Meet Our Advisors

People that care and help us find our way.


Lisa Walford holds an Intermediate Senior II Iyengar teaching certificate and has been teaching yoga in Los Angeles since 1982. She continues her studies annually with the Iyengars, in Pune, India, and teaches worldwide.

Lisa is on the Board of the not-for-profit organization Iyengar Yoga Therapeutics and the Iyengar Yoga Association of Los Angeles.She was the curriculum director for the Teacher Training Program at YogaWorks through 2006, and was instrumental in its development. She is on the advisory board of the International Association of Yoga Therapists and the Yoga Studies program at Loyola Marymount University. Lisa has a BA from UCLA and is co-author of The Longevity Diet, now in its second edition, and The Anti-Aging Plan

PREMAL SHAH, Co-Founder & President,

Premal co-founded in 2005, which now loans microfinance to 2.4 million people in 83 countries, in total of over 984 million dollars as of 2017. Repayment rate is 97.1 %. Premal’s inspiration for Kiva came during a 2-month volunteer trip he took to India in 2004. During his trip he worked with low-income women to help them sell handcrafts online. While the project had mixed results, it strengthened his belief that the right combination of technology, business and love can create access to opportunity for those who need it most.

Prior to Kiva, Premal worked at PayPal for 6 years as Principal Product Manager during the company’s early years. He was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and to FORTUNE magazine’s ‘Top 40 under 40’ list for his work as a social entrepreneur and co-founder of Kiva. He is a graduate of Stanford University.


“I believe in the power of yoga to re-center ourselves and connect with the divinity within us and more importantly, within each other. When we give, it not only helps someone else but just as importantly, it helps us spiritually grow. YGB is one of my opportunities to spiritually gro



Gurmukh is the co-founder of Golden Bridge, the premier center for the study and practice of Kundalini Yoga and Meditation as taught by Yogi Bhajan. For more than four decades students in Los Angeles and around the world have sought out her classes in Kundalini Yoga, Meditation, and Prenatal and Postnatal Yoga. Since being baptized more than 40 years ago with the spiritual name that means, “One who helps thousands across the world ocean,” Gurmukh has dedicated her life to fulfilling her namesake. As two of the world`s leading Kundalini Yoga teachers, she and her husband Gurushabd travel worldwide, bringing this vast Technology and Teachers’ Training Programs to students globally in the U.S.A., Mexico, Europe, Russia, India, and South Africa. She is the creator and pioneer of The Khalsa Way Prenatal Teachers’ Training Immersion. 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 schools and orphanages in India. Her Spiritual Teacher Yogi Bhajan taught, “We have come to create teachers, not to have students.” She has dedicated her life to the Teachings of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan.


David began his journey of Yoga in 1969 when he and his brother Doug practiced in a small park at the end of their street in Houston, Texas. There were few sources for yoga at that time so they practiced from whatever books they could find. In 1973 David discovered Ashtanga after he met David Williams and Nancy Gilgoff in Encinitas, CA. In 1975 David and Nancy brought K. Pattabhi Jois to the U.S. for the first time and Swenson was fortunate enough to be there. He then initiated studies directly with the master. He made his first trip to Mysore in 1977. David is one of only a handful of Westerners to have learned the full Ashtanga system including all of the asana sequences and pranayama as originally taught by K. Pattabhi Jois. Today David is recognized as one of the world’s foremost practitioners and instructors of Ashtanga Yoga. He tirelessly travels year round to teach and offer workshops. His courses are presented in a supportive and compassionate fashion making it accessible to all  levels of practitioner to participate.


“We should give back. We are so blessed to be able to practice yoga. Then what? We should take this positive energy and find a way to use it in some way. There are a lot of ways to do that. Yoga Gives Back is a very targeted, exact method. When you support this organization, you know exactly what’s happening. You can see them on the website, photos, etc. Get involved, even a small amount of money goes a long way. It’s a wonderful organization. Just give back in a way you can.”


Pranidhi Varshney is a devoted Ashtanga yoga practitioner and teacher, and the founder of Yoga Shala West, a community-supported Ashtanga yoga shala in West Los Angeles. She met Manju Jois early on in her journey, and he continues to be her teacher and mentor. Pranidhi teaches to share the love she has for Ashtanga yoga and for all students who follow this path. She aims to cultivate, for herself and for her students, a sense of balance on and off the mat—simultaneous strength and surrender. Her goal is to inspire her students to build a regular practice, for committing to practice is the surest way she’s found to live an authentic, compassionate life.

Pranidhi writes regularly, has released an album of Sanskrit chanting, and is active in the global yoga community, working as a Yoga Gives Backambassador and sitting on the advisory board of the Yoga and Body Image Coalition. She also works with Service Space to continue to ignite transformation in herself and others. Through all her work, she aims to build community and touch the heart.



Professor Braun is Director of the Asia-Pacific Centre for Women & Technology, one of ten globally networked centres focusing on mainstreaming women in the knowledge economy, and Adjunct Professor with the Collaborative Research Network at the University of Ballarat in Victoria, Australia.  Patrice holds a PhD in regional network development underpinned by information and communication technologies (ICT) and a Masters by Research on the use of the Internet for community informatics. A globally engaged action researcher, her work in sustainable regional development and social enterprise focuses on women’s empowerment and inclusive entrepreneurship.  Patrice consults with government, NFPs and industry both in Australia and abroad on gender and SME policy, networks, collaboration and ICT for Development (ICTD) processes for regional resilience and community well-being.


“Women and girls’ empowerment is my passion. I support YGB as this brilliantly simple idea is an effective way to support our sisters in India to develop to their full potential.”
SUSAN NICHOLS, Founder/CEO NEWHIPPIE ®, Former CEO/Founder yogitoes®


Susan created the global brand yogitoes® after slipping on her yoga mat recognizing an unmet need, and followed an unknown path of designing a patented yoga towel which then revolutionized the industry, making a yoga towel a ubiquitous tool in the marketplace. Her leadership at yogitoes® was deeply rooted in sustainability for change, and the company was honored the 2013 Sustainable Quality Award Grand Prize in Santa Monica from the State of California for Excellence in Sustainable Economic Development, Social Responsibility, and Stewardship of the Environment.


“Yoga is a foundation for life’s journey. It enables us to truly see our connection to one another, and empowers oneself to break free from limitations fulfilling our Souls calling. When you grow, I grow, we grow. Yoga Gives Back is a beautiful exchange of growth, empowering women and children with a foundation for a sustainable future. I am deeply grateful for my practice of yoga, it is the core foundation of my success as an Entrepreneur, and I love that YGB is igniting female Entrepreneurs in our Motherland India.”


Melvyn Carlile is the CEO of the legendary Mind Body Spirit Festival, a global brand that for the past 37 years has stood as a catalyst for personal transformation, change, health and wellbeing. Melvyn has a large network of well-connected shakers and movers all dedicated to bringing about real change and empowerment. “I’m no Yogi but most of my good friends and brothers are so I guess I’m a little bit yogic by association”

Melvyn’s other skills involve marketing, documentary production and visual communications.

“I truly believe in the concepts, core ethics and actions of YGB. Personally I only get involved with organisations that touch my heart and can deliver support to those in need and not just support in the form of a sticking plaster, but real empowering solutions for change, hope and a better life. The Micro-financing incentives and opportunities made possible by YGB offer independence and the prospect of security to thousands of women throughout India and because of that I AM IN.”
RAJ JASWA, Board of Trustees, The Indus Enterprises (TiE) Global; CEO and President, Dyyno, Inc.


Raj was the President of TiE Silicon Valley from 2005 to 2008, the world largest nonprofit dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship. TiE was founded by successful Indian entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley in 1992, which now operates in 12 countries with 11, 000memers. Raj received a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. Raj and wife Kalpana have charitable interests through the Jaswa Charitable Foundation, whose primary beneficiaries include El Camino Hospital SAHC, India Community Center, the Blind Foundation for India, Chinmaya Mission, and Bidada Medical Camp. Raj studies Yoga diligently with Arkady Shirin and Sherry Han.


“We do Yoga to re-discover the limitless capabilities that nature had endowed our body and our mind. Somewhere along our journey through life, we lose our way. And our body and mind becomes the sad reflection of our confusions. Yoga gives us a step by step method, to use our own body and our own mind, to rediscover our true self and start enjoying the gifts of nature. Sharing the bounties of what Yoga gives us, unveils the truth that we are all manifestations of one universal spirit. When we help others, we help ourselves.”
JULIA WILSON, Former Vice President, University Advancement, CSU Channel Islands; Former Executive Director, Grameen Foundation West Coast


Retired after 25 years of non-profit fund raising, Wilson is now consulting with organizations that work in areas of poverty alleviation, mostly focused around healthcare and education for women and girls as a means of social change. In previous roles she worked with Grameen Foundation and Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Laureate for his pioneering work in micro finance, to bring awareness and resources to the lack of status and opportunity for poor women.


“I joined Grameen Foundation in 2007 because I believed strongly in the power of microfinance and its role in the empowerment of women. In May of that year, Kayoko approached me about establishing a relationship between the Foundation and Yoga. I was thrilled that such committed individuals would bring the Yoga community to support the movement. Yoga enthusiasts understand the importance of healing the spirit and nothing heals the spirit of impoverished families more than a woman’s ability to support her children. I have seen it first-hand and I am pleased to continue my work with Yoga Gives Back as an advisor.”


Kino MacGregor is an international yoga teacher, author of two books (Sacred Fire, The Power of Ashtanga Yoga), producer of six Ashtanga Yoga DVDs, writer, vlogger, world traveler, co-founder of Miami Life Center and founder of Miami Yoga Magazine. Her YouTube channel reached more than 8 million views. She is one of a select group of people to receive the Certification to teach Ashtanga Yoga by its founder Sri K. Pattabhi Jois in Mysore, India and practices through the Fourth Series of Ashtanga Yoga. Her website is


“The daily practice of Ashtanga Yoga has transformed my life and through Yoga Gives Back I have the chance to give something back to the home of Ashtanga Yoga in the world in India. For as little as the cost of one yoga class you can change someone’s life in India. Yoga helps Westerners find peace and thus make their lives more sustainable. With the power of micro-financing Yoga Gives Back helps Indian women gain access to opportunities that would otherwise simply not exist. I am honored to do what I can for Yoga Gives Back.”


Tara is a philanthropist, activist, educator and practitioner of yoga for nearly 40 years, Tara Lynda Guber is author of Contact Yoga, the acclaimed guide for utilizing yoga to strengthen relationships, romantic and familial, which earned  several awards including a gold Independent Publisher Book Award and a Nautilus Book Award. Tara has been a prominent health and wellness advocate for decades, and regularly traveled to teach at education facilities such as Kripalu Center, the Esalen Institute, and Omega, along with yoga conferences across the U.S., Canada and Europe. A former elementary school teacher, in 2001 she founded YogaEd, one of the first full-time yoga programs to be integrated in a public school, designed to help children explore body, mind and self, and improve their mental focus, academic achievement and relationships. Prior to founding YogaEd, she co-founded Education First!, which successfully produced television programming including a two-hour educational special ,“Back To School” for CBS.  With her husband Peter Guber, CEO of Mandalay Entertainment Group, they are owners of the Los Angeles Dodgers (MLB) and Golden State Warriors (NBA), with Tara serving  on the board of the Golden State Warriors Foundation, which works to promote sports and health via youth programs.  Also a member of the UCLA Health board and the Joyful Heart Foundation board, she is a founding member of the board of directors of The Accelerated School, the charter school in South Central Los Angeles named “Elementary School of the Year” by Time magazine. Tara Guber resides in Los Angeles.

“I support Yoga Gives Back as an amazing program that supports children and women and India towards creating sustainable livelihoods. I have a deep connection with yoga, and it’s birthplace, India. What better way to connect than through an organization that offers ways to improve the future of both of those?”

MALLIKA CHOPRA, Founder of Intent and The Chopra Well


Mallika Chopra is a mom, media entrepreneur, public speaker and published author. Her most recent book, Living With Intent: My Somewhat Messy Journey to Purpose, Peace and Joy, was published in April 2015.


Mallika is the founder of, a website and app focused on personal, social and global wellness. Her intent is to harness the power of social media to connect people from around the world to improve their own lives, their communities and the planet.


“I support YGB because of the work they do to support women and children in need. Kayoko, her team, and the many supporters of YGB’s programs embody an authentic understanding that yoga is about service, not just to ourselves, but to our world. Their programs educate and empower, and support real transformation for individuals and communities.”


Komnieve is a meditator, motivator and entrepreneur based in Southern California. Most recently, he served as the President and co-founder of CallFire, a software company that was named one of the top 5 places to work in Los Angeles as well as one of the 500 fastest growing companies in the United States by both Inc. Magazine and Delloite Consulting. Prior to CallFire, he founded an open source focused telecom consultancy. He now finds himself deepening in stillness and contemplation while applying his business acumen to helping socially conscious organizations make an impact.

Tina Beck, a seasoned marketing professional, provides top-tier marketing and public relations services which have achieved superior results in building client brands, obtaining new customers and funding, and executing strategic marketing campaigns. Tina has worked for and with clients and businesses throughout multiple industries which include both local, national, and international firms in the areas of health and wellness, fitness, travel and leisure, culinary arts, fashion, not-for-profit, arts entertainment, finance, real estate, and home building. Her resume includes positions of prominence within the marketing and public relations field including those of Owner/President – Tina Beck Marketing and Public Relations; Chief Operating Officer – Thornton Creative; Director of Marketing – LTS Builders and The Synchrium Group; Publisher – Broad Street Magazines Division, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Vice President and Group Publisher – North American Publishing Company. With specialization in the fields of public relations, media relations, social marketing, copy writing, multimedia campaign development, event management, fundraising, and specialty promotions, Tina established a proven track record of capable, results-driven, and client focused achievement.


“The well-loved (and my personal favorite) yoga mantra of ‘Root Down, Rise Up’ comes to mind when asked why I want to support YGB. The YGB mission to honor India where the roots of yoga remain planted by providing the means to assist generations in rising up to achieve and create a new legacy for themselves and their families – – this mission is one that I respect for its purity of intent and I can not help but be called to participate, support, and volunteer in any way possible.”
SUZY SHELTON, Freelance Business Consultant


Suzy is a free-lance business consultant specializing in the yoga and wellness industry. She began her career in advertising running major accounts such as Hyundai, Disney and Mattel. Most recently she managed the Los Angeles studio Maha Yoga for nearly 12 years. Suzy has consulted with 5 Point Yoga in Malibu, Yoga Matt Studio in Silverlake, Black Sheet Yoga in Oceanside, Unplug Meditation in West Los Angeles and Electric Soul Yoga in Studio City. Suzy has studied yoga philosophy at Loyola Marymount University, the Sivananda Yoga Center and the New Dwarka Temple. She completed a 200-hour Yoga Alliance yoga teacher training with Travis Eliot and Rudy Mettia. A dedicated volunteer, Suzy has given her time to causes such as the Downtown Women’s Center in Skid Row Los Angeles, KCRW Radio Station and the City of Santa Monica. She is currently a volunteer with Reading Partners helping to unlock skills of students who struggle with reading.


“The principles of yoga inherently lend themselves to flexing the muscle of gratitude. It is with this sense of gratitude that Yoga Gives Back identifies and honors the birthplace of yoga. In our Western culture of abundance and accumulation, pure joy is instantly achieved when your strengths are used to help those whose lives are impacted with the gift of time, knowledge and the cultivation of selflessness.”
DR. SIVA MOHAN, Ayurvedic Practitioner, Svastha Health Ayurvedic Wellness


Siva began her path to healing in neuroscience, and this sparked her interest in the mind-body connection. In Medical School (Cornell University Weill Medical College) and during her Public Health Masters (UC Berkeley), she focused her studies on an extension of the mind-body relationship: the effects of community, development, and culture on health behavior.


“I believe in increasing our awareness of energetic exchanges; of how they feel; of aligning our actions, words, and intentions to have our energetic exchanges feel good. This is the essence of the mission of YGB to me, a harmonious energetic exchange with Mother India. And thus, I support YGB because it feels good and aligned for me, someone who has benefitted greatly from and feels deeply interconnected to the wisdom born of Mother India.”
LUCY BILLINGSLEY, Board of Directors, Grameen Foundation


Lucy Billingsley is known for her enthusiasm for microfinance as a business solution to poverty, and her energetic involvement in Chiapas, Mexico. In just four years, she raised more than four million dollars for the Latin America initiative, specifically to finance micro loans for her Chiapas Project. Lucy serves on Grameen Foundation’s Board and Development Committee. Lucy has more than 25 years of experience in real estate with expertise in development and property management. She is also an avid yoga practitioner with teacher Randy Justis at BKS Iyengar yoga Studio of Dallas.


“As yoga represents the union of our internal and external lives, microfinance and Yoga Gives Back represents the union of those of us so fortunate in the US with others less fortunate across the world. We become united in our joint mission to make the lives of our families and our world be better. We are linked as neither of us can change the world without the other. We must be an integrated whole working as one.”

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