Our Story

A passionate group of yogis and educators

While teaching second and third grade in Brooklyn, New York, founder Sonya Patel, noticed that her students were very over stimulated and stressed whether it be from the pressures at home or other environments. There were also limited opportunities for them to refocus their energy and find some solace in their day. Occasionally, Sonya showed her students basic yoga poses and breathing techniques during PE and quick transitions throughout the day as a break. They enjoyed it very much and it provided them a chance to reenergize and refocus. Upon returning to her hometown of Cleveland in 2010, Sonya founded ZENworks Yoga with the core mission of providing access to yoga and mindfulness for children and families in under-served schools and community organizations of Northeast Ohio.

Together with a passionate group of educators and yogis, the team built a program committed to creating change and growth in a child’s life by teaching skills based on the practice of yoga and mindfulness. ZENworks Yoga officially became a non-profit 501(c)(3) in 2013. Since this transition, ZENworks Yoga has expanded to fulfill the needs of Cleveland’s most impoverished areas and most recently served more than 1,500 students in 20 schools.

Our Approach

Commitment to creating change and growth in a child’s life through 4 core competencies


Develop strength, flexibility, balance and stamina


Develop ability to interact positively with peers and teachers


Develop ability to apply yoga practice to other life situations and share with others


Develop ability to communicate needs and emotions effectively

We do this through implementing a vetted curriculum aimed to EMPOWER and CONNECT

students by introducing the following weekly objectives aligned with

social-emotional learning standards including Focus, Settling Your Mind, Self-Management, Kindness and more.

What Makes Us Unique

  • We work with your school or organization to tailor a program that meets the needs of your students and staff.
  • We use a proprietary proven 20-week yoga and mindfulness curriculum that is taught in a developmentally appropriate manner supporting social-emotional learning competencies.
  • We know that children learn through different means, which is why we pride ourselves in providing classes that are developmentally appropriate and differentiated for each child.
  • All instructors have a minimum 200-hour yoga teacher training certificate
    • They also have extensive training with ZENworks Yoga on working with urban youth, trauma-informed yoga, mindfulness, etc.
    • We also provide continuing professional development for our instructors
    • All instructors have completed an FBI/ BCI background check as well as carry their own liability insurance
  • We are supported by other nonprofits and supporters who help promote the same idea of physical and mental health through the skills of yoga and mindfulness.

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