Why Yoga & Women's Empowerment Conference
Our First Annual "Yoga & Women's Empowerment Conference" will unite global, like-minded womxn leaders for a discussion on gender inequalities and how YOGA can be used as a tool to create change within practitioners and communities. For the first time, the panelists, leaders of international yoga organizations, will join forces to deliver a thought-provoking dialogue that we hope will inspire you to #ChooseToChallenge gender inequalities with yoga.
This Year's Event
From challenge comes change, so let's all choose to challenge.
Join this year's powerful panel with Q&A: Dianne Bondy (Yoga & Body Image Coalition), Tiffany Cruickshank (Yoga Medicine Seva), Hala Khouri (Off the Mat, Into the World), Maggie LaRocca (Exhale to Inhale), and Kayoko Mitsumatsu (Yoga Gives Back) and , with Emcee Melanie Klein.
Let's come together as womxn yoga practitioners to celebrate yoga in our lives, especially during this time of high anxiety and stress with COVID-19 and social unrest everywhere in the world. Change begins within.
This event participates in the global campaign: "International Women's Day" with this year's theme: #ChooseToChallenge.
The panel will discuss questions such as:
- How does your organization apply yoga in empowering women and addressing gender inequality?
- How can yoga classes deliver tools to empower women and overcome gender inequalities?
*Zoom link will be sent to all attendees and donors before the event. Recorded session will be shared.
Piano + Chanting of Kali, Durga and Shiva with Radhika Vekaria
Panel of Presenters with Q&A
Ending Guided Meditation
Dianne Bondy is a social justice activist, author, accessible yoga teacher, and the leader of the Yoga For All movement. Her inclusive approach to yoga empowers anyone to practice—regardless of their shape, size, ethnicity, or level of ability. Dianne is revolutionizing yoga by educating yoga instructors around the world on how to make their classes welcoming for all kinds of practitioners.
Dianne’s commitment to increasing diversity in yoga has been recognized in her work with Pennington’s, Gaiam, and the Yoga & Body Image Coalition, as well as in speaking engagements at Princeton, Duke, University of Buffalo and UC Berkeley on Yoga, Race, and Diversity. Her writing is published in Yoga and Body Image Volume 1, Yoga Renegades, and Yes Yoga Has Curves. You can also find Dianne online at yogaforalltraining.com and yogaforeveryone.tv.
Dianne is the author of the international best selling book, Yoga for Everyone (DK Publishing, Penguin Random House), co-author of Yoga Where Yoga Are, and a frequent contributor to Yoga International, DoYou, Yoga Girl, and Omstars. She has been featured in publications such as The Guardian, Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan, Mashable, and People.
Find Dianne online at diannebondyyoga.com, yogaforalltraining.com, and yogaforeveryone.tv.
Tiffany Cruikshank is an international yoga teacher, author and health and wellness expert. She is known as a teacher’s teacher.
Tiffany created Yoga Medicine® Seva Foundation in 2015 to provide lifelong vocational skills and other empowering tools (such as yoga), to survivors of human trafficking and gender abuse. Their mission is to help women and children realize their worth and create a life of their choosing.
Tiffany was previously the Acupuncturist and Yoga Teacher at the Nike Headquarters in Portland, Oregon serving over 25,000 patients and has written for and graced the cover of many prominent publications including: Prevention, Yoga Journal, Om Yoga Magazine, Mantra Yoga and Health Magazine, Origin Magazine, Thrive Magazine.
She has been a contributor to many major publications including: The Wall Street Journal, LA Times, Forbes, Yoga Journal, Prevention, Dr. Oz, Self, Women’s Health, Marie Claire, Glamor, Shape, Fitness, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, More, Well+Good, MindBodyGreen, Triathlete, Organic Authority, American Fitness, Yoga Magazine, AOL Build, Cosmopolitan, Natural Health and more. You can take class with her on Yoga Medicine® Online or check out her books, Meditate Your Weight and Optimal Health For A Vibrant Life.
Hala Khouri, MASEP, E-RYT is a sought-after speaker and trainer on the subject of trauma, yoga, and social justice.
She has been teaching yoga and movement for over 25 years and has been doing clinical work and leading trainings for 15 years.
Originally from Beirut, Lebanon, she has dedicated her life to the study of trauma, justice, and building resilience. She earned a B.A. in Psychology from Columbia University and M.A. degrees in Counseling Psychology and Community Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute. She is trained in Somatic Experiencing, a body-based psychotherapy that helps resolve trauma and its symptoms.
Hala is a co-founder of Off the Mat, Into the World, a training organization that bridges yoga and activism within a social justice framework. She also works with A Thousand Joys, training direct service providers and educators to be trauma-informed and culturally responsive. She leads an online membership program called Radical Wellbeing and her first book, Peace from Anxiety: Get Grounded, Build Resilience and Stay Connected Amidst the Chaos, will be released in April 2021.
She lives in Venice, CA with her husband and two sons where she also teaches public yoga classes weekly.
In her role as Executive Director at Exhale to Inhale, Maggie is humbled to have the opportunity to bring awareness to the needs of survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. She is passionate about the holistic approach to support the recovery of trauma survivors and believes that yoga and other wellness tools can be life changing.
Prior to joining Exhale to Inhale, Maggie served as the Program Director for the Combat Stress Recovery Program for Wounded Warrior Project. She was instrumental in building and scaling the program to provide critical support for returning veterans and their families living with post-traumatic stress. Maggie also led the Program Grants initiative and was responsible for the distribution of multi-million dollars of grants to support various non-profit partners and communities fulfilling unmet needs for veterans. In her role, Maggie spoke about the impact of combat stress on the Today Show, MSNBC, Fox, and CNN.
Most recently, Maggie founded and led her own consulting business, Purposeful Results. In this capacity, she worked with various non-profits providing strategic planning, capacity building, board development and executive leadership support.
Her educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Speech from Northwestern University, and master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University.
As an avid yoga practitioner in Los Angles, Kayoko founded Yoga Gives Back in 2007, a non-profit organization whose mission is to mobilize practitioners worldwide to channel their gratitude for yoga into empowering India's women and children to create sustainable lives. In its 14th year, YGB provides more than 1400 underserved mothers and children with micro loans and educational funds. YGB’s global campaign has reached many US cities and thirty countries worldwide with its mantra, "For the cost of one yoga class, you can change a life."
Prior to moving to the USA in 1992, Kayoko was a producer/director for NHK Japan’s National Public Broadcaster, working on primetime current affairs and documentary television programs; and cultural attaché at the Embassy of Japan in London. Her passion for documentary filmmaking is rooted in the perspective gained from years of living abroad including Australia, Brazil, United Kingdom and USA. Kayoko now uses her experience by filming YGB's fund recipients every year to share their stories with the global yoga community as YGB Films.
For the last three decades living in Los Angeles, Kayoko had continued her work for NHK’s feature documentary programs as producer/director, but since 2016 Kayoko has become YGB’s Executive Director full-time.
Melanie C. Klein, M.A., is an empowerment coach, thought leader and influencer in the areas of radical self-acceptance, authentic empowerment, and super charged confidence.
She is also a successful writer, speaker, and professor of Sociology and Women’s Studies.
Her areas of interest and specialty include media literacy education, body image, and the intersectional analysis of systems of power and privilege.
She is the co-editor of Yoga and Body Image: 25 Personal Stories About Beauty, Bravery + Loving Your Body (Llewellyn, 2014) with Anna Guest-Jelley, a contributor in 21st Century Yoga: Culture, Politics and Practice (Horton & Harvey, 2012), is featured in Conversations with Modern Yogis (Shroff, 2014), a featured writer in Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Mindful Living (Llewellyn, 2016), co-editor of Yoga, the Body and Embodied Social Change: An Intersectional Feminist Analysis with Dr. Beth Berila and Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts (Rowman and Littlefield, 2016), Yoga Rising: 30 Empowering Stories from Yoga Renegades for Every Body (Llewellyn, 2018) and the co-editor of the new anthology, Embodied Resilience through Yoga (Llwelleyn, 2020).
She co-founded the Yoga and Body Image Coalition in 2014 and lives in Santa Monica, CA.
Live Performance Artist
Radhika Vekaria is no stranger to capturing purpose & a higher calling within her music - her namesake "Radha" is the Vedic goddess of love and devotion; two concepts that are synonymous with Vekaria's pursuit of the arts.
Radhika, a classically trained musician, shall be performing pieces from her album SAPTA, The Seven Ways. Falling stylistically somewhere between world music, texural soundscapes and a collection of mantras, SAPTA (the Sanskrit word for "Seven") is a powerful ode to Vekaria's Indian roots and the Sanskrit mantras which have guided thousands of years of healing for devotees of yoga and meditative arts.
Available on all music platforms.