Katherine Banker 

Founder and Executive Director

“It is an honor to share yoga with the community and witness children grow in confidence and compassion, families bond and de-stress, and teachers take the time to recharge and renew.”

My passion for yoga started early in my early education teaching career. I worked long hours, and began to feel disconnected from friends and family. After exploring many options, I began a daily yoga practice and started applying yogic techniques to my teaching. I saw the benefits unfold not only for myself but my students and was inspired to create a children’s yoga program based on inclusion and mindfulness.

In my late 20’s, after years of debilitating pain I discovered I had Spina Bifida, a congenital spine disorder. I underwent spine surgery and turned to my yoga practice as a way to heal. Yoga continues to be pivotal in my recovery and I became driven to make this gift accessible to others. It is my dream that everyone has the opportunity to reap the benefits of yoga no matter age, ability, background or income.

When I am not practicing or teaching yoga you can find me relaxing at the greenbelt with my puppy Kash, my husband Charlie and our foster children. To learn more about my journey, visit www.katherinebanker.com or contact me at katherine@blisskidyoga.org.

Catherine Kline 

Board President

“I am passionate about helping to provide all children with the opportunity to develop skills to excel in life.”

As a teacher, it was obvious that all children need to develop the tools to help calm the stressors of everyday life.  I envision children of all abilities and socio-economic levels learning, practicing, and enjoying the benefits yoga has to offer. Developing mindfulness is a primary goal of yoga and it is something every child can achieve.  As Goldie Hahn says “learn to give yourself a brain rest.”

I was born with a congenital heart defect that affected pulmonary function, and have struggled with respiratory health all my life.  Exploration of many exercise regimes have led back to yoga. Yoga and meditation  have been instrumental in my journey to health.  I believe all children can make use of yoga tools too.

My husband, Chuck, and I have 3 children between us and 3 beautiful granddaughters.  We retired to Austin after an extended period in the Middle East., but spend the hottest part of the year in mid-coast Maine. I am an avid knitter and aspiring weaver.  We both find great joy in volunteering, playing golf, travel, and gardening.  Contact me at president@blisskidyoga.org.

Melissa Jones 

Board Vice President

“Yoga is an incredible modality for healing, connection, and joy. To provide these gifts to young people and families is a beautiful way to serve our community and invest in its future.”

I first found yoga during my time putting myself through college. I was broke, tired, and disconnected. One of my only enriching outlets was a free community yoga class. As a young adult, I was taught to connect with my breath, move in ways that felt good, and give myself mental space for the first time. I truly believe that this experience helped me persist through college, and grow into a more emotionally and physically grounded person.

Although my story is different from many of those we serve, I likely could or would not have accessed yoga through traditional means, due to the cultural or cost barriers. I can confidently say that the lessons learned on the mat continue to make me a better parent, professional, spouse, and human in general. During my years working in special education, I have called upon tools learned through yoga and mindfulness practice as means to calm and center both myself and my students.

I stumbled upon Bliss Kid Yoga at the organization’s first Bliss Bash event. On this day, I witnessed a small group of caring individuals enriching a public space with the simple, sincere magic of yoga. Since then, I have been honored to serve as volunteer teacher and board member. The sheer simplicity of our vision allows for endless opportunity to reach the community.

When not on my mat, I enjoy exploring green spaces around the Hill Country with my family, play in my garden, kayak, cook vegetarian food, and work on other social justice campaigns.

I’d love to hear your story and talk more about how you can impact our community with BKY. Reach out at vp@blisskidyoga.org.

Sanda Alexander  

Board Treasurer

“I believe that starting a yoga practice in childhood provides tools to help manage anxiety levels and improve mental health throughout life.”

I joined the Bliss Kid Yoga team because I recognize the long-term impact this organization will have on our community and it is exciting to see these classes available to children of all backgrounds and abilities.  My own children started yoga classes when they were 3 years old and I have seen what a great tool it has been for them to handle daily frustrations and stressors as they grow.  Mindful breathing and knowing when they need to step away and calm their bodies has been helpful to them, especially as they navigate their school days.

My husband and I moved to the Austin area in 2006 and quickly realized what a great place it would be to raise a family.  We enjoy spending time with our twin boys in the numerous parks and on the extensive hiking and biking trails. Please reach out to me at treasurer@blisskidyoga.org.

Randi Sather 

Board Secretary

“I believe in the power of cultivating mindfulness and connection with the body through yoga and am dedicated to making yoga available to all, especially those who may not have the opportunity to practice it otherwise.”

I am proud to serve as Secretary of Bliss Kid Yoga and share my passion for yoga with children, families, and educators in the Austin community. As a children’s yoga teacher and an elementary school librarian, I love to incorporate books & stories into my yoga classes as well as mindfulness & movement into my library lessons. Especially in contrast to the technology-rich age in which we live, yoga offers kids a space to explore storytelling, imaginative play, and physical movement all while learning valuable character building and wellness enhancing skills. I am also a strong believer in empowering parents and teachers through yoga & mindfulness. Considering the impact these adults have, it’s crucial they have the necessary tools to create positive change in their own lives and in the lives of the children they reach. The classes I offer are bilingual (English/Spanish) and I make every effort to make yoga available to everyone, regardless of language, background, or income level.

In my free time, I love to read, cook, dance/Zumba and practice yoga. Travel is also important to me and I spend most summers passport in hand. Contact me at secretary@blisskidyoga.org or connect through twitter @SatherYoga. Hablo español.

Elizabeth Jameson

Board Member

“Yoga helps us authentically relate with one another and build relationships through mindful connections. When yoga is accessible to all, it strengthens families, and builds communities.”

I began my yoga practice to relieve stress when I was working as a preschool teacher and needed to unwind after busy days.  I did not anticipate the effect it would have on my connections with children. I was more present in moments, I was better able to regulate my responses and model  emotional intelligence, and I approached my work with more kindness. I knew that families would benefit immensely from the lessons I was learning, and I was excited to share my knowledge.

I joined Bliss Kid Yoga as a teacher, sharing yoga with young students and their families.  I have witnessed first hand the growth in self-confidence, the deepening of trust, and the building of stronger relationships resulting from a yoga practice.  As a board member, I am better able to serve and expand our offerings.  My background in psychology draws me to the healing aspects of yoga, and I am working to bring our programs to Austin’s more vulnerable youth.  Healthy children and families build strong communities, and I am honored to be a part of the process. Contact Elizabeth at boardmember1@blisskidyoga.org.

Nanette LaBastida

Board Member

“If everyone practiced yoga there would be world peace” – I can’t remember where I read that or who said it, but it struck me deeply.  If yoga makes me feel peaceful and compassionate to myself in others, imagine the impact if more people practiced and if children learned it at an early age. The impact of that vision is important to me.”

When I first met Katherine and learned about Bliss Kid Yoga and it’s mission I was smitten and knew I had to be involved somehow.  I believe that as many children as possible should have access to yoga. I wish Bliss Kid Yoga had been around when my children were little!

Yoga is such a gift to me, I have especially benefited from it after I went through breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, it helps me strengthen my body, and my self love and provides peace and comfort.  Since then I have also become a yoga teacher myself, specializing in yoga for cancer survivors. 

I live in Austin with my 2 children and when not practicing or teaching yoga, I work as a Realtor, go see live music and cook fabulous vegan meals. Contact Nanette at dogood@blisskidyoga.org