Breathe & Learn

Breathe & Learn is a wellness company that uses yoga and mindfulness to nourish the physical, mental, social and emotional health of children from preschool through middle school. Owner Joanie Wagner has been teaching kids for 12 years—six years of those as an elementary school teacher in Brooklyn, New York and Los Angeles. She founded Breathe & Learn in 2017.

Tell us about the history and mission of your company.

“As an elementary school teacher, I observed so many children carrying burdens and stress throughout the day, which impacted their ability to learn and fully engage in academic work. I saw firsthand how incorporating mindfulness practices eased some of these feelings. Breathe & Learn was born to create a unique yoga experience for kids that would help them develop fundamental life skills in a fun and active way.”

How do YOU incorporate social-emotional learning skills?

“Our curriculum is based on four pillars: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management. Along with yoga and mindfulness, we use these themes to help our students learn more about themselves, connect with one another and settle into stillness at least once during their busy week. Each class includes journaling, breathing, movement and relaxation.”

How can families and educators use Breathe & Learn to support kids? 

“A main goal of our classes is to set kids up for success ‘off the mat’—at home and in sports, school and extracurricular life. We email recaps to parents weekly so they have a full understanding of what happens in class and ways to bring it to life at home. We’re also creating more online content for parents and educators so they can feel confident and equipped to share yoga and mindfulness with the children in their lives.”

What types of programs do you offer for kids?

“We offer summer camp, after-school classes, weekend workshops, and private classes for kids and families. Our summer camp takes place on the beach and runs weekly throughout June, July and August. During the school year, we host our classes outdoors and at local yoga and fitness studios throughout the South Bay.”

How is your business helping kids cope with pandemic-related stress?

“More than ever, kids need a toolbox of strategies to call on to manage their stress in healthy ways. Our curriculum introduces a variety of coping strategies. It’s important that we help kids figure out what works best for them when they are stressed so they have the tools to independently calm their minds and bodies in the moment, which in turn strengthens their overall mental health and emotional well-being.”