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 in-service workshops being held in communities and schools across the U.S., as well as online. And, the popular 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.
Lisa Flynn, Founder & CEO
Lisa Flynn, E-RYT 200, RYT 500, RCYT, is the founder and director of ChildLight Yoga® and Yoga 4 Classrooms®, organizations providing evidence-informed yoga and mindfulness education to children, as well as training for professionals who support their well-being. 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, a Yoga Service Best Practices Guide. Lisa is co-creator of “I Grow With Yoga”, a popular CD 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 recently published 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 Parents Magazine, Yoga Journal, Kiwi, and Yoga Therapy Today. Recognized for her engaging presentations, Lisa presents regularly at school counseling, education, youth-focused yoga and mindfulness conferences. Her accessible, sustainable programs are successfully implemented in schools and communities worldwide.
Nikhil Ramburn, Assistant Director
Nikhil brings his background in multimedia production, communication and yogic philosophy to meet his experience teaching yoga to both youth and adults of varying abilities. In addition to serving as Assistant Director of Yoga 4 Classrooms, Nikhil teaches yoga to teens in recovery from substance abuse and other self-destructive behavior. He is also a regular contributor to the Kundalini Research Institute newsletter where he reviews the latest yoga research.
At 11 years old, Nikhil began his formal yoga training at the Indira Gandhi Center for Indian Culture in Mauritius which provided him a first-hand appreciation of the life-long benefits of starting yoga at a young age. Nikhil is now a certified Kundalini Yoga teacher through the Kundalini Research Institute in New Mexico. In 2011, he became a Certified ChildLight Yoga® Instructor and has since taught yoga to both children and adults in the U.S. and internationally. As a Licensed Yoga 4 Classrooms® Trainer, he has facilitated workshops for educators in Connecticut, Vermont & Canada. Having received certification in My OmAbilities Yoga, he has also shared yoga with both children and adults with special needs.
Nikhil's off-the mat practice includes growing organic vegetables and medicinal herbs. He is an avid cook and enjoys running up mountains with his dog.
Bethany Butzer, Research Advisor
Bethany 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. Bethany 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 a blog on the scientific evidence for yoga in schools, as well as compile a comprehensive research repository which includes an organized reference list of peer-reviewed, published studies and research review articles on yoga and meditation for youth.
Bethany currently lives in Prague, where 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 create this program such that other school communities might benefit from Yoga 4 Classrooms.