We are pleased to announce that Rebecca Ratzkin is now our new Board President. We are excited for what the year holds as we welcome Rebecca. Check out some questions below that you may find yourself asking about Rebecca; portraying her yoga journey and why she was inspired to join our board:

possible iyanc headshot#1 copyWhen did Rebecca start her yoga practice?

Rebecca started practicing yoga in 1999 at the Iyengar Yoga Institute in Los Angeles, she had recurring back pain so she looked up yoga in the phonebook, the Institute caught her eye.

What has been the most profound yoga experience or benefit of yoga for Rebecca?

There have been many experiences that she has benefited from, when I asked her she said “so many things, you come to a yoga class to deal with a physical problem first and then you get all of these other benefits you didn’t plan for, like feeling calmer and happier”. From then on she knew she wanted to share this knowledge with as many people as she could.

Rebecca then became deeply involved with the Iyengar Yoga Institute of Los Angeles working as a volunteer while in graduate school. She was asked to help get interviews for a “thank you” DVD for B.K.S. Iyengar when he was touring the U.S.A. on his “Light on Life” tour. Through her experience interviewing students, she remembered a woman who said yoga “makes me a lot less angry”, which brought Rebecca full-circle in her journey as this was an unexpected benefit of yoga the woman didn’t anticipate (Rebecca experienced this as well). Rebecca says it’s like “a door cracks open a little bit”, and once our practice has begun it leads to many more wonderful benefits.

What inspired Rebecca to join the board of directors for IYANC and what is the most important vision/personal intention for the association/Institute in the coming year? 

With the knowledge gained working with non-profits she has experience in seeing how they run and wanted to give back to a community she is apart of. She pointed out that there is a moment in time you are a student of Iyengar yoga, then at some point you start to explore the idea of becoming a teacher. Rebecca wanted to get more deeply involved as she became more engaged in the Iyengar community in San Francisco.

After serving on the board for almost 2 years Rebecca is excited to take on her new role as board president as she believes there is so much more that this organization can become by transitioning into a sustainable professional organization. Rebecca strongly agrees that if you want to set an intention you must set goals. She aims to create a shared vision and passion for IYANC and the Institute so we are able to create the change we need to.


Rebecca’s Bio

Rebecca Ratzkin is a Senior Consultant at WolfBrown, a national arts research and planning consultancy. Since 2005, she has helped non-profit organizations, foundations and public agencies in the arts sector how to listen to their audiences and broaden communities, evaluate programs, create effective strategies, and address change. Her interests and skills focus on bridging theory with practical and achievable solutions, and seeing opportunity in the midst of the deepest challenges.

In her work with WolfBrown, she has led donor and customer segmentation studies, managed general populations studies of arts participation, and led capacity building initiatives around research methods and analysis. She is also the co-author of “Making Sense of Audience Engagement,” a white paper outlining new conceptual frameworks to help arts organizations better engage audiences. Rebecca and remains deeply involved in WolfBrown’s work on intrinsic impact – measuring how the arts experience affects audiences’ emotionally, intellectually and socially – and is committed to helping arts organizations learn how to conduct and apply research independently. She has a Master’s in Urban Planning from UCLA, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Oberlin College with a BA in art history. 

 Rebecca began her yoga practice in 1998 to address chronic back pain, having found the Iyengar Yoga Institute of Los Angeles in the local phone book. She has taken courses as part of the Teaching Training Program at IYISF, and taught yoga for the past five years. Rebecca continues her practice with the guidance of her dedicated and inspiring teachers – Manouso Manos, Kathy Alef, and Kofi Busia.



IYISF would like to thank  Fred Fox, Paul Levine, Janet MacLeod, Da Gang Wang and most importantly Ward Smith for hosting and putting together such a beautiful fundraising event taking place at Ward’s San Francisco home.

At this fundraising event over $9,000 was raised! We are extremely grateful to have such generous and thoughtful community members!

The event included delectable food with one of the entrées were butternut squash and kale risotto. One of the dessert items included Peanut butter brownies with chocolate, dried apricot, and pecans.


We asked Ward what he enjoyed the most:

“The part that I enjoyed most was working with the other hosts (Da-Gang Wang and Fred Fox)in planning the event; and working with Paul Levine on the invitations and printing work; and working with Jim Van Buskirk, Warren Preston, Jackie Herndon on food preparation.
It was a lot of work. It was fun seeing people enjoying themselves listening to the wonderful music and visiting and having dinner. “- Ward Smith 


The fundraising event also included live music entertainment from a string quartet arranged by Fred Fox. 



We also asked one of Ward’s co-host Da Gang what he enjoyed the most:  

“People in our yoga community volunteered to help. Jim Van Buskirk helped the food preparation, and he was the bartender in the event. Garrell and Jackie Herndon helped with moving the chairs and cleaning after the party.For me it is really nice to work with people in our community outside the yoga classes. People are talented, gifted and generous in many different ways and it is wonderful to see that part. Many thanks to Janet MacLeod. She is the teacher of Ward, Fred and mine. She brought us together and she taught us yoga,  loving and giving.” -Da Gang Wang




We welcome all members of our community to host the next IYISF fundraising event! This is your chance to get creative and we can’t wait to hear about your ideas! Contact our development assistant Jessica Turner,  jessica@iyisf.org if you are interested.