YIHA is steered by a collection of leading yoga experts. The remit of the Yoga in Healthcare Alliance Directors is to steer the vision and aims of YIHA, including dissemination of relevant research, development and implementation of training programmes for yoga practitioners offering yoga in health care settings, development and implementation of yoga-based interventions in health care settings, and lobbying for amendments and development of policy at the local and national level.
Heather Mason is the founder of The Minded Institute, an organisation that develops and researches innovative treatment programs for chronic mental and physical health problems based on a fusion of yoga therapy, mindfulness, psychotherapy, and neuroscience. The Institute’s main activity is training yoga teachers and health professionals to use evidence-based mind-body skills with clinical population. Heather holds an MA in Buddhist Studies, and MA in Psychotherapy, an MSc in Medical Physiology, and has undertaken extensive academic training in neuroscience. She is also a yoga therapist, 500 registered yoga teacher, and holds an MBCT training certificate from Bangor University. Previously, Heather created and taught a class at the Boston University School of Medicine on mind-body medicine to first and second year medical students, developed and delivered a mind-body science course for the first MSc in yoga therapy in the USA at The Maryland University of Integrated Medicine, and has lectured on Harvard Medical School’s mind-body medicine course. She is actively involved in bringing collaboration to the UK yoga community, including organising national conferences and community events, lecturing on the science of yoga in the UK and beyond, and regularly speaks at the APPG on bridging the world of yoga and medicine.
Paul Fox is the Chair of the British Wheel of Yoga, the Sport England appointed Governing Body for yoga. He is also Chair of British Wheel of Yoga Qualifications – an Ofqual-regulated Awarding Organisation that holds the BWYQ Level 4 Certificate and Diploma in Teaching Yoga (foundation degree level). Paul has been studying yoga for 21 years and teaching for 18. He holds three yoga teaching qualifications; BWY Diploma, John Scott Ashtanga Yoga and Yoga Sports Science Yoga Sports Coach. He is a BWY Diploma Course Tutor and has trained over 100 yoga teachers. Paul holds the PGCE in the Lifelong Learning Sector and has produced two DVDs on yoga and written the yoga novel, Yoga Quest. Paul has a specialist interest in anatomy and physiology and the science of yoga and has studied with David Keil and Dr Ruth Gilmore. BWY has funded yoga academic research into the benefits of practice, lower back pain management and yoga for the Gentle Years.
Sat Bir Singh Khalsa, Ph.D. has conducted research on yoga for physical and psychological health since 2001 and is a practitioner / instructor of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan since 1971. He is Research Director for the Kundalini Research Institute and the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. His research trials have evaluated yoga for insomnia, chronic stress, anxiety spectrum disorders, and mental health in schools. Dr. Khalsa works with the International Association of Yoga Therapists promoting yoga research as scientific director for the annual Symposium on Yoga Research and editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Yoga Therapy. He is author of the Harvard Medical School ebook Your Brain on Yoga, and chief editor of the medical textbook The Principles and Practice of Yoga in Health Care.
Robin started as research molecular biologist and then shifted to yoga therapy, following cure of asthma by yoga. In 1983 he founded Yoga Biomedical Trust (1983) after training with leading yoga therapists from SVYASA and KaivalyadhamaIn 1990 he pioneered book on yoga therapy: Nagarathna R, Nagendra HR and Monro R Yoga for Common Ailments. GAIA Books (1990). Dr Robin Monro is credited with establishing the UK’s first Yoga Therapy Diploma Course (trained over 100 professional yoga therapy practitioners). His current focus is the research and development of yoga therapy for LBP and he is devoted to bringing together medical science and yoga.
Nicole is a psychotherapist, a 200-hour yoga teacher and a trainee child psychologist at the Tavistock. She currently divides her time between her doctoral studies, her position as a trustee of the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation and her facilitation of the Eat Breath Thrive yoga programme for food and body image issues. In addition to her contribution to writing projects at the Minded Institute, she also works with Special Yoga Foundation in London. Nicole has authored a book on transpersonal modes of healing, including yoga, for food and body image struggles entitled False Bodies, True Selves: Moving Beyond Appearance-Focused Identity Struggles and Returning to the True Self and co-edited a book on Body Dysmorphic Disorder: Reflections on Body Dysmorphic Disorder: Stories of Courage, Determination and Hope. She is passionate about sharing the benefits of yoga with people struggling with their mental and emotional health, having found yoga to be hugely transformative in her own emergence beyond years of anorexia.
Emily Brett is a yoga teacher and the founding CEO of Ourmala, the charity that help refugees and people seeking asylum integrate into British society. Therapeutic Yoga is at the heart of their approach. Most people Ourmala works with are registered with the UK Home Office and have survived atrocities such as torture, sexual violence in war and human trafficking. Emily specialises in teaching yoga to this group. She has practiced yoga since 1999, holds a 500 Hour Yoga Teaching Diploma from British Wheel of Yoga, has studied Yoga & PTSD with The Minded Institute as well as other institutions, and has taught and studied internationally. Emily has an MA in Creative Writing, a BA in English and her professional background includes journalism and work as a senior consultant in strategic global communications for one of the world’s largest mining companies focused on sustainable development, security and human rights.