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YAF COVID-19 Response Advisory Committee

To sustain a thoughtful and community-centered approach to our Relief and Recovery Fund work, Yoga Alliance Foundation draws on input from an advisory committee representing a cross-section of perspectives and lived experiences. This committee weighs in on criteria for the fund selection process and helps to ensure an equitable and accessible application process.

 

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Jacoby Ballard

Jacoby Ballard is a social justice educator, yoga teacher, and Buddhist teacher-in-training currently residing in Salt Lake City, Utah. He leads workshops and trainings around the country on diversity, equity, and inclusion—inviting participants into the inner process and the outer manifestations of that practice on high school and college campuses, and in yoga spaces and trainings. In 2008, Jacoby co-founded a worker-owned cooperative holistic health center situated at the nexus of healing and social justice in Brooklyn, Third Root Community Health Center, that continues to thrive. As a yoga teacher with 20 years of experience, he leads workshops, retreats, teacher trainings, teaches at conferences, and runs the Resonance mentorship program for certified yoga teachers to find their niche and calling. Jacoby is a recipient of Yoga Journal's Game Changer Award in 2015 and Good Karma Award in 2015 for his ongoing work in LGBTIQ+ communities. He has also been an advisor to the Yoga Service Council since 2014, and on the Faculty of Off the Mat, Into the World since 2016. He is currently participating in the 3-year Community Dharma Leaders Training with Spirit Rock in California to become a formally recognized Buddhist teacher in the Insight tradition. Find more at jacobyballard.net.

 

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Kiesha Battles

E-RYT 500

Kiesha Battles is the Yoga Director at Charlotte Family Yoga Center and a full-time yoga teacher and trainer who studied with Maya Breuer and Kristine Kaoverii. Her speciality is in Yin Yoga under the training of Bernie Clark. Kiesha earned a Graduate Degree in Asian studies, with a certification in international business and a focus on Asian philosophy, religion, and modern language. Through her academic studies, she was exposed to Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and yoga. Kiesha has taught for the YMCA of Greater Charlotte for eight years and was a R. O. S. E. Award recipient. She has been featured in the book Yes Yoga Has Curves and was interviewed by the Charlotte Post and in Pride Magazine. In 2016, Kiesha was honored as an inaugural Self-Care Charlotte Ambassador. In her role, she promotes self-care to nurture healthy lives and relationships for individuals, families, and communities. In 2018, she was appointed Co-Director of the Yoga Retreat for Women of Color™ to the Board of Directors for Amplify and Activate in 2020.

 

Phindile Dhlamini-Motshegwa

Phindile Dhlamini-Motshegwa

RYT 200

Phindile Dhlamini-Motshegwa is in the business of well-being for individuals, families and communities. She is a humanitarian and wellness activist at heart, which comes through in all that she dedicates her time and attention to. She has a thriving career in consulting services spanning 15 years across the industries and sectors of holistic health and wellness; transformation and empowerment; financial services and socio-economic development; entrepreneurship, corporate, government and civil society. Phindile is an avid yoga practitioner who is obssessed with sharing insights that demonstrate the yoga industry’s socio-economic value, evolution and sustainability in Africa. She has eagerly made it her personal mission to raise $500,000 USD to establish an endowment fund to train youth from under-served communities to become yoga teachers with formidable enterprising skills. She is the creative mind behind YOGAFRICA, working to change the understanding and face of yoga in Africa by joining forces with yoga teachers to take the practice to under-represented spaces with people who wouldn’t ordinarily have access.

 

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Francisco Morales-Bermudez

E-RYT 500, YACEP

Francisco Morales-Bermudez is a healing artist that was born on the coast of Peru. The ocean of Peru and its mountains are his biggest inspiration. Francisco has studied under several masters in healing and martial arts. His work has taken him deep into Peru's remote communities, North and South America, Asia, Africa, Europe, and New Zealand. Francisco is the founder of Synergy Yoga, a master of Thai Massage Therapy, and a movement artist. He leads yoga trainings and anatomy courses. He also was Director of an international education program working with underserved youth in North and South America and managed an international nonprofit organization whose mission was to improve health systems and alternative education modalities in underserved indigenous communities. His work with Native Americans is an integral part of all the programs that he leads today. Lastly, Francisco has worked as a lobbyist for conservation and education bills that were passed in the U.S. Congress.

 

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Luvena Rangel

E-RYT, RPYT, YACEP, HHP

Luvena Rangel comes with over 15 years of experience in international oil and gas, aviation, and logistics businesses. Born and raised in the Middle East with an academic background in science and medicine from Ukraine, she pursued her passion for developing and deepening her knowledge and skills in holistic health, wellness, yoga, Ayurveda, and meditation. Since, she has built a reputation as a certified coach and trainer. Since moving to India in 2014, she has carved a niche for herself as one of Bangalore’s leading educators in yoga anatomy. A passionate teacher, she has trained hundreds of yoga instructors over the past four years in Bangalore, including a selected team of physicians, paramedics and support staff of Manipal Hospitals, wellness teams at eBay, Amway, Bangalore Police, HPE and other established corporate facilities. Her monthly focus group discusses yoga anatomy and integrative practices that benefit the yoga community. Luvena is currently the President of Karnataka Yoga State Sector Council with Women’s Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (WICCI). She has served in the past as Bangalore Chairperson, India Chairperson for Social Media Support & India Chairperson for Body Positivity with the ALL Ladies League. She has also received the Exceptional Woman of Excellence 2017 award by the Women’s Economic Forum in April 2018. A plus-sized yoga practitioner and senior instructor, Luvena is the founder of The Curvy Yogi, redefining wellness by embracing diversity and inclusion through inclusive yoga and wellness beyond stereotypes.

 

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Salim Rollins

Salim Rollins is the Co-Director of Synergy Yoga, a registered Yoga Alliance school that offers trainings, retreats, and workshops in yoga, Thai massage, and other healing modalities. He has maintained a dedicated yoga practice since 2000 and studied with several master teachers throughout India and the U.S. Additionally, Salim is a Contra-Mestre of the Afro-Brazilian martial art, Capoeira Angola, an art form that he has been practicing since 1995 as one of a few disciples of Grand Master João Grande. He is also he founder of Capoeira Kibera—a community program that uses Capoeira Angola to impart critical life skills and offers expanded choices to youth in Nairobi’s Kibera slum. Most recently, Salim has launched his practice as a Thai massage therapist having studied with Francisco Morales-Bermúdez. Salim deeply values his mission of sharing healing practices and curating wellness spaces with communities throughout the world.

 

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Lorena Saavedra Smith

E-RYT 500

Yoga Educator and Entrepreneur Lorena is an RYT 500, Yoga Therapist level one, CYT-1, Reiki Master, Wellness Coach, and a Mindfulness and Sound Healing Facilitator. She is also the founder of Hanaq Prana Yoga Studio and director of Transform Integrated School and Yoga Postraumatico. She also serves as an expert adviser to the Yoga Alliance Standards Review Project. Lorena is fluent in Spanish and English and leads yoga teacher training classes, spiritual retreats, and workshops at multiple locations around the country. Originally from Perú, Lorena has been exposed from a very young age to diverse spiritual and alternative natural ways of interconnection towards self-healing and self-empowerment. Her belief in the inclusive effect of yoga, and her unique self-expression of equality and her motivational style of teaching methodology that blend physical, esoteric and holistic aspects make her passion of educating others accessible to everyone. A primary focus is to empower students to accept their true meaning of the inner self and individuality on and off the mat. Her personal mantra is “Life's too short! Don't waste your time and effort trying to fix unfixable situations. Keep moving forward because your prior setbacks don’t define the person you really are.” Web: www.lorenasaavedrasmith.com | www.yogaterapeutica.com

 

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Pamela Stokes Eggleston

E-RYT 500, YACEP, C-IAYT, MBA, MS

Pamela is the Founder of Yoga2Sleep, Co-Founder of Retreat to Spirit, and Adjunct Faculty at the Maryland University of Integrative Health. She is a certified yoga therapist and meditation instructor with specialized training in cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) and trauma-informed yoga. Pamela is a contributing editor of Best Practices for Yoga with Veterans (YSC/Omega, 2016) and Yoga and Resilience: Empowering Practices for Survivors of Sexual Trauma (Handspring, July 2020). She is researcher/author of Yoga Therapy as a Complementary Modality for Female Veteran Caregivers with Traumatic Stress: A Case Study (MUIH, 2018), and Addressing Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms: A Yoga Therapy Case Study (MUIH, 2019). She is the recipient of the 2018 Got Heart Give Hope Award and the 2019 MUIH Community Award. Her work and writing are featured with Yoga Therapy Today, Insight Timer, Meditation Studio, Gaiam, Military Family Life.com, Military Spouse Magazine, Yoga Journal, Mantra Yoga and Health, Essence, the Huffington Post, and on ELLEN and MSNBC. Pamela serves on the board of the international nonprofit Accessible Yoga.

 

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Jenn Thomas

Jenn Thomas has been practicing and studying yoga for over 20 years. She has long had a passion for unearthing what lies beneath the surface and uncanny ability to get to the heart of the matter. In yoga class, Jenn encourages a strong awareness of the flow of breath and movement, as well as deep attention to the body and its individual alignments. Practice ignites prana, balances yin and yang energies, and brings forth the stillness and joy within. Whether you take her dynamic yang or her more reflective yin classes, her clear and tender-hearted encouragement will help you explore the patterns and habits of your own life with more insight.

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