ABOUT OUR NON-PROFIT
Young Yokes Kids Yoga is a 501c3 Registered Children's Yoga School (RCYS) that is home based in Colorado and mobile by design allowing for a broader service reach. We strive to empower adults and children to connect through the practice of yoga. We offer youth yoga classes and children’s yoga teacher training certifications that are inclusive, intentional and accessible to everyone. Our need-based training curriculum is development-informed and socially-conscious, cultivating a community of kids yoga teachers prepared to support youth of all ages, abilities and identities.
Our RCYS welcomes adults and children looking to create connections, build mentally and physically healthy lifestyles. Our community classes, special events, online classes and training are intended to provide motivation and support regardless of abilities or finances. To partner with scholarship recipients and donors to support communities in need by training kids yoga teachers.
HONOR - Create brave spaces for adults and children to authentically show up and be honored in their experience, connections and contributions.
RESOURCE - As a community resource for children’s yoga, we continually seek new information and research to educate ourselves in order to meet the needs of the whole child, considering their chronological and developmental ages, identities and culture.
CURIOUS - We remain in the seat of the student; open to new information and feedback to gain insightful and timely understanding of constantly shifting environments.
INTEGRITY - “Be the change we wish to see in the world.” - Ghandi We are committed to creating equitable spaces and opportunities for all who want to share yoga with youth.
HOPE - We inspire adults to find hope for the future, children to find hope for their success and our community to find hope in connection; creating the hope for all to persevere.
MEET THE TEAM
Founder, Owner, Teacher, Yogi
Suzanne moved to Denver in 2002 where she soon found yoga! After a bit of a hiatus off her mat after the birth of her two children she completed her 200 hr. yoga teacher training with Jessica as the her guide. Through the teacher training Suzanne watched with joy as her son and daughter embraced the practice and soon were begging her to teach them more. In addition to obtaining her adult yoga certification, Suzanne also completed a training specifically for kids yoga. It was through these experiences that the Young Yokes concept was born. The gift of yoga has changed Suzanne's life and her families and she knows that kids of all ages will benefit from every aspects of play, breath, movement, mindfulness and respecting the body for all it has to offer. Family and community mean everything to Suzanne and she feels so fortunate to have such support from both!
Suzanne has worked with kids of all ages and abilities. In addition to the kids summer camps and classes, Suzanne currently teaches yoga for the kids Autism Respite program at the YMCA. Yoga therapy brings so much joy to kids who otherwise don't consistently have the opportunity to experience this form of movement. Education has always been the cornerstone of her professional life and teaching educators how to incorporate yoga and mindfulness in to their classroom is another element of
Young Yokes that is very exciting!
Partnering with Jessica was really a no brainier, and Suzanne feels incredibly grateful that Jessica said yes! :) Jessica is a true yoga expert and moreover, LOVES children, serving her community, is a wonderful friend and all around exceptional person!
Outside of all things yoga, Suzanne also supports and empowers women in the workforce; those looking to shift, change or rejoin through the support of resume writing, passion finding, and interview rocking. And if those hats weren't too many, she wears one more - - - the life changing joy of working for and with Rodan & Fields.
JESSICA KOS BIRNEY
E-RYT, RCYT, YACEP
Owner, Lead Young Yokes RCYT Teacher
Jessica found yoga while attending college at Illinois State University and it was the first time that the idea of self love really started to settle in. Yoga provided her a platform to really feel the impacts of life on her body, mind and spirit and it was due to that platform that the choices in her life led to this amazing moment.
A move to San Diego introduced her to an amazing life partner, Marcus who embraced her dreams as his own. A move to Denver solidified her love for a state that she never knew and opened an opportunity to start over in the health & wellness industry that meant so much to her. It was here in Denver, that she finally took the leap into yoga fully, receiving her 200 hour yoga teacher training certificate from CorePower Yoga in 2005. Then followed a decade of leading hundreds of yoga classes, workshops and teacher trainings along with an engagement, a marriage and finally the birth of her two beautiful beloved children. The youngest of a generation, Jessica never really had any exposure to children until her own and then a whole new world opened.
"I've always felt young at heart... and it was until my first baby that I knew that to be true. There is a great joy in play... and I simply want more of it."
And that is why when Suzanne approached with the idea to revolutionize their lives through Young Yokes, she jumped on board. "I've always been a bit of a risk taker and I'd like to inspire my children to follow their dreams. The practice of yoga has always taught me to lead by example and inspire others by living my most extraordinary life."
Jessica is most excited about working with youth in middle and high school. "It's these ages that the stress and tension can be super great. I struggled so much with acceptance of self. My health struggled. It was a challenging time and I know that yoga would have supported me in leading a healthy life and making healthier choices. In truly embracing my personal power"
In addition to all things yoga, Jessica has opened the ever amazing box of health and wellness through IIN, the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and their program to become a certified health coach. It's Jessica's goal to be able to support the whole family through not only yoga, but nutrition and whole body. Check out her evolving class and service offerings at www.jessicakbirney.com.
LCSW, MEd, ERYT-200, RCYT
Lead Young Yokes RCYT Teacher
Jessica Gershwin first began practicing yoga while she was in high school as a way to cross-train for long-distance running. In 2008, she moved to New York City where she taught ESL at an elementary school in East Harlem. During this time, she started an after-school yoga program for students and teachers and realized that offering yoga was her true passion. She received her 200-hour registered yoga teacher certificate from Sonic Yoga (NYC) in 2009 and her children's yoga teacher certificate from Little Flower Yoga (NYC) in 2011. Jessica has also completed trainings through the Lineage Project, Street Yoga, BabyOm, and Jason Ray Brown's Yoga Anatomy for Movement Professionals. In addition to teaching yoga, Jessica is a licensed clinical social worker. She currently serves as a Bilingual Child and Family Therapist at the Denver Children's Advocacy Center, where she provides trauma therapy and offers yoga groups for children, teens, and caregivers. Jessica has taught yoga to children and youth in diverse settings, including public, private, and alternative schools, shelters, community centers, and outpatient mental health clinics. Jessica strives to fill her yoga classes with joy, authenticity, and open heart so that each individual - child, teen, or adult - can experience a sense of unconditional belonging, empowerment, and self-discovery. Jessica and her husband welcomed their first child in November 2018 and we couldn't be more happy for them. For more information, visit www.jessicagershwin.com.
E-RYT-200, RPYT, RCYT, DT
General Manager & Certified Trainer
Claire is a Colorado native, having grown up in the Rocky Mountains she fosters a love for the outdoors and nature. While studying Zoology and Conservation Biology at Colorado State University, she found yoga as a way to harmonize the mind and the body. Summer of 2015 brought an opportunity with the Denver YMCA as the Youth & Family Programs Director. Through this position, Claire was able to combine her love of childcare with education and specialty programming. Within this position, she was introduced to Suzanne of Young Yokes and together, they formulated a partnership with the YMCA. This partnership sparked a successful Youth Yoga program as well as inclusion in our Respite Recreation Program (formerly known as Autism Respite Program).
Claire has cared for and taught youth of all ages and abilities - creativity, caring and unbridled fun is the heart of her interactions and programs. Her passion lies with specialized yoga, including: Pre & Post-Natal Yoga, Baby & Me Yoga, Youth Yoga, Adaptive Youth Yoga, Accessible Yoga, Meditations and Family Yoga. As the founder of Eclipse Yoga & Mindfulness, she is excited to work with Young Yokes to continue to learn and grow within her practice and teaching.
She believes in cultivating a mindful lifestyle for all ages, abilities and identities through yoga and meditation practices.
Community Relations Manager and Certified Trainer for New Mexico
Chelsea is joining the Young Yokes team at the right time! A burning desire to be closer to family prompted a move from Denver to Albuquerque in April. Having grown up here, this is where she has always called home, even 19 years later. After taking some time to get acclimated and settle into life in Albuquerque, her husband is teaching, her 2 girls are in school, and she is ready to bring Young Yokes to Albuquerque and the surrounding areas.
Chelsea has spent the last 14 years working with youth of all ages in different capacities, from teacher to advisor. Through her own discovery of yoga, she began thinking more and more about how much the practice of yoga could benefit the younger population. Additionally, she feels strongly that educators need this information in order to best support the emotional intelligence of their students. And then she found Young Yokes, along with Suzanne and Jessica! They are both amazing advocates and have created a much needed platform to support the idea that kids yoga can create a ripple effect on future generations, and maybe even the world!?! Chelsea is excited to be linking arms with the Young Yokes team and cannot wait to grow the community of kids yoga teachers in Albuquerque.