Who We Are
In 2007, while volunteering to teach yoga in a local elementary school, Lisa Flynn was inspired and challenged by the classroom teachers she encountered to create a yoga and mindfulness-based program focused on the whole child that would also be appropriate for the classroom setting. After three and a half years of research, development and test piloting, Yoga 4 Classrooms was born. Yoga 4 Classrooms has grown rapidly with dozens of public as well as school in-service workshops being held in communities and schools across the U.S., as well as online. And, the popular Yoga 4 Classrooms Activity Card Deck is successfully used in schools, homes and therapeutic settings worldwide. As the model continues to evolve, school teams are now empowered to lead school wide program integration through the IMPLEMENT™ Leadership Training which was developed to help ensure customized and sustainable implementation in schools. By providing training and resources to support sustainable, school wide implementation, we empower schools to meet improvement goals while preparing students for a lifetime of success.
Lisa Flynn, Founder & CEO
Lisa Flynn, E-RYT 500, RCYT, is the founder and CEO of organizations providing evidence-informed yoga and mindfulness education to children, as well as training and support for thousands of educators, kids yoga teachers and allied professionals worldwide. Convinced of the immense value of yoga and mindfulness to support trauma recovery, stress management, and emotional resilience, she founded ChildLight Yoga® followed by Yoga 4 Classrooms®, an evidence-based yoga and mindfulness program for schools that promotes whole child wellness, learning readiness and a positive school climate. She is the author of the Yoga 4 Classrooms Card Deck and Yoga for Children: 200+ Yoga Poses, Breathing Exercises, and Meditation for Healthier, Happier, More Resilient Children and contributor to Best Practices for Yoga in Schools. Lisa is co-creator of “I Grow With Yoga”, a popular compilation of yoga songs for children, and founder of the Teen Yoga Network, a service project focused on making yoga in her community more accessible to teens.
Lisa contributed to the first research study to use subjective and objective data to examine the acute and longitudinal effects of a school based yoga intervention in young children. The manuscript was recently published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine. As well, she spearheaded the development of the Research Repository: Yoga and Meditation for Children and Adolescents, a free resource for schools, program providers, researchers and others interested in the body of evidence supporting yoga and mindfulness for children, adolescents and in schools.
In addition to serving as a school consultant, Lisa is a leader and collaborator in the school yoga movement and greater kids’ yoga community worldwide. She has written a variety of articles on the topic of yoga and mindfulness for children and yoga in schools for publications such as Yoga Living and Green Teacher, as well as for online outlets such as Elephant Journal. Her work has been featured on Fox News as well as in publications such as Forbes, Parents Magazine, and Yoga Journal. Recognized for her engaging presentations, Lisa is often a featured speaker at school counseling, education, yoga and other conferences focused on the health and well-being of children, youth and schools. Her accessible, sustainable programs are successfully implemented in schools and communities worldwide.
Our Yoga 4 Classrooms Trainers include a diverse group of experienced current and former school professionals who have first hand expertise with the tremendously beneficial impact of yoga and mindfulness integration at school. Our trainers provide a variety of in-service trainings at schools and related presentations at professional conferences around the country and Canada. Meet our Trainers here.
Bethany Butzer, Research Advisor
Bethany Butzer, Ph.D. has been affiliated with Yoga 4 Classrooms for several years, first by collaborating with researchers at UMass Lowell to publish a peer-reviewed research study on the effects of the Y4C curriculum on perceived behavior and cortisol concentrations in 2nd and 3rd graders. She also collaborated with Lisa Flynn to write an article on the scientific evidence for yoga in schools, as well as compile a comprehensive, free research repository which includes an organized reference list of peer-reviewed, published studies and research review articles on yoga and meditation for youth.
Bethany received her Ph.D. in psychology in 2008 from the University of Western Ontario, Canada. She recently spent 2.5 years as a postdoctoral research fellow at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, where she studied the effects of yoga in school settings. She is also an author, speaker, researcher, and yoga teacher who helps people create a life they love. Most of Bethany’s research and teaching focuses on positive psychology, which emphasizes the development of human strength and potential.
Bethany currently lives in Prague where, in addition to serving as Y4C's research advisor, she teaches a positive psychology course and continues to research yoga and meditation for youth.
Many individuals have contributed to the ongoing development of Yoga 4 Classrooms. Classroom teachers, school principals and guidance counselors, school nurses, yoga teachers, psychologists, social workers, researchers from the Department of Physical Therapy at UMass Lowell, and many others provided input and feedback which contributed to the design of the program delivery model and curriculum.
Deep gratitude goes to former school Principal, Vicki Stewart, and the students and staff of Central Elementary School in South Berwick, Maine, for welcoming us into their classrooms from 2007 to 2010. Their feedback and encouragement during the 3-year pilot program were the inspiration to continue on to develop our program delivery model such that other school communities might benefit from implementation of Yoga 4 Classrooms.
It is so important for children to get in touch with themselves. Thank you for providing a program that gives teachers the tools to help them with that goal.
–S.A., Grade 3 Teacher
Bethany currently lives in Prague, where she teaches a positive psychology course and continues to research yoga and meditation for youth. She is also an author, speaker, researcher, and yoga teacher who helps people create a life they love.