Jacoby Ballard, E-RYT 500, is a white working-class queer transperson who has been teaching yoga for 15 years and practicing western herbalism for 10 years. He is the co-founder of Third Root Community Health Center, a worker-owned cooperative holistic health center in Brooklyn that opened in 2008. He is also the National Program Coordinator of Third Root Education Exchange, the non-profit branch of Third Root, which conducts diversity trainings for yoga teachers around the country facilitated by a pair skilled yoga teachers and social justice facilitators. Jacoby is Faculty with Off the Mat, Into the World and on the Advisory Board of the Yoga Service Council, working within the dynamic interstices of justice and mindfulness. He has received training by Kashi Atlanta, Kripalu, the Northeast School of Botanical Medicine, the Dinacharya School of Ayurveda, the Lineage Project, Off the Mat, Into the World, Yoga for 12-Step Recovery, Street Yoga, Insight Meditation Society, and the Challenging Male Supremacy Project. Currently, primary inquiries in Jacoby‘s healing justice work is around balancing self care and community care. www.jacobyballard.com
Skeeter honours the peaceful warrior nature that is uniquely revealed in each of us, on this journey through the different shapes that yoga can take. Skeeter’s purpose is to create a safe space for all students to arrive on their mat, practice the beautiful art of unfoldment and connection to true authentic self that is free of shame, judgement & self doubt.
Skeeter very much enjoys the emotional evolution that comes from the practice and the community it draws around itself.
Meet Deontré Martin, yogi, writer, activist, and student of his queer Oakland/bay area community. Deontré is the founder of “i freaking love yoga”, a weekly, all-inclusive qtpoc-centered yoga gathering in West Oakland’s Lower Bottoms neighborhood. His connection to yoga began in 2006, realizing it’s potential for self-reflection after a particularly painful breakup. In 2008, Deontré dedicated a year to becoming a studio apprentice and completing a 200-hour ashtanga yoga teacher training. He enjoys the internal fire generated by asana and sees that fire as a tool to bring more clarity in our relationship to ourselves, our bodies, and those around us.
Ananda Mendoza was born in San Salvador, El Salvador in Central America. She’s been living in the Bay Area since 1991. She has a background as a professional ballet dancer. Ananda attended yoga teacher training at Barefoot Yoga in Oakland. She teaches dance and yoga classes in Oakland. She also works in the UCSF Microbiology department.
Sterling’s love affair with yoga began in the late 90’s when he attended his first power yoga class at his local gym in Monterey, CA. His respect for yoga deepened after a 30-day Bikram yoga challenge in 2009 in New York City. He began to notice positive changes in his physical body and a calmer emotional state of being while at work and in his general day-to-day activities.
Life proceeded to get in the way, as it often does, and he lost connection to his yoga practice until 2011, when it was reawakened by Coral Brown. Lying in Savasana (final resting pose) in a sea of his own sweat, Sterling felt high on life. In that moment, Sterling knew his calling was to help share this experience with others. He signed up for yoga teacher training with Coral that night and completed her 200-hr Pranaflow Teacher Certification Program in 2012.
As Sterling continued to explore more and more yoga subcultures in the thriving SF Bay Area yoga scene, he experienced his first men’s naked yoga (MNY) class with Bryan Harrelson in 2013. His heart was anxiously beating out of his chest and his mind was racing so fast at the beginning of class that he could barely comprehend the experience until he arrived in his Virabhadrasana I (warrior 1). There in Virabhadrasana I, for the first time ever, he felt completely comfortable in his own skin.
Sterling attempts to share this feeling with every student that attends his class. Life is too precious to spend it loathing yourself and your body. Sterling wants all of his student to feel good in their bodies! Right here! Right now!