IAYT Board of Directors

Board of Directors (2018)


Amy Wheeler, PhD, C-IAYT.   President

Amy has been a Professor of Kinesiology at California State University, San Bernardino, since 1998. Amy's degrees include a BA and MA in Health Promotion and a PhD in Education and Psychology. She develops and conducts research studies in the fields of yoga, yoga therapy, health, and psychology. In addition to her work with IAYT, she has helped to set the curriculum standards for ayurvedic yoga therapy for the National Ayurvedic Medical Association. She is the director of Optimal State of Living, which provides yoga and yoga therapy training programs. Over the last 25 years, she has been a yoga teacher and sport psychology consultant to many health professionals and elite-level athletes, including the Los Angeles Lakers, various professional athletic teams, and five U.S. Olympic/National Teams.

Amy has studied yoga and yoga therapy in India, Europe, and the United States. During the past 15 years, Amy studied extensively in the T. Krishnamacharya tradition, which included numerous extended trips to the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram (KYM) in Chennai, India. Amy has been certified as a yoga teacher, yoga teacher trainer, and yoga therapist in this tradition and has completed two comprehensive yoga therapy internships at KYM. Prior to this, Amy completed teacher training certifications in several internationally popular styles of yoga and yoga therapy.


 

Matra Raj, OTR, C-IAYT, E-RYT 500Vice President

Ms. Raj is an occupational therapist, perinatal educator, and yoga therapist. She has integrated therapeutic yoga in acute, clinical, research, and community wellness settings. For the past 30 years, Ms. Raj has presented at national and international conferences, published several papers, and conducted workshops and seminars for professionals and community wellness programs.


Ms. Raj integrates therapeutic yoga and occupational therapy in her private practice, including her program Yoga for Spine Care. She has worked as a stroke research therapist in the Research and Development Department at VA Palo Alto Health Care System. Ms. Raj also provides workshops on the practice of yoga for prevention and heart disorders. She teaches and certifies yoga teachers for prenatal and mother-baby yoga and has designed a perinatal yoga program, Becoming Parents, for an education support network at Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford University. She has also created educational DVDs for prenatal and mother-baby yoga and authored Yoga for Pregnancy, Birth, and Vibrant Life.


Ms. Raj is the founder of the Indo-American Community Service Center in Santa Clara, California. She serves on the board of the Palo Alto Family YMCA and chairs its Diversity Wellness Committee. She also serves on the Educational Wellness Committee of the Cardiac Resource Center for Asians at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, California.






Baxter Bell, MD, C-IAYT.  Secretary

Baxter is an integrative physician who blends his modern medical training with more traditional approaches to health. After receiving his medical degree from the University of Cincinnati and completing his family practice residency at the St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Edgewood, Kentucky, Baxter practiced family medicine for over a decade in the Cincinnati area. He went on to study medical acupuncture, yoga, and therapeutic applications of yoga when he relocated to Oakland, California, in 2000. Dr. Bell maintains a private practice integrating yoga, yoga therapeutics, and medical acupuncture, as well as offering a full schedule of public yoga classes and specialty therapeutics classes in Oakland and Berkeley. He is past director of the teacher training program at the Piedmont Yoga Studio, and is on faculty for yoga teacher training programs and yoga therapy training programs in the United States and Canada.

In addition to teaching classes, workshops, and retreats internationally, Baxter has presented at Yoga Journal conferences and IAYT’s SYTAR, and he teaches online courses at YogaUonline.com. Baxter is also the co-founder and writer for the popular Yoga for Healthy Aging blog, where he shares his knowledge of medical conditions, anatomy, and yoga with practitioners and teachers across the world. He has written articles for Yoga Journal, the International Journal of Yoga Therapy, and Yoga Therapy Today. He is often quoted as an expert on yoga and health by major national news outlets such as the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal.




 

Eleanor Criswell, Ed.D., Ex Officio, immediate past President. Eleanor is professor emeritus of psychology at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California, where in cooperation with Joseph Le Page of Integrative Yoga Therapy she developed one of the first graduate programs in Yoga therapy in the United States. She is the author of many publications on Yoga and Somatics, including How Yoga Works: An Introduction to Somatic Yoga. She also has extensive experience with nonprofit associations and has been the editor of Somatics magazine-journal http://www.somaticsed.com/magJournal.html since 1990.





Eleanor Criswell, EdD, C-IAYT.  Treasurer

Dr. Criswell is professor emeritus of psychology at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California, where in cooperation with Joseph Le Page of Integrative Yoga Therapy she developed one of the first graduate programs in yoga therapy in the United States.

She is the author of many publications on yoga and somatics, including How Yoga Works: An Introduction to Somatic Yoga. She also has extensive experience with nonprofit associations and is the co-founder and editor of Somatics magazine-journal.



 








Dilip Sarkar, MD, CAP, C-IAYT.  Ex Officio

Dr. Sarkar is a retired vascular surgeon and Fellow of the American Association of Integrative Medicine. A certified ayurvedic practitioner and yoga teacher, Dr. Sarkar teaches classes in yoga therapy, ayurvedic wellness, and integrative medicine, combining 45 years of experience in conventional medicine with knowledge of ayurveda and yoga. He retired as Associate Professor of Surgery at Eastern Virginia Medical School as well as chair of the Department of Surgery and chief of staff at Portsmouth General Hospital in Virginia.

Dr. Sarkar currently serves on several healthcare boards, including the American Heart Association (AHA). President of the AHA’s board of directors for the Hampton Roads region, Dr. Sarkar also chairs its Mission Committee and the My Life Check program. He is a lifetime member of the National Ayurvedic Medical Association and serves on its Yoga Standards Subcommittee. Dr. Sarkar also serves as board chair for the Life in Yoga Institute and chair of the School of Integrative Medicine at Taksha University in Hampton, Virginia.