The Yoga Seed Collective is organized as a non-profit organization. As a non-profit, we have a Board of Directors that is part of our leadership structure.
Board Chair: Samantha Contreras has been practicing yoga for over 5 years. She became a member of The Yoga Seed Non-Profit in January 2016 and is recently graduated from the 200-hour teacher training program. Her desire to become a yoga teacher stems from her deep commitment to support transformation in the lives and environment of marginalized communities through social justice.
Originally from Los Angeles, she moved to Midtown Sacramento in 2012 to purse a career in public policy. Samantha is Senior Legislative Advocate for the Service Employee International Union (SEIU) Local 2015. She represents over 315,000 In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) caregivers and nursing home workers in California in various issue areas including health, social services, retirement security, labor and workplace
safety, immigrant rights, and in the Budget process. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from California State University, Los Angeles.
Aside from practicing yoga, Samantha also enjoys running, hiking, Latin dancing, and volunteering to improve her community.
Secretary: Lisa Murphy started her yoga practice at the Yoga Seed Collective in 2012. At a time in her life when she was in need of something bigger than herself, she was comforted and centered by the community and compassion that Yoga Seed Collective offered. In the yoga studio, on her mat, she found her home away from home. In the Yoga Seed community, she found her tribe.
Professionally, Murphy works for the California State Senate as a consultant. She also has almost a decade of political campaign experience. Murphy is the managing editor of the popular local blog, GirlsontheGrid.com. She also served for two years on the New Leaders Council, Sacramento Chapter board as the Communications Chair and National Liaison.
Murphy joined the Yoga Seed Collective board in October of 2016. She is looking forward to being of service to a community that helps make yoga accessible to everyone.
Treasurer: Cindy Ward
Cindy joined the board in May of 2017 and quickly transitioned into the treasurer position.
In her professional career, she is a CPA who has lead financial teams in the non-profit arena for nearly 30 years. She is currently the Vice President of Finance at LeadingAge California. The mission at her current organization is to advance housing, care and services for older adults. That mission is closely aligned with Yoga Seed’s mission of offering programs to a multitude of settings including senior care facilities.
She began her yoga practice in earnest in San Diego in 2012. She discovered that Yoga is more than a traditional exercise class; it is a way of life. Through a breath-centered practice, she has realized the benefits of connecting mind, body and soul. Her biggest challenge has been staying on her own mat and not comparing herself to fellow Yogis.
Board Member: Conner Johnston
Conner began practicing yoga over three years ago. He was looking for a means to stay in shape during law school but quickly realized yoga’s benefits beyond physical health. Since then, yoga and meditation have played an important role in his life to be both outwardly healthy and inwardly mindful. He recently moved back to Sacramento and immediately gravitated towards Yoga Seed and its community-centric model. Conner believes the world would be a better place if everybody did yoga and is proud to help Yoga Seed bring the significant benefits of yoga to the Sacramento community.
Conner is a general litigation associate at Diepenbrock Elkin Gleason LLP, where he represents businesses, construction firms, and public agencies in all stages of litigation. Before law school, he was Director of Operations for Congressman Ami Bera’s 2012 campaign. He holds a degree in Industrial Engineering from Cal Poly, SLO and obtained his JD from UCLA School of Law.
When he’s not on his mat, you can find Conner skiing or hiking Tahoe, at a River Cats game, or playing flag football.
Board Member: Aimee Darville
Aimee was introduced to yoga in high school and found that it was more exercise it can energize and center you. She has been practicing at the Yoga Seed on and off since shortly after it opened in 2010. Having experienced the many benefits of practicing yoga, Aimee is committed to exposing more people to yoga and helping grow the roots of the Yoga Seed.
Aimee is a communications consultant and brings experience in community outreach, grants, events and nonprofit and business management. She also Chairs the Public Relations and Marketing Committee for Seed Your Future, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting horticulture and inspiring young people to pursue careers working with plants.
Aimee enjoys cooking and sampling Sacramento’s local fare, trivia, gardening and hiking with her dog named Yogi.
Interim Executive Director: Jen Durkee started practicing at The Yoga Seed in 2012 because she could not afford to practice
anywhere else. She has served tirelessly as a volunteer in almost every capacity for several years. Since her time as a volunteer, she received her first 200 hr RYT certification from the Hari Om Ashram Rajasthan, and second here at The Yoga Seed starting her career. Jen oversees day to day operations in the studio with the help of volunteers, student/client management and relations both
directly and with volunteers (either Jen or one of her volunteers will be the one to respond to your emails and phone calls, so be kind!), Overseeing the sliding fee program, recruiting, managing and retaining 40-50 volunteers in the Karma Crew. Jen gets to plan our fundraising events ( yoga with cats, say what?!) that help fund our programming, manage and honor all
Bodhi tribe members, business sponsors, and donors, and create/implement a fundraising strategy for the organization.
Jen is a tenaciously motivated employee, teacher, volunteer and friend.
Jen can be found all over the schedule, since she is often the go-to for a sub: she teaches Vinyasa, All Bodies, and Beginner’s!
Director of Studio Operations: Celeste Sekigahama
has been a member of the Yoga Seed Community since 2012. She started as a dedicated student who had no idea teaching was in her future, but after participating in Yoga Seed’s pilot year of training she was hooked. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Feminist Studies from the University of California Santa Cruz and has a passion for social justice. Yoga Seed’s mission and it’s strong community continue to inspire her to be a warrior of light among many bright shining stars.
She currently teaches 2 studio classes a week as well as in multiple Outreach programs including the Psychiatric Hospitals, the Youth Detention Facility working with sexually exploited young women, and at Sacramento’s Main Jail. As Director of Studio Operations Celeste helps keep the studio running and is the main source of contact for those employed or seeking employment within The Yoga Seed Studio
Director of Outreach, Swathy
Director of Outreach: Swathy Madhukar has been part of the Yoga Seed Community from 2015, the year she moved from Southern India to Sacramento. Sitting in her living room in India, while searching for yoga studios, little did she know that The Yoga Seed Collective would be a perfect match. The community and core values of the Seed in combination with her inclination towards service and empathy has kept her inspired.
Swathy started as a volunteer and has been part of the work-trade programs for the 200hr YTT and the 300hr YTT, which she is currently pursuing. For her role as Director of Outreach, she brings years of experience in various capacities including the health and wellness industry. She has a Master’s degree in Sociology.
She started her teaching practice by volunteering as a teacher assistant and currently teaches a studio class once a week. She initiated and implemented a trauma-informed yoga program for the homeless community, which she continues to volunteer teach. The basis of her teaching is that if you can breathe, you can do yoga. She enjoys music, playing with her cat, and reading.
Marketing Associate, Meghan Kennedy discovered the Yoga Seed in 2014 when she was searching for a supportive studio while in treatment for a chronic illness. She loved the Seed so much she encouraged her mother, Roxanne, to start attending All Bodies classes herself. Now they regularly attend classes together and have made yoga a cornerstone of their relationship!
Meghan implements the Seed’s marketing strategy through social media activity, community and client communication, and studio promotion. Along with the rest of the leadership staff and amazing volunteer team, Meghan works to expand Yoga Seed’s outreach into the community,
helping to bring affordable, accessible, trauma-informed yoga to more students.
Meghan finished her undergraduate degree in Biology in 2016 and is presently studying German to complete her Religious Studies degree. She is currently an Urban Ecology Intern at Sacramento Tree Foundation. When not studying, working, or interning she can be found covered with dirt in her vegetable garden, on the couch snuggling her handsome cat, or sprawled out on her yoga mat!
Administrative Coordinator Leah Briggs began practicing and teaching at The Yoga Seed in 2012. She immediately felt at home in the community and aligned with the mission to make yoga accessible for everyone. With a passion for helping people, Leah spent more than 10 years working for Francis House, a non-profit assisting Sacramento’s homeless community. She is thrilled to now use her energy and experience to support the purpose of the Yoga Seed as part of the administrative team.
Leah began practicing yoga in 2001 in Vancouver, B.C. She completed her first teacher training in Ashtanga Vinyasa at It’s Yoga in San Francisco in 2002. She completed an additional 200-hour teacher training at Rise Wellness in 2013 and helps facilitate the Yoga Seed’s Teacher Training program. She loves sharing yoga and witnessing the powerful transformation and healing that is unique to each student and supported by a strong community.
An avid traveler, Leah spent a year in Nepal, India and Sri Lanka studying Buddhism, Yoga, Eastern philosophy and dance. In 2010, she filmed and produced a yoga instructional DVD in Egypt. She has also traveled and performed with several belly dance fusion troupes from Hot Po Studios in Sacramento. Leah also dances with fire and has been to Burning Man 9 times. Her other interests include art, cooking, dance, cycling, martial arts, counter-culture and her cats.