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The First Annual Yoga Alliance Awards Banquet

November 8, 2016

On Friday, September 23, 2016, Yoga Alliance hosted its first annual Awards Banquet to honor yogis who serve their communities in exceptional ways. The event was held at the Crystal City Marriott in Arlington, Virginia.

In attendance were Yoga Alliance's Board of Directors, staff, and Community Award Winners, as well as the Yoga Alliance Foundation scholarship recipients. After the opening reception, Brandon Hartsell, E-RYT 500 and Chairman of the Board, gave the welcome address.

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The keynote address was given by lifestyle blogger Hilary Phelps Eldridge of the Genuine Joy Blog. She spoke about the importance of seva and giving back to the community. The awards were presented after dinner; Carmen Orozco-Acosta, our Government Affairs Manager, presented the Advocacy Awards to Elle Potter, E-RYT 500, YACEP, and Andrea Fournet, E-RYT 500, RCYT, RPYT, YACEP. These two women were instrumental in our advocacy work and victories in Missouri and Arkansas, respectively. 

Hilary Mughloo, our Foundation Manager, recognized the scholarship recipients from the 2016 Spring scholarships. “It was amazing to meet Foundation scholarship winners in the flesh and give them big hugs!” she said. “Having dinner with dozens of yogis who are committed to leadership and service was a beautiful thing! It was so fun to be able to honor them in this way.”

Earlier in 2016, we opened our first ever Community Service Awards. The four finalists were chosen by a panel of judges from our Advisory Group; the awards included the Giving Back Award, the Open Heart Award, the Warrior Award, and the Youth Development Award. Our Campaign and Project Manager, Heather Hingston, recognized the four recipients of these awards during the banquet and also announced the Community Choice Award, which was voted upon by hundreds of yogis from all over the world.

It was an honor for us to recognize such upstanding yogis in our community, and we can’t wait to do it again next year. View the full list of winners below and stay tuned for announcements about next year’s Community Service Awards by following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn.

Our Award Recipients


Jennifer Bell, E-RYT 200


2016 Spring Scholarship


Lianik Borlasca,
E-RYT 200, RYT 500, YACEP

2016 Spring Advanced Training Scholarship


Lynne Filion, RYT 200


Open Heart Award


Andrea Fournet,
E-RYT 500, RCYT, RPYT, YACEP

Advocacy Award


Hilina Gudeta


2016 Spring Aspiring Teacher Scholarship


Marianne Hritz,
E-RYT 200, RYT 500, YACEP

Giving Back Award


Olivia Kvitne,
E-RYT 500, YACEP

Warrior Award & Community Choice Award


Yuri Murita, RYT 200

Youth Development Award


Dara Pearson

2016 Spring Aspiring Teacher Scholarship


Jade Pederson

2016 Spring Aspiring Teacher Scholarship


Lindsey Platt

2016 Spring Aspiring Teacher Scholarship


Elle Potter, E-RYT 500, YACEP

Advocacy Award


Charli Sparks, E-RYT 200, YACEP

2016 Spring Advanced Training Scholarship


Elisa Urtiaga, RYT 200

2016 Spring Advanced Training Scholarship


Kate Villwock, RYT 200

2016 Spring Advanced Training Scholarship


Gita Krista Zember,
E-RYT 200, RCYT

2016 Spring Advanced Training Scholarship

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