BEHIND THE SCENES

Charlotta Martinus

FOUNDER & DIRECTOR

Charlotta Martinus is an award-winning visionary and the world leader in the field of yoga for young people. She was awarded the Master of Yoga title, the only woman in Europe, in 2019 by the International Yoga Alliance, after her best-selling book TeenYoga for Yoga Therapists was published in 2018.

With over 35 years’ experience in working with young people as a therapist and teacher, Charlotta fuses her lived experience of healthcare, social work and education with her India-based yoga therapy knowledge.

With a clinical license to work with vulnerable young people, she weaves various pedagogical frameworks, such as Steiner, Montessori and the Scandinavian model together with the specific psychotherapeutic approach necessary to effect change among young people.

Charlotta has created many bespoke frameworks that have been carefully researched, which forms the evidence base of her courses. In 2015, she was invited to craft an innovation programme for Sport England who funded a roll-out of the programme to young people who would not otherwise be exposed to yoga.

In 2017, the University of Westminster, invited her to create a programme for a Muslim dominant school in North London, for their PSHE curriculum, which was then evaluated as a Doctorate in Health Psychology. In 2018, she was invited and funded by the European Union Erasmus programme to create a programme for 750 disadvantaged young people across 5 countries. The outcomes of this programme were evaluated in a carefully designed research programme which were published in various Psychology Literature.

In 2020 London Youth, funded by the Tampon Tax Fund, reached out about a programme design for young BAME 10-13 year old girls, to empower them to become Mental Health Ambassadors.

All of these programmes showed in quantitative and qualitative research that yoga was an effective tool in decreasing anxiety and increasing wellbeing in all areas of life.

Moreover, Charlotta has spoken on several occasions at the House of commons and House of Lords on the topic and latterly was asked to produce a Rationale for Yoga in Schools, to present to government, which is available on the website. This involved a complex financial calculation, to evaluate the social and financial benefit of yoga in schools.

Charlotta continues to advocate for yoga for young people in all areas and believes whole heartedly that this is a solid and effective intervention to bring our young people in to a state of flourishing and thriving. Charlotta continues to be mentored and supported by a distinguished group of yoga therapists and medical and educational specialists in the UK,
USA and India.

Ruby Rutherford

ADMINISTRATION MANAGER

Since 2008 I have been a Scout Leader, a voluntary role that gives me the privilege of being among young people, and supporting them in their life growth.

For some reason I only discovered yoga in early 2020 and shortly after found myself enrolling on the Teen Yoga training in order to have a comprehensive understanding of how yoga can enrich and help stabilise young people (and adults) through the inevitable ups and downs of life.

That was the start of my own deep dive into yoga! – since then I have studied almost continuously, exploring the broader aspects of yoga and yogic living.

My only wish is that I knew about yoga when I was a teen, and hence my involvement now with all that Teen Yoga offer.

Kat Bayly

ADMINISTRATION

We have adults who struggle with their mental health and the stigma attached to this. Yoga empowers the younger generation to learn about their mental health and talk openly about such issues with acceptance. 

Yoga is fundamental to managing my own wellbeing. If I don’t practice, I become a different person, experiencing more stress and anxiety. Yoga has taught me resilience. I hope we can reach more young people and share this. In years to come, I hope there are less mental health issues within the adult population because of the work we do.

I’m a yoga teacher trained in the Sivananda tradition, Yin Yoga and Hormone Yoga Therapy with 8 years of teaching experience. I also work as a Mental Health Recovery Worker for a large UK charity. 

Dawn Fraser

NEWSLETTER

I started using yoga 11 years ago to help me recover after a prolonged illness. After completing a RYT200 course I wished that I’d discovered yoga as a teen when I was figuring out ‘who i was’.. this led me to train firstly to teach Kids/Family yoga and then with TeenYoga.

I’m studying an additional 300 hours RYT and have also trained in other supportive therapies.

I enjoy bringing my knowledge and experiences into my teaching, sharing ideas and techniques so that my students may find the ‘thing’ that anchors them and provides them with the lifeboat they need to weather their storms.

Nikki Clift & Fiona Bates

MONTHLY THEMES

For our monthly themes we have a number of people involved who kindly collate resources on a theme, which can then be used by any teens at home or incorporated into any teen classes by a yoga teacher.

Kirsty Hibbert

Fundraising Co-ordinator

I am a mum to two wonderful teenage boys, a Yoga Teacher and Yoga Therapist.  I have practised yoga for ten years and taught for 5. My yoga practice is my means of nurturing my health on every level, a moment for self-care and a break from the chaos of life.  

I am inspired by my two sons and passionate about teaching yoga to teens as it empowers them to nurture their own physical, social, mental, and emotional health.  Yoga offers teens the rare opportunity to perceive their own core values and deepest wishes and enhances their courage to make choices and live in alignment with them. 

My wish is that one day all teens will have access to the essential tools and practices of Teen Yoga! 

Lisa Harwood

SEN SPECIALIST

Yoga has been part of my life for the past 10 years and teaching yoga for 5 years. It has benefited me personally in my health and wellbeing but also enabled me to meet like minded people and make so many new friends. Sharing yoga with young people, regardless of abilities, is so rewarding and I learn as much from them as they do from me.

I’m looking forward to sharing this knowledge with fellow TeenYoga teachers in CPD training that is in development with a fellow TY teachers (Claire and Olivia Saunders).

I have a passion for research to know how and why we have so many benefits from yoga and how it can help us all in our daily lives. This curiosity has led me to commencing my PhD in Oct 2022.

Sofia Kearney

GRAPHIC DESIGNER

I’m a graphic designer and I’m thrilled to be involved in Teen Yoga Foundation’s visual identity for almost 5 years now. 

My design mantra involves blending the everyday into visuals. Whether it’s turning breakfast into art or curating epic music playlists into my (almost) daily runs, I believe in finding inspiration everywhere – books, movies, wine-filled conversations, and even window displays.

Sun salutations have become a must in my running routine adding a touch of balance and mindfulness to my creative journey.

Looking forward to many more years and continue learning about all the benefits yoga can bring to your life! 

Naomi Barber

Social Media Lead

I have explored various forms of yoga over the years, as an antidote to the office, its benefits through pregnancy, in bonding with a newborn and more recently in helping to find calm and mindfulness with my tweens! A career break in India with my family gave me a wonderful opportunity to explore yoga more.

I now teach Vinyasa yoga, and have started back at my job as a market researcher for public affairs. However I always come back to yoga – whether it’s a stretch, a workout or some headspace that I need. I love practicing with my daughters – although their favourite pose is Shavasana and it’s usually me reading them a guided meditation. I wait to get my headspace out walking my dog! 

TEEN YOGA AMBASSADORS TEAM

Debbie Richards

AMBASSADORS MANAGER

I believe in the strength of this next generation to harness new ways of being. We have a responsibility to share our wisdom and to model calm and coping strategies that allow for real communication and safe spaces for young people to be themselves.

I am delighted to be contributing to the Teen Yoga and leading some of the Teen Yoga Ambassador teaching. The young people we are working with are testimony to the strength of creating caring and compassionate communities to support ourselves and others.

Shivani Gopal

AMBASSADORS REPRESENTATIVE

Many of my teenage years were polluted with mental battles that I never imagined winning. Yoga was an anchor, providing me with stability and fortitude. Learning yogic philosophy enables me to constantly grow and understand myself.

This has fuelled me to teach others about yoga and establish yoga-related clubs at school, with the hope to play a small part in another young person’s mental health journey. I envision yoga to be taught to enough professionals, who work among teenagers, so that it’s impossible for any teenager to excessively suffer from the lack of knowledge on how to control their mind.

Grace Amos

AMBASSADORS REPRESENTATIVE

I’m Grace and I completed my Level 2 Ambassador course for Teen Yoga. This course has transformed my attitude to Yoga and developed my understanding of the prevalent issue of mental health in teenagers.

Since the course, I have been able to share techniques with my friends, and have shared the Yoga Mood Cards which has been so important for those friends who struggle with stress in this period of our lives. For me, yoga is a way to slow down and ground myself, a skill that I believe all young people to share in. I hope to continue my learning and experiences with Yoga in the future. 

Tabatha Alcaraz

AMBASSADORS REPRESENTATIVE

I believe that yoga is an amazing way to help young people manage the stresses in our day to day lives. Whether it be schoolwork, friendships, or exam stress, learning to be present and to tune in to your feelings helps you reset and de-stress.

This is something I found during my own battle with mental health problems and bullying at school. Yoga was my safe space, the one time a week I could give my mind a rest and heal. I have now been practising yoga for 5 years and feel the benefits increase every day. My vision for schools in the future is that all teens will have the opportunity to practice yoga and experience that safe space as I did. I know first-hand how vital yoga is for emotional well-being.

YOGA IN SCHOOLS TEAM

Chrissy Longley

YOGA IN SCHOOLS MANAGER

I discovered the joy of yoga in my early 20s. It was a God-send, and it totally transformed my world and how I chose to live in it. So when the time came to leave behind a lucrative but very stressful marketing career, it was a no-brainer for me to start up my own Kids and Teens Yoga company, Joyful Hearts and follow my two passions in life – my children and yoga!

Learning how to teach yoga to young people is a gift and my aim in taking on the Yoga In School’s Manager role is to impress the benefits of doing so on every school across the UK.

It has always been my lifelong mission to make a real difference through serving others, and a huge part of that is seeing happy, well adjusted teens who don’t need external gratification to feel whole.

I work part-time at my local grammar school in Marlow, and we are encouraged to ‘Follow Things Worthy’.

As a Teen Yoga Graduate it is my privilege to now work alongside Charlotta doing just that. When I’m not working I enjoy quality time with my family – we love to play together and travel!

My biggest treat – no matter where I am – is a little ‘me’ time relaxing in a Spa!

If you need to get in contact with Chrissy, please use chrissy@yoga-in-schools.co.uk

Regional Partners

Kent & East Sussex

Hayley Sanderson

Hello, I’m Hayley Sanderson, and I’m thrilled to be the new regional partner for Yoga In Schools/Teen Yoga in Kent & East Sussex. I’m deeply passionate about bringing the transformative practice of yoga to children, and I’m excited to work alongside the Teen Yoga and Yoga in Schools team.

My journey in children’s yoga began in 2014 when I qualified as a children’s yoga teacher. Two years later, in 2016, I expanded my qualifications by attending Teen Yoga training, which led to Namaste Kids & Teens Yoga, more recently adding 200hr YTT too. I’ve dedicated myself to sharing the benefits of yoga with young minds, teaching in nurseries and schools across the region.

Some of you might know me from the Facebook group Kids Yoga Teachers UK, which I founded shortly after starting my journey in children’s yoga. Recognising the need for a supportive community for kids yoga teachers, I created the group to facilitate the sharing of advice, ideas and support. I’m incredibly proud of the community we’ve built, and I’m excited to bring my experience in fostering support networks to Yoga in Schools (Teen Yoga).

As a regional partner, I hope to replicate the sense of community and support within Yoga in Schools (Teen Yoga) while helping match teachers to schools seeking yoga lessons. I hope to build connections that will make an impact in our community and the lives of children.

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