Meet The Team
We are the heart beat that is Yoga Gives Back. With the support of all everyone else we are stronger and beter focused to help grow and support this great organization.
Prior to moving to the USA in 1992, Kayoko was a producer/director for NHK Japan’s National Public Broadcaster, working on prime time national broadcast current affairs and documentary television programs for seven years; and cultural attaché at the Embassy of Japan in London for two years. Her passion for documentary filmmaking to bridge diverse values and cultures are rooted in the perspective gained from years of living abroad including Australia, Brazil, United Kingdom and USA.
Kayoko co-founded Yoga Gives Back in 2007, from her yoga class in Los Angeles, which has now grown to a global campaign.
Pritha Ogden is a Senior Analyst in the Distribution & Strategy group at arthouse film studio Focus Features. Prior to her current role, she spent 3 years in the Private Wealth Management division at Goldman Sachs. Currently a Thousand Oaks resident, Pritha is a proud Jersey girl who originally hails from the colorful and bumbling city of Calcutta, West Bengal. In her spare time, Pritha likes to go to the movies (a lot), travel the world and try new and interesting cardio pursuits!
Caroline is a yogi, dancer and filmmaker who started doing yoga in college. After struggles with anxiety, yoga and meditation became and integral part of her health and life. As a lover of living mindfully, she has recently quit her full time job and embarked on a journey as a yoga teacher and freelance filmmaker. Eager to give back to Mother India and spread the gift of yoga – Caroline is excited to bring movement, rhythm, breath, compassion and rhythm to her students.
Leah graduated from Clark University with a BA in Psychology and MBA in Global Business. After moving to New York in 2004 and beginning a career underwriting specialized insurance, she was blessed to discover Yoga which provided much needed balance to her life. She is so grateful for the mental and physical clarity engendered by the practice, and all the innovators and teachers who have allowed so many people to reap its myriad of benefits. It always puts a smile on her face to see the positive impact of those who practice and the peace they promote in others as a result. She is also happiest when capturing the world’s beauty through photography, creating it through decorating and gardening, and experiencing it when playing with her son.
Elina had her first yoga class 4 years ago in a heated room Bikram style and has since go on to complete her 200 hours yoga teacher training in Vinyasa Flow in 2013. A keen traveller and avid lover of the sea, Elina tries to incorporate yoga in her life as much as possible; from visiting yoga studios in every foreign location she is in, SUP yoga to trying out underwater yoga poses whilst scuba diving (for laughs). Yoga has had a tremendous positive impact on her life, body, mind and spirit – and Elina wants to share this with her family/friends and beyond.
Anand Varadaraj is the Co-founder and Managing Partner of Ecoforge Advisors Pvt Ltd. He has a background in renewable energy and Sustainability related projects.
Anand has a Post Graduation in Management Studies with a Bachelor Degree in Mathematics, Statistics and Economics.
Prior to EcoForge, Anand worked in GENPACT, A GE Company, where he worked on Business Market Intelligence projects in GE Aviation. He also worked on GE’s Ecomagination Project on Wind Power turbines. He worked on background research on cost-effective model wind power in the world’s energy portfolio for GE. He has also worked on projects with livelihoods initiatives, Training rural women panchayat members and advising farmers in water shed programs in rural Bangalore, India. On the board of Bangalore based NGO Vidyanikethan, he advises on development of the NGO in socio-economic sectors. He started a program for the Ngo’s School students through corporate funding.
Anand regularly participates in conferences on renewable energy. He was invited to UN conferences on Climate change both at Bangkok and at Copenhagen. He was also interviewed by BBC London for his participation in COP15. He is also TiE member and organizes Environmental related events for them. Anand also works with International TV on Business news reports.
Anand is actively involved in finding and following existing projects of YGB in India.
Yuki is a freelance journalist contributing to Japanese magazines, newspapers and websites. Before moving to the U.S., she was an editor of a monthly women’s magazine in Tokyo. Yuki first explored yoga in 2000 at a West Hollywood gym. She thought yoga would be too easy for those who love a vigorous workout (like herself), but she gave it a try anyway, and was surprised at how hard it could be. But what really got her into it was the fact that it wasn’t a mere physical workout. The more she realized how deep it was, the further she wanted to study it. Soon she abandoned the gym for a yoga studio, and since 2001, has been practicing Ashtanga yoga exclusively.
Yoga was an integral part of Anita’s upbringing, raised by a yoga teacher/yoga therapist in Los Angeles. She is currently completing a six month, 200-hour Iyengar style yoga teacher training at Casey Health Institute, moving toward qualification to teach a sexually traumatized adolescent population. Through yoga’s philosophical framework Anita found her direction in public health early on, and in recent years discovered that this would be in an entrepreneurial capacity of making health education for young people accessible and engaging on a wide scale. She graduated from The New School in New York City with a self-designed degree in Health Education & Business, and now lives in Washington, DC where she is building a new YGB network and co-organizing DC’s first YGB fundraiser event (coming up in September!).
Midori is a passionate holistic wellness practitioner and a yogi, who will help with the Japanese translation of YGB contents and more.
Aditi is a 200+ hour registered yoga teacher and primarily teaches in New York City. As a yogi and teacher, she values creatvity, playfulness, self-discovery and alignment on and off of the mat. Yoga helps us find the thread between our bodies, minds, spirits and minds, so that when we create space in our bodies, we can find the space to live with grace, love and laughter.
Donnatella was introduced to Yoga in January 2013 and since her first yoga class Donnatella’s mat is never too far away. Her daily practice is at Hot8Yoga in Beverly Hills and she loved it so much she successfully completed her 200 hour Hot Power Yoga Teacher Training Certification in August 2013 and now teachers Power yoga to a variety of groups in LA. Donatella is so pleased she found YGB, the people, the work and the ethos of the charity is so powerful, it got her like yoga and is so grateful YGB is a part of her life.
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