Board of Directors

Dr. Kenneth Atchity, Chair,

CEO, Story Merchant

With more than forty years experience in the publishing world, and over twenty years in entertainment, Dr. Atchity (Georgetown A.B., Yale Ph.D.) is a writer, producer, professor, and literary manager, responsible for launching dozens of books, films, and brands. His life's passion has been finding great storytellers and turning them into bestselling authors and screenwriters. Now Ken's Story Merchant companies, www.storymerchant.com, www.aeionline.com and www.thewriterslifeline.com, provide full-service development, management, production, and brand launch for commercial and literary writers. Dr. Atchity is dedicated to using his experience to help give the stories discovered by Grameen and Kiva happy endings through supporting Yoga Gives Back's work raising awareness throughout the yoga community.

"I support Yoga Gives Back because it's a proactive symbol of a future where reciprocity begins at the physical and spiritual levels and reaches into all realms of human endeavor. YGB is a trailblazer and fills a need, to express tangible gratitude that's felt in yoga studios around the world."
Jörgen Christiansson

Jörgen Christiansson, owner of Omkar108 Yoga in Los Angeles, is certified by the Sri.K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute in Mysore India and has had a lifelong relationship with Yoga. Since childhood Jörgen has had a strong interest in yoga and Vedic philosophy. He first started practicing Yoga (asana, kriya, pranayama, japam, meditation) in his native country Sweden. Jörgen has traveled extensively on the Indian subcontinent from Kanyakumari to Kashmir. For years he visited numerous ashrams, and studied with many yogis the various aspects of Yoga, including Pranayama in Varanasi, Bhakti Yoga with the Vaishnavas in Vrindavan. He also studied/practiced Sivananda and Bihar School style of Yoga. Early on he practiced Iyengar Yoga for many years. Jörgen met his teacher Sri.K. Pattabhi Jois in 1988, when he first visited Mysore. He has been teaching Ashtanga Yoga in the same traditional manner as was taught to him by his Guru.  

"Yoga Gives Back is a simple but powerful way to bring about a profound change in someone's life. It is a way for us to motivate Indian women and their families to become independent and secure. It is also a method to give something back to the country of Krishna and Buddha and so many enlightened souls, which gave us yoga, its philosophy, Ayurveda and all other teachings, which improved mankind. I personally feel grateful for what it has taught and molded me into, whom I am today."
Leslie Hendry

Leslie Hendry is the founder of the kids' app development company, Azawhistle, which through digital media, encourages kids to learn life skills like cleanliness and organization. She's an advanced yoga practitioner with routine trips to India to study with her teacher. She is also a Gaiam Ambassador. 

Before Leslie's venture into yoga she practiced law in New York and worked in London for Bloomberg LP. Micro-finance has been a special interest to Leslie after working on a documentary in Mexico about micro-finance. She's seen the proof of micro-finance in person and has made the commitment to donate a portion of the proceeds from her children's app to Yoga Gives Back.   

"After five years on Yoga Gives Back's Board, I have witnessed the countless hours of honest and sincere work of its founder, Kayoko Mitsumatsu. Organizations strengthen and weaken from the top, and to watch Yoga Gives Back grow each and every day, never once resting or losing interest in the objective of lifting women and children out of poverty, is at testament to 1. the amazing yoga community 2. the wonderful Yoga Gives Back partners and 3. the many sincere volunteers who dedicate their time for people they may never meet but with whom they hope for a better, safe and secure life."
Kino MacGregor

Kino MacGregor is an international yoga teacher, author of two books (Sacred Fire, The Power of Ashtanga Yoga), producer of six Ashtanga Yoga DVDs, writer, vlogger, world traveler, co-founder of Miami Life Center and founder of Miami Yoga Magazine. Her YouTube channel reached more than 8 million views. She is one of a select group of people to receive the Certification to teach Ashtanga Yoga by its founder Sri K. Pattabhi Jois in Mysore, India and practices through the Fourth Series of Ashtanga Yoga. Her website is www.kinoyoga.com.

"The daily practice of Ashtanga Yoga has transformed my life and through Yoga Gives Back I have the chance to give something back to the home of Ashtanga Yoga in the world in India. For as little as the cost of one yoga class you can change someone's life in India. Yoga helps Westerners find peace and thus make their lives more sustainable. With the power of micro-financing Yoga Gives Back helps Indian women gain access to opportunities that would otherwise simply not exist. I am honored to do what I can for Yoga Gives Back."
Kayoko Mitsumatsu,

Co-Founder/President

Prior to moving to the USA in 1992, Kayoko was a producer/director for NHK Japan’s National Public Broadcaster, working on prime time national broadcast current affairs and documentary television programs for seven years; and cultural attaché at the Embassy of Japan in London for two years. Her passion for documentary filmmaking to bridge diverse values and cultures are rooted in the perspective gained from years of living abroad including Australia, Brazil, United Kingdom and USA.

Kayoko co-founded Yoga Gives Back in 2007, from her yoga class in Los Angeles, which has now grown to a global campaign. 

"As a middle age woman, feeling my life being so enriched by the practice of yoga, I felt a strong need to use all my resources to help others. I learned a lot about Dr. Muhammad Yunus's revolutionary micro financing while working on a documentary about Social Entrepreneurship featuring Kiva.org. I was struck by the incredible impact which micro financing could bring to alleviate generations of poverty. And 25 dollars can make a fundamental difference on somebody's life in India. As a happy and healthy yoga practitioner, I realized that I could contribute a little to India's poverty issues. I hope to invite everyone who benefits from Yoga to join in our campaign by giving back and making difference together."