Joanne Spence, MA, ERYT 500, is a recovering social worker and certified yoga therapist. She is the founder and executive director of Yoga in Schools. Joanne trains and teaches all sorts of amazing people, both nationally and internationally. She has taught yoga in prisons, hospitals, schools, churches, and sometimes on street corners. She specializes in working with adults and children who are experiencing chronic pain, trauma, depression, anxiety, ADHD, and insomnia.
Joanne draws on more than thirty-five years of clinical experience as a mental health professional and twenty years as a teacher and practitioner of yoga, including ten years as the first yoga therapist at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic. She is in private practice as a yoga therapist and a spiritual director at Urban Oasis Pittsburgh and works with veterans on several behavioral health units in Pittsburgh teaching therapeutic chair yoga. In addition, Joanne leads in-person and online trainings on yoga, mental health, trauma, and contemplative practices.
Joanne has co-authored several published articles and has contributed to Best Practices for Yoga in Schools (Yoga Service Council, 2015) and Stories of School Yoga: Narratives from the Field (Syracuse Press, 2019). Joanne likes nothing more than to demonstrate the inclusive nature of yoga practice; if you can breathe, you can do yoga.
Joanne has been married to Doug for over thirty years. Together, they have three adult children, all of whom practice yoga! When she is not teaching, Joanne loves to read, write, hike, bike, travel, cook, and even dance a little—just not all at the same time.
Her first book, Trauma-Informed Yoga: A Toolbox for Therapists: 47 Simple Practices to Calm, Balance, and Restore the Nervous System was released in March, 2021.
Visit her website at www.joannespence.com and www.yogainschools.org. Or follow her on social media @urbanoasispgh on IG, on FaceBook, and @mamayoga57 on TickTock.