Soul Yoga Foundation was founded in January 2023, but the seed was planted a long time before then. Lisa Alban Ellisen, founder and owner of Soul Yoga, a local yoga studio, began practicing yoga in 1996 after graduating from college. She became a yoga teacher in 2001 and a yoga studio owner in 2014. When she introduced herself as a yoga teacher she always said, "I wish I had found yoga sooner." She has always had a dream to build a community yoga program that is accessible to the those that wouldn't necessarily walk into a yoga studio as well as is readily available to the younger generation.
Her first experience teaching yoga to kids was in 2010 when her son was in pre-school. "It was so much fun" she commented and sought out more opportunities to share yoga with kids. As her own children grew older she continued to volunteer in their classrooms offering yoga classes occasionally. Then, in 2018 she participated in and then facilitated a program called "Unstoppable, Yoga for Youth" (through the Baptiste Institute) where she taught others in how to teach a comprehensible yoga program to youth.
Another teaching opportunity arose in January 2020 where Lisa began a yoga program with a high school football team during their off season. Unfortunately, the world shut down in 2020 and it was a full year before she resumed her role with high school athletes. This year she has worked with high school girls and boys soccer teams as well continuing with the football team. She guides them through yoga strengthening, stretching, mobility work, myofacial release techniques as well as meditation and mindfulness. She even enjoys implementing team building and self reflection exercises.
Beginning in October, 2022 Lisa began offering a 5-6 week program to local Elementary schools (TK-6th grade) where she was teaching to more than 800 students each week. This robust program was the catalyst that prompted her to fill out the application to become a non-profit, a dream many years in the making. Her hope is to train and mentor yoga teachers at every school throughout Sonoma County! This is only possible with your support.
There are many ways you can offer support. You can donate (your donations will help to supply yoga mats, pay the teachers, fund for grants, and scholarships so this program can grow to its full potential), you can join our board, you can teach yoga for us, you can volunteer to help with our fundraisers as they happen, and you can spread the word about what we are up to in the world!
Thank you for taking the time to learn about us. I am so excited to see what we can create together and how we can support each other and possibly save the world (a tall but doable task) through implementing the tools of yoga.
Lisa Alban Ellisen, founder
Soul Yoga and Soul Yoga Foundation
All kidding aside, if everyone did yoga, we would have world peace." — Rory Freedman
Soul Yoga Foundation exists to support the community by sharing the tools of yoga in classes, leadership development and fostering outreach programs that increase access to these tools for all people, including and beginning with our youth.
All public schools in Sonoma County will have in school yoga programs which introduce and reinforce the social emotional learning competencies of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making through the practice and skills learned on the yoga mat. Soul Yoga Foundation will train and mentor yoga teachers to accomplish our mission and continue to grow and support our amazing community.