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.
Founder & CEO
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.
Lead Teacher (South Bay Workshops & Summer Camp)
From teaching swim lessons to working as an in-home behavior therapist, Mar has always had a passion for interacting with little humans. After receiving her 200 hour yoga teacher certification from SoHo Yoga, she was eager to mesh her love for yoga and children into one realm.
At the age of two, Mar was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. She was constantly struggling with body awareness. She has always been athletic in nature, but her joints told her otherwise. Always curious to educate herself on the human body - physically, mentally, and spiritually, she went to University of Arizona to major in Public Health with an emphasis in injury prevention. In addition, she began volunteering as a mentor for those living with social disabilities to work on social anxiety and peer interaction.
Mar did not discover the beautiful practice of yoga until after she graduated from college, but has never felt more at home in her body. After her 200YTT, she began to integrate prana and asana practices to her behavior therapy clients and is seeing amazing progress. Wanting to impact more children of all backgrounds is what brought Mar to Breathe & Learn. She hopes to see you and your kiddo's bright smile soon!
Lead Teacher (South Bay Workshops)
Marissa "Mar" Rodriguez
Orlee lives in her hometown, Los Angeles, CA and teaches meditation and yoga classes to adults and kids. She holds certifications in Yoga RYT 200hr, DEN Masters 400hr, UCLA Mindful Awareness Practices I, II & III, Mindful Schools Educator, and Yoga Nidra 90hr. And, Orlee is a member of Yoga Alliance and International Mindfulness Teachers' Association. She has assisted in retreats, yoga teacher trainings, led anatomy and history lectures for yoga teacher trainings, and facilitates talks. Orlee has taught kids within non-profit and for-profit after school programs and school settings.
She is enrolled to continue her education in Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach's Mindfulness Certification through UC Berkeley. Orlee teaches kids ages 7 and up. She teaches with the intention of loving oneself. Entry into practice is through the Act of Noticing with present-open awareness. This creates space for decision making towards our own and others’ well being.
Lead Teacher (Studio City & Hollywood)
Ava Moreno entered the yoga community through her first love: dance. She began her dance training as a toddler, training in all forms of dance. She spent most of her youth in studios, and at the age of 11, she began assistant teaching the tiny tots and she found so much joy and fulfillment through it. Ava struggled with several injuries in dance, which lead her to look into deeper ways of understanding and helping her body. She began exploring new ways of moving and strengthening her body. She started practicing yoga regularly, discovering the peace, focus, and stability--both physically and mentally--it brought her. Ava immersed herself in the yoga, fitness, nutrition, and wellness world.
Ava went on to receive her personal training certification through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Shortly after, she completed her RYT 200-hour yoga teacher training at South Boston Yoga in 2014. During recovery from a knee surgery in 2015, she began teaching dance to kids of all ages again, as well as yoga to middle schoolers at Beaver Country Day School, and she thoroughly enjoyed returning to teaching and learning from kids. Ava holds the following certifications: 200-hour vinyasa, restorative, and prenatal with David Vendetti and Todd Skoglund, 50-hour yin yoga and advanced 300-hour with Rebekah Rivera, advanced 300-hour with Julia Planine-Troiani, and most recently, 30-hour aerial yoga with Lei Lei de Kirby of Levity Aerial Yoga® in San Luis Obisbo.
Ava believes in always being a student first, which has driven her to explore new practices and points of view to help her better serve her students, as well as her own practice. This led her to move to Los Angeles in March 2016 to pursue her passions of dance, yoga and fitness. She is thrilled and humbled to be working with and alongside such inspiring teachers and young individuals, and is excited to be a part of the Breathe & Learn team. She is now a ERYT-500 Yoga Alliance certified instructor and is ready to bring this incredible work of aerial yoga to children and adolescents, as there’s nothing better than bringing magic, strength, and defying gravity to the next generation of leaders and role models.
Lead Teacher (South Bay Workshops)
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.