Mark Stephens took his first formal yoga classes in 1991, completed his initial yoga teacher training in 1995, and began teaching yoga in 1996. In 1997, he founded Yoga Inside Foundation, establishing yoga programs and training yoga teachers for service in over 300 treatment centers, schools, hospitals, prisons, and other settings across North America. He received Yoga Journal's first Annual Karma Yoga Award for his nonprofit work in 2000. Stephens has founded and directed two yoga studios, L.A. Yoga Center and Santa Cruz Yoga, and has taught workshops and retreats worldwide, including outdoor adventure retreats combined with sea kayaking, trekking, skiing, and rock climbing. He returned to his native Santa Cruz in 2004, where he teaches classes, workshops, and teacher trainings at Santa Cruz Yoga.