Joanie Plake - Founder, CEO

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Joanie is the founder of Breathe & Learn and lead teacher for select Mar Vista and South Bay after-school workshops and summer camps.

Joanie's yoga journey began while living in New York City and earning her Masters in Elementary and Special Education at New York University. Through her unique experience as a childhood educator, Joanie is well-versed in building developmentally and age appropriate foundational skills through yoga and mindfulness. As a former teacher at Citizens of the World Charter School Mar Vista, she found that daily breathing exercises and meditation worked wonders in helping her children self-regulate and manage their emotions. In addition, the physical postures offered a fun introduction to healthy living. She graduated from the 200 hr. Soho Yoga Teacher Training in April 2016 and shortly after, received her children's certification through Yoga Ed.

Learn more about her background and the mission of Breathe & Learn.  

 

Heather Tuttle - Lead Teacher (South Bay Workshops & Summer Camp)

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Heather is beyond excited to merge two things she loves immensely - kids and yoga!   By profession, Heather has been a teacher for students with special needs for over ten years and currently works in Manhattan Beach Unified.  By desire, Heather is a lifelong learner of all things yoga and engaging in daily healthy practices to support a holistic sense of self.  She recently obtained her Masters degree in Special Education from CSULB, as well as, her 100 hour kids yoga certification in Costa Rica through a Yoga Alliance program.  Heather is well-versed in the MindUp! curriculum that is implemented in MBUSD and continues on her journey to enhance her own meditative practice.  In addition, she runs several school programs, including GirlPower, which teaches young girls the art of friendship-making and how to promote empowerment in their relationships.  Heather is also a passionate lover of the arts, especially dance, theater, and music.  She infuses music and movement into the classroom whenever possible to help teach students of the steady, beautiful rhythm they have inside of them.  

 

Dee Anderson - Lead Teacher (Studio City/Noho)

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A native South Dakotan, Dee felt called to pursue a bigger life out west in Los Angeles, where she built a career as a wardrobe stylist to the stars.  She went on hiatus a few years ago when she became a wife and mother.  

When she felt moved to reenter the professional world, her calling had changed.  Dee’s personal spiritual life had become deeper and richer, with a 19 year meditation practice at its center.  She has studied with master meditation teachers Michael Bernard Beckwith and Amy Perry.  Dee began to teach meditation to groups and individuals.  Her love of meditation and easy, gentle and nurturing style puts clients at ease from the very first session.  The importance and value of mindfulness and deeper presence, stress reduction, and access to intuitive wisdom and creativity are focal points in her teaching philosophy.  

After a series of coincidences, Dee linked up with Joanie Plake and instantly knew this was the next part of her unfolding journey.  Having completed the Breathe & Learn Yoga Teacher Training, she is excited to be bringing this program into her own community of Studio City/North Hollywood.  She is honored to have the opportunity to be sharing this valuable wisdom with children and adults alike. 

 

Melanie Pensak - Lead Teacher (Santa Monica)

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Melanie feels passionate about helping children communicate and thrive.  Over the last thirteen years, she gained extensive experience working with children and families as a pediatric speech-language pathologist in a variety of settings domestically and internationally, spending one year practicing down under in Australia. She received her Master’s Degree in Speech-Language Pathology in 2005 through Duquesne University in her hometown of Pittsburgh, PA and her Certificate of Early Intervention through Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies in Washington, DC in June 2015.

When Melanie began incorporating yoga and mindfulness meditation practices into her own life, she felt a profound shift in her spiritual growth, connection to her intuition, and overall improved life satisfaction. She now feels inspired to share mindfulness practices with her pediatric and adult clients in LA following her participation in coursework through Mindful Schools, UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center Intensive Practices Program, and Breathe and Learn’s Yoga Teacher Training.  She believes the ability to be aware and accepting of the present moment is a superpower everyone can learn to help live a more joyful life, and she’s thrilled to witness children grow in their own practice. 

 

Cindy Swenson - Lead Teacher (Palos Verdes)

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From a very young age Cindy knew that she wanted to be a teacher. She followed that dream over twenty years ago and graduated with a degree in Secondary Education in Biology, Health and Earth/Space Science.  She finds the most joy in life helping others grow and learn. In April 2017, Cindy decided to follow her passion of yoga and graduated from the 200 hour Soho Yoga Teacher Training and became a certified yoga instructor. She realized the importance of yoga and the positive difference it had made in her life and wanted to share that knowledge with others in an impactful way. 

Cindy volunteers teaching yoga to at-risk elementary students and has also volunteered at Palos Verdes High School teaching teen yoga. She has seen firsthand how positively the students respond. She believes whole-heartedly that yoga and mindfulness is something our children can greatly benefit from especially in a world where life can be so fast paced. She is honored to be able to do what she loves and to see children flourish and feel empowered with the tools of yoga.

 

Orlee Klempner - Lead Teacher (Mar Vista)

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Orlee's passion lies in bringing mindfulness to our next set of big decision makers.  Mindfulness creates better focus and concentration, increasing attention and stability.  There is a great sense of emotion and self regulation in real time.  Mindfulness teaches students to witness this and make a choice. It is these skills that determine success when individuals enter the job market and become adults.  We owe it to our youth to dedicate some of the day to Mindfulness & Yoga. 

Orlee’s great understanding of the body in movement began with a base in dance, aerial arts, solace in yoga and her own injuries.  Studying further, she completed a Yoga Alliance 200hr Yoga Teacher Training and then extensive training in anatomy with Russ Pfeifer.  Fascinated with how the brain, mind and body work together, Orlee enrolled in Dan Siegel’s Interpersonal Neurobiology and UCLA’s Mindfulness Awareness Practices I & II. Having to dip out of work for almost a year in 2016 for some surgeries, she explored stillness deeply.  She completed a 400hr Masters Certificate in Meditation through the DEN Meditation and firmly believes in the healing powers of quieting the mind, which in turn, heal physical and emotional ailments. Orlee is also certified to teach mindfulness to young people through Mindful Schools.

 
 

Jodie Cegelski - 2017 Summer Camp Teacher (Malibu)

With an energetic and dynamic teaching style, Jodie thrives towards creating an open and creative space for children to grow. She uses self affirmations to build confidence, introduces poses to challenge balance and physical strength, breath work to improve focus and yoga games for team building, fun and creativity.  Jodie attended the University of Colorado Boulder and received her B.A. in Communications, with minors in creative writing and technology arts and media.  She traveled to Bali and immersed herself in the culture while earning her 200 hour yoga certification.  She's extremely passionate about working with children and is excited to lead the first Breathe & Learn summer camp in Malibu! 

"Children are the future, and the more peaceful, the more centered our children become the more peaceful our world will be. Teaching yoga allows me to embrace this child like nature they radiate so purely and it takes me back to my true and natural state of love, humility, bliss, and laughter."