Who We Are
The team at Yoga Outreach consists of an amazing group of passionate people who deliver programs, lead the organization, and build connections with our growing community.
Our volunteer board of directors apply their legal, financial, business, and marketing expertise to overseeing the governance and future vision of Yoga Outreach, while our staff manage the daily operations of Yoga Outreach, deliver training programs in the community, recruit & mentor volunteers, and build meaningful relationships in the community to make yoga more accessible each day.
Delanie is committed to leading Yoga Outreach into a national organization. Under her guidance YO continues to expand its reputation; as an exceptional trainer of both yoga teachers and support professionals, as an outstanding provider of yoga to people facing multiple challenges in their lives, and as a great organization to volunteer for. As a result of her personal practice, she became passionate about making Yoga more accessible as a means for healing. It is her belief that Yoga is a powerful tool for change and that simply by finding oneself on the mat each of us can change the world.
Sarah Holmes de Castro
Sarah Holmes de Castro is the Director of Programs for Yoga Outreach, working with volunteer yoga teachers and facility staff to deliver trauma-informed yoga programs and facilitating trainings for yoga teachers and health professionals. Since 2004, she has facilitated yoga programs in yoga studios, prisons, detox facilities, mental health facilities, corporate boardrooms, women’s transition houses, mothers’ support groups and more. She is also a yoga therapist, offering classes, workshops, and teacher trainings with Fine Balance Yoga, a faculty member at Ajna Yoga, and a guest instructor at Langara Continuing Studies. In 2010, Sarah began training in Trauma-Sensitive Yoga at the Trauma Center in Brookline, MA, facility under the directorship of Bessel Van der Kolk. She is a certified Trauma Center Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Facilitator (TCTSY-F). TCTSY is an adjunct treatment for complex trauma or chronic treatment-resistant PTSD. She is a certified Professional Yoga Therapist with Integrative Yoga Therapy, a certified Functional Yoga Therapist, and has training in Pain Care Yoga for chronic pain. Her practice is also informed by her own embodied experience as a survivor of sexual violence and exploring the cultivation of balance and vitality in the wake of trauma. Sarah is mother of two, and loves to host workshops exploring practices from yoga that support the energy, presence & steadiness useful in parenting. She is deeply committed to widening access to the benefits yoga and committed to understanding the wider societal injustices that create disease and difficulty for so many.
Since 2004, Nicole has taught therapeutic yoga classes and offered individual sessions to trauma survivors struggling with addiction, depression and anxiety, teaching them healthy self-regulation strategies to empower them to live connected and embodied lives. Nicole also trains yoga teachers and clinicians in the trauma-sensitive yoga theory, and techniques required to support trauma survivors in their healing, long-term stability and recovery. In 2009, she was awarded a master’s degree with a specialization in yoga therapy from Lesley University in Boston, MA. Since then, Nicole has been employed by the Provincial Health Services Association at their Burnaby Centre for Mental Health and Addictions, where she developed a comprehensive yoga therapy program for in-patient clients in various stages of recovery from mental health and addiction.
In 2010, Nicole completed the Trauma Sensitive Yoga Training with Dave Emerson at the Trauma Center in Boston, MA, as well as a course on teaching yoga in military communities with Warriors at Ease in Silver Spring, MD. As a faculty member at Ajna Yoga, she designed and delivers the Therapeutic Relationship and the Trauma Sensitive Yoga for Mental Health and Addictions Courses. Nicole is a curriculum developer and instructor at Langara College Continuing Studies Therapeutic Yoga for Trauma, Resilience and Emotional Well-being Certificate Course, and the yoga programming coordinator at Onsite, the treatment arm of North America’s first safe injection site. Nicole is registered with the Yoga Alliance (E-RYT 500) and the International Association of Yoga Therapists. She is also a member of Bridge for Health and the Breathe Network which connects survivors of sexual violence with healing arts practitioners.
Ariel Pavic has been teaching Yoga Asana and Movement Education since 2002 and has a breadth of experience spanning over 9 years in the Non-Profit Sector. She also currently serves as the Provincial Coordinator of BC People First, a Non Profit Society run by and for people who are labelled with a Developmental Disability. Ariel thrives teaching mixed ability groups where she has a special talent for recognizing individual strengths and creating a space of inclusiveness where people of all generations, cultures and backgrounds feel supported and motivated. Ariel was the creator and director of the Teacher Development Series at Heart Centre Yoga, a teacher’s workshop program which ran under her guidance for over 4 years. She has speciality training in pre-natal yoga, and was a Labor and Birth support Doula. Ariel is a passionate community volunteer, she has been Co-Chair or Chair of a school Parent Advisory Council since her 12 year old daughter started Kindergarten. She is currently the Secretary of the Burnaby Lake Pony Club, a volunteer run organization that serves youth ages 6 to 21. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Burnaby Horseman’s Association and the Park Crest Children’s Centre. Just some of her volunteer yoga teaching included classes for Planned Parenthood BC, Pregnancy Outreach Programs, and an afterschool program serving at risk elementary school age children. When she’s not busy working, volunteering, parenting and being a wife, Ariel can be found at the barn! She is an extremely compassionate, dedicated horsewoman and competes locally as an adult amateur with her welsh pony, Minty.
Niki is an authentic, creative professional joining Yoga Outreach as our Program Coordinator. Niki holds a BA Degree in Child and Youth Care Counselling and is also certified in Outward Pursuits (Adventure-based Counselling) with over twelve years’ experience working with complex youth and families throughout BC and Alberta. She has a passion for identifying resilience and empowering others through strength-based, introspective practices. She regularly practices yoga, mindfulness, breathe and bodywork and hopes that by introducing these healing modalities to others they too can find more balance, peace and strength from within. In addition to her work with Yoga Outreach, she also runs her own business facilitating Team Empowerment Sessions with amateur sports team in the community, focusing on mental preparation, anxiety management, and team building.
For Yoga Outreach, Wendy shares inspiring stories and practical resources to help yoga teachers better support students with a history of trauma. Her background is as a professional writer, helping entrepreneurs and businesses communicate their successes in BC Business, Globe and Mail and BC Living. She also writes about interesting financial initiatives for a Canadian credit union magazine, and about sweet gardens and decor for home magazines. She decided to become a writer as a child, worried that she would one day finish all the books in her small-town Alberta library. Her communications career began in Taiwan teaching English for three years and led to copyediting for the one of the world’s largest investment institutions in Scotland, analysing web content for an online military bank and editing a grocery trade magazine. After postpartum challenges intensified her depression and anxiety, Wendy leaned heavily into yoga for recovery and became a teacher at Cedar Cottage Neighbourhood House. She’s smugly happy about scoring a job that lets her communicate about mental health and make yoga more accessible at the same time. In her spare time, Wendy loves walking in the woods, reading dystopian fiction and label-hunting in thrift stores.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Laura Track’s two greatest inspirations are the practice of yoga and the ideals of social justice. To her, Yoga Outreach represents the perfect union of the two. Laura has been practicing yoga for over 10 years, and obtained her teacher’s certification in 2008. Inspired by the transformative and healing influence of yoga in her own life, Laura has always sought to share yoga with those around her and has been volunteering as a yoga teacher with the YWCA since 2009. Laura became involved with Yoga Outreach in 2007 and is thrilled to deepen her engagement with the organization as the Board Chair. A qualified lawyer, Laura also seeks to use her education and skills to advance social justice, equality, and human rights through her work. She has worked with the Pivot Legal Society, a non-profit legal advocacy organization dedicated to using the law to advance the interests of marginalized populations, particularly those experiencing homelessness and poverty in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. As well as West Coast LEAF (Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund), an organization whose mission is to achieve equality by changing historic patterns of systemic discrimination against women through BC-based equality rights litigation, law reform and public legal education. She currently works as a staff lawyer for the BC Civil Liberties Association.
Maija is a Clinical Counsellor in private practice, and mother of two young girls in Vancouver, BC. For the last ten years she has worked in the fields of housing, mental health, and addictions as a social worker and clinical counsellor both in the interior of BC, and in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Her passion, and the focus of her clinical work, is on somatic practices that aid in the healing of trauma.
Maija’s background as a dancer, Yoga teacher/practitioner, and theatre performer have deeply impacted her understanding of the body-mind connection, and the incredible healing capacity that exists therein. She has been following the work of Yoga Outreach since moving to Vancouver 9 years ago and was involved in bringing Yoga Outreach programming into a recovery focused housing project for women in Vancouver’s downtown eastside. She is very excited to contribute to Yoga Outreach as a member of the board.
Jennifer is most passionate about designing a life with purpose and meaningful impact. She is driven by the vision of others and contributing to its fruition through the creation of memorable experiences in her work as an event coordinator. After 10 years in the industry she wanted to contribute her professional skills to an organization working with trauma-informed individuals. With her own journey to healing through yoga, she is inspired by the work Yoga Outreach does to provide access for everyone to yoga and yoga related programs. Jennifer has been practicing yoga for 10 years and completed her 200hr Yoga Teacher Training in 2016. She believes yoga is essential in today’s busy lifestyle and its practice a means to not only healing, but also access to spreading more positive, impactful missions.
Jennifer has travelled extensively and worked internationally, having lived in England, China, and Taiwan. She draws on her lessons from her travels, work, and her values in health and wellness to connect with the community. Jennifer believes developing informative, memorable, and unique experiences are just some of the ways to increase awareness of the wonderful work done by Yoga Outreach and looks forward to serving the organization.
Julie is passionate about connection and interconnectivity. Whether that involves engaging in meaningful connection with other people, connecting to her true self through time spent in nature, facilitating connection between other people and resources, or connecting breath with movement, Julie loves to connect the dots. Introduced to yoga in the early 2000’s as a means to cope with a challenging stage in life, Julie could not ignore the powerful influence of yoga. She completed her 200-hr YTT in 2008, then chipped away at additional training, completing her 500-hr certification in 2017. Having taught only a handful of formal classes in her workplace and at her kids’ daycare, her family are her “students” – it was a proud day when her 3-year-old son reminded her, “It helps if you take a deep breath Mom”. How very true… it always does. Working in Health Emergency Management for the past 15 years, Julie currently leads the Provincial Disaster Psychosocial Services (DPS) program through Provincial Health Services Authority. Julie was honoured to join the board of Yoga Outreach in 2017 and hopes to help facilitate connections wherever possible.
Shivam is a business consultant with one of the largest professional services firm in the world. His professional background is in engineering, which he puts to good use by helping tech companies expand their footprint in Canada. He has practiced the way of yoga since his teen years, after living at a monastery in India. He has lived in four countries and travelled to over 40, to nurture his desire for experiencing and interacting with peoples and their cultures. Shivam is passionate about understanding the intricacies of human behavior and the threads that connect us all. He is a certified yoga instructor, and seeks to incorporate Vedic philosophy that centers mindfulness, meditation and nutrition into his teaching and practice. He sees every day as an opportunity to learn, reflect, connect, and grow. Through Yoga Outreach, Shivam hopes to utilize his skills and experience in service of programs that facilitate healing and positive change
Vandana is the Supervising Lawyer at Rise Women’s Legal Centre, a community legal centre that provides free and low cost services primarily in family law to self-identified women. Prior to joining Rise, Vandana was a sole practitioner in family law and immigration and refugee law, with a focus on assisting women who had experienced gender-based violence. Vandana cannot imagine life without yoga and to her, it is much more than a practice, it is a lifelong discipline. When we remember to include the yamas and niyamas, ahimsa and karma yoga into our practice, then yoga truly becomes what it should be and so much more than just ourselves. Vandana was fortunate to do a teacher training with Catherine Munro many years ago and enjoyed teaching yoga at UBC while she was in law school. Vandana has since studied with many amazing yoga teachers and continues to be an avid student of yoga. Vandana is a strong believer in the power of community and is very excited about how Yoga Outreach brings the social justice and yoga communities together. In her spare time (and besides yoga), Vandana can be found spending time with dear friends and family, trying to start her own food revolution, or escaping to the Sunshine Coast.
Melanie has over 17 years’ experience working both formally and informally advocating the needs for at risk youth. In addition, travelling and working with various cultures have been a great interest of hers. In 2008 she completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work within the 10 years of her practice she has worked both at the local and international level. In 2009 she volunteered as a social worker at a hospital in Ghana Africa. Her role included community capacity building where she collaborated with various governmental and non-governmental organizations as well as having the privilege to work with women and children affected by HIV. Melanie’s passions have always been focused on networking within the community, linking services to empower the lives of individuals and being an advocate for children in care.
Yoga is a great passion of Melanie’s. It was introduced to her in 2009 and it has been the love of her life since. Melanie has witnessed many transformational wonders of yoga asana practice, from one finding solace while grieving a loved one to another improving their health to the point of full recovery. What Melanie loves most about the practice is the moments of peace it brings to each individual practitioner. In 2017 Melanie lived in an ashram at the birth place of yoga—Rishikesh India—to further her knowledge of yoga and Vedic philosophy. There she completed her 200 hour Yoga Teacher training to extend the therapeutic value of yoga to others. Combining her professional knowledge from social work, her yoga teacher training and love for yoga in general, Melanie aspires to empower the lives of individuals starting from the inside out.