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The Yogis of Karma Kids Yoga

The teachers are the heart of our yoga program.
All of our instructors are trained and experienced in teaching yoga to children, prenatal, postnatal or all three.
Some are sillier than others, but they are all extremely creative, nurturing, and fun!

Shari Vilchez-Blatt
Founder and Director of Karma Kids Yoga

Shari was a VP, Advertising Director before completely changing her path. Many of her years in the corporate ad world were spent researching kids and moms for marketing purposes - using CAPS (Child and Parent Studies), one-on-one sessions, qualitative and quantitative research to study childrens' play patterns, socialization, creativity and imagination, family interaction, teen studies and cultural trends, in the U.S. and around the world. She has also developed, named, packaged and marketed toys, games, activity kits and action figures for kids of all ages. She left for the opportunity to combine two things that are close to her heart - yoga and children.

Shari originally trained through the Radiant Child Yoga Program with Shakta Kaur Khalsa, YogaKids with Marsha Wenig, and through Yoga Mom, Buddha Baby with Jyothi Larson. She is also a CircusYoga Ring 3-er with Erin Maile O'Keefe and Kevin O'Keefe, and trained in Yoga Therapy For Children with Loraine Rushton. She completed her Prenatal Yoga certification with Juliana Secches, and Yoga for Kids with Special Needs through Radiant Child Yoga and Zensational Kids, as well as through Every Kids Yoga with Craig Hanauer. More recently, Shari completed Brain Gym 101 and Gogo Babies Infant Development Training with Ellynne Skove. Shari has been teaching yoga to children for over fifteen years.

Kids really respond to Shari, as she communicates with them in a fun and trusting way that will comfort even the most shy child. She knows how to relate and talk to kids on their level, allowing them to sense her friendliness and understanding. Shari can turn any task into something fun and is simply an enthusiastic child in an adult body.

Shari has developed yoga programs for many schools and consultants on various healthy living articles for numerous Parenting Magazines, Target, Nickelodeon, Working Woman, as well as health and wellness and parenting blogs. She can also be found advocating for the Yoga For NY, Wellness in Schools, and Yoga for Peace organizations. She is also a presenter at the National Kids Yoga Conference and Yoga Journal Live. Most recently, Shari has been featured on Sesame Street sharing yoga with Murray and Ovejita at "yoga school"!

Shari is mom to yogini, Layla Moon, and practices yoga with her almost every day. Shari is inspired by the knowledge of her teachers, the creativity of her students, the kindness of her friends, and the love of her family, especially her husband, Jason.

Shari has trained over two thousand people around the world to teach yoga to children through the renowned Karma Kids Yoga Teacher Training Program. Many of them have started their own kids yoga programs. She has also trained hundreds of Preschool, Elementary, Middle and High School Educators through KKY's Yoga in the Classroom and Yoga in the Preschool Classroom courses, spreading the benefits of yoga into the public, charter, and private school systems. She also acts as a mentor to teachers around the world. She also created the KKY Teen Yoga Teacher Training Intensive, and The Business of Kids Yoga Workshop. Shari's latest endeavors are Yoga for Test Prep and Girl Empowerment Series. Next up...Boy Power...stay tuned.

Shari_crow

Shari's favorite yoga pose is Bakasana, or Crow Pose, because it requires strength, balance, and focus. And because it's fun to jump into!

 

 

 

 

 

Suzanna Neeley Bridges

Born and raised in Wake Forest, North Carolina, Suzanna discovered yoga when the Big Apple started to make her feel small. The peace, mindfulness, and connection that yoga provided were paralleled only by the music in her life. A singer/songwriter and graduate of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, Suzanna has finally found the perfect marriage of her love of yoga, music, and children in Karma Kids Yoga, where she completed her children's yoga training. More recently, she completed her training in Yoga for Kids with Special Needs through Radiant Child Yoga and Zensational Kids Yoga, as well as with Every Kids Yoga.

Through years of teaching children's enrichment classes she has witnessed first-hand the incredible power of song in early childhood development and beyond. Her classes are always musical adventures designed to nurture the body and soul.

Suzanna almost never leaves her apartment these days without a musical instrument slung on her back. And she certainly never teaches a yoga class without the help of her trusted friend and guitar, Barnaby. When she isn't teaching classes she's either performing in her bluegrass/motown band, "Walking for Pennies", or in her kids band "The Bubble Factory".

Suzanna's favorite yoga poses is Malasana or Frog Pose because nothing beats a really good "ribbit".

 

Janine Bickoff

Janine grew up in Wayne, NJ and began practicing yoga at age seven with her yogi mom and has been hooked on it ever since!

After years of practicing yoga at home, in studios and experiencing the tranformative powers of yoga firsthand, Janine was inspired to share her passion for yoga with others. She has since completed her 200 hour yoga teacher training at PURE Yoga and certification to teach children's yoga through Karma Kids Yoga. She has also studied yoga at Earth Yoga, Sacred Sounds, Ishta Yoga, New York Yoga and Newport Power Yoga.

Janine earned a formal degree in Childcare Management from New York University and has spent the past several years teaching creative movement, dance and gymnastics to children at schools and summer camps throughout NYC. The opportunity to teach yoga to children more often is a natural next step and one that Janine has been dreaming of taking for a long time.

Janine is very excited to be part of the Karma Kids Yoga family. Her goal is to expand opportunties for children to grow and learn yoga in a fun and nurturing environment and is enthused to blend her experience teaching children with her passion for yoga to create classes that inspire confidence, relax the body and spark the imagination.

Janinen's favorite yoga pose is Trikonasna, or Triangle Pose because the hamstring and side body stretch is wonderful and it's the perfect heart opener.

 

Hillary Brylka

Like a shadow, yoga has ingrained itself into every aspect of Hillary's life. As a native New Yorker, she rarely took a minute to breathe until she stumbled into a yoga class by mistake sixteen years ago. She has rarely stepped off the mat since.

Ashtanga feeds her inner cario-junkie, Hatha cools her ever-churning mind, and Prenatal continues to awe her with the strength and power of the pregnant mama. After studying yoga in Boston, Chicago and India, Hillary completed her 200-hour teacher training at Pure Yoga in New York City. Her own pregnancy got her on the hunt for a prenatal class where she could actually break a sweat while staying safe, and just like that, her prenatal fitness streak was born (followed by shortlythereafter by her daughter Fiona). When her second daughter arrived, Hillary quickly realized little was as rewarding as teaching a room full of pregnant goddesses so she completed the Prenatal Teacher Training at the Prenatal Yoga Center, and hasn't looked at a flat wasitline since.

Hillary prides herself on getting her prenatal clients to embrace their growing bellies while staying fit, balanced and confident. When Hillary isn't wearing sweatpants and slinging a yoga mat over her shoulder, she is wearing sweatpants and carrying a diaper bag with her little girls in tow. She treasures the perspective that yoga has given her and works to share that viewpoint with yogis old and new, young and old.

HIllary's favorite pose is Ananda Balasana or Happy Baby Pose because it gives you a baby's perspective of the world, face toward the sun, toes wiggle and heart opened wide.

 

 

Apryl Dyer

Apryl is a dedicated yogi, dancer and holistic health coach. She holds a BFA in Dance Education (K-12) from the University of the Arts, an MA in Dance Education from Teachers College, Columbia University (K-12 and early childhood) and an MA in Dance Movement Therapy and Counseling from Columbia College Chigaco (concentration in early childhood and eating disorders).

Apryl's passion and advocacy for the arts and education have led her to work in schools throughout New York City and South Africa. Her love of movement led her to the study of yoga and through the guidance of her teachers, Will Duprey, Lisa Benner and Susan Duprey, Apryl is 200-hour RYT as well as a certified Holistic Health Coach. More recently, she completed her certification in Prenatal Yoga.

Apryl seeks to provide nourishment to the body and mind in her classes while at the same time holding space where the student is free and welcome to explore and play. Apryl lives in Brooklyn with her husband Seth and is expexting a baby girl in October 2016.

Apryl's favorite yoga poses is Malasana or Garland pose for the quietude it brings.

 

 

Greta Feit

Greta was raised in downtown Manhattan, and is happy to still call this beautiful city her home. As a kid, Greta was always upside down while using her neighborhood as a personal playground. Whether she was practicing handstands on the piers along the Hudson River, doing flips in community gardens throughout Greenwich Village and the Lower East Side, or perfecting her back walkovers along the Brooklyn Bridge, it was hard to get her to walk on her own two feet.

Greata graduated from Hunter College with a BA ins Studio Art and a minor in Dance. She has been working with kids and families throughout the five boroughs for about 10 years. Whether she's babysitting, teaching dance classes, or introducing art projects, it always makes her day to learn from the inspiring kids she works with. She is ecstatic to join the amazing crew of kids yoga teachers at KKY and loves playing and teaching wonderful and creative little ones!

In Greta's classes, you can always expect to learn fun poses and games, calming breathing exercises, and of course love for oneself!

Greta's two favorite poses are headstands and handstands because it makes her feel liberated and strong - and she gets to hang out upside down!

 

 

Lauren Feldman

Originally from Maryland, Lauren moved to New York City in 2002 to attend New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. She studied physical acting for four years at the Experimental Theatre Wing.

Although Lauren had taken yoga classes here and there, it wasn't until her first lesson with Lisa Stendig, founder of Embodiment Yoga, that she had an "aha" moment. Wanting to go deeper with yoga, Lauren completed Pure Yoga's 200-hour Teacher Training with Kay Kay Clivio and Yoga Charu in 2013. She also completed certifications in Yin Yoga with Kate Kuss and in Prenatal Yoga with Mary Barnes.

In Spring 2017, Lauren decided to reboot health and wellness. After years in marketing, she left the corporate world to spend more time with her toddler and teach more yoga! Lauren is a mother with creative energy and passion for helping others discover space in their bodies.

Lauren's favorite yoga poses is Gomukhasana or Cow Face Pose because it provides an opening and release that makes her go "ahhhh".

 

 

 

Celeste Formisano

Orignally from New York, Celeste completed her BA from Penn State University in Elementary and Kindergarten Education and Early Childhood Development. Her professional teaching experience in public and Montessori classrooms have provided foundational skills to communicate with children effectively and create engaging, developmentally appropriate lessons

Yoga allows Celeste to make space for transformation and rejuvenates her body linking breath and movement. She decided to combine her two passions - teaching children and yoga. She was first certified with Karma Kids Yoga and also holds certifications from Baby Om: Yoga for Mothers and Babies, Bent On Learning, and more recently she completed Every Kids Yoga for Special Needs.

Playing Yoga with Celeste is always fun and exciting. Her classes foster a playful and imaginiative environment through movement, breathing and mindfulness. Children explore thorugh animated poses building self-awareness and confidence. They work together to understand "teamwork makes the dream work". She believes that her purpose is to teach yoga while connecting and growing body, mind and breath one child at a time.

Celeste's favorite yoga pose is Triangle Pose, or Utthita Trikonasana, because is allowes her to create space and lengthen her body.

 

 

 

Laura Frye

With a love for the stage, Laura made her way to NYC after completing her Master's in Acting at the University of Houston. Upon arriving, she realized that she also had another love and that was working with and helping children with their confidence, through movement based fun. She realized quickly what a rewarding experience it was to work with kids of all ages nad she knew she wanted to pursue more movement based programs for children.

Laura had been practicing yoga for several years and through a chance introduction, she became part of the KKY family. She completed the Karma Kids Yoga Teacher Training, as well as Jyothi Larson's Postnatal Yoga Mom Buddha Baby Training, and has been lovin' life ever since. Laura has also completed the KKY Teen Yoga Teacher Training Intensive and Prenatal Yoga Training with Juliana Secches. More recently, she became certified to teach kids with specail needs through Every Kids Yoga. Laura finds complete and total joy helping each child grow and learn through yoga. This is extremely evident in her exciting and imaginative classes, as you can tell that she's having as much fun as the kids are. Laura says that this is the happiest she has ever felt.

Laura is also a facilitator of the Karma Kids Yoga Teacher Training course and travels the world teaching adults how to teach yoga to children.

When she's not teaching at KKY, Laura is traveling the country teaching movement and acting at different Theater Academies and festivals. Laura is also the Artistic Director of Promethean Theater Company and a very proud member of Actor's Equity.

Laura's favorite yoga pose is Natarajasana or Dancer Pose, because it makes her feel strong and confident, but mostly because she's been doing it since she was a little girl, when pretending she was an Olympic Ice-Skating champ. This pose still creates a sense of play and fun in her practice.

 

 

Ashley Gableman

Ashley is a dedicated teacher, yogi and dancer. She holds at BA in Elementary Education, with a concentration in Special Education from the University of Delaware, and an MA in Literacy Education from Hunter College.

Ashley's personal experience with yoga has led her to incorporate yoga into her classroom and lead the yoga club at her school. Her work with special needs children has always been close to her heart and she has taught her students to use yoga as an outlet to express themselves.

She loves to play yoga with children and is ecstatic to join the KKY family. Her goal is to have children learn yoga in a fun and safe environment where they can grow and foster their confidence. Ashley grew up right outside of Manhattan in the suburbs of NJ and has lived in Manhattan since 2011.

Ashley's favorite yoga poses is Natarajasana or Dancer Pose as it brings both her passions together in one.

 

 

Amy Gernux

Amy Gernux grew up dancing in Western MA under the mentorship of Jennifer Dubilo and Rebecca Gamache. Her love for movement took her to Connecticut College where her studies shifted from ballet and jazz to contemporary modern, improvisation and West African dance: training with David Dorfman, Shani Collins-Achille, Lisa Race, Heidi Henderson and Adele Myers. Amy received her BA in 2013 with Honors in Dance (magna cum laude) with a minor in studio art. Her additional training includes: David Dorfman Dance Summer Intensive, Bates Dance Festival Professional Training Program, New York City Dance Alliance, Dance Educators of America, and the New York Dance Teacher Summit, among others, and she has performed the work of Kyle Abraham, Andrea Miller, David Parker, Angie Hauser, Nicholas Leichter, Laura Dean, and Bebe Miller. Amy currently dances for Raja Kelly | the feath3r theory.

With her diverse dance history, Amy draws upon all of her movement experiences to teach imaginative and energetic dance classes with a distinct balance of technique and style to children of all ages. She has taught at Artistic Dance Conservatory, Connecticut College, and many Pre-K classrooms and community events in Western MA.

Amy loves to sing (with band mate and fellow KKY yogi/dancer Skyler Volpe), practice yoga, and make art in all its various forms and volumes. She is so happy to join the KKY family and the Dance Program.

Amy's favorite dance step is fondu which means "to melt".

 

 

Heather Gobbee

Heather can't think of a better way to spend her day than having fun, being creative and supporting the developmental needs of our children. Born and raised in the California sunshine, she brought her little light to NYC in pursuit of acting.

Heather's educational training, theater endeavors and classroom experience has shed light on the many layered connections between child development, yoga, and the dramatic arts. She believes that when children play, they happily learn.

Heather is a NYS Certified Theater Arts Educator, and has received certifications in teaching yoga to children through Karma Kids Yoga and Little Flower Yoga, and has recently completed the Radiant Child Heart & Soul workshop, as well as completed the CircusYoga Ring Two Teacher Training, and Zenergy's Yoga Therapy for Children. She is also mom to two little theatrical yoginis.

Heather's classes are inspiring, exciting, and always include something unexpected or a wonderous learning experience! Her passion for working with children is obvious in all that she does.

Heather's favorite pose is Vrksasana, or Tree Pose, because she loves the strong and glorious nature of trees and because they remind her of people. Like us, trees are forever growing, and need to stay rooted in a healthy environment with plenty of love in order to survive.

 

 

Corina Gonzalez

Corina began her love affair with yoga in the summer of 2005 when (inspired by her mom) she attended her very first Bikram Yoga class in Chapel Hill, NC. It was a doozy, but she was hooked! Since then, she's practiced many different forms and fusions of yoga, including Hatha, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Iyengar, Restorative, Buti, Caponyasa and Antigravity.

In 2015, Corina completed her 200 hour yoga teacher training at Three Sisters Yoga in New York City. In 2016, she became certified with Karma Kids Yoga to teach children. She is an avid volunteer for children with disabilities and hopes to promote accessibility, understanding and acceptance in her teaching. In her classes, she strives to create an environment of warmth, playfulness and compassion. Her other passions include aerial and pole dancing, surfing, ice cream, listening to hilarious comedians and solid hugs.
  
Corina's favorite pose is Savasana or Relaxation because it feels great at the end of yoga class!


 

Jessica Grant

Jessica is a long-life New Yorker whose love for the city is equally matched by her love of nature. After living and working at a Buddhist retreat center in upstate New York for two years, Jessica discovered a passion for meditation, yoga, and a deep desire to serve women during their reproductive years.

Jessica returned to school, became a registered nurse, trained to be a doula, and began her Master's degree program in Midwifery. During her studies her personal practice of yoga was a constant source of support and peaceful grounding. It became clear that teaching yoga would add another sourse of yoga and fulfillment into her life.

She completed her 200 hour Vinyasa teacher training and prenatal teacher training at Sacred Sounds. Since completing her training, she has been teaching prenatal yoga to moms throughout the city and loving it. Helping pregnant poeple during their experience of birthing new life into this world is a joy and priveledge for her.

Jessica's favorite yoga pose is Virabhadrasana III, or Warrior 3 because it requires strength, balance and mindfulness.

 

Candice Hammack

Curiosity and intrigue led Candice to attend her first yoga class in 2007. The practice became lovely weekly addition to her life. Eventually, curiosity and intrique led her to Dharma Yoga of Austin in 2008, completing a 200-hour Teacher Training. She began teaching a weekly class right away which led to teaching four weekly classes as her first year as a teacher. In 2010, Candice completed Dharma Yoga's 100-hour Intensive Training, following a 40-hour Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series Training with David Swenson.

Candice's personal Ashtanga practice has informed her teaching, sequencing, and understanding the union of breath and movement. Though not as avid as she once was, Candice sill practices Ashtange yoga 3 - 4 times a week blending it with gentle vinyasa, yin and restorative practices. She is certified through the Prenatal Yoga Center in NYC to teach prenatal and postnatal yoga. She finds working with expectant mothers to be incredibly rewarding and powerful, finding joy in the ever changing pregnant body on a weekly basis! Her postnatal classes are fun, inviting, accepting, encouraging group support and community. Candice is a DONA doula, offering support before, during and after birth.

In 2015, Candice completed the 650-Hour Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy Practioner Training. Blending breathwork, assisted yoga postures, meditation, and client centered and guided talk therapy. Yoga Therapy sessions hold beautiful opportunities for a deeper sense of self, body awareness, and have the potential for deep and meaningful life shifts. Candice provides a safe space for healing, discovery, and celebration with compassionate and attentive presence.

When not teaching or practicing yoga, Candice can be found reading in the park, preparing and creating workshops, enjoying the waves at the beach, throwing dinner parties, traveling or playing with puppies.

Candice's favorite yoga poses is Urdhva Dhanurasana, or Wheel Pose, and Halasana or Plow Pose. She loves both of these postures because after ten years of practice, they still surprise her with new awareness and depending on the day can feel effortless or as challenging as the first time.

 

 

Lindsay Harris

Lindsay Rose Harris is NYC native who first experienced yoga in gym class at LaGuardia Arts High School where she was a vocal music major. She continued to study voice at Goucher College where she participated in musicals such as Animal Farm, playing various animals such as raven, dog, and sheep. A Creative Writing major, she loved participating in the yoga club and going to nearby studios in Baltimore.

Lindsay completed her Children's Yoga Teacher Training through Karma Kids Yoga. She currently studies improv at the Magnet Theater and sings and plays guitar for childrn's birthday parties under the name "The Birthday Fairy". Lindsay's love for creativity makes her open and excited for whatever goofiness and fun a children's yoga class will bring.

Lindsay's favorite pose is Virabhadrasana II, or Warrior 2 because it is a great stretch and feeling of empowerment.

 

Lauren Jacobs

A native New York/New Jerseyer, Lauren discovered yoga during college and became hooked when she realized how much peace, playfulness and openness the practice consistently brought her. She has since completed the Immersion and Teacher Training Program at World Yoga Center and the Children's Yoga Teacher Training at Karma Kids Yoga, and has also participated in intensives wtih Todd Norian of Ashaya Yoga, Elena Brower of Vira Yoga, Jackie Prete of Ram Sangha Yoga and Baron Baptiste of Baptise Power Yoga.

Lauren has always had a passion for the arts and arts learning, earning a BA in Theater and English from Oberlin College and an M.Ed from Harvard University with a focus in Arts in Education. She has trained in theatre, and improv with the People's Improv Theater, The Forum Project, LaMaMa & the G.A.T.E. Ensemble. She is a New York State certified and New York City licensed in Theatre & English and has taught theatre, improv, creative writing and anti-bullying courses with The All Stars Project, Plays for Living, The East Side Institute and Prepare Impact Self Defense as well as with the New York City Department of Education.

Lauren is thrilled to be part of the Karma Kids family! She is inspired to blend her loves of practicing yoga, teaching children and exploring creativity into exciting kids' yoga classes where all children can go on imaginative adventures of their own making.

Lauren's favorite yoga pose is Tripod Headstand, or Sirsasana II, because going upside down is lots of fun and definitely offers a whole new perspective.

 

Jyothi Larson

Jyothi has been practicing yoga for over 40 years. She has taught in New York and internationally for 25 years. She is certified through Integral Yoga Institute.

Jyothis has adapted yoga for many populations. She specializes Prenatal, Postnatal, Restorative and Terapeutic Yoga teacher, specializing in Prenatal and Postnatal, Restorative and Theraputic yoga. Jyothi teaches at Integral Yoga Institute, Karma Kids Yoga, Prenatal Yoga Center and Stein Senior Center. She teaches Moving For Life classes at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center and NYU Langone's Initiative for Woman with Disabilities.

Jyothi is an Urban Zen Integrative Therapist, Certified Personal Trainer, Tai Chi Easy Practice Leader and an Interfaith Minster. She is the author of Yoga Mom Buddha Baby (Bantam 2002).

Jyothi is passionate about yoga and believes everyone benefits from it. She enjoys that her students range in age from in utero to over 90 years. She is thrilled to teacher her "Yoga Mom, Buddha Baby" Postnatal/Postpartum Teacher Training at Karma Kids Yoga.

Jyothi's favorite pose is Warrior II or Virabhadrasana, because it makes her feel strong, courageous and grounded.

 

 

 

Melissa Lawson

Born in Thailand, Melissa has lived throughout South Asia, Southern United States, and now calls New York home. Her yoga practice began when she took it as an elective in college and fell in love with it.

She brings a playful aspect to her yoga that carries into her life off the mat. Melissa is a fine artist and Karma Kids own 'artist in residence' ; our murals and paintings of Ganesh and Sita are her handiwork. She leads classes that inspire creativity such as mat painting and yoga art, as well as other children's yoga classes.

Melissa also teaches at St. Ignatius Loyola Day Nursery where her class is part of the curriculum She has become the "Yoga Fairy" to 150 preschoolers. She believes that there is magic in a yoga practice that illuminates people from the inside out and she brings this magic into all of her classes.

Melissa holds certifications to teach yoga through Karma Kids Yoga, Radiant Child Yoga, Yoga for the Special Child,Yoga Mom Buddha Baby, Pediatric Yoga, and is trained in First Aid and CPR.

Her three precious children have practiced yoga and meditation since birth.

Melissa's favorite pose is the Balancing Half Lotus.

 

 

Gayle Lemke

Gayle is a mother of two, yoga teacher, doula and passionate childbirth educator and advocate, as well as a founding member of New York's Metropolitan Doula Group.

Gayle is a graduate of Integral Yoga Institute and received her advanced pregnancy yoga certification from Gurmukh at Golden Bridge NYC. She completed additional prenatal and postnatal trainings with Jennifer Petit of Vira Yoga and with Krissy Sheilds of Maha Mama, and completed her advanced doula training wtih Debra Pascali-Bonaro.

Gayle's prenatal classes combine modified vinyasa flow, yin stretches and pelvic floor strengthening threaded with pranayama-for-two throughout. Ending with a blissful mother-aby savasana, mamas-to-be can commit to deep stillness while turning in to the sentient little soul inside.

Gayle's favorite yoga pose is Ardha Chappasana or Sugarcane in Half Moon Pose, because in this balance she feels most buoyant, expressive and strong.

 

 

 

 

Annie LeVasseur

Annie, a lifelong southern belle, moved to New York several years after earning her BA in Theatre from Christopher Newport University in Virginia. As she worked and interned at serveral theaters, her yoga practice became more and more important as a tool to acheive balance, peace, flexibility of body and mind. So she dove in to her 200-hr certification through Sonic Yoga, and began pursuing her passion of giving the gift of yoga to anyone open to receiving it.

Inspired by fellow children's yoga teacher, Laura Frye, Annie set her sights on the world of yoga for kids, and completed her Children's Yoga training through Karma Kids Yoga. Working with children has cracked her heart and smile wide open, noticing that it's hard to take life too seriously when you surround yourself with kids. Annie completed her Prenatal Yoga certification with Juliana Secches, and her Postnatal certification with Jyothi Larson. She also completed CircusYoga's Ring One Immersion, and the Teen Yoga Teacher Training Intensive with KKY. More recently, Annie became a certfied Doula through DONA International.

Annie's gentle nature and warm personality make even the most shy child feel comfortable in her classes. She ensures that all kids have fun while strenthening their bodies. Balancing out her high energy yoga adventures with children, Annie is also certified in the healing art of Thai Yoga Massage. More recently, she became a trained and certified labor and birth doula, from DONA International. Annie also manages the studio and makes everything happen.

Annies' favorite yoga pose is Child's Pose or Balasana, because it reminds her that no matter what challenges the outside world can throw at you, you can always curl up, and go inside to find that blissful place that lives inside us all.

 

 

Jessica Phillips Lorenz

Originally a movement, dance and theater teacher for children, Jessica decided to incorporate her personal love for yoga into her existing skills. Jessica is certified to teach yoga to children through the Radiant Child Yoga Program (RCYP), Next Generation Yoga, and through Karma Kids Yoga. She is also certified to teach baby yoga through Yoga Mom Buddha Baby and Itsy Bitsy Yoga. More recently, Jess completed her training for working with kids with special needs through Every Kids Yoga.

Jessica works with kids as young as 6 weeks. Children really respond to her sweet and nurturing personality. She's also known to be quite silly.

Jessica is a co-creator of the Yoga In The Classroom Course, a senior teacher, and a mentor to many childrens yoga instructors.

Jess is also mom to yogini's Audrey Mina and Dylan August.

Jessica's favorite yoga pose is Urdhva Dhanurasana or Wheel Pose.

 

 

 

Ginger Merritt

Originally from Massachusetts, Ginger has been living in New York for half of her life, while traveling the globe singing, dancing, and acting in various Broadway shows. Upon her return to the city, she began teaching dance at a studio that also offered yoga classes, and that is where she experienced the life transforming practice of yoga.

Yoga helped Ginger to become strong both inside and out. She loved this feeling, so she decided she wanted to share it with others so that they might feel the power of yoga as well.

Ginger received her 200-hour certification through YogaWorks. She also completed her Children's Yoga Training with Karma Kids Yoga, and Prenatal Yoga through Samba Yoga, and Special Needs training with Every Kids Yoga. She also teaches adult Vinyasa and Hatha classes throughout the city.

Ginger's students will not only explore challenging yoga postures but they will have fun as they dive into and explore their imaginations. She believes yoga helps build confidence and self-esteem in children of all ages.

Ginger's favorite pose is Crow Pose or Bakasana because it makes her feel like she's flying.

 

 

Mary Molluso

Originally drawn to yoga for stress reduction, Mary has been exploring various yoga styles and practices for the past 15 years. Mary is an Educator and Speech-Language therapist, and has worked with children and adolescents within NYC High-Schools for the past twenty years. She also holds an MA degree in Theatre Studies and has studied acting for serveral years.

Mary completed her first 200-hour Certification in Traditional Hatha Yoga at Integral Yoga Institute, NYC in 2011 and has been teaching since. In 2014 she completed a second 200-hour Certification in Vinyasa-style at Prema Yoga, Brooklyn. She received her Teen Yoga certificaion thorugh Karma Kids Yoga. She also completed The Lineage Project's Yoga Teacher Certification for At-Risk and Incarcerated Youth.

Mary blends a joy of yoga and love of children and teens, along with creativity and compassion to cultivate balance and calm, strength and spaciousness. Music, yoga and philosophy, as well as hands-on assists are incorporated to help deepen the practice.

Mary's favorite yoga pose is Vrksasana, or Tree Pose because it makes her feel grounded.

 

Svenja Ostwald

Svenja was born and raise in Germany and fascinated by NYC from her very first visit. She is a fashion designer who has moved to this magical city a few years ago and pursued her dream to become a yoga teacher. She is a creative mind and enjoys accompanying pregnant students during this unique journey of becoming a mother! After completing the 200 hour teacher training at YogaWorks in NYC, she wanted to dive deeper into the world of Prenatal and Postnatal Yoga. Inspired by taking Prenatal Yoga classes on herown and realizing how her practice has deepened the connection with her baby and the awareness of her body changes, she completed her training with the Prenatal Yoga Center in 2016 just before giving bitht to her daughter Matilda Claire.

Svenja loves to empower her pregant students by building strength - both physically and mentally. Her authenticity, kindness and humor make her classes challenging and joyful at the same time.

Svenja is very excited to be part of the Karma Kids Yoga family and loves spending time on the mat - either teaching or together with her daughter.

Svenja's favorite yoga poses is Headstand because she loves to see the world upside down and shifting her perspective.

 

Kate Jetri Pollock

When Kate moved to New York City in 1998 to teach 4th grade she was introduced to yoga. Since then, yoga became a perpetual exploration. During her 13 years teaching elementary school, she began training as a yoga teacher, labor support doula and childbirth educator. Kate has had the privilege of attending births in New York City and her home state of Ohio. Since the birth of her daugther Luna, Kate is focusing on motherhood, teaching prenatal yoga, and preparing couples for labor and birth.

Kate aims to teach in a meditative yet light-hearted way. Her prenatal classes guide women through a gentle and fluid practice honoring the changes in body and mind that come with pregnancy. By blending physical postures with breath, Kate helps women alleviate common discomforts of pregnancy and connect to inner wishom for labor and motherhood.

Kate received her Hatha, Prenatal Yoga, Yoga for Labor and Delivery, and Theraputic Yoga certification from the Integral Yoga Institute. She is certified in Postnatal Yoga through Jyothi Larson's Yoga Mom, Buddha Baby. Kate studied Vinyasa with Shiva Rae and is trained in Yoga in the Classroom with Karma Kids Yoga. She is a certified labor support doula (Niara Healing Arts) and is working towards certification as a childbirth educator.

Kate's favorite pose is Eka Pada Rajakapotanasana or Pigeon Pose because it is a perfect blend of the "ha" and "tha" - the sun and moon energies. Initially it requires effort and then allows surrender. The pose makes her smile because she pictures her daughter on wobbly little legs chasing pigeons at the park.

 

 

Jeannette Prostowich

Jeannette has been a devoted yoga practitioner for the past 18 years. She discovered kids yoga after attending classes with her daughter and loved every single minute of it! With a love of music, movement and children, Jeannette completed her training at Karma Kids Yoga in 2013. She believes that sharing the practice of yoga with children early on can give them a "toolbox" that will grow with them as they face some challenges that life brings.

Jeannette holds a BA in Communications from Adelphi University. She worked in advertising for 12 years as a video editor cutting commercials and corporate videos. During this time, she discovered the practice of yoga. It was exactly what her body needed after sitting in a static position for many hours a day. She became hooked and knew this was something she'd be doing for the rest of her life.

Jeannette feels blessed to share her love of yoga and to be teaching at Karma Kids Yoga! She loves to sing, be goofy and play! Her favorite yoga poses is Virabhadrasana 3 or Warrior 3, because it makes her feel strong to balance on one foot. It's also a really great way to get to an exciting yoga adventure. Jeannette looks forward to seeing you and your kids on the mat!

Jeannette's favorite yoga poses is Virabhadrasana III or Airplane Pose because it makes her feel strong to stand on one foot and balance.

 

Kelly Rector

Originally from Orlando, Florida, Kelly studied movement most of her life through dance, gymnastics, cheerleading and acting. While performing at Walt Disney World, she was surrounded by the contagious laughter and involvement of the young visitors. Since then she has always enjoyed the spontaneity of working with children.

After receiving a BA in Theatre from The College of Charleston, Kelly toured with shows and began taking yoga classes around the country. She developed a love for the mind and body connection and recieved her 200 hour certifcation through YogaWorks, then her children's certification through Karma Kids Yoga, and her postnatal training through Yoga Mom Buddha Baby with Jyothi Larson, and more recently certified to teach children with special needs through Every Kids Yoga with Craig Hanauer. Kelly is also certified in Preantal Yoga and Prenatal Pilates and is currently finishing her 300-hour adult certification through YogaWorks.

Kelly's contagious energy and imagination fill her classes with a joyous sense of self discovery and magic. With every class she teachers, she is inspired by the willingness of a child to explore through movement, music, stories and games. Kids are drawn to her fun, patient spirit, allowing even the timid to come out and giggle. Kelly loves combinign a passion for yoga with a natural ability to have fun with children of all ages.

Kelly's favorite yoga poses is Baddha Konasana or Butterfly Pose because she sees her students as beautiful butterflies.

 

Rose Rouse

Rose is originally from DC, went to The College of Charlgeston then landed in NYC to work in marketing during the day and teach yoga at night. Eventually, she traded in her laptop for bare feet and pursued yoga full time.

She began her yoga journey in 2004 and since then she has studied many different styles and principles of yoga and pilates. She holds certifications through Yoga Alliance, Pilates Institute of America, Prenatal Yoga through The Tree Jewels, Thai Yoga Massage from Integral Yoga and Infant Massage through Loving touch.

Rose teaches with a focus on core strength and is passionate about pre/postnatal health and recovery. She is a true believer that you can find balance, beauty and strength in your pre and post-baby body through your yoga and pilates practice. Rose attributes yoga and pilates to helping her to be a better mother and she hopes to help all of her students navigate through their own path with happiness and confidence.

Rose's favorite yoga pose is Salamba Sirsasana, or headstand because it gives you energy and is tons of fun to proactive with her son, Douggie.

 

 

Jen Schiffer

Originally from Montclair, New Jersey, Jen discovered yoga while attending a cheerleading camp in high school. While cheerleading at the University of Pennsylvania, Jen continued her yoga practice to help strengthen her core and to help her perform countless stunts at football and basketball games.

Jen holds a dual MA degree from NYU and taught Spanish and TESOL in public and private schools until 2007 when she left the classroom for the yoga mat. Jen is an E-RYT 200, RYCT, RPYT and teaches "kids" of all ages, from 6 weeks to 106 years.

Jen holds additional teacher training certifications from Karma Kids Yoga, the Radiant Child Yoga Program, CircusYoga, Yoga Mom, Buddha Baby, Samba Yoga Prenatal Teacher Training, Every Kids Yoga for Special Needs, Silver Sneakers Fitness for older adults, YogaFit Kids, YogaFit Seniors, YogaFit Prenatal, Pilates Fit trainings and is an ACE Certified Group Fitness Instructor. More recently, Jen completed Brain Gym 101 and Gogo Babies.

While small in stature, Jen's energy in the studio is infectious. She loves to take her students on imaginary trips to places far and wide - you never know where her class will travel to on any given day, and getting there is half the fun!

Jen is our Director of Business Development, a senior teacher, as well as a facilitator of the Karma Kids Yoga Teacher Training, and has developed the Karma Kids Yoga En Espanol Workshop for children's yoga teachers.

Jen's favorite pose is Salamba Sirsasana or headstand because she loves the meditative state of standing on her head.

 

 

 

Juliana Secches

Juliana Secches was born and raised in Brazil, where she was a dancer for many years. It was only after she moved to New York that she found Yoga and in her very first class she knew that Yoga was something she wanted to do for the rest of her life.

Juliana has been a teacher for over 17 years. Having earned a certification from Be Yoga and Karma Kids Yoga, she continues to study with some of the best instructors in New York. Her life-long passion for working with kids also led her to further her studies of childbirth, child development and postnatal physiology.

Juliana currently teaches Vinyasa classes, as well as Prenatal, Mom & Baby and Kids Yoga. Her classes are fun and her nurturing personality always makes even first-time Yogis very comfortable. She builds her classes around what she sees as the most important limb of Yoga: Satya (truthfulness).

Juliana is also our Prenatal Yoga Director and offers a comprehensive Teacher Training in Prenatal Yoga. She is also mom to yogini Bruno, who practices with her almost every day.

Juliana's favorite pose is Eka Pada Rajakapotasana or King Pigeon Pose.

 

 

Emily Shanny

Originally from Washington DC, Emily uses her performance background to create exciting and engaging yoga classes. Since starting the practice at the ripe age of 14, she continues to fall in love with the mental and physical effects of yoga. After graduating from Northeastern University with a BA in Economics and minors in Global Social Entrepreneurship and International Affairs, she migrated to New York to pursue her true love of music and performance art.

Emily trained at the Kripalu School of Yoga, receiving her 200-hour certification and through Yoga Beans for her kids yoga certification. She is passionate making an impact in her community and kids are the root for a sustainable future. Integrating a meditative breath practice and slow flow, she teaches at non-profits, schools and studios around the New York area.

Emily's favorite yoga poses is Vrksasana or Tree Pose because no matter how much she blows in the breeze, her roots remind her to stand tall.

 

 

Amanda Sidran

When Amanda moved to New York from Wisconsin a decade ago, she wouldn't have guessed that the journey would lead her here! But her yoga practice became her grounding force as she established herself in the city, moving through a number of careers before deciding that yoga is what she wanted to do.

Amanda became a dedicated meditator, and earned her 200 hour certification at Bodhisattva Yoga in 2014. After completing the Karma Kids teacher training, she was thrilled to have the opportunity to join the team, and share her love for the practice with a new generations. Her classes are playful and fun and always inspire laughter. More recently, Amanda completed her certification in Special Needs with Every Kids Yoga and her Prenatal certification with Samba Yoga.

Amanda lives in Brooklyn with her aspiring yogi husband and aspiring yogini daughter.

Since it's too hard to choose just one, Amanda's favorite yoga poses are Ardha Chandrasana or Half Moon Pose for the fullest expression of openness and balance, Sirsasana or Headstand for the sense of resetting, and she loves to work on Titibasana or Firefly Pose since it's so challenging and knows she'll master it one of these days!

 

Ashley Smith Santos

A native Californian who loves to stretch in the sunshine! Ashley moved to New York in 2005 to study at Teacher's College, Columbia University, and to purse a teaching career in the big apple. She brought her love for the practice into her classroom through songs, stories, poses, and mindfulness activities. Ashley is currently teaching students, families, and classroom teachers how to integrate yoga, mindfulness and literacy in homes and schools.

She completed Karma Kids Yoga's Children and Teen Yoga Teacher Training in 2011. Ashley has also completed Prenatal Yoga Training Level 1, Zenergy Yoga Therapy for Kids, Every Kid’s Yoga: Teaching Yoga to Children with Special Needs, and Move with Me Yoga Adventures: Movement and Mindfulness Curriculum.

Children are drawn to Ashley's sweet nature and creative teaching style. Her classes are filled with the joy of learning, inquiry and positive energy. She incorporates singing into her classes and loves to engage children in stories. She sees each child as an individual, and thrives at making everyone feel comfortable in her class, building on each child's strengths while also increasing self-confidence. Ashley’s mantra is play, balance, grow!

Ashley's favorite yoga pose is Sirsasana or headstand, because it makes her feel empowered, and allows her to experience a connection between her mind and body through a different perspective.

 

 

Jessica Van Itallie

As a kid, Jessica was afraid to even try a headstand, much less a handstand! That changed when she started practicing yoga five years ago and she eventually realized that she'd much rather spend her days practicing and teaching yoga than sitting at a desk. She received her Yoga Teacher Training at the 200-hour level with Alison West in NYC, is certified through Karma Kids Yoga, the Radiant Child Yoga Program (RYCP), and has also studied with Marsha Wenig of YogaKids. Jessica also completed Jyothi Larson's Yoga Mom Buddha Baby Postnatal Training.

Jessica's big smile, enthusiastic and comforting nature puts the shyest of children at ease. In addition to being part of our family, Jessica also teaches at a pre-school in Union Square.

Jessica is mom to yogini, Caetano.

Jessica's has numerous favorite yoga poses, including Baddha Konasana or Butterfly, Garudasana or Eagle, and of course, Adho Mukha Vrksasana or Handstand.

 

 

 

 

Connie Viglietti

Connie is a fun loving soul hailing from York, PA.  She studied Music Theater at Elon University in NC before making her way to the big city to pursue an acting and singing career.  It was around that time that yoga snuck it’s way into her heart. 
 
Through a dedicated yoga practice, Connie connects to her most authentic self, living life more truthfully and present, more passionately and love filled and inspires her students to do the same.  She sings the praises of her knowledgeable and loving teachers, Lauren Hanna, Jo Bell, Will Duprey, Susan Duprey and Juliana Mitchell.   She enjoys chanting mantra, leading retreats and introducing beginners to yoga.  Connie founded Little Grasshopper Yoga bringing yoga to children.  She teaches prenatal yoga and is a birth doula.  She also is a holistic heath coach. Connie loves to sing, perform, play sports and spend time with her family.  Connie and her husband, Anthony live in Long Island City with their two darling children Maia and Hudson and dog Kali.
 
 
Connie’s favorite pose is Sirsasana II or Headstand because it was the first yoga pose she learned when she was a little girl and her Grandma Ginger taught her!  It’s always so fun to go upside-down and it makes her feel strong!

 

 

 

 

Skyler Volpe

Originally from Port Washington, NY, Skyler is excited to call NYC her new home. She is a recent graduate of Connecticut College, where she triple majored in Dacne, Sociology and French (cum laude). At Conn, she studied with and performed works by Kyle Abraham, Shani Collins-Achille, Susan Connelly, David Dorfman, Heidi Henderson, Nicholas Leichter, Adele Myers, David Parker (the BANG group), Lisa Race, and Derrick Yanford. Skyler studied ballet in Paris under Ncholas Noél of the Paris Opéra Ballet. During her four years, she also had the pleasure of performing improv comedy, a capella, and in student theatre productions. She also choreographed several origingal works and a Theatre Department musical.

When she wasn't doing all that, Skyler used yoga as a way to find peace in the chaotic world of college. She completed her Karma Kids Yoga certification and is super excited to be part of the KKY family! More recently, she completed Every Kids Yoga for Kids with Special Needs.

Skyler's classes are animated and fun, include lots of imagination, creativity and movement. She is also pretty silly.

Skyler's favorite yoga pose is Adho Mukha Vrksasana or Handstand because she loves to go upside down.

 

Tonya Wathen

Tonya has been teaching kids since she was a kid herself.  From teaching the younger kids on the swim team to assisting her mom (a teacher) with summer camps, she has always loved being around younger folk.  They remind her to stay young herself, and open-hearted and full of joy!
 
Tonya came to yoga through her career as a Broadway dancer.  First drawn to it for it’s physical benefits, she grew to love it, too, for its ability to help her stay grounded in a career full of change.  She received her 200 hour teacher certification from Sonic Yoga, where she first heard about yoga for kids and knew this was the direction for her.  She received her kids yoga training from Karma Kids Yoga.  Teacher by day and performer by night (Tonya is in the cast of Chicago, the Musical), she is thrilled to now be sharing all the benefits of yoga with her favorite little people!

Tonya’s classes are full of gentle guidance and goofy fun.  We don’t take ourselves too seriously and we’re always looking for a reason to laugh.  Tonya’s background as a theatre dancer gives her a unique take on body awareness and storytelling, which she hopes to bring into the class in a playful way. 

Tonya's favorite pose is Pigeon, or Eka Pada Rajakapotasana, for it’s reminder to always be gentle and kind to ourselves, and that surrender can sometimes be the strongest choice.


 

Roni Weissman-Gerard

With over a decade of background as a dancer in Israel and NYC and extensive research work with children during her psychology studies, Roni found a way to combine her true passions in life through kids yoga. Roni decided to study psychology in 2003, when her young nephew was diagnosed with Asperger's. In 2010, she tried yoga to release the academic stress and she fell in love with the practice. Roni completed her 300-hour Yoga Teacher Training at Atmananda studio in Manhattan and received her certification for Yoga for the Special Child with Sonia Sumar to work with kids with special needs.
 
Recently Roni taught yoga at the Hebrew Language Academy (HLA) elementary school. There she witnessed the physical, mental, emotional, and academic advancement of her students. Her background in psychology and her experience working with children of all abilities allows her to identify the abilities of each child and modify the classes acordingly. Energetic and patient, nurturing and fun, Roni enjoys inspiring children to improve their overall wellness through the practice of yoga.

Roni's favorite pose is Dancer Pose, or Natarajasana, because it reminds her of her days as a ballerina.

 

 


Janine White

Janine started doing yoga when she was about 10 years old, when her mom organized a kids yoga class at her house. This early expsure planted a seed, and her yoga practice has become a central part of her adult life. Janine shares this practice with children, youth, and adults of all ages and various backgrounds across New York City and New Jersey.

Janine completed her 200-hour Teacher Training at Laughing Lotus in 2013, her Children's Yoga Teacher Training in 2014, and training with the Lineage Project in 2016 on teaching yoga and mindfulness to court-involved youth. Janine also has a Masters degree in International Affairs and Human Rights, and she uses the tols of yoga and mindfulness to support leadership development among diverse groups of youth and social justice advocates.

Janine's classes are playful, fun and creative, and almost always involve dancing in some way! Her favorite yoga pose is Naturajasana or Dancer Pose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sean Wilkinson

Sean was first introduced to yoga through his movement class when he was training as an actor in college. From there, he started working at yoga studios and practicing daily and eventually found himself a yogi.

After touring nationally with Charlotte's Web, Sean decided it was time to take the plunge and earned his 200 hour certification from YogaWorks. Since then, he has also been trained through Karma Kids Yoga to teach yoga to children.

Sean is very excited to be teaching with the great family of teachers at Karma Kids Yoga. His classes are high energy laugh-zones where crazy voices and fun ideas are highly encouraged.

Sean's favorite pose is Adho Mukha Vrksasana or Handstand Pose.

 

 

 

 

 

We are located at 25 West 23rd Street • between 5th and 6th Avenues. Our Phone is (646)638-1444 and email downdog@karmakidsyoga.com
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