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Team

 Volunteer Highlight:

Jonathan Quintanilla, 1+ years of volunteer service with BKY

My name is Jonathan Quintanilla and I am a high school foreign language teacher. As an educator and avid yogi, I have chosen to volunteer at Bliss Kid Yoga because it has given me the opportunity to work alongside kids in a welcoming environment that encourages them to cultivate healthy and meaningful habits–from fostering an interest in yoga and making better food choices to promoting mindful and positive attitudes.


Founder and Executive Director, Katherine Banker

“It is an honor to share yoga with the community and witness children grow in confidence and compassion, families bond and de-stress, and teachers take the time to recharge and renew.”

My passion for yoga started early in my teaching career. I worked long hours, and began to feel disconnected from friends and family. After exploring many options, I began a daily yoga practice and started applying yogic techniques to my teaching. I saw the benefits unfold not only for myself but my students and was inspired to create a children’s yoga program based on inclusion and mindfulness.

In my late 20’s, I discovered I had Spina Bifida, a congenital spine disorder. I underwent spine surgery and turned to my yoga practice as a way to heal. Yoga was pivotal in my recovery and I became driven to make this gift accessible to others. It is my dream that everyone has the opportunity to reap the benefits of yoga no matter age, ability, background or income.

When I am not practicing or teaching yoga you can find me relaxing at the greenbelt with my puppy Kash, my husband Charlie and our foster children. To learn more about my journey, visit www.katherinebanker.com or contact me at katherine@blisskidyoga.com.


Cathy is in the middle with her niece on the left and Katherine Banker to the right.

Board President, Catherine Kline

“I am passionate about helping to provide all children with the opportunity to develop skills to excel in life.”

As a teacher, it was obvious that all children need to develop the tools to help calm the stressors of everyday life.  I envision children of all abilities and socio-economic levels learning, practicing, and enjoying the benefits yoga has to offer. Developing mindfulness is a primary goal of yoga and it is something every child can achieve.  As Goldie Hahn says “learn to give yourself a brain rest.”

I was born with a congenital heart defect that affected pulmonary function, and have struggled with respiratory health all my life.  Exploration of many exercise regimes have led back to yoga. Yoga and meditation  have been instrumental in my journey to health.  I believe all children can make use of yoga tools too.

My husband, Chuck, and I have 3 children between us and 3 beautiful granddaughters.  We retired to Austin after an extended period in the Middle East., but spend the hottest part of the year in mid-coast Maine. I am an avid knitter and aspiring weaver.  We both find great joy in volunteering, playing golf, travel, and gardening.  Contact me at president@blisskidyoga.com.


mindy-47_2

Board Vice President, Mindy Stoddart

“Yoga gives children and families an accessible, sustainable way to build emotional intelligence, which is known to be a key component to personal and professional success in adulthood.”

Mindy is a former education editor who balances her work with Bliss Kid Yoga with parenting her two children, taking an active role in her east-side community, and teaching family yoga classes. As the mom of a child with autism, Mindy loves to learn about how yoga affects the brain and nervous system and what that means for raising healthy, happy people. She feels called to work with Bliss Kid Yoga because our programs extend yoga and mindfulness to families and communities that might not otherwise have access to these classes, including families with special needs and sensory-sensitive children. Contact me at vp@blisskidyoga.com.


Board Treasurer, Sanda Alexander

“I believe that starting a yoga practice in childhood provides tools to help manage anxiety levels and improve mental health throughout life.”

I joined the Bliss Kid Yoga team because I recognize the long-term impact this organization will have on our community and it is exciting to see these classes available to children of all backgrounds and abilities.  My own children started yoga classes when they were 3 years old and I have seen what a great tool it has been for them to handle daily frustrations and stressors as they grow.  Mindful breathing and knowing when they need to step away and calm their bodies has been helpful to them, especially as they navigate their school days.

My husband and I moved to the Austin area in 2006 and quickly realized what a great place it would be to raise a family.  We enjoy spending time with our twin boys in the numerous parks and on the extensive hiking and biking trails. Please reach out to me at treasurer@blisskidyoga.com.


 

Board Secretary, Randi Sather

“I believe in the power of cultivating mindfulness and connection with the body through yoga and am dedicated to making yoga available to all, especially those who may not have the opportunity to practice it otherwise.”

I am proud to serve as Secretary of Bliss Kid Yoga and share my passion for yoga with children, families, and educators in the Austin community. As a children’s yoga teacher and an elementary school librarian, I love to incorporate books & stories into my yoga classes as well as mindfulness & movement into my library lessons. Especially in contrast to the technology-rich age in which we live, yoga offers kids a space to explore storytelling, imaginative play, and physical movement all while learning valuable character building and wellness enhancing skills. I am also a strong believer in empowering parents and teachers through yoga & mindfulness. Considering the impact these adults have, it’s crucial they have the necessary tools to create positive change in their own lives and in the lives of the children they reach. The classes I offer are bilingual (English/Spanish) and I make every effort to make yoga available to everyone, regardless of language, background, or income level.

In my free time, I love to read, cook, dance/Zumba and practice yoga. Travel is also important to me and I spend most summers passport in hand. Contact me at secretary@blisskidyoga.com or connect through twitter @SatherYoga. Hablo español.


Board Member, Elizabeth Jameson

“Yoga helps us authentically relate with one another and build relationships through mindful connections. When yoga is accessible to all, it strengthens families, and builds communities.”

I began my yoga practice to relieve stress when I was working as a preschool teacher and needed to unwind after busy days.  I did not anticipate the effect it would have on my connections with children. I was more present in moments, I was better able to regulate my responses and model  emotional intelligence, and I approached my work with more kindness. I knew that families would benefit immensely from the lessons I was learning, and I was excited to share my knowledge.

I joined Bliss Kid Yoga as a teacher, sharing yoga with young students and their families.  I have witnessed first hand the growth in self-confidence, the deepening of trust, and the building of stronger relationships resulting from a yoga practice.  As a board member, I am better able to serve and expand our offerings.  My background in psychology draws me to the healing aspects of yoga, and I am working to bring our programs to Austin’s more vulnerable youth.  Healthy children and families build strong communities, and I am honored to be a part of the process.

Contact Elizabeth at boardmember1@blisskidyoga.com .

 

 

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