Yoga In Schools Program

What We Learn From Our Students
Former Sat Naam Teacher Reflects

My name is Lily Landers and I taught yoga in schools with Sat Naam for five awesome years. It was an honor for me to guide students through classes where we would stretch, breathe, laugh, play and share our experiences together.

Lily practicing in her home studio.

Lily practicing in her home studio.

From South LA to the Valley, I met some spectacular kids. I spent the first year trying not to cry when students would tell me heart wrenching stories about their experiences from home, or describe beautiful images that they saw when they closed their eyes in Savasana. Their joy and appreciation for life often brought me to the brink of tears. But we definitely spent more time laughing than crying. 

One time I was teaching Spider Pose (Malasana Squat) to a second grade class. I instructed the students to reach one hand up to shoot a web. One of my students interrupted me to say, "Excuse me, Ms. Lily. Spiders shoot webs out of their butts." There is nothing like laughing with a room full of second graders.

After just a few months teaching at a school, kids would stop to hug me in the halls and I started to realize how much it meant to them that I showed up every week. In some schools with high teacher turnover, I was the constant presence in their academic lives and they appreciated me for it. And no matter what was going on in my life, they were always there for me. Teaching those kids forced me to be present, in the moment, and I would often leave school feeling a positive shift in my own energy.

That being said, the school system is not perfect. I also dealt with frustrating situations like having our yoga room taken away from us or canceling classes due to extra standardized testing, but the kids stayed connected to their vibrant spirits and I tried whenever possible to ride that wave with them. That's what is so great about working with kids--their love for life is contagious.

Lily leading a mixed age children's yoga class.

Lily leading a mixed age children's yoga class.

Some kids were certainly more challenging than others, but even those kids improved and gained something from their yoga classes. I remember talking to the mother of a particularly difficult student at the beginning of the new school year. She said she couldn't believe it but her son had spent the whole summer meditating in his room. Even my students who seemed like they didn't care about yoga learned something valuable from it.

Teaching yoga to kids deepened my own yoga practice in an off-the-mat kind of way. By learning to be patient with them, I learned to be patient with myself and other people and situations. By asserting myself in the classroom, I learned to stand up for myself in my own life. By being present with them, I learned to be present now. Thank you Seema and Sat Naam for helping me on my journey. I wish you all the best in the future!

Who is Sat Naam? Getting to Know Our Teachers

In cities like Los Angeles, where yoga studios are about as abundant as Starbucks, we tend to think of yoga as a primarily physical practice enjoyed by mostly white, middle and upper class people (also predominantly female). However, there is a growing effort to teach more varied forms of yoga to a still more diverse population. Teaching yoga to children and youth is one aspect of this shift and has become a popular business model for many a yoga teacher.

But teaching yoga in a school setting, particularly to children who come from different socio-economic backgrounds, is still finding its footing. Sat Naam is one of the organizations in LA and across the country attempting to make yoga in low-income schools a more regular occurrence. Over the past eight years, Sat Naam has sought out and trained dozens of yogis (some certified teachers and others not) to visit classrooms from Compton to Sun Valley and teach a curriculum that brings breath, mindfulness, and movement into the lives of young people. 

Many of Sat Naam's teachers are former educators, artists, or yoga enthusiasts who have experienced first hand the benefits and joys of the various branches of yoga. Many are also former or current residents of the areas in which they teach. In the coming weeks we will be sharing stories and insights from the teachers who represent Sat Naam. These profiles and tidbits are our way of putting a face on the sometimes abstract or romanticized work done by people who are trying to better their communities. 

Make no mistake, this work is not easy, but it can be immensely rewarding. Sat Naam teachers are equipping future generations with the tools they need to operate in an increasingly complex world while also learning a great deal about themselves and the city they call home. If you are a certified yoga instructor and would like to learn more about a part time or substitute teaching position with Sat naam visit: and

The Sat Naam Service Network:
Special Fundraiser with Be A Light L.A.

On December 5th, 2014 we gathered with friends and community members at Yoga Works Tarzana for a donation based yoga class to rally support for the Sat Naam Yoga In Schools Program. This event brought in some 30 participants and raised over $800 in donations to expand and extend Sat Naam's programs in schools across Los Angeles.  

Be A Light L.A. is the brainchild of yoga teacher Dania Alisa. Her desire to take yoga beyond personal practice and encourage others to be of service to their community spoke directly to our mission. Dania, who learned about Sat Naam several years ago while seeking out opportunities to teach in the community, offered to host this special event. We were, of course, thrilled to participate.


Also involved were Dania's family, her coworkers at Yoga Works, and her own teacher Lainie Devina who led the special donation based asana class. We are so grateful for their generosity of spirit and the opportunity to share our work and vision with new members of our community.

If you would like to host an event or fundraiser with Sat Naam please contact us directly.