staffan has written two books, Yoga for Stress & Anxiety and Yoga Therapy: A Personalized Approach for an Active Lifestyle. He has produced DVDs about core strengthening, foam roller use, and yoga for volleyball and basketball; he also produces the “On Your Authority” podcast. Dr. Elgelid is currently on the faculty at YogaLife Institute in Devon, Pennsylvania, and is a Professor of Physical Therapy at Nazareth College.
Kerry Maiorca, Chair
E-RYT 500, RPYT, YACEP | Colorado, United States
Kerry is the founder of Bloom Yoga Studio in Chicago and is proud to direct its RYS 200 and RPYS teacher training programs. A yoga teacher for more than 20 years, Kerry is passionate about making yoga unintimidating and accessible for each unique student, and also provides an online mentorship program for yoga teachers. Her writing has been featured on The Huffington Post, Elephant Journal, and Mindbodygreen, among others, and she explores the intersection of yoga and daily life on her Thinking Yogi blog. Kerry is a Relax and Renew™ level 2 trainer and specializes in teaching gentle and restorative yoga, as well as an accessible approach to meditation.
Kerry is grateful that yoga is integral to her daily life and cares deeply about serving on the board to ensure more people have access to a safe, skillful, and inclusive approach to their transformative practice.
E-RYT 500, MA, author | Portland, United States
Sarahjoy Marsh is a yoga teacher and author whose teachings are informed by extensive study of both Eastern and Western modalities, including the psychology of yoga, Ayurveda, rehabilitative yoga, interpersonal neurobiology, transpersonal counseling, and art therapy. She is the author of Hunger, Hope and Healing: A Yoga Approach to Reclaiming Your Relationship with Your Body and Food, which integrates powerful yoga and mindfulness tools with contemporary psychological modalities for a comprehensive approach to healing. Sarahjoy is the founder of Living Yoga, a yoga outreach program, and the DAYA Foundation, a nonprofit yoga therapy center, which bring yoga and mindfulness tools to prisons, hospitals, and schools; to those with addiction, anxiety, or depression; and to those with medical issues such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease.
Marion "Mugs" McConnell, Secretary
E-RYT 500, YACEP | British Columbia, Canada
Marion "Mugs" McConnell is the co-owner of the South Okanagan Yoga Academy (SOYA), RYS 200/RYS 300, with her husband Bob. A teacher for over 40 years, Mugs’ early training began in 1978 under Swami Vishnudevananda and Sri Yogiraj Dr. Hari Dickman. Her later training under Namadeva Acharya played a huge role in her love for and understanding of mantra. In 2012 she was awarded a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of her lifetime contribution to the yoga community in Canada and abroad.
Mugs is the author of Letters from the Yoga Masters: Teachings Revealed through Correspondence from Paramhansa Yogananda, Ramana Maharshi, Swami Sivananda and Others, an intimate and insightful account of the life of Dr. Harry (Hari) Dickman, referred to by Swami Sivananda as "the yogi of the West.” She joined the board to create change and expand yoga to populations that are currently not reached.
Terri McDermott, Vice Chair
E-RYT 200, YACEP, CMA | Michigan, United States
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.
David Pryor Jr.
Washington, D.C., United States
David Pryor Jr. is D.C.-based government affairs professional with decades of experience in politics, campaigns, corporate counseling and government affairs. He spent the last 10 years in Microsoft’s Government Affairs office working with Senate Democrats and recently transitioned to an External Affairs role managing third-party advocacy campaigns. Prior to Microsoft, he worked for FedEx’s Government Affairs office managing democratic relationships on Capitol Hill. He also served as Deputy Chief of Protocol in the Clinton Administration.
He grew up in a political family from Arkansas and still volunteers for political campaigns every election cycle. He is married to Judith Pryor and they have a special-needs adult son. David discovered the transformative powers of yoga 11 years ago while trying to heal chronic back pain. He hopes his combined experiences will empower YA to expand its footprint and help the Yoga Alliance Foundation reach more underserved yoga communities.
Leslie Salmon Jones
E-RYT 500, YACEP | Boston, United States
Leslie enjoys a career working with diverse populations, clients, students, youth, and community organizations to help develop mastery over their physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-beings. Leslie has been cultivating her passion as a professional dancer, yoga instructor, wellness coach, public speaker, and community activist. She completed her BA in interdisciplinary studies in health sciences and dance at SUNY, NYC, and she has had the opportunity to study and train with world-renowned masters of dance, yoga, and spirituality. It was through her intensive dance training at the Alvin Ailey School in New York that Leslie was first introduced to yoga, and nearly 25 years later she remains dedicated to her yoga practice and teaching. A connection with African spirituality, yogic principals, the intrinsic expression of movement through nature’s elements, and a transformational journey throughout Africa and the Caribbean, inspired Leslie to create Afro Flow Yoga® in 2008. Leslie is also a co-creator and faculty member for the Omega Women’s Leadership Intensive and at The Omega Women’s Leadership Center.
Arun Tilak, Treasurer
E-RYT 500 | Oklahoma, United States
Arun’s introduction to yoga was as a child, when he would see his father standing on his head every day at the crack of dawn. A few decades later, Arun took a sabbatical from the corporate world to join a teacher training at the Yoga Institute Mumbai, one of the world’s oldest organized yoga institutes with a focus on the traditional eight-fold path. Being a lifelong student, his focus is on deepening his practice and understanding of yoga.
Arun has taught yoga in various environments, including an adolescent behavioral center, a university, the YMCA, and a fitness club. He joined the Yoga Alliance Board to help play a role in the evolution of yoga standards.
E-RYT 500, YACEP | Chennai, India
Saraswathi Vasudevan is an internationally renowned yoga leader and trainer, and has two Master’s degrees in Nutrition and Psychology from the University of Madras in Chennai. For 28 years, she has been a yoga teacher, teacher-trainer, therapist, and consultant. Previously, Saraswathi was head of the research department at an internationally renowned institute of yoga in Chennai and has conducted workshops around the world on yoga and the emerging field of yoga therapy.
Saraswathi founded YogaVahini with a goal to make the healing wisdom of yoga more accessible to everyone, and is gifted with an innate capacity to establish deeply nurturing connections with her students. As a representative of India on the board, her desire is to change the perception of yoga in the world and bring its true essence and meaning to all.
Washington, D.C., United States
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.