Yaarit fell in love with yoga during her first pregnancy when she took a ten-day Vipassana course in Northern California and decided to follow that path for inner peace. Yaarit has completed the mini yogis foundation training, and completed her 200-hour adult teacher training with Anita DE Francesco M.A in 2005. She has been teaching yoga ever since. Yaarit is married with twp amazing girls and studying for her bachelor’s degree in psychology these days. She loves to travel, hike, cook and be with her family.
Sharon is a Registered Children’s Yoga Teacher and has completed both the mini yogis foundation and advanced teacher trainings as well as the Zenergy Yoga Therapy 4 Kids and Yoga Education for Autism Spectrum trainings. She has been teaching for mini yogis since 2009. Sharon completed her 200-hour adult teacher training with Michelle Mazur, and her 500-hour training at Loyola Marymount University, where she became a Certified Yoga Therapist. After Sharon found yoga to be a tremendous part of her healing process with cancer, she began teaching survivors throughout Los Angeles as well.
Shana founded mini yogis yoga for kids in 2002 and is one of the global leaders in the yoga for kids market. She holds adult yoga certifications from Sri Dharma Mittra and Mark Blanchard, as well as from Next Generation Yoga for Kids. Her personal yoga practice is the cornerstone of her life. She is also the founder of YOGAthletica (for adults). Shana teaches yoga to both teachers and students all over the world and is the creator of the popular Yogi Pokey©. Click here for Shana’s full bio.
Sahel was born and raised in Orange County, and is a proud mother to a beautiful son. She recently beat cancer and during her recovery from the effects of chemo, she found that yoga helped her not only physically, but emotionally and mentally, as well. She regained strength and a new passion for life, and has since embraced the yoga lifestyle, sharing her passion and knowledge with others.
Sahel completed her 200-Hour Vinyasa Yoga Certification with Carolyn Long at Beyond Hot Yoga and from there expanded into the children’s field. She is has completed certifications with mini yogis, Yoga Education for Autism Spectrum, and Karma Kids. Sahel’s goal is to share this love with as many beautiful beings as she can.
Rachel is mini yogis’ Director of Marketing. She is married with two beautiful children and lives and works in Laguna Beach. She went to UCLA for her Bachelor’s Degree in psychology, and then went on to get a Masters of Education in London, England at Brunel University. While living in London, Rachel met her Kiwi husband and they spent many years traveling the globe before settling down to have their family. In her spare time, she loves to read, cook, travel and practice yoga!
Monica is passionate about helping and teaching children because she remembers her own childhood so vividly and fondly. Much of her adolescence was centered around Figure Skating. She competed in both local and internarnational competitions for eight years, won several medals and performed in skating show tours.It wasn’t until she was diagnosed with Scoliosis (a sideways deviation of the spine) that she realized her path in life would have to bend a little too. She had already been practicing yoga for years as part of her athletic training, but yoga became a more profound part of her lifewhen she started using it to ease both the physical and emotional pains of her condition. Monica is a certified mini yogis yoga teacher and is also certified in Pre-natal/Post-natal yoga, and Yin Yoga. She is currently completing the Advanced 500-hr certification through Yoga Tree San Francisco.
Melvin: “Sit in the corner, count to ten and be still!!!” A phrase I heard a lot as a child. Through yoga experiments with my yogini daughter i have learned a way to parent through compassion. I have been honored to have this same compassions teaching creative writhing and self-esteem classes to youth since 1996…I fell in love with yoga in 2002 and learned its amazing healing and calming benefits for children. For the last four years, I have taught yoga to youth and adults in the Los Angeles area and recently the Honolulu community. My yoga teacher training was with the humble Nzazi Malonga E-RYT, who taught us to have compassion and care through deep inhales and exhales…So know when I ask children to sit and be still, they usually count to 1000! I am also a certified mini yogis instructor.
Melissa has been studying Hatha yoga since 2001 and teaching since 2006. She is a graduate of the Vinyasa Krama Asana, Pranayama and Meditation Loyola Marymount University sequence and has studied regularly with Srivatsa Ramaswami. Melissa was certifed with mini yogis in 2008. Melissa brings a playful and grounded awareness by using seasonal verses and core stabilization. Melissa loves teaching for mini yogis.
As a certified mini yogis yoga instructor and experienced children’s fitness and soccer coach, I wanted to share my passion for teaching through yoga, while providing a community for my students and their families to safely practice together. The best part of my job is making children laugh. The second best part is teaching kids something new, and watching them find confidence in practicing what they’ve learned. The way they think and express themselves is something extremely precious and awesome. It is my job to make their journey in yoga and in my classes fun and rewarding. I love to demonstrate the joy of yoga throughout Orange County and be a cause for positive change in our community, teaching love, patience, kindness, and teamwork.
Kristin has been able to share her passions in different capacities with children from swimming, to theater and the arts, to Yoga and hiking. Kristin moved to the West Coast in 2009, leaving her career as a custom fabricator for Broadway on the east coast in pursuit of a healthier lifestyle. She took the leap to becoming a family Yoga instructor in 2010. On this path she has received certifications for 200-hour YogaWorks teacher training, mini yogis teacher training, 30-hour Karma Kids Teacher Training, Yoga Education for the Autism Spectrum, and Every Kid’s Yoga for Special Needs. Her mission is to be able make a connection with any child that crosses her path. Currently she is taking Early Childhood Education credits at Santa Monica College to further her understanding of child development. She loves the positive affirmation, “If you try you can do, it is in trying that we achieve.”
Kimberly: As a yoga teacher, I’ve had many amazing opportunities to work with all different types of people at various levels of practice. My passion for teaching is always rewarded by the aid I’m able to give my students. I’m humbled and grateful to forever be a student of yoga and pride myself in learning as much as I can as often as possible. I have completed both mini yogis foundation and advanced teacher trainings and am proud to be certified through Shana Meyerson to teach children of all ages. Additionally, I completed my 200-hour Yoga Alliance certification from Rising Lotus Yoga.
Kathleen Alvarez is a mini yogis certified teacher who completed her 200-hour training at Yoga Works. She graduated from California State University Long Beach with a B.A. in Recreation and a specialization in Recreation Therapy and Child Life. At the age of six, Kathy began as a competitive gymnast and went on to become an accomplished dancer. It was through dance she discovered yoga and took to it naturally. Yoga provided a way for her to integrate her love for body movement, expression and conditioning within a warm and peaceful environment.
Her love of yoga, dance, and teaching children lead her to mini yogis foundation training, and her teaching style incorporates respect, integrity, creativity, attitude, and a lot of ENERGY. She actively volunteers for a number of children’s wellness foundations and it is her continual goal to share her knowledge, instill a love of dance, movement, yoga and help guide others to achieve their dreams.
Jodi started practicing yoga in 1998. She believes that yoga is a life-long practice that goes beyond the physical & should be introduced as early as one can walk. In 2007 she completed both her 200-hour Living Yoga and mini yogis certifications. She teaches yoga to children & teens, in addition to coaching & teaching yoga to the Special Maccabees, a co-ed basketball team for children with special needs. In 2013, Jodi did her second 200-hour training with Rudy Mettia. Jodi’s teaching philosophy is that yoga can benefit all bodies; if you can breathe, you can benefit from yoga. Her classes are light, fun & accessible to beginners, while also challenging for intermediate & advance practitioners with individual attention towards to each student. She has worked with toddlers through seniors of all levels of experience and abilities.
Hope has been joyfully teaching yoga to children since receiving her mini yogis certification in 2008. After successful careers as a journalist and a professional dancer, Hope, a 20-year practitioner of yoga, sought a career which would allow her to spend as much time as possible with her now going-on-seven-year-old daughter (also a mini yogi!) “While the primary focus of my classes is always yoga, children also get incidental lessons in language, musicality, math, astronomy, and ecology among many other topics. Empathy and caring for others is also an ongoing theme.” “I continue to learn from and be surprised by my students, the littlest teachers.” In her spare time Hope enjoys dancing, gardening, and doing yoga with her daughter. She also holds certification in adult Barre Yoga.
Gina is native Italian, trained by mini yogis yoga for kids. She is an Italian Language Teacher and Translator, a wonderful and fun yoga teacher and devoted mamma of Sofia. She is a passionate educator who quietly finds fun ways to inspire and empower children while sharing the gift of yoga. Children will learn the art of yoga, practicing strength poses and deep breathing, while improving flexibility and focus. Gina’s classes use the power of storytelling to inspire kids to express and foster social, physical and emotional development. Teamwork is highlighted through partner poses and kids name their yoga poses to the class to develop leadership skills and confidence.
Debora has been practicing yoga since 1998. She holds a 200- hour Yoga Alliance certification though Rising Lotus Yoga as well as a mini yogi’s certification though Shana Meyerson. Besides loving children she has two grown yogis of her own. She believes the values and benefits of a yoga practice start with games and giggles, and will last a lifetime, giving children the tools to handle the teenage years and finally adulthood. She sees children finding a way to tap into inner peace and strength, continuing this path into their adult lives. Imagine a world of peace and gratitude…imagine a generation of yogis.
D.M. has taught in studios, private homes, and more than a dozen schools since completing her mini yogis training in 2008. Her experience spans all ages–from toddlers to teenagers–and includes one-on-one instruction for young people with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Asperger syndrome, and Down Syndrome. A yoga practitioner since 1999, D.M. builds classes around students’ ideas, and encourages children’s self-expression every step of the way. D.M. holds 200-hour certification from Liberation Yoga, as well as certifications from mini yogis and Yoga Ed. She has also completed Relax & Renew Restorative Yoga Certification from Yoga Tree SF, Thai Yoga Therapy Certification from White Lotus Foundation, and Yoga Education for Autism Spectrum Certification from Vanessa Kahlon.
Charlotte is a native Los Angeleno with humble yoga beginnings doing sun salutations in frigid Chicago studying in the library. Not only is she a mini yogis teacher training graduate, but she has also gone on to complete her 200-hour teacher training with Michelle Mazur (special emphasis on yoga therapy) and is in the process of completing her 500-hour advanced training, as well. Charlotte taught in 15 different junior high schools and elementary schools in Japan for three years and became experienced in making classes energetic, engaging and fun…a skill she carries over beautifully to her mini yogis yoga teaching.
Cathleen has been practicing yoga since 1997. In 2009 she completed the mini yogis foundation and advanced teacher training programs with Shana Meyerson. She went on to become certified to teach children and teens. Her teaching is influenced by the Iyengar style of yoga. A grandmother of four, she enjoys creating an environment that encourages physical and spiritual awareness. Her therapeutic and individual approach helps each student understand and receive the healing benefits of what yoga has to offer. Cathleen takes pleasure in teaching a wide variety of classes from restorative Mommy & Me which are interactive, sing-a-long classes to pre-teen and teen classes that renew and increase self confidence in this transitional period of young lives. Classes are a playful experience where everyone gets to breathe, move, laugh and stretch together!
Brooke has worked with thousands of children around the world on US Embassies, military bases, schools, youth centers, and private homes. She has a degree in Creative Drama/Youth Theatre/Theatre in Education & Performance from the University of Northern Iowa, received her RYT200 training from Black Dog Yoga in Sherman Oaks, CA and kids yoga trainings through: mini yogis and Yoga Ed. Tools for Teachers and is a registered Children’s Yoga Instructor with Yoga Alliance. As a child, Brooke spent five years in a back brace for scoliosis and had a spinal fusion at age 13. This experience fueled her passion to help children take care of their bodies, minds, and find the voices of their unique selves. She is certified by Infant Massage USA and the International Association of Infant Massage as an educator for parents learning to massage their babies. She received training from Clarity Institute in Neuro-Linguistic Programming and is licensed by the father of NLP, Dr. Richard Bandler as a practitioner of NLP. Over the past nine years, she has also worked professionally in Children’s Entertainment throughout LA, representing more than thirty companies in costume, providing improvised comedy, silly magic, games & drama, painting faces, balloon sculpting, storytelling, and more. Her work with children parallels the creation of her paintings, colorful expressions inspired and fueled partly by the love she feels working with children and paying attention to the details in life that children naturally appreciate.
Anita teaches yoga to kids, seniors citizens, and is also a certified Holistic Health, Eating Psychology, and Body-Food Relationship Coach. She teaches women how to release weight, find body freedom, and live happy, healthy and hot by embracing what she calls “the diet-free approach to loving your body and rockin’ your life™”. Anita earned her yoga certification from both mini yogis and Yoga Ed. and her health coaching certifications from the Institute for the Psychology of Eating and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.
Ania’s relationship with yoga began more than ten years ago when she stepped into a Santa Monica Power Yoga class led by Master Teacher Bryan Kest, and left physically exhausted, but mentally invigorated.
Since then, she has completed 200-hour teacher training from the National Yoga Institute, yoga for kids training with mini yogis, Thai Yoga Massage certification from Exhale, a second 200-hour training from YogaWorks, plus Lead Primary Ashtanga Teacher Training. She is currently completing an additional 300-hour training at YogaWorks.
An avid and dedicated yogini, Ania was suddenly stricken with a serious illness in 2011 that not only chained her to a hospital bed but also caused total immobility. This led to the profound realization of how precious every moment in life is. Since then, she has learned to appreciate the days of physical flow, the stillness of meditative state and power of daily pranayama.
Amy started practicing yoga in 2003 because of a running injury. After she left her first yoga class she felt calm and at the same time rejuvenated and was back on the mat the next day. Her running injuries subsided and she took her first yoga teacher training in 2005 with Bikram Choudhury. She taught Bikram for a year and then was fortunate to take both mini yogis foundation and advanced teacher trainings with Shana Meyerson. She has also taken the Kundalini-based Radiant Child teacher training with Shakta Khalsa. Amy also works with special needs children and has studied with Sonia Sumar and Vanessa Kahlon. She earned an additional 200-hour certification at The Green Yogi in 2013. Amy is passionate about teaching yoga to children and her classes are fun, engaging and challenging.
yoga is a gift
It is an uplifting, noncompetitive, mind-expanding, and fun way for children to build strength, spirit, and self-esteem.
mastering the ancient art of being a kid!
"...Your class has really helped me persevere and stay strong through tough times...Through your class, I am learning how to channel that negative energy and focus on positive aspects of life and my future. "
- katie irwin, (adult) power yoga student