"It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge."
Joanie Plake - Founder, Lead Teacher & Curriculum Developer
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.
Heather Tuttle - Lead Teacher (South Bay Workshops & Summer Camp)
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.
Heather and Joanie were introduced by a mutual friend through the Life Lab (a magical women's wellness center in Hermosa Beach). They immediately connected over their shared experience in the classroom teaching kids with special needs and their passions of spreading yoga, mindfulness and overall health and wellness to kids.
Sara Lev - Lead Teacher (Mar Vista Workshops)
Sara has been a passionate educator for over a decade. She received her Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Bank Street College in New York City, and her yoga certification from Yoga Works in Los Angeles. She is also a Yoga Ed. Trainer and and offers workshops for educators and health care workers on how to bring the benefits of yoga to the children in their lives. Sara is a founding teacher at Citizens of the World Charter School Mar Vista in Los Angeles, where she has taught yoga to fourth and fifth grade students, as well as to the Transitional Kindergarten students in her own classroom. Sara also works as a member of the school’s leadership team to develop and implement SEL curriculum school-wide, and is driven to teach both adults and children about the benefits of yoga and social emotional skills and SEL competencies. Whether teaching in the classroom or on the yoga mat, Sara strives to empower her students to follow their own curiosities and interests, while at the same time supporting them in developing and strengthening their many skills.
Sara and Joanie were both founding teachers at CWC Mar Vista. They collaborated on developing a year-long SEL curriculum for the school and helped colleagues implement lessons in the classroom. Sara introduced Joanie to the Yoga Ed. program, which became a huge inspiration for the creation of Breathe & Learn.
Orlee Klempner - Assistant Teacher (Mar Vista Workshops)
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.
Orlee was one of Joanie's teachers during her 200 hr yoga teacher training program. She graded her yoga homework and guided her through the life-changing experience. When Joanie discovered Orlee's desire to work with children, they never looked back. Orlee has immersed herself in the world of mindfulness and meditation (completing various courses for adults and children) which will no doubt continue to strengthen the Breathe & Learn curriculum and Joanie's meditative journey as well.
Sara Beshawred - 2017 Summer Camp Teacher & Curriculum Developer
Sara is currently a kindergarten teacher at Citizens of the World Charter School Mar Vista.
Sara and Joanie collaborated as second grade teachers at CWC Mar Vista during the 2015 - 2016 school year and joined forces for Breathe & Learn Summer Camp in 2016. The summer camp curriculum was built through the lens of a constructivist approach. We both strongly believe that children learn best through doing, when they are actively involved in the process of meaning and knowledge construction.
Jodie Cegelski - 2017 Summer Camp Teacher
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."
Jodie and Joanie were introduced through the wonderful female entrepreneurs at happy baby in El Segundo. Joanie was impressed by Jodie's strong desire to bring a kids yoga program to Malibu Beach Yoga and their shared excitement for this venture led to the first Breathe & Learn collaboration.