We believe that the methodology of classical yoga (including asana, breathing, and meditation) is a tangible tool for transforming human consciousness. The experience of yoga is to go beyond separateness, alienation, and diversity and fully recognize the fundamental unity of the universe and the underlying connectedness among all beings, communities, nations and religions.
This experience takes us from “self-centered” to ”community-centered” and beyond. We believe we can pass the gift of yoga, one person at a time, thus empowering individuals and building communities, and helping to reduce suffering in this world.
Give Back Yoga Foundation believes in making yoga available to those who might not otherwise have the opportunity to experience the transformational benefits of this powerful practice. We do this by supporting and funding certified yoga teachers in all traditions to offer the teachings of yoga to under-served and under-resourced socio-economic segments of the community and inspire grassroots social change and community cooperation.
The Give Back Yoga Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit organization under Section 501 (c) 3 of the Internal Revenue Code.
Federal Tax ID: 20-8666751
VACT Vendor #: 37348
DUNN #: 969429377
The Give Back Yoga Foundation prohibits discrimination in employment, educational programs, and activities on the basis of race, national origin, color, creed, religion, sex, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or associational preference. Give Back Yoga also affirms its commitment to providing equal opportunities and equal access to all Give Back Yoga Foundation events and resources.
Beryl Bender Birch, world renowned yoga teacher and author of Power Yoga, Beyond Power Yoga, and Boomer Yoga has been an avid student of yoga and the study of consciousness since l971. With degrees in English and philosophy, Beryl has traveled extensively in India and has been teaching classical yoga and Vedantic and Buddhist philosophy for 38 years. She began training yoga teachers as “spiritual revolutionaries” in 1980 and was only one of seven American women named by Yoga Journal in its “Innovators Shaping Yoga Today” issue. She is the director-founder of The Hard & The Soft Yoga Institute and co-founder of The Give Back Yoga Foundation.x close
Suzanne has studied extensively with Beryl Bender Birch at The Hard and The Soft Yoga Institute and also with Patty Townsend in the Embodyoga® Teacher Training programs at Yoga Center Amherst. She is now on faculty at both schools where she teaches in both teacher training programs, and is the Director of the Newington Yoga Center teacher trainings.
At the Himalayan Institute, Suzanne completed the year long Living Tantra program and the Sage Program taught by Pandit Rajmani Tigunait.
For several years, Suzanne has worked with Veterans who suffer with Post-Traumatic Stress. This work led her to study and learn the practical aspects of the benefits that veterans receive through a yoga program. Her experiences along the way have taught her that teachers require additional training tailored to the specific needs of Veterans.
Suzanne co-authored a book called Mindful Yoga Therapy for Veterans. She also produced two CDs—Yoga Nidra by Suzanne Manafort and “Breathe In Breathe Out”, a group of short breathing practices designed for Veterans with PTS.
Suzanne is on the Board of Directors of the Give Back Yoga Foundation. In 2009, she was designated a Wells Fargo Second Half Champion for her work with Veterans.x close
Rob Schware, PhD, heads the Give Back Yoga Foundation and the Yoga Service Council, and writes for The Huffington Post Blog. Rob brought his two decades of management experience with the World Bank to help grow the yoga service movement as a second career. He wanted to combine his development and project management expertise in over 30 countries – including India, Indonesia, Turkey, Rwanda and Palestine – with his passion for yoga, by forming an organization whose mission it is to bring yoga to underserved populations.
He has been married to Alice Trembour for 30 years, which, like yoga, is in and of itself a regular commitment to a practice. They have three children.x close
Ann is the owner and director of the Studio Bamboo Institute of Yoga in Virginia Beach, where she teaches a variety of classes emphasizing technique and alignment, intensives, and teacher trainings at the 200-hour and 500-hour levels. She feels privileged to provide classes in Adaptive Yoga to veterans returning from combat and to people with disabilities. She instructs workshops across the country including the East Coast and Hawaii Spirit Festivals. Ann has always felt the need to give to the community through self service, aside from Studio Bamboo, she works with the Exalted Warrior Program, sits on the Board of the Give Back Yoga Foundation, and is an Ambassador for Lululemon, locally giving back to her community. On her off time, Ann enjoys hanging out with her family and spending time on the beach.x close
Stan took his first yoga class in 1991 and began a dedicated ashtanga yoga practice in 1997. Having moved to New York from Colorado 13 years ago, Stan went from catchin’ air snowboarding deep in the backcountry of the Rocky Mountains to catchin’ air ashtanga style in New York City, the Hamptons and Greenwich, CT. Through being a Board Member of GBYF and co-owner of Kaia Yoga Complete Wellness Centers in Westport and Greenwich CT, one of Stan’s missions is to provide yoga for all children everywhere and has chosen to begin with Fairfield County where he resides. Along with an extensive background in bodywork, he has completed his 1,000-hour yoga teaching certification through Beryl’s the Hard and the Soft Yoga Institute. Stan has also studied with many senior Ashtanga teachers and, in 2005 and 2006, traveled to India for further study with Sri K Pattabhi Jois. His traditional approach to Ashtanga allows practitioners to develop a safe and mindful practice and take what they learn into their daily lives. One of Stan’s favorite things to do is spend time with his beautiful 4 year old daughter Kaia.x close
Rod Stryker is widely considered to be one of the pre-eminent yoga and meditation teachers in the United States. He is the founder of ParaYoga and has taught Tantra, meditation and Hatha Yoga for more than 25 years. He is one of the few Western teachers capable of articulating an authentic experience––one that has been practiced and handed down from teacher to student for literally thousands of years. Rod’s new book The Four Desires, is now available.x close
Seane Corn is an internationally celebrated yoga teacher known for her impassioned activism, unique self-expression, and inspirational style of teaching that incorporates both the physical and mystical aspects of the practice of yoga. Her Vinyasa classes are an eclectic fusion of various healing and spiritual modalities, making them challenging, intuitive, insightful and uplifting. Seen on The Today Show and selected by Nike to represent yoga, she has been featured in commercials, print and various articles and on the covers of numerous magazines including Yoga Journal, Fit Yoga, Healing Retreats and Inner Vision. As a strong and articulate voice for social change, she is also the national yoga ambassador for YouthAIDS, co-creator of the Off the Mat, Into the World programs and co-founder of Bare Witness Humanitarian Tours.x close
Gurmukh Khalsa, is the co-founder and director of Golden Bridge Nite Moon, Los Angeles’ and New York City’s premier center for the study and practice of Kundalini Yoga and Meditation. For four decades students in Los Angeles and around the world have sought out her classes in Kundalini Yoga, Meditation, and Prenatal and Post-Natal Yoga. Since being baptized 40 years ago with the Sikh spiritual name meaning, “One who helps thousands across the world ocean,” Gurmukh has dedicated her life to fulfilling the destiny of her name. Gurmukh’s book, The Eight Human Talents, has been a long-time yoga best-seller along with her many DVDs. Gurmukh founded Seva Corp., a nonprofit organization that supports many schools and orphanages in India, the U.S.A., Africa, Tibet, and Bhutan. She travels the world, training teachers in Kundalini Yoga, Khalsa Way Pre- and Post-Natal Yoga, Mommy & Me, and Toddlers’ and Children’s Yoga. As her Teacher Yogi Bhajan said, “We came not to gather students, but to create teachers.” Gurmukh has been married for 28 years and has a 27-year-old daughter.x close
David Swenson began practicing yoga at the age of 13. His older brother, Doug, was his first teacher. They practiced Hatha Yoga from whatever books they could find. David’s introduction to Ashtanga came in 1973 when he met David Williams and Nancy Gilgoff in Encinitas, Calif. In 1975, the pair brought K. Pattabhi Jois to the United States for the first time, and David was fortunate enough to be there. He then initiated studies directly with the master. He made his first trip to Mysore in 1977 and learned the full Ashtanga system as it was originally taught by K. Pattabhi Jois. David is recognized today as one of the world’s foremost practitioners and instructors of Ashtanga Yoga.x close
Patty Townsend is the director of Yoga Center Amherst in Massachusetts and developer of the embodyoga® in-depth yoga study and teacher training programs. She has been a student of yoga since 1968 and began training yoga teachers in Los Angeles in 1985. Her profound knowledge of alignment and anatomy, gained through her completed certificate programs in Embodied Anatomy and Embodied Developmental Movement with Bonnie Bainbridge and the School for Body-Mind Centering, make her a wonderful addition to the Give Back Yoga Advisory Board.x close
Matthew Sanford’s inspirational story began at 13 when he survived a devastating car accident that killed his father and sister and left him permanently paralyzed from the chest down. In the decades since, Matthew has become a public speaker, the award-winning author of Waking, a nationally recognized yoga teacher, and founder of the non-profit Mind Body Solutions whose mission is to help the millions of people living with trauma, loss and disability become measurably healthier, happier and “whole” by awakening the mind-body connection—in these individuals, their caregivers and the rehabilitation system.
In all contexts his message is the same: The courage to transcend comes from within— by deepening the connection between mind and body. Answering the call from people nationwide, Matthew and MBS have released “Beyond Disability” a one-of-a-kind practice DVD that now allows any individual living with a disability to learn and experience Matthew’s pioneering mind-body fundamentals step-by-step.x close
Cyndi Lee, Founder of OM yoga, has been teaching the OM yoga method — vinyasa integrated with precise alignment and the meditative elements of mindfulness and compassion — since 1996. She is a Tibetan Buddhist practitioner, studying with Gelek Rimpoche since 1990. Cyndi is known worldwide for her playful, smart, soulful, no-baloney, highly effective teaching. She is the author of Yoga Body Buddha Mind, OM yoga: A Guide to Daily Practice and writes for Yoga Journal.x close
John Schumacher, founder and director of Unity Woods Yoga Center, has practiced yoga for more than 30 years and has taught in the Washington area since 1973. John has studied in India with B.K.S. Iyengar, the world’s foremost yoga master, many times since 1981 and is a certified senior Iyengar yoga teacher. Cited by Yoga Journal as one of “25 American originals who are shaping yoga today,” John is one of the country’s leading yoga teachers. He has spoken about the practice and benefits of yoga on radio and television, has lectured at the Smithsonian Institute, and has produced two best-selling audiocassette tapes.x close
Reverend Jaganath is the founder and spiritual head of the Yoga Life Society and author of Inside the Yoga Sutras: A Comprehensive Sourcebook for the Study and Practice of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and Awaken: Inside Yoga Meditation. Since 1973 he has taught yoga at universities, prisons, yoga centers, and interfaith programs both here and abroad.x close
Desiree Rumbaugh is an internationally recognized yoga teacher with unquenchable enthusiasm for life, love and healing. She blends playful humor with an authentic inquiry into the nature of being to help her students discover their own power, courage and beauty. Her passion for teaching both the art and the science of yoga is fueled in part by her own experience recovering from deep grief as a bereaved parent. For Desiree, yoga has been a life-saver emotionally as well as physically. With longtime studies in Iyengar and Anusara yoga, she brings 25 years of experience, experimentation and creativity to her ever-evolving, outside-of-the-box style of teaching. Desiree travels the world full-time sharing her compassion and her joy with others interested in the transformational power of yoga. She has produced a DVD series entitled “Yoga to the Rescue” and is a regular contributor to Yoga Journal, having also appeared on its cover. Desiree supports the Art of Yoga Project serving teenage girls in the juvenile justice system. She lives with her husband in southern California.x close
Founder and co-owner of Virayoga, Elena has taught yoga for over 14 years and has studied with master teachers including Cyndi Lee, Erich Schiffman, Rodney Yee, John Friend, Douglas Brooks, and Hugo Cory. She holds Reiki Levels I/II Certification and practices Pranic Healing. From the Great Lawn at Central Park in New York to the Eiffel Tower in Paris, she is honored to offer larger-scale experiences of yoga. But her true privilege and service is in shifting awareness within the smallest interactions – one family, one household at a time.
As the Executive Producer of ON MEDITATION, Elena is curating a series of short films regarding the reality of meditation. Along with her own Art of Attention writings, Elena contributes to the Huffington Post, Positively Positive, The Chalkboard Mag, elephant journal, TheDailyLove, and is an original board member of YogaEarth. Her first book, Art of Attention: Book One, will be released in late 2012.x close
Biff Mithoefer teaches Yin Yoga workshops and teacher trainings in the U.S. and Internationally. He is the author of The Yin Yoga Kit, and co-author of The Therapeutic Yoga Kit. Biff is a founder and director of the Jamtse Sponsorship Project, for the support of Tibetan refuge children. He lives with his family in Dorset, Vermont.x close
Recognized worldwide as a teacher of Sanskrit and Yoga philosophy, Manorama combines her earthly charm with a healthy dose of humor to guide students in bridging the ordinary with the spiritually sublime. She evokes healing through the universal arts of language and conscious living, believing that when we use our voices authentically and confidently, we create harmony between ourselves and others.
As the founder of Sanskrit Studies, Manorama offers a direct, accessible and joyful approach to Sanskrit, encouraging her students to focus on its dynamic sound qualities and architectural beauty rather than simply memorizing grammar. She offers Sanskrit programs for yoga teacher trainings, open workshops and retreats; and tours the globe to train students in Luminous Shabda, a path that fuses sacred teachings with everyday life through Sanskrit, Mantra, Meditation and Yoga philosophy.
Celebrated for her haunting melodies in chanting, Manorama has been featured on numerous albums, including Krishna Das and Ty Burhoe’s Invocation and Wade Morisette’s Maha Moha: The Great Delusion. Teachers and students alike treasure her recordings of Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, Learn to Chant Yoga Invocations and Learn to Pronounce Yoga Poses.x close
Amy Ippoliti is a yoga teacher, writer and philanthropist. She is known for her innovative methods to bridge the gap between ancient yoga wisdom and modern day life. Amy is a pioneer for advanced yoga education serving both students and fellow yoga teachers. She co-founded 90Monkeys.com, an online professional development school that has enhanced the skills of yoga teachers and studios in 43 countries around the globe. Amy has graced the covers of Yoga Journal and Fit Yoga Magazine, and has been featured in Yoga International, Self, Origin Magazine, New York Magazine, Yogini Magazine (Japan), Allure (Korea), Elephant Journal, intent.com and many more. Amy is a faculty member at the Omega Institute, Esalen and Kripalu. She is a regular presenter at the Yoga Journal Conferences, Omega Institute Conference, Wanderlust Festivals and The Hanuman Festival. Since the age of 14, Amy has been a champion of all forms of eco-conciousness and animal conservation, and has made recent forays into marine conservation.x close
Anand Mehrotra was born and raised in Rishikesh, India – the birthplace of yoga. Combining the ancient wisdom of his upbringing with a lighthearted rebelliousness, Anand’s unique brilliance appeals to modern audiences in both the East and West. He is the founder and Master Teacher of Sattva Yoga – a holistic, ever-evolving practice that combines asana, pranayama, meditation, kriya, and wisdom. Sattva Yoga inspires students to experience freedom, radical aliveness, and their most authentic Selves on every level.
Anand currently teaches around the world: giving wisdom talks, offering satsangs and meditations, leading Sattva Yoga journeys, and guiding students through profound transformations in wisdom immersions, retreats, and trainings. He is featured in the award-winning documentary The Highest Pass, and the recently released online course Himalayan Wisdom for Life Beyond Fear.
Anand also has a passion for developing sustainable businesses that transform and support the communities in which they participate. This entrepreneurial spirit has led to numerous endeavors, including his creation of the Sattva Centre, the Rishikesh retreat and wellness center where he leads Sattva Yoga teacher trainings and wisdom immersions. He is the founder of the Khushi Foundation, which provides medical, educational, and spiritual support to the children of Rishikesh; and the Sattva Foundation, which benefits the elderly.x close
Tao Porchon-Lynch, master yoga teacher, 96 years-young, synthesizes the most positive aspects of Indian, European and American thought. Tao is uniquely equipped to spread yogic insights, originating in India to westerners and is truly living proof of the effectiveness of a life-long yoga practice. Tao studied with BKS Iyengar in Bombay and Pune. She has been a member of the Ramakrishna Vivekananda Center in India since 1939, and was a disciple of Swami Prabhavananda from 1952 until his death in 1976. Remarkably, Tao marched for peace with Mahatma Gandhi.
Tao has certified and trained hundreds of yoga instructors since founding the Westchester (New York) Institute of Yoga in 1982. She has over 70 years of yoga practice and more than 50 years of teaching yoga to students in India, France, England, Bali, Peru, Prague, Moscow, Toronto and throughout the U.S. Her presence and words inspire deep compassion and inner peace. Tao’s mantra is “There is nothing you cannot do.”x close
Web designer and brand manager Corti Cooper combines her artistic vision and passion for yoga to create the distinctive look and feel of Give Back Yoga’s online and offline communications.
A graduate of the School of Art+Design at Purchase College, Corti began her design career at Starwood Hotels, where she worked on graphic design for eight hotel brands and served as a Senior Project Manager for the Luxury Brand Group (W Hotels, The Luxury Collection & St. Regis). Corti is now principal and owner of Dot Think Design, a small design shop where she leads a team in writing, designing and building brands, tools and communications. From print advertising to website launches, search engine optimization and custom tool development, Dot Think offers clients direct, measurable solutions that are executed with a keen eye to modernism and user experience. With a holistic, content focused approach, Corti ensures that Dot Think’s pieces are not just beautifully designed, but also successful communication tools.
Corti is also a YogaWorks Certified Teacher known for her energetic, fun-loving style of teaching vinyasa with an inward focus. Corti has studied yoga anatomy with Leslie Kaminoff of The Breathing Project, and has assisted Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga teacher Sadie Nardini in her transformative yoga immersions. Corti currently teaches at Dew Yoga in Stamford, CT, where she helps her students discover how to “move with love, play with love, vinyasa with love.”x close
Social media maven Diane Ferraro knew she had to work with Give Back Yoga Foundation after several email exchanges with Executive Director Rob Schware, as they both very much like using bullet points in casual correspondence. Diane learned about Give Back Yoga’s mission from her teacher and GBYF co-founder Beryl Bender Birch in 2008. She now applies her communication skills by way of social media support, championing GBYF’s Facebook page and sneaking longing glances at Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest (in that order). Diane’s consulting company, Urban Siren, LLC, provides strategic leadership for social media, communications, PR, event planning, non-profit development, marketing, newsletters and more. When not churning out her own content, she guest blogs on various sites.
Diane’s introduction to yoga in 1995 catapulted her to teacher training with Beryl in 2008. After nearly 20 years of yoga experiences, she still struggles to touch her toes. She’s had the good fortune to learn from nearly every luminary on Give Back Yoga’s Advisory Board, including David Swenson, Seane Corn, Rod Stryker, Amy Ippoliti, Gurmukh Khalsa and Elena Brower. When not sending out siren songs, Diane serves as Director of Mindful Turtle Yoga & Wellness in Montauk, NY.x close
Shanti Medina, RYT CPT CNSF is the Marketing Director for the Give Back Yoga Foundation. She is known for her innovative ideas in the area of networking, fundraising and collaboration to build sustainable service within communities. Her vast experience of over 25 years with non-profit organizations ranges from starting up and expanding several non-profits as an Executive Director, to serving as a Board Member. She has been a consultant for a variety of national non-profits across the country, serving as a professional grant writer and offering guidance in the areas of Marketing and Strategic Planning.
Seeing firsthand the power of yoga and the breath with the populations she was serving through her non-profit work – like prisoners, recovering addicts and at-risk youth – Shanti decided to return for her advanced degrees and certifications in the area of holistic health including Personal Training, Wellness Coaching, Pilates, Reiki, Yoga Therapy, and Neurosculpting®. Shanti went on to create Energize training systems and Body Current® neuroplasticity therapeutics to support and empower elite athletes and everyday warriors to resolve trauma, pain and imbalance in their body, mind and spirit by awakening and aligning with their unique body intelligence for optimal health and fitness. She is on the 500HR teaching faculty for a variety of yoga studios in the Front Range, and serves as Yoga and Somatic Studies Program Director at the Boulder-based Neurosculpting® Institute. When Shanti is not traveling to teach yoga therapy and kirtan workshops with her husband, Scott, she lives with her two teenage daughters and husband in the foothills of Boulder, CO.x close
As principal of APROPOS Design Solutions, Susanne Murtha provides graphic design for many of Give Back Yoga Foundation’s printed promotions and books. A certified yoga teacher since 1996, Susanne has taught in the Adirondacks for over 15 years with an aim to make yoga accessible. She is certified as a 500 hour Kripalu yoga teacher, 1000 hours with Integrative Yoga Therapy, Integrative Restoration (iRest®) Level 3 and is a graduate of the Kripalu School of Ayurveda.x close
Campaign and media manager Emily McFaul gives voice to Give Back Yoga’s email communications and website content, and coordinates the organization’s national campaign initiatives.
A copywriter and media manager for Dot Think Design, Emily has nearly a decade of experience in supporting newspapers, design studios, marketing firms and individual companies with written copy and project implementation. She also partners with private clients on writing projects, and is currently collecting material for a book on team ownership of purpose.
Emily discovered Iyengar yoga in 2010 as a way to relieve chronic stress and connect with her body. She’s grateful that this path led her to Give Back Yoga Foundation and realizing her life goals of becoming a writer, raising a family and doing good in the world.
Katie Scott is a Silver Spring, MD native who was first inspired by the healing and transformational benefits of yoga in 2009. She started Give Back Yoga’s Facebook page in 2010, and currently serves as Administrative Assistant. Katie received her 200-hour yoga teacher training certification from Inner Vision yoga in AZ, and has goals of continuing her Mindful Yoga Therapy certification so that she can work with incarcerated veterans.x close
Jack Jostes is the Internet Marketing Director at Ramblin Jackson, a web marketing and video production company in Boulder, Colorado. In addition to earning his bachelor’s degree from Marquette University, Jack completed the Google Analytics Individual Qualification (IQ) program and was recently nominated a Constant Contact Authorized Local Expert. When he’s not helping small businesses with Internet marketing, Jack enjoys fly fishing for trout and playing mandolin in a country bluegrass band called The Larks. He lives in Lyons, CO with his lovely wife and a great big hairy dog named Ralph.
Jack loves yoga because it has helped him overcome chronic back pain. He is thrilled to work with the Give Back Yoga Foundation on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and video marketing to spread the healing power of yoga to more people.x close
Since she was a child, Give Back Yoga intern Nikki has heard time and time again that she has “healing hands.” As an adult, she is just beginning to understand the true depth of her gifts. Today, Nikki uses her intuition, wisdom and skill to navigate her own life as well as inspire and support the healing of her students and clients.
In 2004, Nikki moved from the East Coast to Hollywood to follow her dream of making movies. Since then, she has built a very successful career as a freelance movie producer. Her daily yoga practice helps her to maintain balance in her life while working in an industry built around chaos. In 2012, Nikki’s deepening passion for yoga led her to immerse herself at Shoshoni Yoga Retreat, an ashram and highly accredited yoga school hidden in the Colorado Rockies, where she earned her RYT 200-hour Shambhava Yoga certification. Nikki currently teaches a growing community of donation-based yoga & meditation classes at Runyon Canyon near her home in LA.
In addition to teaching several public yoga classes per week, Nikki offers Reiki, yoga therapy and crystal healing workshops, as well as private sessions (some of which even happen on her TV and movie sets!). Nikki firmly believes that everybody has the ability to heal themselves and uplift the world around them. You will always find happy crystals in her pockets that help bring peace, and which she so enjoys sharing with anyone and everyone who crosses her path. Nikki lives from her motto: “Yoga is not only practiced on your mat, but with every breath you take.”x close
Sophie began her journey on the mat in 2008 in Madison, Wisconsin, and has been nothing short of headstand-over-heels in love since day one. She moved to Boulder, Colorado in 2011 in order to expand her practice, shift her perspective, and pursue an undergraduate degree in business at the University of Colorado at Boulder. In 2013, she became a Yoga Alliance certified instructor, completing 200- and 30- hour Power Yoga training programs through CorePower Yoga in Boulder. Sophie whole-heartedly believes in the inimitable, transformative physical, spiritual, and emotional benefits that yoga is capable of providing, and is passionate about making yoga accessible to everybody and for every body. Sophie humbly and enthusiastically serves the Give Back Yoga Foundation as a marketing intern.
When not practicing or teaching, Sophie can be found running local trails, skiing, and spending time with family and friends, basking in Boulder bliss all the while. On and off the mat, she is constantly seeking alignment in right thought, speech, and action.x close
Amanda is the Assistant Director of Eat Breathe Thrive. She is the owner of Blackbird Family Yoga just outside Madison, WI, as well as the mama to two very silly children and a fluffy puppy. She is a lover of all people. Amanda knows firsthand what yoga can do to develop and maintain a healthy attitude towards self and body, after struggling with anorexia for over a decade prior to finding yoga. She wholeheartedly believes that yoga has the power to heal skewed body image and disordered eating patterns. She is over-the-moon thrilled and honored to have the opportunity to work with Chelsea Roff, Sarah Higgins, and the whole Give Back Yoga team, as we all strive to gently nudge all beings towards THRIVING.x close
Sarah is the Assistant Director of Eat Breathe Thrive, as well as a professional yoga consultant and instructor. She resides in Madison, Wisconsin, where she is living her dream life with a soul mate, three super sparky kids, and a ginormous dog named Yogi. After years of skewed body image, over-exercising and other harmful habits, Sarah decided to make a change. In 2001, she began a consistent practice of meditation and Hatha yoga and ever since has been experiencing the transformative powers of yoga. She has effectively turned her passions into her career and shares yoga for the betterment of humanity.x close
Chris Eder is a retired Air Force Veteran who served as a Combat Correspondent. Today, he serves as the Director of Communications for Mindful Yoga Therapy. He is a Yoga Alliance registered Vinyasa/Hatha Interdisciplinary Yoga Instructor ,and currently training with Rolf Gates for his 500 YTT. His yoga journey began in 1999 after he encountered the joys of a pinched sciatic nerve and a diagnosis of Adult ADD. A friend introduced him to yoga as an alternative to pain pills and other meds. As a student, he was hooked instantly.
During a 2007 deployment to Baghdad Iraq with the Air Force, Chris began teaching a morning sunrise yoga class five days a week. He also taught yoga to Wounded Warriors returning from combat action as part of the Warrior Resiliency Program. Chris is an advocate for Veterans with PTSD. He offers free yoga classes for Vets and supports workshops that focus on Veterans. Additionally, he created MalaforVets where he makes Warrior Mala beads and sends them to Veterans in Mindful Yoga Therapy and Save A Warrior programs.x close
Olivia Kvitne, E-RYT, is Give Back Yoga’s Training Director for the Trauma-Sensitive Yoga and Resiliency Training to Benefit First Responders hosted by Sedona Yoga Festival 2015.
A lifelong yoga practitioner, Olivia has been a yoga instructor for 11 years. She has taught everything from hatha/vinyasa, yin, pre-natal and hot yoga classes to workshops on yoga and dance, yoga and goal setting, spinal health and beginning meditation. Olivia was the first yoga director for Golden Bridge Yoga’s new hot studio in Hollywood.
Although Olivia loves a good hot yoga class, the depth of her training and specialty lies in trauma-sensitive yoga classes for military, veterans and first responders. While living in Los Angeles, she taught weekly trauma-sensitive yoga classes and periodic continuing education workshops on yoga and the neurological system at the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) Training Center. She also led special workshops for high-ranking command staff of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). All these classes have been organized in partnership with psychologists in the LAPD and LAFD Behavioral Sciences Departments. Olivia recently relocated to Iowa, but makes frequent visits to Los Angeles to teach workshops to the LAFD and LAPD. The first of Olivia’s trauma-sensitive yoga classes for first responders in Des Moines, Iowa will begin August 2014.
All of Olivia’s community yoga classes are free for veterans and military. She directs and teaches free specialized yoga events and workshops for veterans and military, with donations from civilians going to a non-profit organization for veterans.
Olivia writes for and is Assistant Editor of LA Yoga Magazine. Her writing for other yoga publications and blogs includes the inaugural issue of Yoga Iowa, with a cover story on the benefits of yoga in the military. Key pieces include “Operation: Yoga“ for LA Yoga Magazine, and “Yoga for Veterans: An Ancient Practice with Life-Saving Potential“ for The Shift Network.x close