Joanne Spence

Founder and Executive Director, Yoga in Schools and Director, Urban Oasis

YJ People's Choice Seva Award scholarship nominee, Good Karma Awards

Joanne Spence

Founder and Executive Director, Yoga in Schools; Director, Urban Oasis Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Joanne Spence, who has 30 years of experience in clinical and community social work, family therapy, and inpatient psychiatric care, discovered yoga in 2000 after a car accident.

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In 2004, she founded Yoga in Schools, which provides teacher training and yoga programming in several school districts in Pittsburgh to help teachers learn yoga techniques that will calm students and prepare them for learning.

To date, Yoga in Schools has exposed nearly 20,000 children and 1,000 teachers or educational staff members to yoga; its ultimate goal is to make yoga available in all schools so students develop mind-body awareness and learn how to nurture their own well-being.

Joanne is also the director of Urban Oasis Pittsburgh, a yoga therapy studio, and a consultant to the Woodland Hills School District, teaching weekly yoga therapy classes for students in the second through 12th grades at their alternative school, the Rankin Promise Program. In addition, she works part-time providing yoga therapy to the patients at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic.