Meet Our Board of Directors
Anjali Rao – Board President
Anjali Rao (she/her) is a yoga educator, an activist deeply interested in sharing the ancient wisdom of yoga in service to the challenges of the times. She brings an intersectional lens in integrating yoga philosophy and history, with storytelling, imagery and poetry. She is an Indian American immigrant, a cancer survivor, a faculty member of YTTs and offers a course on Yoga and Activism in Accessible Yoga Training School. She believes that a dedicated practice of yoga in all it’s expansiveness can alchemize and heal the world by creating ripples of change within and around us. She is an aspiring writer, and President of the Board of Accessible Yoga. She is a lifelong student of Classical Dance, loves chocolate, books, old trees, the ocean and napping with her rescue pup, Hershey.
Colin Lieu – Treasurer
Colin Lieu (he/him) is a nurturer who works with young people to help them better connect with themselves and block out the noise in order to realize their full potential. Colin is the Founding Dean of Wellness at Creo College Prep. He founded Multitasking Yogi in 2017 as a platform to bring the tools of mindfulness and self-care to vastly diverse spaces and populations: teaching at public schools; leading educator professional development workshops; servicing community events; self-publishing the picture book "Phoenix's First: An Introduction to Mindful Breathing"; and speaking at events. No matter what we are juggling, there is a Multitasking Yogi in all of us and his launch of Multitasking Yogi School (MY School) is an innovative way to nurture the next generation of wellness leaders. High school juniors and seniors already taking Multitasking Yogi classes have the opportunity to be placed on a specialized track to complete a Yoga Alliance 95-hr Registered Children's Yoga Teacher certification and become their community's next generation yoga teacher. He is a member of the Board of Directors and Treasurer for Accessible Yoga Foundation.
Ashley J. Williams – Secretary
Ashley Williams (she/her), MS, C-IAYT, is a Yoga Therapist and Mindfulness Educator with 12 years’ experience in the fields of education, behavioral and mental health and community programming in Richmond, VA. As a builder and weaver, she bridges mindfulness, diversity, wellness and inclusion on micro and macro-levels to achieve equitable, socially stable and conscious spaces for individual and collective care. She is the Founder of BareSOUL Yoga & Wellness, a community-based organization initially created to offer accessible yoga offerings, and Mindful on Life, a curriculum-based program dedicated to transforming community through the practice of mindful-restorative based education. As an advocate for diverse representation, accessible self-care and overall well-being, she has strategically built community-centered yoga and mindfulness programs in schools, health systems, government agencies, faith-based organizations and businesses. Ashley continues to create spaces that offer mindful-based living practices to encourage self-exploration, awareness, authenticity and build community for the collective good. Her current venture is the Well Collective, a community space for conscious well-being that centers intergenerational healing modalities, contemplative practices, wellness workshops, and local, black-sourced apothecary located in historic Shockoe Bottom, Richmond, Va.
Tristan Katz – Programming Committee Chair
Tristan Katz (they/them) is a writer, digital strategist, and equity-inclusion facilitator based on the ancestral land of the Cowlitz and Clackamas peoples and the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and Siletz Indians, now known as Portland, OR.
Tristan offers justice-focused marketing programs for yoga and wellness professionals, along with workshops, trainings, and consulting centered around queer identity and transgender awareness with an anti-oppression and intersectional lens.
Their podcast, ALL THE F*CK IN: Showing up for social justice in your work, is a collaboration with Lauren Roberts, featuring conversations about all things business and entrepreneurship—from a radical perspective that says we don’t have to choose between social justice values and being successful.
Tristan was named one of Yoga Journal’s 2021 Game Changers and they were awarded the Reclamation Ventures grant in Spring 2021 to expand their offerings and dedicate time to writing their first book, title forthcoming.
They are proud to sit on the Board of Directors at Accessible Yoga—a non-profit working, through education and advocacy, to share the teachings and benefits of yoga with those who have been marginalized, and to identify and remove barriers to access, build strong networks, and advocate for an accessible, equitable, and dynamic yoga culture.
Jacquie “Sunny” Barbee – Development Committee Chair
Jacquie “Sunny” Barbee (she/her) is an E-RYT 200/500 RYT yoga teacher living in the Panhandle of Florida. Sunny practices asana in an aging, plus sized body with chronic illness and is able to help others with similar issues find safer and more enjoyable ways to customize their practice and connect to their own bodies. She loves leading gentle yoga and seated chair yoga classes at senior centers, rehab facilities and working with veterans. She is certified in Accessible Yoga; Yoga for All Bodies; Mind Body Solutions; and Yin Yoga.
Sarani Beth Fedman
Sarani Beth Fedman (she/her) is a yoga teacher and therapist in the Integral Yoga tradition, and activist.
As a mother and grandmother and teacher of many students through the years, she finds herself working for justice and equanimity in the world in their honor.
Patrice Priya Wagner
Patrice Priya Wagner (she/her), RYT500, C-IAYT. Priya trained in Integral Yoga and has taught people with disabilities since 2008.
She is on the Board of Directors of the Accessible Yoga Association (AYA) and has presented or assisted in AYA’s conferences held in New York City, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, and online.
She currently offers classes for people with Multiple Sclerosis in Oakland, California, and brings to her teaching a focus on pranayama and meditation.
Reggie Hubbard (he/him) is a certified yoga and meditation teacher and the founder/chief serving officer of Active Peace Yoga. His yoga and meditation practice have served as a sanctuary of peace and perspective while navigating the stresses of being a black man in the world and serving in pressure filled jobs at the height of politics. He began practicing yoga under extreme emotional distress at work and now shares his practice to all walks of life in service to helping people navigate this thing called life with more peace and ease.
Through Active Peace Yoga, he offers asana and meditation classes to help others nurture peace of mind, creativity, equanimity in spirit and physical health - helping people nurture well-being as foundational, rather than an afterthought. Reggie has taught Members of Congress, Congressional Staff, major labor unions, leading progressive organizations and individuals from all walks of life - simple tools for managing stress and bringing peace to mind, body and spirit. Reducing stress and taking better care of ourselves is a key to enhancing workplace safety, managing work/life balance and improving our quality of life.
In addition to his yoga teaching practice, Reggie has held many senior strategic and logistical roles across a variety of fields, ranging from global marketing, digital and community organizing, government relations, international education to Presidential campaigning. . He recently left a senior position as a leading progressive political strategist to devote more time to his personal practices and how to share them with others in these challenging times to allow more people to live with more peace of mind.
Reggie's life work sits at the intersection of bringing more peace and balance to activists; guiding the wellness community toward being more engaged, concerned citizens; and, enhancing the well-being of all walks of life. Achieving this balance is how we catalyze transformative change in our society, which we are desperately in need of at this moment.
He received a B.A. in philosophy from Yale University and an MBA in international strategy from the Vlerick Business School in Belgium.
Ryan McGraw (he/him) approaches every class with the belief that everyone can do yoga. As a person with cerebral palsy who has been practicing yoga for 15 years, Ryan is well aware that yoga poses can be adapted to meet the needs of the student, no matter what their ability level is. Ryan earned his 200-hour yoga teaching certificate in 2011 and has completed two adaptive yoga teacher training with Matthew Sanford. Ryan received his Master’s Degree in Disability and Human Development from the University of Illinois at Chicago, in 2013. For his Master’s Thesis, Ryan created an adapted yoga manual for people with disabilities. He has written about his yoga experience in Yoga and Body Image, a collection of essays from people who are not the average yoga practitioner and recently published an article in Yoga International why it is essential to teach accessible yoga in 200 hour teacher training courses. As a member of the disability community who has worked in the disability advocacy field for 12 years, Ryan advocates for the full inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of society.
Avery Janeczek Kalapa
Avery Janeczek Kalapa (they, them) is a Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher, community weaver at Sadhana Support Collective, and queer + trans wellness organizer; eRYT500, YACEP, BFA, with over 2 decades of yoga experience.
Celebrated for their enthusiasm, devotion, and depth of somatic technique, Avery's teaching uplifts inner healing rooted in collective liberation. They believe all people, especially folks who have been left out of or turned off by mainstream yoga spaces, should have access to the revitalizing nourishment of deeply informed, classical yoga without having to code switch or assimilate in order to practice.
Avery specializes in functional asana grounded in applied yoga philosophy. Their upbeat, accessible approach to anatomical organization, stability, adaptive therapeutics, and nervous system regulation helps people get real relief from pain, fatigue, and chronic conditions, and through embodiment, access tangible transformation in body mind and consciousness.
They support queers and other counter-culture yoga lovers to break the burn out cycle, be nourished, and spiritually powerful without bypassing the wisdom of their body and lived experience.
Avery is a parent, gardener, artist, creator; a white, queer, trans, nonbinary settler based in unceded Tiwa land, Albuquerque NM.
Tamika Caston-Miller (she/her), E-RYT 500, is the director of Ashé Yoga, where curates yoga experiences and trainings in service of collective healing and community repair.
Having begun her yoga journey in 2001 with a home practice, she now holds advanced certifications and training in Trauma-informed Yoga, Somatics, Yin Yoga, Restorative Yoga, and Yoga Nidra.
Tamika’s journey has been informed by chronic pain and injuries, social justice for QTBIPOC communities, the battle between shame and compassion and quest for ancestral healing, and the love for the practice and philosophy of yoga.
Rodrigo Souza (he/him) is an RYT 200 Adaptive & Accessible Yoga teacher with experience in teaching yoga to folks who have gone through Trauma & Disability.
Rodrigo suffered a spinal cord injury (T3 complete) in 2014 after a fall accident. He has been studying and practicing Mindfulness and Adaptive Yoga to help him deal with muscle spasticity, chronic nerve pain, anxiety, and many other secondary symptoms conditions that the injury has brought him.
Through direct personal experience with traumatic injury, and chronic pain, and discovering the need to take charge of his recovery to optimize long-term wellbeing, Rodrigo decided to become a Yoga teacher and teach from his own experience, creating Allihopa Accessible & Adaptive Virtual Yoga Studio. He also runs a non-profit organization called AllihopaBrasil to make yoga more accessible to marginalized groups in Brazil and also teaches newly injured folks in an active rehabilitation non-profit in Sweden.
Rodrigo received his Adaptive yoga certification training under Matthew Sanford, the leading pioneer and “Jedi” of the Adaptive Yoga World. He is focused on creating a supportive community for those who have experienced trauma & disability through Adaptive yoga.
Meet Our Staff
Jivana Heyman – Director
Jivana Heyman (he/him), C-IAYT, E-RYT500, is the founder and director of the Accessible Yoga Association, an international non-profit organization dedicated to increasing access to the yoga teachings. He’s the author of two books, Accessible Yoga: Poses and Practices for Every Body, and Yoga Revolution: Building a Practice of Courage & Compassion (Shambhala Publications).
Jivana coined the phrase, “Accessible Yoga,” over ten years ago, and it has now become the standard appellation for a large cross section of the immense yoga world.
He brought the Accessible Yoga community together for the first time in 2015 for the Accessible Yoga Conference, which has gone on to become a focal point for this movement. Jivana is also the creator of the Accessible Yoga Training and the co-founder of the online Accessible Yoga Training School with Amber Karnes, which is a platform for continued education for yoga teachers in the field of equity and accessibility. They also created the Accessible Yoga Podcast in 2020.
Over the past 25 years, Jivana has led countless yoga teacher training programs around the world, and dedicates his time to supporting yoga teachers who are working to serve communities that are under-represented in traditional yoga spaces. For more information head to www.jivanaheyman.com
Brina Lord – General Manager
Brina Lord (she/her) is the General Manager of Accessible Yoga Association. She holds a 200-hr yoga teacher certificate from Integral Yoga Institute NYC, where she also served as staff in various roles of administration for several years. She has specialty training in Accessible Yoga and Kidding Around Yoga and taught yoga to preschool through middle aged kids in New York City’s public school system. Before moving to New York, Brina worked in Chicago as a Stage Manager for multiple non-profit theatre companies who focused on the intersection of art and social justice.
Tan Hubbard – AYA Studio Manager
Tanisha, or Tan (they/she) is a caregiver, movement instructor, facilitator and aspiring activist. While the physical practice of yoga is what drew them to the mat, it was the calling of something deeper that led to the decision to complete a YTT. The introduction of the 8-limbed path during training was the starting point of their curiosity of the intersection of yoga and social justice. Forever a student of the practice, Tan is always eagerly seeking out spaces where crucial conversations around accessible wellness and movement are being held. This includes completing workshops and trainings for Yoga For 12-Step Recovery, Accessible Yoga, and Skill in Action.
In the summer of 2021, they wrote their first published blog post for Accessible Yoga Blog on caregiving and how it relates to Yoga as a practice. They believe in empowering others to disrupt the narratives and stories that uplift perfectionism and hyper-productivity. In movement classes, expect practices that encourage individual healing, as self love and care is a part of collective liberation.
Raeeka Yassaie – Outreach Co-ordinator
Raeeka Yassaie (they/she) is a British-Iranian social & climate justice campaigner and organizer.
They work on issues ranging from uplifting South Asians in whitewashed YogaLand, to standing in solidarity with their Iranian siblings for a Free Iran, to climate justice for a liveable planet.
They spend most of the rest of their time being a parent to a young aspiring activist.
Raeeka explores and reclaims their cultural heritage via the indigenous wisdom of Zoroastrianism, Persian poetry and dance. They love chocolate, writing, reading and sarcasm.
Rashidah Ali – Social Media Manager
Rashidah Ali (they/them) is a writer, yoga and meditation teacher, parent, creative, studying doula and lactation counselor. Rashidah works for the Accessible Yoga School and the Accessible Yoga Association as a Social Media manager and Archivist. They are presently living on the indigenous land of Bulbancha where they reside with their partner and toddler.
Rashidah moves through the world as a queer trans nonbinary Black human navigating grief, neurodivergence, invisibilized disabilities, and chronic pain. These identities inform their practice.
Rashidah has been studying mindfulness and yoga since 2015 as they hold over 400 hours in training with focus in anatomy, prenatal yoga, yin yoga and meditation. Rashidah has been guiding yoga classes since 2016 with a sense of adaptability, deep care and encouragement of exploration and curiosity within one’s personal practice. They currently sit on the Board of directors for the Interdependence Project as a gender inclusion advocate.
In the fall of 2020 Rashidah's practice cracked wide open when they came into the knowledge of the intersection of Yoga and Social Justice by studying with teachers Michelle Cassandra Johnson (she/her), Tristan Katz (they/he) and Oneika Mays (she/her). Rashidah has always centered connection, unlearning, equanimity and dismantling perfectionism when showing up within their community of loved ones and within their workplaces. They have held space for supportive listening, energetic prayer, group yoga classes, private meditation sessions, and uncomfortable conversations that integrate compassion in action. Presently Rashidah is not teaching as they focus on their birthwork studies.
Robyn Bell – Programs Manager
Robyn Bell (they/them), is an accessible yoga teacher, an adept community builder, and the founder of Kind Yoga. They create affirming, adaptive spaces where practitioners of all ages, genders, shapes, sizes, and abilities can gather to explore supportive yoga practices and be celebrated for simply showing up as their full, authentic selves.
Robyn has a background in remedial massage and has been teaching yoga since 2013. They have been nurtured over the years by their teachers Rachel Zinman, Aesha Kennedy, Chloe Thorogood, and their treasured mentor Maria Kirsten, and have completed further study with international accessible yoga pioneers Jivana Heyman, Dianne Bondy, and Amber Karnes. Their teaching has also inspired by many members of the extended Accessible Yoga community.
They have been described by friends and colleagues as rigorously open-minded and open-hearted, deeply compassionate, and enthusiastic about bringing joy and delight to the practice of yoga. Robyn currently lives in rural Victoria, Australia and offers gentle Hatha-style, chair, and restorative yoga classes which center inclusion and accessibility, both online and in-person.