Who We Are

The Yoga Association of Alberta (YAA), a registered charity founded in 1976, is Canada’s longest-standing, inclusive umbrella yoga organization — a caring community of yoga practitioners, students and teachers from diverse backgrounds, styles and lineages.  See our Teacher Directory to find a teacher near you.

Executive | Members at Large | Staff

YAA Executive


David Maulsby


I joined the Board in 2012 as Secretary and was elected President in 2022. My meditation practice began informally as a kid. Back problems from toiling as a computer science researcher and R&D manager led me to Hatha Yoga in 2005, whereupon I soon discovered restorative yoga and Critical Alignment Therapy. This led me to Yoga Nidra and iRest meditation training with Richard Miller in 2007. The yoga path then acquired an intriguing curl: Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement. These days, I host the Calgary iRest Kula and a Saturday Morning Yoga group that practices a blend of freeform asana, BodySensing and Feldenkrais.


Anita Sielecki

Past President

I attended my first class in 1973. Over the following fifty years yoga practice has slowly permeated and transformed my entire life. I studied with teachers from many traditions and was certified by the YAA in 1990. Soon after, attending a retreat taught by Sandra Sammartino shifted my view of yoga: not only a practice for physical and mental survival, but the backbone of a wholesome way of life. I certified with Sandra in 1994 and within a couple of years I left my career in science behind to teach Yoga at the University of Alberta.

From the early 80’s to this day, I have served uninterruptedly in all the different roles within the YAA Executive and as an organizer of Yoga and Meditation retreats. My commitment is based on the hope and wish that Yoga can help build more mindful communities and be a vehicle for social change.

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Karen Hamdon


I received my training in Traditional Hatha Yoga from Friedel Khattab (Khattab School of Yoga) in Edmonton. She was my Master teacher and she continues to be an inspiration in my life. It’s been a blessing to study and teach in India, Canada the Middle East and Costa Rica. I am devoted to providing my students a space where they may find balance, flexibility, peace and well-being in Mind, Body and Spirit through the practice of ConsciousYOGA. As the saying goes, if you don’t take care of your body, where will you live?


Erin Michie


I have been practicing yoga for almost 40 years and teaching since 2005. I have studied with exceptional teachers and I count my teachers, the teachings and yoga community among my blessings. I first certified through Sandra Sammartino, and then the Yoga Association of Alberta (YAA). I am a senior teacher and board member of the YAA and am also certified in Integrative Restoration or iRest®, Richard Miller’s approach based on the practice of yoga nidra. I offer private sessions to individuals, and custom classes and workshops to small groups. I’ve also studied several other modalities and incorporate these into my work.

Steven Bell

Steven Bell


I became secretary in 2022 and love the community of people that create this organization. I’ve had some incredible teachers and my work now is to share what I’ve learned. I teach and play music, sail and camp with my family, ride a motorcycle, was a university design instructor, planted trees, shingled roofs and other things best forgotten. Culley and I have three beautiful, amazing daughters and being a part of their lives fills ours with joy. My yoga journey has been winding but the path has molded me to be who I am - and for this I am grateful.

Members at Large

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Peter Skirving


I have been a student of yoga for many years. My interest in eastern philosophies was sparked by Hermann Hesse’s  Siddhartha. I have been fortunate to have learned from many inspiring teachers over the years—in particular, Liz McLeod in Edmonton and David McAmmond in Calgary. I am interested in the interaction and interconnection of asana, breath and meditation. I also think that these activities have a beneficial effect on my other interests which include hiking and cross country skiing.


Anne Douglas


I have been teaching yoga, meditation and wellness for over 30 years.  I offer workshops, trainings and retreats internationally and online, and have over four million listens to meditations I have placed on the Simple Habit meditation app.  My depth of wisdom, gentle humor and skillful instruction facilitates a joyful ease in learning and practice.


Colleen Gehrke

(High River)

I have been hooked on yoga for over 25 years and teaching since 2003. I feel blessed to have had many wonderful mentors and teachers over the years including the late Maya (Margo) Balog, Sandra Sammartino, Jacquie Smith, Barbara Eastham, Anita Sielecki, Elizabeth Michielsen, and Panditji Dabral. I would also like to thank Thich Phap Hoa, the Abbot at Truc Lam Edmonton Buddhist Research Institute for introducing me to meditation and mindfulness in the Mahayana Buddhist tradition. I am a senior teacher of the Yoga Association of Alberta (YAA) and certified through Alberta Parks and Recreation’s High Five – Principles of Healthy Aging program. While my yoga teaching background has been multi disciplinary over the years having taught yoga programs for golfers, runners, restoration, pregnancy, and children, I always find that the thread that binds us together in our practice is gentle movement, breath, mindfulness, and meditation. In my spare time I enjoy golfing, trap and skeet shooting, oil painting, gardening, quilting, and spending time with my family. I’m excited to be a member at large for the YAA and look forward to helping spread the word about yoga in the province.

Helen Morgan

Helen Morgan

(Red Deer County)

I first came to yoga over 30 years ago to help alleviate the stress of my job as a Child Protection lawyer. Having been thrown out of a yoga class in London for laughing, I was delighted to find the relaxed atmosphere of YARD in Red Deer and did my YAA teacher training there under the wonderful wings of Ann Waschuk and Paula Carnegie-Fehr. I’ve met so many other extraordinary teachers along my yoga path, and feel incredibly lucky to be able to pass their teachings on to my students. For the past decade, I have taught in rural communities around Red Deer and never cease to be amazed at the transformative effects of the practice.


Melanie Checknita


My yoga journey began over 37 years ago taking classes with Gerda Krebs. I completed my first 500-hour Hatha Teacher certification under Gerda. Over the years, I have been fortunate to study with many wonderful teachers in many different traditions. I am a Senior teacher with the YAA. I have owned Yoga Within for 15 years and have run a Teacher Training Program for 12 years.

Yoga has woven a path through my life and my heart. Yoga has taught me that strength and flexibility in my body are important but combining them with strength and flexibility of my mind allows me to face life’s challenges with courage and a positive outlook. Yoga can be practiced by anyone. In time, it becomes a need not a want and the benefits are endless!

YAA Staff


Donalee Campbell

Executive Director

I started doing yoga in the 90’s with Anita Sielecki while working at the University of Alberta and was first certified by the YAA’s TTP in 2008, mentoring under Teddy Hyndman in the Iyengar tradition. An insatiable student, I went on to complete an Immersion in Anusara yoga and continue to study with various YAA Senior Teachers and others to this day. I served as Coordinator for the YAA’s Teacher Training & Certification Programs for 12 years before taking on my current role as E.D. in 2021. Passionate about yoga and a strong advocate for high quality yoga teacher training, I resonate deeply with yoga philosophies, esoteric anatomy, expansive breathwork, and life-enhancing principles of alignment & biomechanics in asana.

Debbie Spence

Debbie Spence

Finance & Newsletter Coordinator

I was hired in 1991 to work in the YAA's Edmonton office, and over the course of 30 years I served under six Presidents and too many board members to list! During that time, I witnessed first-hand that unity can prevail despite differences in traditions, lineages and multiple approaches to learning yoga – the YAA is an example that this is possible. In 2021, I switched to a part-time position focussing on YAA finances, newsletter layout, and unofficially as “YAA historical consultant”! I am a YAA Certified teacher (500hr) and have been a student of Raja Yoga meditation for 35 years. In my classes I teach hatha yoga and Raja Yoga meditation, gyan and seva, and often incorporate music and personal compositions in my classes.

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Krista Power

Office Manager

I have been practicing Yoga since 2001 and have been teaching since 2013. I am a Certified 750-Hour Intermediate Teacher with the YAA and hold Mind/Body designation with the AFLCA and E-RYT500 and YACEP designations from Yoga Alliance. I teach in-person and livestream classes and workshops and offer a variety of on-demand recordings through my website.  In 2019, I published my book, The Original Five Tibetans and began leading workshops teaching others how to correctly perform this ancient practice of rejuvenation. I am also an Ayurvedic Consultant and a Registered Level 2 Reiki Practitioner. When not in the office or on my Yoga mat, I enjoy spending time with my family, watching hockey and being outdoors in Edmonton’s beautiful river valley.

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Dave Downing

Yoga Bridge Editor

I discovered yoga and my first teacher Maya Margo Balog in 1996. Maya and yoga radically changed my perspectives on life and brought more awareness of actions and their consequences. Under her guidance, I became an accredited teacher with YAA about 20 years ago. My role as volunteer editor is to apply those teaching skills to karma yoga. I bring analytical thinking and wordsmithing along with a basic knowledge of yoga science to the role of editor/writing coach to help others express their ideas clearly and effectively.

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