Founder/ Director- Pam Lozoff, MSW, RYT| Pam's journey with yoga began in 2007 when she was beginning to recover from an eating disorder, and underlying anxiety and depression. Stepping onto the yoga mat was like stepping into her body for the first time in years. She knew that she wanted to find a way to offer this practice to others who wouldn't otherwise be able to access yoga, to share in the healing of personal and collective suffering. Since then, over the past 10 years, she has worked with youth ages 12-24 at the intersection of social justice and embodied healing in the following settings: an after-school program, juvenile hall, substance use treatment, drop-in center for homeless youth, and public housing developments. Pam has gained inspiration from The Art of Yoga Project and many other brother/ sister yoga service organizations, as part of the Yoga Service Council

Program Manager- Rashmi Guttal, RYT | Rashmi's journey with yoga started after she experienced sexual trauma in her youth. After dealing with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder and having little success with traditional therapy, her therapist recommended the Yoga as Healing program for survivor of sexual trauma. Through the physical and community yoga practice, Rashmi cultivated resilience and healing in her body. Her background heavily influences the way in which she teaches yoga, using trauma informed practices and emotional regulation techniques in her classes. he is trained in kids, teen, trauma-informed yoga with an emphasis in social & global justice issues. She has a deep passion for encouraging and educating youth on how to cultivate self-compassion and thrive in their lives and communities. 

Voices Site Coordinator/ Facilitator- Gali Levi McClure, BS, RYT| Gali's journey with yoga began in 2008 in the pursuit of finding peace. Growing up in Israel, she was determined to find ways to promote peace from the inside-out. She has spent the past decade studying yoga and meditation around the world and completed her teacher training in Dharamshala, India. She has acquired the tools for personal growth, inner-peace, flexibility and strength; it became a transforming practice that can heal individuals and communities. Collaborating with schools, Medical clinics, & corporations, she has been working to integrate yoga and meditation into educational programs and curricula. Learn more about Gali at YogabyGali.com and Miniyogaclub.com

Facilitator- Juliana Esperanca, MA, RYT| Juliana began her journey in yoga in the end of 2005 while she was completing her Chemistry degree in Portugal. An entire new vision of the world started to emerge in her mind,  She became intrigued with yoga, and began to see the benefits of yoga beyond the physical conditioning. Since then, she has studied yoga internationally, and has completed over 350 hours of training in vinyasa, pre and post-natal, and kids yoga. Being able to remain calm, self centered, positive and happy with a peaceful mind have been some of the most important achievements during her journey.  To be able to share love and good energy with the world is her biggest motivation.  She says, "Yoga inspires me to be a better human being everyday of my life; sometimes a simple and honest smile full of love can be enough to make a difference in someone's life."

Be The Change Yoga Director/ SoYY Facilitator- Taraneh Sarrafzadeh, BA, RYT| Taraneh's journey with yoga has led her to become the Owner and Director of Be the Change Yoga & Wellness (BTC), a donation-based yoga studio in downtown San Jose, which seeks to make yoga & wellness accessible to its entire community. Through expanding the "Yoga for All" community-based programs through BTC, she has expanded her own scope of teaching and working in a range of community settings, from juvenile halls and high schools with The Art of Yoga Project to public spaces like parks, community centers, and local farms. Taraneh has stepped into a role beyond yoga studio owner and teacher to community organizer, who utilizes yoga and mindfulness as a platform to connect people around authentic and compassionate living and action and to uplift people who have been marginalized socio-culturally, economically, and/or systemically. 

And, new to our program this year, 9 8th-grade Facilitators in Training (FITs): 

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  From right to left in the photo: Michelle, Carolina, Jose, Nia, Vianey, Iris, Iselle, America, and Fernanda, FIT class of 2017. 

From right to left in the photo: Michelle, Carolina, Jose, Nia, Vianey, Iris, Iselle, America, and Fernanda, FIT class of 2017. 

Our Core Values

Spirit of Youth Yoga centers its work around 5 core values:

  1. Empowerment/personal agency 

  2. Resilience 

  3. Whole-person approach (shout out to Reciprocity Foundation)

  4. Healthy, creative self-expression (versus self-destruction)

  5. Trauma transformation (transforming pain into strength, skills, and growth)

If you’ve come here to help me, you’re wasting your time. But if you’ve come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together
— Lilla Watson