While embracing New York City’s fast-paced and driven yoga culture, Jordan Ashley recognized a need for service-based yoga; a need for experiences which give perspective to the self through selflessness. Feeling extremely blessed to not only be given the opportunity for education, but to have a voice in society, she felt it was imperative to raise both awareness and funds for girls all over the planet who are denied such essential human rights.
Jordan Ashley first had a taste of global seva when she completed two study abroad programs. The first in Siem Reap, Cambodia where she taught English and women's self empowerment through the Ponheary Ly Foundation. The other in Dharamsala, India where Jordan lived with a Tibetan family and studied the community in diaspora. Between completing her 200 and 300 hour yoga teacher training in New York, Jordan uprooted to Southeast Asia where she was a reporter for the Phnom Penh Post, focusing on NGO coverage as well as a lifestyle journalist in Bangkok, Thailand. Jordan has collected passport stamps in more than 30 countries including India, Nepal, Thailand, South Africa, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
By teaming up with yoga teachers from around the world, Souljourn Yoga is dedicated to raising global compassion and peace. Drawing on her experience of travel and being a full time yoga teacher, she created Souljourn Yoga as an avenue for the practitioner who wants more than just "down dog" and to expand the need for equal education across the globe.
Souljourn Yoga takes the yoga practice both on and off the mat to expose, challenge, and reflect on the personal and global journey to inspire change.
Lisa Bermudez discovered the yoga practice through her lifelong passion and appreciation for the body and movement. She completed her 200 Hour Vinyasa Yoga teacher training at Laughing Lotus Yoga Center in NYC, her 300 Hour Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training at Yogamaya New York, various Bhakti Yoga-focused studies at The Bhakti Center, and portions of Yoga Vida NYC's 300 Hour Advanced Trainings. She believes that yoga helps us create a deeper connection to ourselves, which in turn allows us to navigate through this world with a focus on living life to its fullest potential. Lisa is so inspired by Souljourn Yoga's mission to raise awareness and funds for girls education in developing countries because if we're not empowering each other and using our work and talents to help others, we aren't truly living. Connections are formed through action and through connection, we come alive.
Gautam Kakodkar spends his time following his passion for the environment by working to promote clean energy finance and sustainability. He was exposed to yoga at a young age having spent his childhood in India and Thailand. He subsequently moved to New England to pursue degrees at Dartmouth and MIT, and finally to New York city which he now calls home. He was introduced to Souljourn Yoga as one of Jordan’s students, and has since taken on the role of advisory board member because he believes in its unique mission to draw on yoga as a vehicle to advance awareness for girl’s education across the globe.
Elisa Udaskin is a seasoned marketing leader with 18+ years of experience in Fortune 500 company Mondelez International, formerly Kraft Foods, Nabisco and Cadbury. While working in Corporate roles Elisa has always integrated social corporate responsibility into her work, building programs to help those in need.
Her passion is to learn and immerse herself in new cultures. She has lived and worked in Canada, Singapore, Israel and the US. Elisa has travelled extensively around the developing world and in her travels has encountered many people who live in poverty. She is passionate about promoting girls education for those who are less advantaged as she believes that education opens up possibilities for brighter futures. She currently also advises Brillo de Sol, a school in Guatemala.
Anna Szymanski is the Senior Strategy Officer at c3i, a political risk startup, and the co-host of the Slate Money Podcast. Anna previously worked on an emerging markets distressed debt strategy at Oaktree Capital Management. Anna has an MA and BA from New York University.
As a free flowing mover and modern dancer, Vinyasa flow classes drew Alison Riazi deeper into her personal practice and informed her teaching style. Her dance background has helped Alison to create interesting and original sequencing, which allows her to provide an open space for her students to move like themselves. She is a hands-on instructor and offers gentle assists and adjustments for her students, which not only helps to prevent injuries, but can transcend the power of healing for stress, overwork, and anxiety. Musicality and the power of chant play an important role in her classes. Alison aspires to create a warm, welcoming, and fun experience for her students to learn more about themselves, to dive deeper into their practice, and to trust in the unknown. After 6 years of living, teaching and learning in NYC, Alison has recently returned to her hometown of Chicago where she looks forward to sharing her passion for the yoga practice with the Midwest. Leading retreats and trips has been a goal of Alison's for a long time and she is very excited about co-leading the Seva Peru Adventure with Jordan. Not only does this trip offer our participants time to rest and restore but it creates a space for adventure, experiencing new cultures, and raising awareness to girls education first hand. Alison is 500 hour yoga alliance certified through Laughing Lotus NYC and CorePower Yoga Chicago.
Joanne Silver’s life changed the first time she stepped onto a yoga mat. She knew she had found a way of moving and being that could open her body and soothe her soul. She completed her 200 hour yoga teacher training with Laughing Lotus Yoga Center in 2002, and has been teaching yoga ever since. The yoga practice has taught her that being flexible is often more a state of mind than a physical state of being. She is certified in vinyasa, restorative, therapeutic and pre-natal yoga and Urban Zen. She is also a certified Reflexologist and Reiki practitioner. Joanne has travelled extensively and led yoga retreats to many places around the globe, which has inspired her to raise awareness and funds for girls’ education in developing countries.
Keely Rakushin Garfield joyfully participates in the great body of the world in the fields of arts and wellness. A spirit of philosophical inquiry and compassionate concern are at the heart of all her endeavors. Keely is a E-RYT 500 yoga instructor, Senior Urban Zen Integrative Therapist (UZIT), Reiki Master, hospice caregiver, and a Zen Meditation teacher lay-ordained in the Soto Zen Buddhist tradition. She is also an acclaimed choreographer and dancer with her company Keely Garfield Dance. Combining her knowledge of yoga, yoga therapy, movement, meditation, breath awareness, aromatherapy, Reiki, and contemplative care practices, Keely’s path continues to be shaped by her service in many areas. She leads self-care workshops for dancers, works in oncology and hospice, served in a pediatric hospital in Haiti, and regularly conducts yoga and Reiki retreats and trainings.
Betty Ho's first experience with yoga was in 2006, while living in California. She found her true passion for practice in 2011, when she moved to New York City. Yoga really help her feel grounded and to help navigate through the ebb and flow of a new city. Yoga has organically & positively transformed all aspects of her life and she knew that she wanted to share this practice with others. Betty believes in passion for healthy living of the mind, body, and spirit. Her positive & supportive guidance creates a very harmonious atmosphere. Betty completed her 200hr teacher training at Sacred Sounds Yoga and her kids Yoga teacher training at Sonic Yoga with Next Generation Yoga, both in NYC. She teaches yoga and meditation in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. Betty was introduced to Souljourn when she met Jordan 2015 at a studio. She is inspired by Souljourn’s mission and serves as an advisory board member and yoga instructor for Souljourn.
Briana Aguilar began practicing yoga in 2002 and immediately loved it. After suffering torn hamstrings in 2010, Briana's learned to value yoga not just as a physical exercise but also as a deeply personal practice.Briana incorporates yogic spiritual traditions, and weaves alignment, technique, music, with a dose of energy and excitement, into each class. She strives to make yoga accessible and inviting to all levels of students, and wants you to leave her class feeling healthy and happy.
Briana completed her 200-hour certification at Yogamaya in Manhattan in 2012. She completed her M.S. in animal behavior and human psychology in 2014. Briana now leads international trips for responsible travel companies. She is excited to join the Souljourn Yoga team and work towards their goals girls education in developing countries!
Andrea Wong’s yoga practice began in 2010 when she was living in Taiwan and also learning to meditate with a Buddhist monk of the Dhammakaya tradition. After moving to work in NYC and wishing to deepen her practice, in 2016 she completed a 200-hr teacher training from Laughing Lotus in NYC. During the training, Andrea realized how much her roots to her native Nicaragua meant to her. Around the same time, she happened to take a class with Jordan where she learned about Souljourn’s involvement in Nicaragua. Instantly feeling connected to Souljourn’s mission and appreciation for Jordan’s yoga teaching, she has since been strongly promoting Souljourn’s mission and events in New York and abroad.
Betsy Moran is the founder and head guru manager for Green Apple Corporate Wellness, which brings wellness services directly into the office, home and beyond. She is a yoga instructor, dancer, director of DanceWorks New York City, as well as a part-time VP of finance at a commodity bank. Betsy grew up in New Jersey and graduated from Boston University. She has been practicing yoga for over 14 years and completed her 200 hour yoga teacher training certification through the Marianne Wells Yoga School in Costa Rica. Betsy continued her yoga education at YogaWorks in New York City in the Yin Yoga techniques of Paul Griley (as taught by Michele Sapanaro), Level 1 Prenatal Yoga (taught by Carrie Parker), as well as Level 1 training of The Roll Model Method at Om Factory. Betsy teaches weekly private yoga sessions and corporate yoga in NYC. She founded Green Apple Corporate Wellness to bring yoga and wellness classes into the home, office and beyond. An avid traveler, athlete and philanthropist, Betsy has traveled to 6 of the 7 continents, hiked to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, bicycled through the Lincoln Tunnel to raise money for Bike MS, was a Karma volunteer with Om Factory, as well as a member of the 2017 Prema Peru Souljourn charity group. Betsy is excited to volunteer as a leader with Souljourn.