Banka learned meditation from her mother, Sheila, teaching her white light meditation when she was 13.

She came to yoga through Buddhism.  She lived at Tassajara Monastery and Green Dragon Temple where she practiced a strict discipline of Zen Buddhist meditation, chanting, and silence. 

She received ordination (Jukai) in 1994 from her teacher Reb Tenshin Anderson and she went to France to study with Thich Nhat Hanh where she received the 5 Precepts Ordination in 1995.

Banka went on pilgrimage to India and studied with his Holiness the Dalai Lama and received White Tara Empowerment in 1997.

In 2003 Banka completed her first teacher training at Kalani with Kathy Elder, in 2007  her second teacher training in Sivananda Yoga, and her third teacher training in Jivamukti Yoga, and in 2015 she completed her fourth teacher training in Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan. In 2015 Banka became an Advanced Certified Jivamukti Yoga Teacher. 

Banka has spent every August since 2010 serving her beloved teachers, Shri Sharon Gannon and Shri David Life.

Banka has also been Certified in The Kushi Macrobiotic Lifestyle and she has spent time studying & learning the Living Foods Lifestyle at The Ann Wigmore Institute & The Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center. All Vegan.

Banka has also spent long periods of her life devoted to direct action campaigns: liberate animals, forest defense, anti-nuke, and indigenous rights. 

Banka created a LIBA degree in Animal Rights and did her internship with PETA in 1989.

Banka was involved in North Coast Earth First! for Headwaters, trying to protect the last privately owned ancient old-growth redwood forest. A 7-year legal battle ensued-

Banka was involved in the SHAC campaign, The Buffalo Field Campaign, Big Mountain Black Mesa, hung a banner from Stone mountain in Atlanta on World Week to Liberate Laboratory Animals, was part of The Primate Freedom Tour, and numerous other campaigns for animal & earth liberation.

Banka has been arrested for civil disobedience:

Vandenburg Air Force Base, CA

Yerkes Primate Ctr, Atlanta, GA

NIH Primate Drug Addiction Lab, MD

Multiple Hunt Sabs in NJ, PA & MD

Department of Livestock Headquarters, Helena, MT

Office takeovers & Home Demos in CA

University of Penn Animal Lab,PA

Neiman Marcus, CA

Hegins Pigeon Shoot, PA


In this episode YIV's Holly Skodis and Banka discuss the following:

Connect with Banka:
Instagram: @bankalish

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