Meet Our Team
Co-Founder and Director of Operations
Sonya Thomlinson (Uchita) HHC, ERYT-500, C-IAYT is a co-founder and Director of Operations for Take a Breath. Sonya brings over 20 years of experience in meditation, breath practices, yoga therapy and education.
Sonya was co-director and co-founder of Tandava Yoga and Trinity Yoga Centers in Kelowna and Vernon, British Columbia from 2003-2016. An avid student of yoga and meditation since 1994, and teaching since 1998, Sonya leads trainings, retreats, workshops and classes throughout Western Canada and the US and works individually with those interested in dynamic health and healing.
From 2000-2003 Sonya served as Director of Program Operations for Kripalu Center, producing over 500 yoga, meditation, and health workshops and trainings per year, as well as International Conferences.
In 2003 Sonya completed Landmark Education’s Graduate Programs in NYC and Boston which included The Forum, The Advanced Course as well as Self Expression and Leadership Training.
Sonya has been co-directing 200, 300, and 500 Hour Yoga Teacher Training programs since 2004. Her practice on and off the mat continues to evolve with the nondual teachings of Michael Singer and Gurudev Shri Amritji (Yogi Amrit Desai).
Sonya was initiated into the Pashupata Kundalini Tantra Lineage by Shri Amritji in 2012 and given the name Uchita. In 2014 Sonya took Boddhisattva Vows and received Avalokiteshvara Initiation from H.H. The Dalai Lama, and Vajrasattva Initiation in 2016 from the Venerable Zasep Tulku Rinpoche.
Co-Founder and Director of Curriculum
Accredited Professional Yoga Teacher
Director of Teaching and Program Development
Key Consultant for The NewBack Program
Formally, the co-owner and director of Trinity Yoga Center, then Tandava Yoga in Kelowna, since 2003. Jeff began teaching yoga in 1991. For 10 years, he lived, studied and worked at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Stockbridge, MA, USA, the largest yoga teaching center in North America. This enabled him to study with international leaders in yoga and to assimilate leading teaching and practice techniques.
Jeff’s training and work experience began a passionate inquiry into mentoring and coaching as an additional tool to support yoga student development. He began creating innovative yoga programs and yoga teacher trainings and currently develops and co-directs the 200, 300, and 500 hour training programs through the Mindful Restoration Teacher Training, and has trained over 750 teachers in these various programs.
He brings humor to his practice and teaching, as well as a depth of philosophy inspired by authentic contemporary teachers.
Community Outreach and Senior Facilitator
Karen Rauser has been an educator for over 20 years in a variety of contexts including private and public schools as well as post-secondary institutions. Most recently, she worked supporting the development of mindfulness programming at the University of British Columbia, and is now the owner and founder of Butterfly Communication. A student of Jeff and Sonya since 2003, she finished her 300 HR YTT in 2012, and 200 HR Meditation Facilitator Certificate in 2015. Karen has experienced first-hand the transformative work of these practices, and is delighted to support the unfolding of Take a Breath in the community.
Jackie is a workshop facilitator passionate about teaching and empowering others. She leads workshops on stress and the profound health benefits of the relaxation response in the body to combat that stress. Jackie is a Human Service Worker and Certified Advanced Yoga Teacher. Her experience is working with youth/adults trapped in life altering addictions as well as mental health issues and children with unique challenges. These work experiences has inspired her to lead workshops on awareness and prevention. Jackie’s extensive training and her many years of personal challenges has inspired her to lead and facilitate workshops with compassion, empathy, relatability, along with scientific proof. She is excited to empower others so they too can experience the transformative benefits that the Take a Breath program offers.
In Jackie’s free time she loves to travel, read, cycle, camp, hike, being in nature as well as co-parenting two teenagers with her fiancé.