We respectfully acknowledge that the work of Yoga Outreach takes place across the homelands of 203 distinct Indigenous nations and cultures; with over 30 different languages and close to 60 unique dialects spoken across those homelands. We honour the Elders for their stewardship of the places and people of these nations. Yoga Outreach’s staff work from home offices on the traditional, ancestral, and stolen lands of the Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Səl̓ílwətaʔ (Tsleil-Waututh), xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), qiqéyt (Qayqayt), sc̓əwaθenaɁɬ təməxʷ (Tsawwassen), S’ólh Téméxw (Stó:lō), Kwikwetlem, Stz’uminus, sɛmiˈɑːmoʊ (Semiahmoo), sq̓əc̓iy̓aɁɬ təməxʷ (Katzie), Á,LEṈENEȻ ȽTE (W̱SÁNEĆ), Kwantlen, and, the lək̓ʷəŋən (Lekwungen) Peoples.

We invite you to take a moment to reflect on whose land you are living and working on and if you don’t know, to research and reflect.

Training Faculty
Staff
Board of Directors

Yoga Outreach Staff

Delanie Dyck
Delanie DyckExecutive Director

Delanie Dyck

Executive Director
She / Her
Delanie prides herself on being professional, nimble, creative, and diligent. She’s known for her commitment to, and passion for, creating innovative ways to share yoga and mindfulness-based practices with folks facing barriers.  Always looking for ways to deepen impact and support sustainability, Delanie enjoys the challenges of working in the non-profit world. She is always striving to make Yoga Outreach an organization with a social justice focus that can thrive in the world, be great to partner with, work for, and volunteer with. In her personal life she’s a bit of a renaissance woman with a passion for projects, whether in the garden, kitchen, construction, or craft, she has a deep love of creating things. She might seem tough, but once you get to know her, you’ll find her open and kind-hearted.

Delanie loves:
  • Cats (she has 3 orange ones)
  • Kitchen witching (you can often find her making a good potion)
  • Good fiction (if she’s not kitchen witching she’s reading)
  • Fresh sheets dried on the line (is there any greater luxury?)
Nicole Marcia
Nicole MarciaDirector of Training & Mentorship

Nicole Marcia

MA, TCTSY-F, C-IAYT, YACEP
Director of Training & Mentorship
She / Her

Since 2004, Nicole has taught therapeutic yoga classes and offered individual sessions to trauma survivors, teaching them healthy self-regulation strategies to empower them to live connected and embodied lives. Nicole also trains yoga and healthcare professionals in the trauma-informed yoga theory and techniques. In 2009, she was awarded a master’s degree with a specialization in yoga therapy from Lesley University in Boston, MA. From 2008 – 2017 Nicole served as Director of Therapeutic Yoga Programming for the Provincial Health Services Authority at their Burnaby Centre for Mental Health and Addictions and at Riverview Hospital, where she developed and delivered a comprehensive yoga therapy program for in-patient clients in various stages of recovery from mental health and addiction issues. From 2009 – 2018 she taught at Onsite, the rehab arm of North Americas first safe injection site in Vancouver’s downtown east side.

At present, in addition to maintaining a private practice working with public safety personnel at Boreal Wellness, Nicole is a program director and teacher trainer with Yoga Outreach. She provides trauma informed yoga programming to the residents at Deborah’s Gate, a program serving women who have been trafficked into situations of sexual and/or labor exploitation and Tupper Nova, a day treatment program for youth who have serious mental health concerns. She is a Certified Yoga Therapist (C-IAYT) and a member of Bridge for Health and the Breathe Network which connects survivors of sexual violence with healing arts practitioners.

Nicole loves:

  • Weslowski
  • Riding my bike
  • Swimming & hiking
  • Hosting dinner parties for friends
 Ariel Pavic
Ariel PavicVolunteer Coordinator | Core Training Registrar

Ariel Pavic

Volunteer Coordinator | Core Training Registrar
She / Her

Born and raised in White Rock, BC Ariel has been smashing the patriarchy ever since raising her hand in her Catholic elementary school to question the priest on why he said only the girls were supposed to bake pies while the boys were being encouraged to shovel the driveway when it snowed. Ariel has been shoveling her own snow ever since. Ariel has been teaching hatha yoga asana and movement education since 2002 and was a Labor and Birth support Doula. As a passionate community volunteer, she has contributed her energy to Pregnancy Outreach programs, Planned Parenthood, Parkcrest Children’s Centre, Girl Guides of Canada, Burnaby Horseman’s Association, Burnaby Lake Pony Club, Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion. Ariel spent close to 5 years as the Coordinator for BC People First, a society run by and for people who are labelled with a developmental disability. When not working, parenting a teenager, volunteering, householding and being a wife she can be found riding her new forest pony, Piper or walking her rescue dog, Thomas.

Ariel loves:

  • food, especially the kind she doesn’t have to cook herself
  • thrift store “start the car” finds
  • matcha tea lattes extra foamy
  • any & all things horsey
Wendy Goldsmith
Wendy GoldsmithMarketing & Communications Coordinator

Wendy Goldsmith

Marketing & Communications Coordinator
She / Her

The right words can welcome people into a special world where you feel included and understood. Since first learning to read, Wendy was convinced that words could unlock literal magic; to that end, Wendy logged 10,000 hours journaling and writing poetry, at first from a farm in Alberta, and then recording the cultural differences she discovered while building a communications skill set in jobs around the world. She learned clarity teaching English in Taiwan, commitment to brand at a Scottish pensions company, user experience from an international web design studio, factual accuracy from editing magazines, and interview skills from writing articles about credit union visionaries. Her constant is a commitment to vulnerable, beautiful authenticity. You’ll find her at events connecting with interesting people, and worrying about whether attendees feel welcome and comfortable, particularly when she’s supposed to be organizing the technology. During office hours, she’s a passionate writer and communication strategist. Away from the desk, it’s her pleasure to spend time helping newcomers navigate Canadian culture, teaching yoga for mental health at a Neighbourhood House and at the Down Syndrome Resource Foundation, and joining climate-centred political movements. She’s delighted to bring her passion for truth-telling to a non-profit that believes in the empowering magic of language.

Wendy loves:

  • Dystopian fiction
  • Poetry prompts & open mics
  • Viewing the sky through a canopy of leaves
  • Shady forest walks
Harmeet Kaur Mann
Harmeet Kaur MannStudent Liaison

Harmeet Kaur Mann

Student Liaison
She / Her

I share yoga to honour the lineage and the roots of my ancestral wisdom, by exploring the sacred knowledge with all who hold the curiosity and establishing a deeper connection to their body and breath. I hold the trauma-informed, brave space for you to show up exactly as you are, and to cultivate self acceptance and empowerment. I will welcome and advocate for all of your joy, sorrow, reflection, self connection and healing. My focus is on nourishing you from the inside out, so that you can embrace yourself and intentionally move into life’s rhythms with more inspired awareness.
 
Yoga has always played an integral part in my life and was first introduced to me at a very young age by my Pita ji (father). My journey to begin sharing Yoga with a trauma-informed, decolonized lens wasn’t until I saw the need for  community healing and liberation. My gorgeous little girl is the light of my life and everything I do goes towards delivering the torch to her and the future generations as a more equitable, inclusive and loving place. Yoga IS Social justice and liberation for all. We can lean into pleasure activism through using our body as a resource. We can support our activism and nourish ourselves through movement, breath and rest to continue the hard, necessary work we all must do.
 
Harmeet Loves:
  • Adventures with my 3 year old mini me
  • Wandering through mountains 
  • Playing in all forms of water- taking a cold plunge, running in the rain, being held by the ocean
  • Cozy and quiet mornings filled with movement, meditation, cuddles and gratitude 
  • Live music that makes my hips sway  
Jessica Barudin
Jessica BarudinProject Lead/Partner – First Nations Women’s Yoga Initiative

Jessica Barudin

Project Lead/Partner – First Nations Women’s Yoga Initiative
She / Her

Jessica is Kwakwaka’wakw from the ‘Namgis First Nation in Alert Bay, BC. She is a proud mother of two daughters, wife, Sundancer, Indigenous health advocate, doctoral student, and yoga teacher. Jessica received a Master’s in Applied Science in Physical Therapy from McGill University and an Undergraduate Degree in Human Kinetics from the University of British Columbia. Currently, Jessica is a doctoral student at Concordia University. Her research project aims to co-create a culturally-responsive, trauma-informed yoga program led by Kwakwaka’wakw womxn and girls. The focus is empowerment through movement, ceremony, women’s teachings, and language revitalization. She is passionate about teaching yoga to Indigenous womxn and youth and supporting them to feel connected and empowered in their bodies. Additionally, Jessica is a member of the Kwakwaka’wakw Doula Collective and working with the First Nations Health Authority as the Traditional Wellness Specialist for the Vancouver Island region. Jessica lives with her family on Namgis territory in Alert Bay, British Columbia.

Jessica loves:

  • coffee in the mornings (nectar of the gods)
  • forest walks and hikes with her fam
  • late night beading
  • curating playlists for yoga classes
  • stand up comedy and old comedy movies
Sarah Holmes
Sarah HolmesDirector of Programs

Sarah Holmes de Castro

MA, TCTSY-F, C-IAYT, YACEP
Director of Programs
She / Her – ON LEAVE
Sarah was born and raised in the UK where she lived until 2003, and now lives on the ancestral, traditional, and unceded Indigenous territories of the Lekwungen-speaking Coast Salish People. Embodiment has always been her jam, from early days in grad school exploring feminist collaborative art-making and the body, through til now. Her work as the Director of Programs at Yoga Outreach, as a trauma-informed yoga therapist at Fine Balance Yoga, and as a facilitator and trainer in TCTSY (Trauma Center Trauma Sensitive Yoga) with the Center for Trauma & Embodiment is all about creating opportunities for people to discover and cultivate embodied resilience in a way that works for them. She’s a firm believer that any conversations about ‘self-care’ need to take place within a context of community care and with a focus on equity.

Sarah loves:

  • Bug-hunting & geocaching with her kids
  • Splashing/swimming/surfing in saltwater
  • Hot cups of tea on a cold day
  • Socializing & solitude, in equal measure

Training Faculty

Adesola Omojokun
Adesola OmojokunFacilitator

Adesola Omojokun

Training Facilitator Level I (in training)

She / Her

Desi is a Therapeutic Yoga Teacher and Mental Health Worker, born and raised in London,
UK. She relocated to British Columbia in the summer of 2016 and now resides on the
unceded, ancestral land of the Kwikwetlem First Nation people.

In 2015, shortly after completing her Bachelor’s degree in Medical Science, Desi was first
introduced to yoga. Since then, she has pursued it with great passion, integrating the
ancient teachings into her daily life both personally and professionally; by maintaining a
regular personal practice in addition to completing her 240Hr YTT (VSOHA), 300Hr Yoga
Therapy Training (VSOHA) and Yoga Outreach Core Training™.

Desi is fascinated by the way in which yoga and yoga therapy inherently incorporates the
blending of Eastern philosophical principles and our understanding of the human mind and
body and it’s response to stress and trauma. She is motivated by empathy and connection
and teaches with the intention to empower individuals and support them in realising their
highest potential. To do so, Desi combines her yoga training with her educational
background, her professional experience as a mental healthcare worker – currently working
for PHSA with individuals with eating disorders and finally; her experience as a volunteer
SMART Facilitator for Vancouver Coastal Health, supporting individuals recovering from
addiction.

Desi Loves:

  • First morning sip of coffee
  • Dining with friends & family
  • Staying active – yoga, tennis, running & hikes
  • Taking a dip in a fresh body of water
  • A good documentary on a rainy day
AVIS O'BRIEN
AVIS O'BRIENFacilitator

Avis O’Brien

Training Facilitator Level II, YOCP-200 & UYiYW

She / Her

Avis O’Brien (Nalaga), a Haida/Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw artist, was born in Alert Bay, British Columbia. She belongs to the Kaa’was Staa’stas Eagle Clan from Kiusta Village in Haida Gwaii and the Geegilgum Clam of the Lig̱wiłda’x̱w people of Cape Mudge.

She is a weaver, teacher, designer and cultural empowerment facilitator. She started her company, Nalaga Designs in 2013 as a way to share the cultural knowledge and beauty of cedar bark weaving with the world. Cedar bark weaving has been her connection to the rich culture of the Haida and Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw, and has also been a doorway for her into cultural empowerment facilitation. Cedar bark weaving has been part of the culture of the peoples of the Northwest Coast for thousands of years; it was and continues to be an integral part of the culture. Her jewelry, baskets and hats represent an important continuation of the ancient legacy of Northwest Coast woven adornment. Avis fuses age-old techniques with modern style to create products that can be shared with the world.

Avis also offers community engagement presentations on decolonization, where she speaks to the Intergenerational impacts of colonization, gendered colonial policies against women, residential schools and the impact of trauma these things can have on Indigenous people as a whole. These presentations aim to assist participants in having an understanding of historical trauma and it’s impact as a way forward to healing and wellness.

The name Nalaga comes from the Kwakwak’wakw peoples of the North West Coast. Nalaga means “bringer of daylight” or “woman of light” in Kwakwala. This name has been passed down in her family for generations. Avis has an important responsibility when carrying this name; to carry herself in a way in which reflects sharing her light with the world. She is preserving her culture and traditions as a way to fulfill her social and cultural responsibilities of her traditional name.

Avis loves:

  • her children
  • the land
  • her Haida / Kwakwaka’wakw culture
  • paddle boarding
  • rollerskating
Brittney Fehr
Brittney FehrFacilitator

Brittney Fehr

Training Facilitator Level I (in training)

She / Her

Brittney is a certified meditation teacher and registered yoga teacher currently pursuing her masters in counselling psychology. She first joined the Yoga Outreach team in 2020 as a Social Justice Intern and is excited to be joining now as a Training Facilitator for the Core Training Level I. She is a human, and like most humans has experienced suffering. Experiencing and studying the impact of suffering on everyday lives and relationships has emphasized the importance of understanding trauma and how it effects individuals and society. This is why she is so passionate about trauma-informed practice and Yoga Outreach’s approach. Originally from the Wetʼsuwetʼen territory, she currently resides on the unceded, ancestral, and occupied, traditional lands of the Səl̓ílwətaʔ (Tsleil-Watuth), Kwikwetlem, hən̓̓qəmin̓əm̓, and Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) peoples
Brittney loves:
  • Watching people, plants, and ideas grow
  • Taking cooking lessons while travelling
  • Getting out into nature daily
  • Cheese and crackers, extra pickles
Gagan Leekha
Gagan LeekhaFacilitator

Gagan Leekha

Training Facilitator Level I BIPOC ONLY
She/Her

Gagan is a first generation settler with family roots in India. Born and raised on the northwest coast of BC, Gagan met her first yoga teacher there by accident in 1998 right before moving to Lekwungen Territory (Victoria).

After practicing for almost 20 years and not seeing much of herself reflected in studios or western yoga culture, Gagan began her teacher training in 2017 with a vision to take yoga out of studios to where people already gather, and to help make yoga more accessible to all bodies. Gagan is a big fan of the work of Yoga Outreach and has been involved as a volunteer yoga instructor since 2018. She is also the co-founder of Sweet Refuge, a peer-led BIPOC meditation group.

Gagan loves:

  • sunsets, sunrises (and the sky in general)
  • bringing people together
  • poetry (the kind that makes ones heart swell)
  • being part of a large extended family
Helen
Helen Facilitator

Helen Camisa

RYT500
Training Facilitator Level II & YOCP-200
She / Her

Helen has been teaching yoga since 2014 and has trained in Hatha, Flow, Prenatal and Kundalini yoga. In the last few years she has turned her attention to teaching a series of classes dedicated to students working in bigger bodies called Full Bodied Yoga. These classes invite people to a comfortable space where they explore joy in movement while learning adjustments specific to their own unique bodies.

Helen loves:

  • High tea
  • Performing comedy
  • a rainy day Netflix binge
Jessie Nelson
Jessie NelsonFacilitator

Jessie Nelson

Training Facilitator Level II & YOCP-200
They/Them

Jessie is founder of KITH+common|community consulting. KITH+common is a pillar for all things community specializing in training, business development strategies and community engagement approaches, all from an overarching lens of diversity and inclusion planning and integration.

KITH+common was born from and inspired by Jessie’s purpose; to live vulnerably in order to create space for others to come as they are, without shame.

Jessie’s lived experience as a person who identifies as gender fluid has provided them a platform to bring important conversations to their community that impact insight, growth, inclusivity, empathy, and ultimately space for all people.

They believe that all people deserve to be seen, valued and heard in their fullest expression. In order to create space Jessie knows that we need to be curious, explore the human experience in all of its forms and create safe and open spaces through conversation and connection.

KITH is the family you choose, and this house is built of KITH.

Jessie loves:

  • Their dog Kin
  • Coffee
  • Community
  • Moving their body through run, group fitness, hockey, & being outside
Laurel MacKay
Laurel MacKayFacilitator

Laurel MacKay

Training Facilitator Level I (in training)

She / Her

Laurel MacKay is a proud mother of two amazing young womxn, the wife of a sailor, a counsellor, yoga teacher and spends much of her time hanging out with teenagers.   Her ancestors are from Scotland, Ireland and Finland and her family has lived in Canada for three generations.  Laurel currently works at a local high school as a Youth and Family Counsellor.  She has had the privilege of living and working on the unceded traditional and ancestral territory of the lək̓ʷəŋən speaking people of the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations, for the past 25 years.  She is a fierce advocate for the students and families she works with and challenges the outdated systems we exist in, any chance she gets.  Before being in schools, Laurel worked in the private and public sectors within mental health, addictions and corrections as a mental health coordinator, social worker, and counsellor. Laurel believes connection is the most important gift we can offer one another and yoga can assist us in connecting with ourselves, each other and the world around us.  When not working she can be found hiking, reading, attending or teaching yoga classes, cuddling with her dogs or playing her gong.

Laurel loves:

  • Anatahtea lattes by the ocean in the morning 
  • being on or in water
  • forest bathing
  • mountain tops
  • yoga and sound healing
Leslie Wilkins
Leslie WilkinsFacilitator

Leslie Wilkin

MSW, RSW, RYT
Training Facilitator Level I, Level II, YOCP-200, & UYiYW

She / Her

Leslie is a clinical social worker and yoga teacher currently living and practicing in Nanaimo BC (Snuneymuxw). Her social work practice over the last 11 years has specialized in the areas of violence against women, relational trauma and substance use. As a yoga teacher, she has developed and taught trauma-informed yoga classes for adults and youth in acute mental health and substance use services through Vancouver Coastal Health, residential addictions treatment programs, and community services. Leslie approaches her work through an intersectional feminist lens and is fascinated by neuroscience, attachment theory and somatic psychotherapy as ways to understand how our brains and bodies adapt to survive and recover from trauma.

Leslie loves:

  • Growing her own food & flowers
  • Canning & pickling
  • Training for triathlons
  • Running through the woods
  • 90s Riot Girl music
Mélanie Ruffié
Mélanie RuffiéFacilitator

Mélanie Ruffié

Training Facilitator Level I (in training)

She / Her

Mélanie Ruffié is an Accredited Yoga Therapist, teacher, pastry chef and the founder of atmaU Wellness. She has the privilege of residing on the unceded, ancestral, and occupied, traditional lands of the Səl̓ílwətaʔ (Tsleil-Watuth), Kwikwetlem, Qayqayt, hən̓̓qəmin̓əm̓, and Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) peoples.
Born in France and raised all over the world, her diverse cultural identities and worldly travels define her approach to life. She is an explorer of knowledge, pragmatism, and spirituality. She studied literature and philosophy as a way to explore her roots, asking herself: Why am I here? Who am I? In 2016, Mélanie started exploring yoga asana as a healing modality. It helped her discover who she is, how she functions, and has helped her make better decisions in her life. It helped her gain strength, set healthy boundaries, and be vulnerable. In 2017, she decided to live one of her dreams: she went to Paris to become a Pastry Chef while continuing on her yogic journey. There, she experienced baking/cooking in a mindful way, connecting to her breath, body, thoughts, emotions, and spirit. She has since been offering Mindful Baking classes. The more she created connections within herself, the more she came to realize that she was learning from Nature and from her bodies (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual). These are all One, interconnected! In 2019, she decided to become a Certified Yoga Therapist to help others experience a life with less suffering, more peace, and more happiness. She has taught yoga to international students in her French post-secondary courses, to women, entrepreneurs, staff and faculty members.
She is a firm believer that by becoming aware of our Breath, we can change our brain activity, our Mind and our habits. We are so much more complex than our physical bodies. We start to become more ourselves and we start to manifest the inherent potential that is within us which results in abundance.
Mélanie loves:
  • dancing with friends
  • learning
  • playing and teaching her puppy new tricks
  • Nature
  • good food
Yogacharini Maitreyi
Yogacharini MaitreyiFacilitator

Yogacharini Maitreyi

Training Facilitator Level II 

She / Her

Yogacharini Maitreyi is an international master teacher, practical mystic and founder of Arkaya Awareness Centre and Arkaya Foundation. For the last 23 years she has been dedicated to living an evolutionary life and sharing holistic life principles. You will experience lightness, restfulness and a deeper connection to self through her guidance.

Since 1997, she has been given titles : Yoga chemmal (expert), Yoga shiromani (gem), and Yoga acharini (guide), in India. She was one of the youngest to be invited on the Advisory Board of the World Yoga Council, in Europe, in 2007. She has shared the deeper dimensions of yoga, self management and sattvic tantra worldwide.

Maitreyi has trained over 60 corporations, spoken at many conferences and has over 100 published articles in India, Hong Kong, Sweden, Dubai , Srilanka. U.S and Canada. She was invited to share her wisdom at many international yoga, ayurveda and leadership summits. A compassionate holistic coach, her sessions include online energy assessments to guide one into one’s own innate balance.

Maitreyi loves:

  • Nature
  • Ayurvedic food
Rishima Bahadoorsingh
Rishima BahadoorsinghFacilitator

Rishima Bahadoorsingh

Training Facilitator YOCP-200

She / Her

Drawing upon her Indo-Trinidadian roots, Rishima sings and teaches songs rooted in the Indian spiritual traditions of bhajans, kirtan, raga, and other devotional music. Rishima is a strong believer in the positive impact of music. From a young age, she studied and performed formal music in piano and violin, voice, harmonium, and some Indian percussion with local and international teachers.

Rishima has worked under the guidance of Elena Steele, Neeraja Aptikar, the Pandit Jasraj Institute in Vancouver, and the Shankar Mahadevan Academy in India. She continues to learn Dhrupad (Naad yoga – yoga of sound) an ancient meditative style of singing that originated from the Sama Veda with Manish Kumar, part of the Dagarvani lineage. Rishima has also completed a Raga Therapy certification with NADA Centre for Music Therapy, India (2019). She has sung locally and internationally at cultural and charity events, TV shows, festivals, spiritual centres, studios, temples and workshops. Rishima also teaches online in Spanish and English.

Rishima is presently an elementary school teacher in Vancouver and holds a Masters of Education in Curriculum and Development in Inclusion and Diversity as well as a Bachelor of Education in Elementary Education and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. In her off time, she volunteers as a coordinator for the Canadian Institute of Sathya Sai Education in Human Values and is the founder of Sol Community Education Society, a society that supports rural education in Northern Peru. She is also the proud mother of 2!

Rishima loves:

  • Singing, dancing, and making music
  • Seeing children’s (and adult’s) eyes grow wide when they are learning something new
  • Cats
  •  Nature
Sashah Rahemtulla
Sashah RahemtullaFacilitator

Sashah Rahemtulla

BA Child & Youth Care, RYS 200
Training Facilitator Level II

She / Her

Sashah has practiced yoga since she was a teen and found a connection to her own culture and heritage through it. Sashah is deeply committed to social justice and has worked as a Social Worker, Counsellor, and Gender Equality Advisor. Sashah loves to travel and has lived abroad in Indonesia, South Korea, and Tanzania which has taught her a lot about how to appreciate culture. Currently, she loves having conversations about yoga can be a part of activism and how to appreciate the practice rather than appropriate it.

Sashah loves:

  • Talking about social justice
  • Walking by the ocean
  • Travel
  • Interior decorating
Tahia Ahmed
Tahia AhmedFacilitator

Tahia Ahmed

Training Facilitator Level I BIPOC ONLY
She / Her

Tahia is a facilitator and community organizer. Her dive into yoga philosophy and practice is driven by her ancestral connection to the spiritual traditions of South Asia. She is passionate about uplifting and cultivating spiritually grounded and culturally relevant approaches to building resilience. Tahia is also a birth doula and co-founder of the Nesting Doula Collective supporting Indigenous and POC communities on the Island. She trusts in the words of Arundhati Roy, “another world is not only possible, she is on her way.  On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing”.

Tahia loves:

  • Camping
  • Reading
  • Cooking her mom’s recipes
  • Birth work

Board of Directors

Vandana Sood
Vandana SoodBoard Chair
© Jennifer Strang Photography

Vandana Sood

Board Chair
She / Her

Vandana is a lawyer who works at a local community legal centre that provides services primarily in family law to self-identified women. Vandana has practised yoga for a long time and cannot imagine life without yoga. To her, it is much more than physical asana, it is a lifelong practice which can provide solace and an anchor, and which includes ahimsa (non-harming and compassion) and karma yoga (service to others). Vandana is a strong believer in the power of community and is very excited about how Yoga Outreach brings the social justice and yoga communities together.
Vandana loves:

  • playing with yoga & movement
  • forests, ocean & mountains
  • her pile of books
  • slow mornings
 Nina Sheere
Nina SheereVice-chair

Nina Sheere

Vice-Chair
She / Her

Nina is a Registered Clinical Counsellor, currently working in private practice, as well as in the local health authority and in Victim Services in Vancouver. She completed a Bachelors Degree in Psychology and Women’s Studies at the University of Victoria and then a Masters of Counselling Psychology at Adler University. Bringing social justice and the lens of intersectionality into her work has always been foundational in her clinical practice and is reflected in her grassroots non-profit organization, The Street Feet Society. As a previous volunteer with Yoga Outreach in the Burnaby Youth Custody Centre, Nina is excited to support the organization as it continues to grow and engage with the community.
Nina loves:

  • Summers on Salt Spring Island
  • Swimming in the ocean or lakes
  • Travelling to new places with her partner
  • Cuddling with her dog, Gunnar
Raeesa Bhanji
Raeesa BhanjiSecretary

Raeesa Bhanji

Secretary
She / Her

Raeesa holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, and has always been fascinated by how mental health intersects with issues of feminism, justice, race, and class. Having discovered her yoga practice while in university, Raeesa was overjoyed when she discovered an organization that bridges two of her passions – mental health and yoga. Raeesa believes that yoga is so much more than movement: it teaches us how to find strength and stillness in moments of challenge. She is thrilled to be part of an organization that provides people with the opportunity to find their own practice. On an average day Raeesa can be found working as part of a Business Operations team, drinking a lot of tea, and likely wearing stretchy pants.

Raeesa loves:

  • Yoga, running, spinning, and hiking
  • Spending time in nature
  • Getting into a good book, podcast, or conversation
  • Napping with her rescue dog, Ginger
 Lisa Ricci
Lisa RicciTreasurer

Lisa Ricci, MEB, CPA, CA

Treasurer
She / Her

While Lisa began her career as a legacy CA in a conventional way, with a stint in public accounting in Toronto, she has taken a lot of unique twists and turns. After completing her first yoga training in Victoria in 2011, Lisa launched an accounting practice to serve the wellness community whilst an active member of the teaching community herself. A decade of yoga teaching brought Lisa to Vancouver Island, where she now practices yoga off the mat as an instructor UVic, member of non-profit boards, and manager of a small accounting team.

Lisa loves:

  • Running in the sun (if only the race circuit would start again!)
  • That ‘aha’ moment that happens when teaching and learning
  • Subtly honing her (very amateur) photography skills
  • Collecting sea glass by the seashore
Asli Kucukbumin
Asli KucukbuminMember at large

Asli Kucukbumin, M.A, R.C.C.

Member at Large
She / Her

Asli is a Registered Clinical Counsellor who has worked with people impacted by trauma for 15 years. After completing her Masters Degree in Counselling Psychology at UBC, she continued studying different modalities in trauma counselling. The more she immersed herself in the topic, the more she valued the role of yoga, which led her to travel to Bali to study yoga. Asli feels passionate about social justice. Although she has enjoyed working at a local hospital and at her own private practice during the last three years including the pandemic, she missed being a part of the not for profit world. She is excited to serve on the board of Yoga Outreach as it is a not for profit agency that beautifully connects her interests in yoga, healing and social justice.

Asli loves:

  • Spending time with her family and friends
  • Dogs! (she says hello to every dog she walks by)
  • Travelling (she has been to 30 countries)
  • Learning (she has three degrees, multiple diplomas and certificates)
  • Walking/reading by the ocean (a dog park by the ocean even better!)
Farah Nazarali
Farah NazaraliMember at large | Training Faculty

Farah Nazarali

Member at Large | Training Faculty
She / Her

Farah is also an advocate of natural medicine and yogic practices that support healing. She has received her Certificate in Non-Violent Communication and is currently working towards her Certificate in Conflict Resolution at the Justice Institute. She is a pioneer in integrating Eastern wisdom with conflict resolution and has developed a 5-week Workshop Series called Heart of Conflict that integrates conflict resolution, non-violent communication and yogic practices. She teaches workshops, Trainings, and Retreats and produces video podcasts for Banyen Books and Sound.
Farah loves:

  • Forest gazing
  • Ocean bathing

TRAINING PROGRAMS