IAYT Board of Directors

Board of Directors (2020)


Matra Majmundar (Raj), OTR, C-IAYT, E-RYT 500
President


Ms. Raj is an occupational therapist, perinatal educator, and yoga therapist. She has integrated therapeutic yoga into acute care and other clinical settings, research, and community wellness. For the past 40 years, Ms. Raj has presented internationally, published 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 Yoga for Spine Care program. At Stanford University Medical Center she has integrated yoga therapy into her work as an OT, and she has also worked as a stroke research therapist, including studies through the U.S. Veterans Health Administration. Ms. Raj also provides workshops on yoga for the prevention of heart and lung disorders and has conducted research on yoga for balance and fall prevention. She teaches on balance and stress management at the Y.

 

Her stress-management workshops are intended for parents, and she trains mothers with challenging children to be yoga teachers. Ms. Raj also trains prenatal and mother-and-baby yoga teachers and has created educational DVDs for these groups. She is the author of 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 Y. She also serves on the Educational Wellness Committee of the Cardiac Resource Center for Asians at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, California. She served on the board of the Society for Art and Cultural Heritage of India. Ms. Raj is an avid hiker and traveler, and she loves to dance.



Susan Steiger Tebb, PhD, LSW, C-IAYT, RYT 500
Vice President


Dr. Tebb, Professor Emerita, School of Social Work, Saint Louis University, has centered her research around family caregiving. As a social worker for more than 50 years, she has worked with diverse family configurations, and lately her research, knowledge, and training has led her to bringing yoga into the healing process. She has offered a number of presentations and workshops on incorporating yoga into health/mental healthcare and brings yoga into her research with older adults with dementia, those with breast cancer, and adults and children dealing with trauma and stress.






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, 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.
 



 

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.

 
   

Leigh Blashki, C-IAYT

Leigh was drawn to meditation and yoga in the late 1960s. He began teaching in the 1970s and practicing yoga therapy in 1991. Leigh is an iRest supervisor/mentor and the (voluntary) associate director of the iRest Institute in Australasia. His most influential teachers include A. G. Mohan, Dr. Richard Miller, and Swami Gitananda.

 

He is a past president of Yoga Australia and has served IAYT on various committees and their Council of Advisors. He is a founding member of the Global Consortium on Yoga Therapy. 

 

Leigh’s life has been dedicated to the establishment of high, credible standards of education and professional practice for the fields of yoga, yoga therapy, and meditation. He is passionate about people developing an authentic, personal, and experiential understanding of what yoga and meditation are and what they are not.

 

In 2013 and 2017, Leigh received IAYT awards for extraordinary service to the field of yoga therapy.

As of late 2017, Leigh transitioned into vanaprastha, the third stage of life according to the Vedic tradition, in which more time is spent in deep svadhyaya (self-reflection), personal practice, and mentoring, while stepping back from many previous professional roles.


     
     
    

Dilip Sarkar, MD, CAP, C-IAYT


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.