Betsy Stephens, a mother of two living in West Orange, has been practicing yoga since 1994. She received her teacher training from Om Yoga in NYC 2001. In 2011, Betsy began training to become a children’s yoga teacher. She has studied with Karma Kids, Ashram for Autism and Go Grounded. In 2013, Betsy opened Yoga Playhouse where kids can learn to connect to their breath, minds and bodies through yoga concepts and poses. Aside from health and brain development benefits, Betsy feels yoga can cultivate a child’s appreciation for themselves and the world around them. When she’s not teaching at Yoga Playhouse, Betsy teaches inner city children in Newark with the Newark Yoga Movement. She also worked as the Artist-in-Residence, blending yoga and children’s literature at South Mountain Elementary in South Orange.
Betsy is also the founder and director of Moore Love, a non-profit organization that promotes kindness in schools. She is co-founder of Little Philanthropist at the Gregory School in West Orange. The class raises student’s awareness of needs in our society then empowers them to make a difference. Through all these endeavors, Betsy’s hope is to encourage kids to lead with their heart.
For years, Amy practiced yoga off and on… mostly a class or two here and there as part of her regular exercise routine. She was a busy television producer, so she thought of yoga as a great workout and a way to find some calm. It wasn’t until she developed a regular practice that she was really able to tap into and appreciate what yoga could bring to her life. Sometime in 2015, Amy decided to practice on a daily (or near daily!) basis. Incorporating yoga more fully into her life had so many unexpected benefits, from increased strength to improved focus to learning how to tune out “that negative voice in my head.”
Amy completed the Yoga Playhouse 24-Hour Teacher Training in December 2017 and is super excited to introduce children to all that yoga can offer. As part of her professional experience, she spent more than a decade working ontelevision programing for child development issues, in particular looking at how to best promote the skills kids need to succeed. One thing she learned after interviewing many of the leading researchers in the field was how important it is to promote attention and mindfulness in children. Amy says yoga is the perfect tool to help them tap into these important skills!
Some other background on Amy: She grew up in South Orange and now lives in West Orange. She’s the mom of a 12-year-old Yoga Playhouse yogi, a member of the Roosevelt Middle School PTA, and a coach of the Girls on the Run Heart & Sole program.
Nicole Ruffo found yoga when she was pregnant with her first child and has loved it ever since. Now, 10-years later, she is a mother of four and still practicing. Nicole received her 200-hour Yoga Teacher Certification in the spring of 2017 from Bhakti Barn Yoga in Millburn. She then earned a children’s yoga certification from Yoga Playhouse. Nicole, who taught elementary school both in the Bronx and Westfield, is now excited to incorporate her love for yoga with her passion for teaching young people. She had a blast teaching at the Yoga Playhouse summer camp and is ready for more fun in the fall! Her dream is for every child get they need to make yoga and meditation a part of their daily routine. When not teaching yoga, Nicole can be found with her husband and four little yogis in training at their home in West Orange.