Sarah Gnerre, MBA, CFRE, President; Chair Fundraising and Membership Committee; Finance and Governance Committees
Sarah Gnerre has been practicing yoga regularly for 20 years under Sara Curry and is now a member of her and her husband Jaylon's team at Blaze Yoga and Fitness. Sarah began competing in the 50+ division in 2015. Since, her teachers have included Elizabeth Marshall, Glenn Brown, Louis Giordano, Ida Jo, Scott Lamps, and Andie Simard. In 2018, Sarah completed a Hatha yoga 500-hour training under Craig Villani.
In her professional life, she leads business development as vice president of philanthropy at Five Maples Development Communications. There, she works with nonprofit organizations throughout the country on their messaging to donors in service of raising more money to change and save lives. She has raised millions in higher ed, healthcare, the arts and humane organizations. She regularly presents development and grant-writing seminars at fundraising conferences and is an instructor in the Nonprofit Leadership program at the University of New Hampshire. She holds a bachelor of science in business administration from UNH and earned an MBA in 2005.
She is a grandmother and lives in Portsmouth, NH with her husband, Chris Mulligan.
Suzanne Elliott, Vice President; Chair, Education Programming CommitteeA leader in physical fitness and education for over forty years, Suzanne has had success coaching all levels of students from the injured and rehabilitating to world champions. She has coached Yoga sportsters since the inception of Yoga Championships, coaching in the first USA held yoga championships and thereafter. She has served as a Judge and Coach every year attending all events. She hosted Regionals in central FL for five years in a row and assisted others who hosted. She has been on the USA Yoga Board and Coaching Committees, currently serving as Coaching representative at the USA Yoga National events. She has several certifications in fitness and yoga styles teaching private lessons to classes of 500. She has lead several Classic 84 and USA Yoga Compulsory classes to assist athletes in training.She was the first "senior" to complete the two week Jedi Fight Club! Born with hip dysplasia, she postponed bilateral Total Hip Replacement using Yoga therapy. She coaches on-line, in-home or at her Yoga school at H.O.T. Yoga on the Island, Merritt Island, FL.
Jennifer Vanderhart, PhD, Immediate Past President; Governance, Finance and Judges Committees
Jennifer Vanderhart started practicing yoga after a string of running injuries. Having been a runner and college basketball player, she knows first-hand the power of yoga to heal the body. In addition to a daily practice, she has attended dozens of seminars and workshops, and twice she attended the week-long Advanced Seminar. Jennifer has demonstrated at the USA Yoga Competition since 2010 and has placed in her state of Virginia, the USA Yoga National competitions, and has medaled internationally. She teaches hot Pilates and loves to help others get strong, play, and discover new ways to enjoy their yoga. She has been a member of the USA Yoga Board of Directors since 2017.
Jennifer is a PhD Economist who has been consulting and testifying for more than 25 years. She is a principal at Intensity, LLC, and was an instructor at Texas A&M University in the departments of Economics and Management.
Tim Mizerak, Treasurer
Tim started practicing yoga in 2013 as a supplement to his fitness regimen, which includes weight training and figure skating. He discovered skating in his late 20s, then started competing in his late 30s in both pairs and singles. He used yoga sporadically during that time to increase flexibility and improve his overall fitness. After about 10 years of competing he shifted his focus to part-time coaching, while also training to keep up his skating skills.
Tim increased his yoga training in 2018, and then in 2019 made the decision to start competing. He is current US National Men's 50+ Champion and also won the gold medal in 2021. He has participated in several USA Yoga committees and in 2022 joined the Board of Directors. While still skating casually, he is mostly focused on his yoga, as well as weight training and calisthenics. He also enjoys spreading the word about yoga, and yoga sport, and is introducing other athletes to the idea of competing.
Erika Kelble, Secretary; Governance Committee
Erika ran into yoga when she was 19 after learning meditation as a means of combating tension- migraine headaches. She then picked up a physical asana practice, and over 30 odd years has moved fluidly in and out of several different yoga disciplines. She has come to believe they are all worth learning and serve a person differently at different times in their life. Erika has found her yoga practice becoming a more important component of her life and strives to find ways to give back. She feels yoga has brought wonderful people, health and balance into her life when she most needed these things and would be honored to help others find their practice through USA Yoga.
Erika graduated from Tufts University with a combined BA in Biology and Psychology. She co-owns Ashby Gap Adventures with her husband Jeff and has experience running small businesses, with town management, and with non-profits. Erika currently lives in rural Virginia with her two daughters and her husband.
Jean Agress, Ph.D., Chair, Judges Committee; Finance Committee
She was inspired to share what she had learned through this wonderful 90-minutes, 26 posture series with others, which led her to pursue Bikram yoga teacher training in 2013.
Glenn Brown, Chair, Championship Planning Committee
Glenn Brown moved with his family to New Albany, Indiana when he was six years old, and it is still his home. As the last of six kids he attributes sibling rivalry to his competitive edge. He began practicing yoga as a 17 year old as a complementary practice for meditation and kung fu. Finding his way through depression in high school he shifted his focus from swimming and wrestling to art, music, movement art, and meditation. He decided then he wanted to work toward being a kung fu and yoga teacher, and an artist and author. His search for a school, teacher, and work was difficult, but full of great life lessons. He finally met his kung fu teacher, Sifu Keith Dwan of the Red Dragon School of Martial Arts, while Keith was visiting Louisville from England with his school for a Martial arts tournament. Glenn expressed his interest in form over fighting, and was invited to a Hsing-i Kung Fu, Qigong, and Acupressure training, which he attended in England in 2001.
In the spring of 2002 he went to his first Bikram Yoga class at Bikram Yoga Indiana where he met the woman who would become his wife, Ayanna. She was the only teacher at the time, and the co owner. She believed in his potential, and the studio sponsored him to go to Bikram Yoga teacher training the same year in the Fall. Glenn has taught at Bikram Yoga Indiana from 2002 to the present. He fell in love with yoga because of its similarities to kung fu & qigong, and its amazing diversity of postures & styles.
The day of his teacher training graduation he and Ayanna were invited to be competitors in a mock yoga championship at a judging and coaching clinic for the Bishnu Ghosh Cup International Yoga Asana Championship to be held in 2003. That experience lit the competitive fire for Glen. He has competed every year except for one, taking a year off to focus on coaching. He is the 2018 US Men's Nationals Champion and 14-time Indiana Men's Regional Yoga Champion. He self published his first book of poetry "Four in the Fire" in 2007.
After eight years of teaching primarily Bikram Yoga he started teaching based on his private practice. His kung fu teacher encouraged him to continue developing his home practice so he could lead a personalized warm up and warm down for Kung fu students. Over the years this developed into his own method of qigong and yoga blended together. In 2010, Glenn founded Lionflow Progressive Yoga & Arts LLC , and has focused on practicing, teaching, and training teachers in Lionflow Yoga.
Lionflow Yoga has benefited his championship routine by teaching him to express where he is in the moment without heat, extra time in the pose, or intense breathing for body heat. The style focuses on calm intentional motion, breathing, and short holds in stillness. Learning to accept where you are today, and to have a conversation with your body instead of an argument.
Judy Lu, Chair, Coaches Training Committee; Governance and Judges Committees
Judy Lu moved from China to Canada and then to the United States where she found her true home by immersing herself in Bikram Yoga. She began her yoga practice in 2001. Judy believes that her world travels help her to better relate to her yoga students. Judy earned her Bikram yoga certification in 2008. After challenging students through teaching yoga, Judy ran her own Bikram yoga studio for four years in Orange County, California, with the goal of improving the lives of her students from the inside out. To further her love for the yoga practice, Judy has committed her time and energy to USA Yoga and has been a certified judge since 2015. Judy gives private lessons and coaches yoga athletes. After two decades of practice, Judy is a true believer in the vast benefits of a regular yoga practice for both mental and physical health. Judy truly believes in the multifactorial benefits of Bikram yoga and is a testament to its healing qualities.
Libby Walunas, MA, C-IAYT, RYT 500, OHYA Level 3, Judges Committee
Libby is a certified yoga therapist in Houston with S-VYASA USA and MD Anderson Cancer Center, a yoga teacher at Urban Fit Yoga, and a private breath coach and embodiment coach. She began practicing yoga asana in 1996 and began teaching in 2005 with certifications in hatha/vinyasa (2005), Bikram (Spring 2006), yin (2017), and Ghosh (2019, 2023). Additionally, she has practiced power yoga, the Ashtanga primary series, and restorative yoga, and she is currently studying Iyengar yoga. She is also committed to a traditional pranayama and meditation practice.
As a former stage actor, Libby enjoys the performance aspect of asana championships. She competed in six regionals (2003-2009), twice placing as an alternate for the nationals team. She has acted as an informal coach, a regional MC, a regional and national USA Yoga judge, and an international IYSF A-level judge.
Libby is a medievalist by training and taught history at college and high school levels. She has been studying yoga history and Indic philosophy since 2017 and Sanskrit since 2019. She has a special interest in promoting the mental and spiritual aspects of yoga within the asana championship community.
Cynthia Wehr, Technical Lead, Coaches Training Program, Judges CommitteeCynthia has been practicing yoga for over 20 years and became a Bikram Yoga Teacher in Spring 2003. She earned the USA Yoga Gold Medal in 2005 and 2007 and the World Yoga Champion Gold Medal in 2007. This gave her the opportunity to travel the world to teach and demonstrate. She spent a lot her time teaching in Tokyo, Japan for Bikram Yoga Japan and in Bikram Yoga San Jose. Cynthia is the former owner yoga of Bomitra Yoga Mountain View in California, and is again teaching at BYSJ. Since 2008, Cynthia has judged regional, US, and International Championships. She has worked with the board of the USA Yoga Federation and for many years with Rajashree Choudhury to introduce Yoga as a sport.
She coaches competitors every year as well as being a part of bringing the Yoga community together by being involved in the social networks. The constant inspiration and change Cynthia has witnessed and experienced feeds her soul daily to keep teaching yoga forever. To bring yoga to children and children to yoga is the ultimate destination, the big step for truly creating a more peaceful, honest planet. By bringing yoga championships into the light, into everyone's home, we can make this destination possible.
Lynn Whitlow, Fundraising and Membership Committee
Lynn Whitlow brings deep experience in yoga teaching, judging, and championship development to the board of USA Yoga. In 2023, she began her second appointment to the board.
Lynn was among the first to be trained as a judge for the inaugural Bishnu Ghosh Hatha Yoga Competition. She has decades of experience organizing regional competitions throughout the U.S. Lynn travels year-round to judge competitions and share her decades of experience with yoga communities around the planet.
Lynn has lead the judges committee of the Board of Directors of USA Yoga where she developed a system for training judges. Lynn rejoined the board in 2023.
USA Yoga is proud to be represented on the International Yoga Sports Federation Technical Committee by Lynn. With her help, IYSF oversees the continued evolution and development of the sport's rules and guidelines — used at competitions worldwide.
Keith Brailsford, Fundraising and Membership Committee
Makiko Fisher, Judges Committee
Thomas Forbang, Judges Committee
Keri Palasz, PhD, Educational Programming
Efthemia Papadopoulos, Judges Committee
Michael Rosa, Judges Committee
Board Member Emerita