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 MA, MA, MSc 500 RYT, YT
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 a former Chair of the British Wheel of Yoga, the Sport England appointed Governing Body for yoga. He is also a past 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 24 years and teaching for 20. 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
Sat Bir Singh Khalsa, Ph.D. is Director of Yoga Research for the Yoga Alliance and the Kundalini Research Institute, and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He has conducted research on yoga and yoga therapy since 2001 and has been a practitioner/instructor of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan since 1971. His research has evaluated yoga for insomnia, chronic stress, and anxiety-related disorders, and in the workplace and public schools. He 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 medical editor of the Harvard Medical School Special Report Introduction to Yoga, and chief editor of the medical textbook The Principles and Practice of Yoga in Health Care.
Robin Monro, Phd
Robin started as a research molecular biologist but shifted to yoga therapy, following cure of his asthma by yoga therapy. He founded the Yoga Biomedical Trust in 1983. Having trained with leading yoga therapists from Kaivalyadhama and SVYASA, he co-authored an early book on yoga therapy: Nagarathna R, Nagendra HR and Monro R, Yoga for Common Ailments (1990). He is credited with establishing the UK’s first Yoga Therapy Diploma Course (trained over 100 professional yoga therapy practitioners). His overall concern is the enrichment of modern healthcare through the insights and practices of yoga. His current focus is on the early detection and yoga treatment of herniated disc in low back pain for the prevention of long-term disability.
Dr Nicole Schnackenberg is a child, community and educational psychologist and certified as both a Hatha and Kundalini yoga teacher. She has undertaken varied training in yoga therapy and is a facilitator of the Eat Breathe Thrive yoga programme for food and body image struggles.
Nicole currently divides her time between working as an educational psychologist in Southend, teaching Kundalini yoga and her trusteeships of the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation and the Give Back Yoga Foundation UK. She has authored books on transpersonal modes of healing: ‘False Bodies, True Selves: Moving Beyond Appearance-Focused Identity Struggles and Returning to the True Self’ and ‘Bodies Arising: Fall in Love with your Body and Remember your Divine Essence’. She has also co-authored ‘The Parent’s Guide to Body Dysmorphic Disorder’ and co-edited, ‘Reflections on Body Dysmorphic Disorder: Stories of Courage, Determination and Hope’.
Nicole has a passion for mantra and a special interest in the benefits of yoga for mental health, particularly in the areas of body dysmorphia, disordered eating and autism spectrum conditions.