|To help kids thrive in the world regardless of circumstances, and navigate the many challenges they face with a sense of personal power and self-awareness.|
|To provide tools that help all children navigate physical, mental and emotional barriers to learning, including improving focus and concentrations skills, and increasing emotional regulation capacity.|
|To create a space for joyful exploration and sharing of ideas.|
|To provide an environment of support and encouragement, where all children can feel safe and respected.|
Little Flower Yoga was founded in 2006, by Jennifer, when her successful use of yoga at Harlem Children's Zone in NY led to requests by other students, teachers and administrators for yoga programs of their own. Jennifer slowly began to teach more and more yoga classes and recruited other yoga teachers with education backgrounds to continue growing what has now become a flourishing program.
Little Flower Yoga was founded in 2006, by Jennifer, when her successful use of yoga at Harlem Children's Zone in NY led to requests by other students, teachers and administrators for yoga programs of their own. Jennifer slowly began to teach more and more yoga classes, until she found herself grateful and excited, but a little overwhelmed. She began to recruit other yoga teachers with education backgrounds to continue growing what had become a flourishing program, and Little Flower Yoga was born.
You can learn more about Jennifer, and Little Flower Yoga, through her book, Little Flower Yoga for Kids, and card deck Yoga and Mindfulness Practices for Children. Jennifer was also co-editor of Best Practices for Yoga in Schools, published by the Yoga Service Council and Omega Institute.
Jennifer is a native New Yorker and has has had a lifelong interest in education. Discovering yoga in early adulthood, Jennifer found that as her yoga practice grew more consistent she was imbued with a renewed sense of confidence, inner-strength and a desire to meet new challenges, whether in class or in life. Before founding Little Flower she spent eight years studying and practicing yoga, while continuing to develop her education career and working with children in a variety of settings including a domestic violence shelter, an after-school girls group, and an alternative therapy program for children with physical challenges. Jennifer’s Masters Degree in Education and Child Development, from New York University’s Gallatin School, culminated in a thesis on the use of yoga in education settings. She graduated from Boston University with a BA in Public Policy with a focus on education and healthcare.
In 2009 Jennifer became a founding member of the Yoga Service Council, and serves as it’s current Board President and Conference Coordinator. She is also an active member of the International Association of Yoga Therapy and a registered Yoga Alliance Teacher. Jennifer’s inner child lies just below the surface. Children love her willingness to indulge in mutual silliness, while also appreciating the genuine respect that she has for her students of all ages.
Mayuri Gonzalez, E-RYT, RCYT:
Mayuri Gonzalez is a nationally recognized speaker, trainer, and instructor in mindfulness, children’s yoga, and chair yoga. Mayuri is regularly asked to lead teacher trainings and continuing education seminars across US, including at renowned retreat centers such as The Omega Institute and IONS Earthrise Center.
Mayuri has a genuine heart for children and giving them tools to support them to navigate a world that is moving so fast and asking so much from them. She has seen first hand the tremendous impact that yoga and mindfulness can have to help children to connect more deeply to themselves and the world around them and have a fuller and more enjoyable experience of life.
She has more than 25 years of experience practicing yoga and mindfulness, including 17 years as an instructor and trainer. Mayuri has taught more than 1,000 children’s yoga and mindfulness classes in schools and community settings. She has completed extensive trainings and certifications in a variety of yoga styles (yin, anusara, vinyasa), meditation, mindfulness and children’s yoga. She provides therapeutic yoga classes to children and families and continuing education sessions to mental health and education professionals interested in bringing yoga and mindfulness tools into their private, clinical, and institutions.
Most recently, Mayuri created and facilitates the teacher training “Chair Yoga Basics: A Sustainable Approach,” a program designed to bring the simplicity and effectiveness of chair yoga into schools and clinical settings.
Mayuri also currently serves as director of the School Yoga Project, managing weekly school-based yoga and mindfulness classes for more than 1,500 children in New York City and the metro area. Mayuri hires, mentors and supports a teaching staff of 20. She works side-by-side with Little Flower Yoga founder, Jennifer Cohen Harper, to create new programs, trainings, and curriculum. Mayuri has built SYP to include creative, sustainable and relevant professional development opportunity for educators, clinicians, parents, and administrators who interested in bringing the tools of yoga and mindfulness to the youth they serve.
She also serves as an expert and guest speaker at professional development trainings for organizations supporting the wellbeing and education of children and young adults including: Washington Association for the Education of Young Children (WAENYC) , Special Education PTA (SEPTA), Sanctuary for Families and Union Settlement. Mayuri has also presented on yoga and mindfulness for children and adolescents at multiple conferences, including the Bridging Hearts and Minds of Youth Conference in San Diego, National Kids Yoga Conference in Washington, DC, and the Women of Tomorrow Conference in NYC.
Mayuri is an active member of the Yoga Service Council (YSC), Yoga Alliance, and International Association for Yoga Therapists (IAYT). A contributing author to “Transforming Education: Best Practices for Yoga in Schools White Book” published by the Yoga Service Council and Omega Institute White Book Series, scheduled for release in 2015, Mayuri is also author of the forthcoming book “Little Flower Chair Yoga Basics: A Sustainable Approach” scheduled for release in 2016
Lawrence Harper was proud to join LFY as it's Financial Manager and Program Coordinator in 2011, after marrying founder Jennifer Cohen Harper in 2010. He has a BA and MA from the City University of NY and has dedicated his life to helping others first as a NYC police officer, and currently as a Yonkers firefighter. After 22 years living in New York, Larry has found a home in Croton on Hudson, where he lives with Jenn and their daughter, Isabelle.
Tricia began practicing yoga after she broke her back snowboarding and now twenty years later she is still going strong and she thanks yoga for this. She began her training with kids after having her own children. Tricia has received extensive training on children and adult styles of yoga and mindfulness, meditation, pre-natal, restorative, yin, yoga therapy, anatomy, yoga for athletes and trauma informed teachings.
Now with over two decades of teaching and coaching experience, one of Tricia’s passions is working with and empowering children / adolecents and athletes. She has experience working with all levels and abilities, including children with varieties of diagnosis/special needs, injuries and cross training needs. She also provides mindfulness support groups, trainings and continuing educational workshops for parents, caretakers educators and business professionals.
Yoga/mindfulness has been and incredible support vehicle for Tricia and this is what fules her to share it with others. "When children apply these techniques and when we help people to practice in a nurturing, safe and fun way, the body and mind are restored and strengthened. People are able to cultivate a stronger sense of self - physically and mentally. They are able to develop concentration, nourish compassion, kindness, love, and build confidence while keeping the body and mind healthy - And these are skills that are forever useful."
Tricia's life is her husband and 2 super active boys. She is an outdoor enthusiast and loves the snowboarding, mountain biking and traveling. She is an active member of the Yoga Service Council and a member of the International Yoga Therapy Association (IYTA). She has a degree in Sociology, with a concentration in Psychology, and a minor in Marketing.
For More Info: www.triciastevensyoga.com
Argos Gonzalez is a teacher, lecturer, and mindfulness instructor. He has 13 years of experience teaching high school English in the Bronx and teaches literacy instruction to pre-service and in-service teachers at Hunter College School of Education. He is also a Mindful Schools & Little Flower Yoga Certified Instructor.
He uses his mindfulness and yoga training with students of all ages including his graduate students and facilitates professional workshops and training for educators around the country. More recently, he is proud to support the organizations that trained him as Director of Curriculum and Professional Development for Little Flower Yoga, and Guiding Teacher for Mindful Schools.
He was also a contributing editor of Best Practices for Yoga in Schools and has been featured in The Atlantic and NPR for his work teaching mindfulness. Argos has also had the honor of sharing his expertise on mindfulness and yoga at nationally recognized conferences such as the Kripalu Yoga in Schools Symposium, Bridging the Hearts and Minds of Youth Conference in San Diego, and The Yoga Service Conference at the Omega Institute.
He’s currently finishing his Ph.D. in Urban Education at the City University of New York Graduate Center, where he plans on writing his dissertation on the impact mindfulness practices has on teacher self-efficacy.
Abigail’s passion is to empower children, and believes yoga and mindfulness are valuable tools. After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from SUNY New Paltz, Abigail was introduced to yoga when attending a mindfulness based stress reduction program. In 2008 she completed her 200-hour yoga teacher training through Shakti Yoga, and began teaching Hatha Yoga to adults. Her twenty years of experience with children include eight years as an assistant teacher in a school for children with special needs, substitute teaching in a high school, tutoring children, participating in the America Reads program, providing child-care for many families, and counseling at a summer camp. The Empowerment Institute certified Abigail as an Empowerment workshop trainer and coach in 2011. She led Empowerment workshops at Bard College, SUNY New Paltz, and at local yoga studios. In the summer of 2013, she started teaching children yoga and meditation at a summer camp. This combining of yoga and empowering children inspired her to seek more training, and she soon after enrolled in the Little Flower Yoga teacher trainings. She has studied with Mindful schools and taken LFY chair-yoga training. She began studying with Leslie Kaminoff at the Breathing Project in the fall 2014. In addition to teaching kids through Little Flower, Abigail teaches privates to adults and offers yoga, mindfulness and art classes for children in her neighborhood. Abigail loves connecting with children and witnessing how meaningful yoga and mindfulness are to them. She is dedicated to a holistic approach to wellbeing. Her vision is to serve as a valuable guide toward improving quality of life for her students, both in class and out.
Crystal McCreary has taught yoga since 2007. Her teaching is most significantly influenced by the 500-hour YogaWorks Teacher Training program, Jason Crandell, Jason Ray Brown’s Anatomy Studies for Yoga Teachers & Movement Professionals, Headstand: Yoga in Schools Training, Bent on Learning’s Certification Program for Yoga in Schools, the Mindful Schools training courses, Little Flower Yoga Teacher Training Program, as well as several years as a school teacher in public schools. Having experienced yoga and mindfulness to be extremely effective techniques for cultivating wellness in stress-filled modern life for 18 years, Crystal’s mission is to bring about wellness in underserved, urban communities and combat the toxic stress that too frequently leads to severe health issues and death. She leads kids yoga and mindfulness teacher trainings, workshops and PDs nationwide for educators, social workers, health care providers, PTs, OTs, yoga teachers and parents for Little Flower Yoga and Bent on Learning, and she participates regularly as a curriculum consultant and lead teacher for research studies on yoga and mindfulness conducted by CUNY-Hunter’s public health department. She continues to teach yoga in public classes for adults in New York City and as lead teacher and mentor teacher in New York City schools.
Crystal graduated from of Stanford University with a BA in African and African American studies and completed The American Conservatory Theater’s Master of Fine Arts program in Acting. She is registered with Yoga Alliance as an E-RYT-500 and RCYT. She currently lives in Harlem, and continues to work professionally as an actor in New York City. Visit www.crystalmccrearyyoga.com or www.diaryofayogagurl.wordpress.com to learn more.
Born and raised in Italy, Daniela started practicing and studying yoga at the age of 15. From that point on she never found a reason to stop. With a performing and visual art background, Daniela started teaching yoga to adults, teenagers, children, moms-to-be and new moms almost naturally, combining yoga with what she learned from her arts and performing arts career path.
Daniela is honored to have the opportunity to bring yoga in the most needed urban settings, like public and charter schools, community centers, boy's clubs and detention facilities. She feels grateful to have the opportunity to share with children and adults tools to use in their busy, urban, everyday life. She is always inspired by the wonderful results that a little yoga practice brings to people, especially to under served population. Daniela has a calm, nurturing and enthusiastic energy, and it's her goal as a yoga teacher to encourage children and young adults to be curious about life, creative in finding solutions and most of all in promoting a happy and healthy life style.
Daniela holds several certifications to teach children and teenagers, some earned in Italy and some in New York City. In New York City, Daniela holds certifications through Little Flower Yoga (Levels 1 and 2), Karma Kids Yoga, Street Yoga (to teach under served and homeless populations), Erin Wilson's Teen Yoga program, Jyothi Larson's Yoga Mom Buddah Baby program (Mom and Baby Yoga classes and postnatal yoga), Janice Clarfield's Prenatal program at Om Yoga Center, Carrie Parker's Prenatal program at Yogaworks, Deborah Joy Gruber's Yoga for Children with Autism, Craig Hanauer's program Every Kids Yoga (yoga for children with special needs), and Lakshmi Voelker's Chair Yoga program.
Kelli Love, M.Ed is an educator, presenter, and consultant in the field of children's mindfulness and yoga. She is thrilled to support Little Flower Yoga in bringing professional development to school communities.
She has 15+ years experience teaching in prek-12th grade contexts, first as a classroom teacher and then as a mindfulness and yoga content specialist. Over 20 years of personal practice guides her teaching, as well as a foundation in Early Childhood Education from Naropa University, where contemplative practices are integrated into higher education experiences.
Kelli develops curriculum with a focus on self-awareness, emotion regulation and wellbeing; she currently teaches at Girls Prep Bronx Elementary, where yoga and mindfulness are embraced as a school wide content area. Kelli also serves as a curriculum consultant for the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and their SEL approach, RULER.
In 2015 Kelli created a short film, Aliza and the Mind Jar, to demonstrate the impact of yoga and mindfulness curriculum on school communities. She has also had the honor of presenting at Kripaul’s Yoga in Schools Symposium, The National Kids Yoga Conference, and the National Conference of Girls Schools. She continues to collaborate with Columbia University and NYU on research to bring the benefits of mindfulness and yoga in schools to light.
Kelli is a registered children’s yoga teacher with Little Flower Yoga and is a certified Mindfulness Instructor through Mindful Schools. Little Flower Yoga and Mindful Schools deeply inform her teaching methodology.
She believes all children have a right to experience the empowering life skills that mindfulness and yoga offer and hopes to inspire educators to utilize the skills for themselves and in their classrooms.
Salvador Martinez has been practicing Yoga since 1995, where upon his practice evolved into teaching in 2005, receiving certification in Vinyasa Yoga, Therapeutic Yoga, and Children’s Yoga. Salvador has been teaching Children’s Yoga in NYC elementary schools since 2008, and considers his work to be a joy. He could not think of doing anything else. In his classes, he acknowledges the many positive physical benefits of the practice, but he also gently reminds the children that what they are thinking and feeling are a part of their Yoga. His classes are structured, but he also receives the “teachable moments” of the practice that take it in a direction for which one cannot plan, and those moments can be the best moments ever! His classes are a community, where everyone is welcomed, and where compassion for oneself and for others is encouraged and cultivated. His classes are fun! When Salvador sees his students with big smiles and so excited to have practice together, words cannot explain how he feels. What he does feel is gratitude towards Jennifer Cohen Harper and Little Flower Yoga, for teaching him how to teach to the little ones. Salvador hopes to see you soon on the mat in his class!
Hillary moved to New York City to join the Dance Theatre of Harlem ensemble as a professional ballet dancer. In the midst of fulfilling a childhood dream, she suffered a minor knee injury in her second season at DTH. This initial setback turned into a blessing in disguise. While undergoing physical therapy she had the space to take an objective view on her life and the path she was venturing down. It was soon after that she realized she was unhappy and more importantly, very unhealthy. She decided to stop dancing and start living a life that nourished her mind, body and soul. The first step on her new journey was enrolling in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to heal herself. From that moment on she has continued to build and shape a life that supports a holistic perspective. Now, as a certified holistic health coach (CHHC, AADP) and certified yoga teacher (200-hr, ISHTA trained), she runs her own business -- Healing from the Inside Out -- where she helps people reconnect with their authenticity through adopting healthier lifestyle choices. Hillary is also the proud scholarship recipient of the Yoga Service Council’s first-annual conference at The Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY. Always looking to further her education, she has also completed Little Flower Yoga’s Teacher Training; and Off the Mat, Into the World’s Yoga, Action and Purpose Leadership Intensive. Hillary is thrilled to make a difference in the lives of the people she teaches and works with, and to help remind folks that life should taste good...so don't forget to savor every bite!
Florence Cabre-Andrews, affectionately called Flo, decided to dedicate herself entirely to the practice and teachings of yoga when she became a mother. She felt a deep need to transform herself in order to parent her daughter with acceptance and mindfulness.
Flo is an experienced an 500 - hour registered yoga teacher. she also holds Pre/Postnatal certifications, and children's yoga certifications. Flo teaches alignment based classes and is currently enrolled in the Iyengar Yoga Association of Greater New York Teacher Training. She also works for Little Flower Yoga, a New York based organization dedicated to make the tools of yoga and mindfulness available to all children and teens through their program "The School Yoga Project " serving over 700 children per week. She believes yoga is: "The study of the self, and fundamentally an act of kindness towards ourselves". Her practice has deeply transformed her life, helping her find more joy, openness, tolerance and hope. Before yoga, Flo earned the equivalency of a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Drama after studying at the "Theatre Atelier Paris sud" (TAPS) with Sarah Sanders.
Teaching yoga and mindfulness is Elizabeth's second career. She has pursued mindfulness, happiness and balance through yoga since the age of 25. As a former ballet dancer who performed in The Nutcracker at City Center in New York City, the physical challenges of yoga were a natural fit.
Though Elizabeth once enjoyed a very successful career in the fashion industry as a stylist, Elizabeth felt something was missing in her life. An amazing yoga and meditation journey to Bali inspired her true calling, or Dharma: to make a difference by teaching yoga and bring gratification and peace to herself and others.
Elizabeth is registered as an ERYT200 and RCYT through Yoga Alliance. Her teaching is informed by a variety of styles and teachers including a 100-hour kids' yoga and mindfulness training with Jennifer Cohen Harper, 200-hour training with Micheal Baez's s Awakened Warrior Teacher Training, Yin Yoga with Sarah Powers, aerial yoga in Costa Rica, Panchakarma (a mind-body healing experience for detoxifying the body, strengthening the immune system, and restoring balance) in India, wand study, and Arti. Elizabeth is also a certified master Reiki healer studying under Berta Prevosti at the Samsara School of Reiki in Stratford, CT.
Shell Merrill has always enjoyed expressing herself physically; from her career as a modern dancer to her later adventures as a zany spinning instructor and cycling trainer. While cycling made her feel strong, Shell soon realized that she still had a brain that was moving far too fast inside a body that was quickly getting too stiff and inflexible. A friend offered to take her to yoga class, and Shell has been learning to slow down (in mind and body) ever since. For Shell, yoga is all about the knowledge gained through trying new things, learning to practice rather than trying to be perfect, and most of all being able to laugh through the whole experience. She brings a sense of fun, joy and compassion to all of her classes for both adults and children. Shell is an E-RYT 500 hour certified teacher. She is also a RCYT (children’s teacher), a RPYT (prenatal teacher) and teacher of restorative yoga. She has studied to teach yoga to kids at Karma Kids Yoga, Little Flower Yoga and Street Yoga which brings the benefits of yoga to homeless and at-risk youth. Shell is an ISHTA Yoga Senior Teacher trained at Be Yoga and calms her own “bouncing off the walls” energy by continually reminding herself to "be happy where you are and breathe."
Rebecca began practicing yoga over 10 years ago while in graduate school (she holds a PhD in Biology). Rebecca's classes are excellent for practitioners of all ages and backgrounds. She leads a thoughtful, energetic class well grounded in safe alignment principles. Rebecca is a 500-hr RYT and has specialty trainings in children's yoga and yoga for veteran's living with PTSD. Her teachers at ISHTA Yoga and her background in science inform her teaching and practice. She enjoys teaching early morning yoga and meditation classes at Namaste Yoga Center, evenings at ISHTA Yoga. During the school year she is inspired by the young people she teaches as part of Little Flower Yoga's School Yoga Project.
Sam Deutsch is passionate about teaching yoga and mindfulness practices to children. She holds a Masters degree in social work from Boston College, is a licensed social worker with a New Jersey school social worker certification, and completed Little Flower Yoga teacher training. Her fourteen years of experience working with kids include teaching at a child enrichment program, as a clinician at a residential program, a clinician at a therapeutic alternative day school, a counselor at a public school, and as a summer camp counselor. Sam’s personal yoga practice began while she was in college. She fell in love with the physical, mental, and emotional benefits gained from the practice of yoga, and is enthusiastic about sharing these benefits with children.
Susan Verde has made yoga a part of her life for the last 15 years. She earned a degree in elementary education and a Master’s in Reading Remediation and spent many years teaching in the elementary school system on the East End of Long Island. Upon the birth of her 3 children Susan took time off from the classroom to be at home with her own children. Stressful times led Susan back to the mat with a fuller commitment and she began to really see and feel the transformative power of Yoga. Knowing that children deal with many stressful and overwhelming situations themselves Susan had the desire to bring Yoga into the lives of children as a way to cope, move, breath and connect to the joy that should be theirs. In addition to teaching children’s yoga, Susan is a children’s book author whose first picture book, The Museum will be released in March of 2013. Through her writing, yoga, and parenting Susan supports the idea that every child has a voice and every voice should be heard.
As a Child and Family Therapist, Michelle spent the past 8-years counseling children and their families within the school setting and most recently, in her private therapy practice. After helping many children develop coping skills to manage feelings, Michelle discovered yoga as the most beneficial tool to manage her own. This led her to complete a 200-hour Teacher Training through YogaWorks, certifications in Trauma-Informed Yoga from Street Yoga and Yoga Therapy for Kids from Zenergy Yoga. Most recently, Michelle completed her full certification with Little Flower Yoga and is excitedly incorporating the five-element practice into her work with children and families. Michelle works with preschool, elementary and middle school-age children and specializes in building academic skills, managing anxiety and depression, supporting family transitions, focusing issues, low self-esteem and social skill building.
For more about Michelle, visit her website: www.michellepagettherapy.com
and follow her on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/michellepagettherapy.
Lianne was born and raised on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Growing up in a family of musicians, artists and educators, Lianne has always been encouraged to explore and express her creativity in different ways. Over the past eight years as an educator, she has tried to cultivate this mindset within the hearts of her students. Being motivated to learn more about mindfulness and yoga, Lianne completed Levels One and Two of the Children’s Yoga and Mindfulness Teacher Training at Little Flower Yoga. During these trainings, Lianne became inspired to teach children the practice of mindfulness through music. She tries to incorporate songs into her classes in order to help children learn in fun and interactive ways.
In February of 2014, Lianne was awarded a grant from the school where she teaches to record a children’s album entitled, Breathe In: Children’s Songs for Mindfulness and Awareness. Over the following summer, she had a blast recording twenty-one children’s songs. Her favorite part was having the opportunity to have her students sing on the record!
Lianne holds a holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Studio Art and Psychology, and a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. She has also completed the RULER training taught by the Yale Center of Emotional Intelligence, which helps enhance her students’ abilities to understand and regulate their emotions. She completed her Mindful Educator training through the organization ‘Mission Be’, where she has led workshops on parent mindfulness. She currently teaches Pre-K, Songwriting, and Yoga/Mindfulness to children ages 4 – 9 in Manhattan, NY.
Lianne is so excited and grateful to be a part of Little Flower’s teacher team!
After practicing and teaching gymnastics to children for over 8 years, Lauren first discovered a smooth transition into the practice of yoga as postures. Upon the initial attraction to the physical element of yoga, Lauren began to witness the practice unfold as a series of layers blended between mind, body and spirit. Now, the element of yoga that sustains her practice is the way that it has had a positive impact in her daily life. Lauren believes that by working to find stillness and acceptance in our poses on the mat, it is easier to find stillness and acceptance in our real-life situations. She completed her 200 hour yoga teacher certification through The Yoga Room in Astoria, NY. She extends deep gratitude to her teachers Juliana Mitchell, Marko Galjasevic, Victoria Greene and The Yoga Room community who served as her inspiration for aspiring to live life with an honest heart. She also feels extremely grateful and privileged to have studied with Erin Lila Wilson and to have rekindled her passion for working with children and bringing yoga into the public schools with RISE Yoga for Youth. Lauren is currently honored and blessed to have come across Little Flower Yoga and is more than thrilled to train, study and teach with their wonderful team. In her classes, Lauren hopes her students will recognize and honor the individuality and uniqueness of one's own practice. She encourages that each individual practices only what feels true and safe for their mind, body, and heart, both on and off the mat.
Since relocating from Sydney, Australia to New York City, Colin's pace has transitioned from go-go-go to slow-slow-slow. Colin is driven to bring the benefits of yoga and mindfulness to more young people throughout the city - especially those who otherwise would not have access. His cup runneth over when he witnesses his students transform their relationship with themselves and the world and consequently evolve. Elements of Colin's past professional life linger and he's fortunate to continue consulting in communications for businesses and nonprofits he is passionate about. He holds a Yoga Alliance 200 HR Teacher Training certification with YogaVida and Yoga Alliance Children's Yoga Teacher Training with Little Flower Yoga.
Courtnie Bennett is a yoga and mindfulness teacher, entrepreneur, and body positive advocate based in The Bronx, New York City. Courtnie uses yoga as a tool for self-regulation and creating relationship between the breath, the mind and the body. Her classes provide a body positive approach to yoga, encouraging students to focus on “How do I feel?” rather than “How do I look?” when practicing yoga. She uses a combination of high energy vinyasa and restorative yoga to move through mental and emotional barriers.
Courtnie studied Hatha Yoga at the Urban Yoga Foundation in Harlem from 2012-2015. Passionate about bringing yoga to the youth and community of the inner city, she founded EveryBody Yoga in 2015, a non profit organization that brings the yoga practice to people of all shapes and body sizes. She is a certified holistic Enrichment Specialist, and RYT.
Born and raised in South Texas, Jenna Martinez-Lynch started practicing yoga and Vipassana meditation when she was 19. A few years later she began teaching weekly classes to students in Austin, Texas at a low-income housing after school program. Since then she has taught adult literacy in Harlem and most recently writing, photography, and yoga to out-of-school teens in the Bronx. It was so rewarding to share with her students a way to connect to themselves and to help them foster a place of calm to deal with their stressful lives. Seeing what a positive change yoga made in the lives of her students, she decided to take a break from teaching academics to focus on teaching yoga and mindfulness. She completed her Little Children’s Yoga teacher certification with Little Flower Yoga in the summer of 2015. She is thrilled to get back in the classroom and is honored to represent Little Flower Yoga.
Edwin began regularly practicing yoga and meditation in 2001 to supplement his marathon training. He has studied Hatha Flow, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Bikram, Kundalini, and Power Yoga. He received his 200-hour teacher training certification at YogaWorks in 2011, his Pilates Mat and equipment certifications in 2015 and 2016 at Gramercy Pilates NYC and his comprehensive certification in yoga and mindfulness for children and youth through Little Flower Yoga in 2015.
Edwin has pursued many life experiences, including landscape design, commercial pilot, international journalism and elementary Spanish education, which have lead him toward a focus on health, fitness and mindfulness.
Recently, Edwin worked with Kindergarten through grade 6 at Freebrook Academy in Brooklyn and currently with Pre-K students at The Town School in Manhattan. His goal is to help students cultivate a mindful practice.
My name is Margot Harris. I am a Little Flower Yoga certified children's yoga and mindfulness teacher, as well as an NYS certified teacher. I am a former early childhood educator, having taught Pre-Kindergarten for 11 years. I hold a bachelors of science in early childhood education, and a masters in literacy. In my time as an educator, I had always brought my own practice of yoga to the kids in my class. It served as a very bland and non intentional form of movement only for the kids. While they always enjoyed learning poses, and experimenting physically, they weren't being challenged mentally. I realized that I was only giving my students one piece of a much larger puzzle. When I decided to become a certified children's yoga teacher, I did my research. Little Flower Yoga not only offered a very full and rich teacher training, but it was actually bringing yoga and mindfulness to schools! This was my dream...to continue to serve children in the school setting, but with an organization dedicated to enriching the lives of the whole child. Since receiving my children's yoga certification in 2015, I teach for LYF's school yoga project, in gyms, libraries, and for SCO family services, as well as at several other schools/agencies across long island. I'm also currently helping to write curriculum, and train to do more professional developments. I love teaching! It is my life's work. I plan to continue to dedicate my career to being present and supportive to children and adults of all ages, by bringing them this incredible gift that is yoga and mindfulness.
Julie loves nothing more than sharing a fun yoga and mindfulness journey with the children she teaches. Her passion for yoga began with an introduction from a college friend in 2003. Yoga made her feel strong on the outside, as well as the inside, which is what she fell in love with. Over the next decade, she practiced her way through the countless yoga studios in New York City, trying different styles and principles. Upon coming home from her favorite Baptiste class a year ago, she was craving a headstand. While standing on her head at home in front of her two year old son, she saw he wanted to try what his mom was doing. Before Julie knew it, she was figuring out how to teach her child to practice yoga and realized this was exactly what she wanted to do - - teach children to empower themselves with the gift of yoga and mindfulness. She adores kids and they are drawn to her warm, friendly personality, light-hearted nature and the way she communicates on their level. Her classes are a blend of fun movement, art, music and engaging discussion in the hopes her students discover inner peace, confidence, self-awareness and that breath is power. Julie wants to inspire young souls to practice yoga and mindfulness off the mat as well.
She received her Little Flower Yoga certification in 2015 and is currently attending Mindful School, while also working to complete her 200 hour yoga teacher certification. She is thrilled to be part of the Yoga School Project.
Tami found the practice of yoga after a major transition in her life over 4 years ago. She entered yoga through the Bhakti practice and kept going back because of the way it made her feel physically and mentally. Yoga offered stability and consistency at a time of a lot of change. Tami is a social worker who has focused her practice and studies on children, youth and families. Tami has worked in clinical and school settings with children and their families for over 5 years. Tami is extremely passionate about helping children become the best version of themselves by empowering them to build self-esteem, self-confidence and to take care of themselves. She has learned that something children need most is stability and consistency and yoga and mindfulness have been a great way to offer this to them. Tami is a 200-hr RYT and has been incorporating yoga and mindfulness practices into her work with children and families for the past 2 years. Tami has recently completed the Little Flower Yoga Children's and Mindfulness Training and is working towards her children's yoga certification. Tami is fun, creative, and extremely passionate about working with children and youth. She is grateful for the opportunity to be on the Little Flower Yoga team!
Originally from Atlanta, GA, Weena has been living in NYC since 1998. She holds a BFA in Dance from UNCG and has been a professional dancer in NYC for the last 18 years with STREB, Brian Brooks Moving Company, David Neumann’s Advanced Beginner Group, Young Jean Lee’s Theater Company and Katie Workum. She holds certifications in Sports Training, Pilates, Yoga, Little Flower Mindfulness and Yoga for Children, Reiki and Yoga Therapy through NASM, Physicalmind Institute, ISHTA and Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy. Weena was an original member of TRIBE, a parkour team head by Mark Toorock the founder of www.amercianparkour.com. She joined the faculty of everyday athlete in Brooklyn Heights as the Director of Kids Classes, Head of Curriculum and as the Director of the prestigious everyday athlete thirteen-week summer camp. Weena was also the Movement Specialist at Barrow Street Nursery School before the birth of her daughter. Currently she runs her private practice, Reconnect Somatic Therapy, out of her office in Manhattan and continues to rehearse and perform with Katie Workum. She lives in Jackson Heights with her husband and four children. Weena is passionate about exposing her students and clients to the joys of an integrated life through experiencing a deeper connection to themselves and their bodies.
Colleen is passionate about bringing yoga and mindfulness to children in a fun, supportive and non-competitive environment. Children are often stressed and over-stimulated. Yoga gives us all the opportunity to tune out while tuning in. Her goal is to help students clear their mind, tap into their breath and discover their own strength. She loves seeing the joy that yoga brings to students!
After years of practicing yoga, she ultimately realized that yoga helped her to feel calmer and more present even when she wasn’t in the studio. Colleen became certified to teach children’s yoga through Little Flower Yoga and has studied with Mindful Schools. She lives in Westchester, NY with her husband and two teenage daughters who are a constant reminder to slow down and be in the moment. She is grateful to be part of the Little Flower Yoga team.
Candice completed the Little Flower Children’s Yoga training levels I, II and III, and Chair Yoga in July 2015. Additionally, she holds a M.S in School Counseling and is a National Certified Counselor (NCC). Her education and background has provided her with extensive knowledge of child development and the opportunity to work with a wide variety of children. She believes in taking a strengths-based approach and views each child as an individual with his/her own complexities and needs. Candice employs the physical movement and breath work of Yoga to aid her students social-emotional development, helping them cope with over stimulation and academic pressures.
Jasleen is from Paterson, NJ and is currently attending the Mason Gross School of Arts at Rutgers University. Her first intoduction to yoga began at the age of 14. However, her practice did not truly develop until the age of 18 years old. She has practiced in many different studios ,and at Bergen Community College, in Paramus, NJ. Her goal is to share and explore these valuable life skills with children and their families, in order for them to have more love, kindness and curiosity in their lives. Jasleen is an energetic and enthusiastic individual who believes yoga pants are better than jeans.
I've been a preschool teacher for over 20 years and started practicing yoga with my students many years ago - I was an Elementary school teacher and social worker as well . I have a BS in Elementary Education and Masters in School Counseling.
I began my yoga journey 22 years ago while pregnant with my now 21 year old daughter! I've been practicing ever since! I completed my Little Flower certification @ Omega last summer and was beyond thrilled to unite my 2 loves ... children and yoga. Children as we know have so many pressures and stresses in their lives and giving them a place to connect with themselves in a safe, comfortable environment is a beautiful gift.
I look forward to sharing my tools with children and families to enhance their life through yoga and mindfulness.
Lulu Ekiert graduated from New York University with a BA in Anthropology. Her studies focused on Identity, Race, Language, and Traditional Medicine. Lulu’s interest in “health” and the sensing of the Self led her to become a certified Yoga teacher, Reiki Master, and instructor of Proprioceptive Writing. Since 2009 she’s taught students of all ages how to access the teacher within themselves through moving, breathing, relaxing, and self-inquiry. She is most passionate about teaching restorative and trauma-informed yoga, always encouraging students to be learning from themselves and trusting their own intelligence. Lulu has been sharing mindfulness in school settings for five years, she believes that mindfulness empowers students by teaching them who they are from the inside out. Lulu is passionate about dismantling patriarchal structures like white supremacy, sexism, and homophobia and she believes mindfulness is a practice that facilitates leaning into these complex and emotional conversations.
Lulu completed a 200 hour YAC Yoga Teacher Training in 2009, since then she has continued to grow through trainings with Yoga Warriors (2010), Karma Kids (2013), Bent On Learning (2013), the Sonima Institute (2015), and Little Flower Yoga (2017).
You can view my website here
Danyelle "Tygr" Vilmenay is a children's yoga instructor, certified with Little Flower Yoga. With a unique, creative mind and warm spirit, she takes her students on "Adventures in TYGRLND" through playful visualization, asana and breathing.
Danyelle's youthful sensibility and healing interests stem from her grandmother, who was a social worker. At a young age, Danyelle learned the importance of feeling rooted, even amidst traumatic conditions. She started on her mentoring path at the age of 16 with Big Brothers, Big Sisters.
Danyelle's passions developed as a substitute teacher, summer counselor, and later, a director of children's education and activities for a local nonprofit. Danyelle formally co-hosted a radio show for teen girls to develop high self esteem through physical fitness, and led her own mentoring program for teen boys throughout NYC.
Danyelle helps young people find stability through creative expression, mindfulness and meditation. Danyelle emphasizes self-love as the means for healing inner turmoil, bullying and peer or societal pressure.
Kristy Cohen, CYT 200, CKYT, M.Ed K-6— Hi, I’m Kristy, I love teaching and sharing yoga with kids of all ages. I’ve taught kid's yoga and mindfulness practices for over a decade in community spaces, studios, schools and my home. Before I taught yoga to adults and children full-time, I was a first grade teacher. After years of exploring various yoga styles, I now gravitate towards gentle flows, yin yoga and have integrating the TM meditation technique into my practice. Mindfulness and meditative skills are a saving grace in my life. I love sharing techniques that nurture health, and a sense of peace and balance. I also enjoy facilitating family yoga classes that encourage all members to practice together as a way to bond, get creative and have fun.
An all around athlete, Jamel West established a positive connection with the body at a very young age. He played basketball and ran track throughout his academic years, continuing into adulthood he became a marathoner and is an integral player for his corporate league basketball team. As an adult he began a Yoga practice and quickly became absorbed with the mindfulness that was being taught along with the physical work. He realized the physical work was not only enhanced but his sense of Self was being strengthened by meditation. The connection between his mind and body established through Yoga led him to dive into numerous course studies covering almost every spectrum of teaching Yoga. His certifications include advanced Asana, Ayurveda, Yoga for Trauma, Chair Yoga and Levels I and II with Little Flower Yoga. He has volunteered with children's organizations and now teaches in schools to bring the practices of mindfulness and empowerment that to them at a young age.
Erin lives in Westchester with her husband and 2 boys. Erin developed a love for yoga as she began rehabbing from knee surgery. The great thing about yoga is that there are very few limitations to start. Little by little she began to deepen her practice. She began to notice all of the other benefits that yoga has to offer. Not only strength and flexibility, but a sense of calmness and being present on the mat. Erin received her 200 hour-RYT from Kaia Yoga and Wellness Center in Westport, Ct. She is currently enrolled in the 300-hour program there as well. As a former elementary school teacher, she could not teach yoga without including the kids, her real passion. She completed her Little Flower Yoga teacher training and is a certified kids yoga teacher, RCYT. She creates a space for joyful exploration of yoga and mindfulness. Whether it's in her Vinyasa flow classes or yoga and mindfulness for children, Erin's kindness and compassion is felt by all of her students big or small.
My name is Ammy Norgren. I relocated from Minnesota and brought my love of the outdoors, gardening, and sense of adventure with me. I am a Little Flower Yoga certified children's yoga and mindfulness teacher, as well as an elementary school teacher. I am passionate about using mindfulness and movement as a way to help people in the community connect with themselves and one another.
As an educator, I’ve taught people of many ages and abilities. I’ve learned a lot from working as an elementary school teacher and as an adult instructor at a day program. Having the opportunity to work with so many different types of people has given me the tools I need to be creative and accommodating in my classes. While living New York, I have also volunteered with Sprout By Design to bring urban agriculture to juvenile detention centers, day programs, and schools across the five boroughs. During these experiences I have noticed how important it is to make a connection between ourselves and the world around us. By using the techniques I have learned through Little Flower Yoga, my classes have become much more focused and intentional.
Little Flower Yoga has given me the knowledge, tools, and confidence to continue sharing my passion with students of all ages and abilities. It has become increasingly important to be able to offer children the strategies and tools they need to regulate stress, make mind and body connections, and be more compassionate and confident. My continued course work and education in yoga and mindfulness practices will continue to help me grow as a teacher and individual! It is my mission to make these programs available to as many children as possible!
Margaret teaches yoga to children in schools, studios, and community centers across New York City. First and foremost, yoga orients and reassures her. She believes yoga is a powerful map for creating space in body, mind, breath, heart, and community. Her goal is to help children develop the tools they need to locate a sense of strength and well-being within themselves. Margaret completed a Children’s Yoga and Mindfulness Teacher Training with Little Flower Yoga in 2017.
Having recently completed her 95-hour Little Flower Yoga and Mindfulness Teacher Training, Cassie is excited to use yoga and mindfulness to empower children mentally, physically, and spiritually.
As her students begin to feel seen, heard, valued, and loved, Cassie's hope is that their grades may rise, along with increased self-awareness, stronger relationships, and improved self-control, learning to be the best version of themselves, while still remaining silly and free!
Cassie's previous experience working with children includes leading Me & My Special Person classes filled with music and movement activities incorporating songs, tumbling, stories, and crafting. Additionally she has volunteered for kid-centric non profit organizations such as Anne Frank Young Leadership Committee, Big Brothers / Big Sisters, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation,
Tribeca Film & Family Festival, and Lets Get On The Bus.
Cassie holds a BA from Rutgers University, and resides in Brooklyn, New York with her beloved dog Sookie.
Nathalie Monin Voelker was born in France and grew up with a Caribbean and Parisian background. She practiced afro dance for 7 years before taking her first yoga class in 2003 after her daughter’s birth. Yoga and meditation have been a long and interesting journey ever since. A journey where learning was not only about the body, but the self.
Tapping into her former philosophy studies, Nathalie set out to make mindfulness a simple and practical tool for our everyday life. She led “Education & Art For All” programs in France for many years before coming to New York in 2008. Combining her passion for movement and philosophy, she is now committed to bringing yoga and mindfulness to communities and schools.
Nathalie is a Mindful Teacher Graduate from Mindful Schools. She is a Registered Yoga Teacher with the Yoga Alliance from Kaia Yoga and Wellness, and a certified Kids Teacher with Little Flower Yoga (Level 1&2). She has a B.A. in philosophy and a M.A. in semiotics. Her areas of interest include working with children and teachers to foster creativity, curiosity and harmony.
Karen has been practicing yoga for over 20 years. She is a member of Yoga Alliance, RYT 200 from Laughing Lotus NY and RCYT from LFY. Karen holds her master's in education and was an early childhood educator for four years. She began a yoga and mindfulness program at her school teaching children and adults. Karen was a professional dancer for 18 years touring nationally and internationally. She has taught dance in public schools and in collaboration with various arts organizations. Karen is grateful for the opportunity to work with Little Flower Yoga and share her passion for yoga and mindfulness with children.
Liz Slade is a mindfulness educator, educational consultant and teacher-mentor. She has worked in the fields of education and child development for over thirty years, with extensive experience in therapeutic early childhood education, special education and general education classroom teaching. As a long-time teacher in the Mamaroneck, NY schools, Liz spearheaded a mindfulness and social emotional learning initiative that was rolled out in her own school in 2011 and subsequently became a district-wide endeavor. Retiring from the classroom in 2018, she teaches mindfulness and yoga to children and teachers, and provides consultation to a range of organizations with the goal of integrating mindfulness, yoga and SEL within schools, communities and families. She remains affiliated with Mamaroneck as a coordinator, trainer and advisor to the district’s mindfulness and SEL initiative. She is passionate about exploring the ways that teachers and families bring this work to life in their own homes and classrooms, and to celebrating the voice of the classroom teacher.
A graduate of Oberlin College and the Bank Street Graduate School of Education, Liz has trained with the St. Luke’s Hospital Department of Child Psychiatry, the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services, the Inner Resilience Program, Mindful Schools, the Mindful Education Institute, Daniel Rechtschaffen, Call to Care, Ruler and Little Flower Yoga. She holds certification as a Mindful Schools Instructor and works closely with Little Flower Yoga.
Liz is also a fiddler and square dance caller, with a special interest in using traditional dance to foster community.
We often ask kids to focus, but rarely teach them how. I’m passionate about how Yoga and mindfulness can help with this; helping children learn to manage stress and build their resilience and focus.
I grew up near the ocean in Massachusetts, a place I still think of as “home,” despite having lived in New York City, settled between our rivers, for over 30 years, and raising my two children here. A decade ago, I found my way to yoga, which I initially viewed as another challenging physical activity after years of dance. I soon saw that Yoga was affecting me in a much more profound way. As I moved beyond the physical practice, I began to notice how utilizing breath and mindfulness was developing my inner awareness, with meaningful benefits for my life. Today I value my yoga and meditation practice, and I completed my Certification with Little Flower Yoga in 2018. I’ve done additional trainings in Chair Yoga and Trauma-Responsive Teaching, which is a particular area of interest to me.
In my work life, degrees from Georgetown and Columbia moved me in one direction; study at the Natural Gourmet Institute influenced me in another. I'm interested in Food Justice and Nutrition Education for all communities; I’ve taught children of all ages and their families throughout the five boroughs of New York City how to understand and enjoy healthy cooking and eating. Experience with my own grown children is also a key part of what I bring to my work. I believe all children deserve opportunities to thrive and I’m proud to be part of the School Yoga Project. It's effective, it's important, and it's fun!
Most recently, I have begun to study for a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and Education at The Spirituality Mind Body Institute at Teachers College. The program explores the intersection of science and spirituality through the framework of psychology. I am focusing on the area of Social and Emotional Learning and the implementation of mindful awareness practices in schools, and I look forward to how much more I will be able to bring to the world of the children’s yoga classroom.
Please join our e-newsletter for tips and updates:
Little Flower Yoga is based in New York and provides classes in all five boroughs of New York City and Westchester County.
Tel: (212) 634-7890