our founder tonia Crosby
Tonia is the founder of this outside-the-box yoga concept called bhavanaKIDS. Combined with a lifetime of advocacy and activism, Tonia spent many years researching, teaching and writing the bKIDS base curriculum and specialty classes. Her loyalty and passion for supporting people is combined with her commitment to the integration of yoga and mindfulness practices in modern education and youth programs. Her vision is rooted in the belief that holistically supported young people will lead to more compassionate, regulated and successful adults.
Tonia grew up a small town farm girl with a heart for adventure. She has always been an athlete, a social justice advocate and a risk taker. She has a BA in gender studies and political science, and did her masters studies in Peace & Justice, emphasizing the intersection of marginalized communities and development. She has been in a range of leadership roles throughout her career and is an entrepreneur and visionary by nature.
Tonia's dream of accessible and non-intimidating yoga spaces speaks to many and she continues her work developing bhavanaKIDS alongside a number of other projects. You can learn more about Tonia at www.toniacrosby.com or review her resume here.
our leaders and educators
Austin is a yoga, dog and outdoor enthusiast, with a passion for working with young people. Six years ago she made the decision to leave her hometown of Flint, MI and head west to the Rocky Mountains. Yoga played a large role in adjusting to her new life and overcoming trauma from her past. In 2015, Austin decided it was time to dive deeper into her yoga practice and received her 200 hr teaching certification from Whole Yoga in Denver; and has completed a number of continuing education workshops and trainings emboldening her personal practice and teaching style.
When Austin discovered bhavanaKIDS, everything fell into place. Teaching and learning from her students quickly became the purpose. She is a committed bhavanaKIDS Leader and Educator and continues to work in the field of trauma informed yoga. She recently completed The Prison Yoga Project training and volunteers in prisons and juvenile services centers in the front range. She assists with bhavanaKIDS Curriculum Trainings, creating thoughtful youth development programs, and spends impactful time with nearly 100 young people in bKIDS classrooms each week.
Lucia is an invaluable Educator at bhavanaKids. She began life in a tiny town in Kansas and moved to Denver in fifth grade. She grew up in Aurora and moved to the Colorado plains when she ran her own homestead. She has raised 4 children and is currently raising her fifth. Her husband is an ice-sculptor and culinary artist. She worked as a 911 operator for six years and knew she wanted to guide people into recognizing, strengthening, and utilizing their inner and outer resources before they needed to call 911, so she became a Life Coach and quickly thereafter got her first Yoga Teacher Certification from IM’Unique United with Tyrone Beverly.
She is in the process of receiving her second Yoga Teacher Certification from Satya Yoga Collective for People of Color with Lakshmi Nair - which aims to diversify the Yoga Teacher pool in Denver to more accurately represent all the people in our communities; assisting People of Color to be empowered to heal the symptoms of inner and outer oppression as relating to all the energetic levels of their being.
As a Yogabhyasi she is in a relationship with her practice of Yoga. Weaving her practice into all the areas of her life ensures she makes Yoga accessible to all people in all its forms. She is a problem solver, a creative and dynamic solution finder, a nurturer, an indigenous medicine practitioner, a communicator, hypnotist, an engineer of paths to a goal, and a joyful realist.
Mackenzi and movement should be synonymous. A believer that an idle body leads to an overworked mind, Mackenzi - a 2 time Cancer survivor - utilizes yoga, dance and other movement forms to create happy and healthy living. She is passionate about sharing this lifestyle with people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds. She personally believes everyone should make the most of everyday given and have the tools to do so. As a yogabhasi and a professional dancer, Mackenzi has always used movement to empower and heal; even through obstacles like chemotherapy.
Mackenzi also has many passions and has studied them immensely as a Colorado College graduate. With a Bachelors of Arts in Dance & Race and Ethnic Studies, she is aware of intersectionality and strives for representation for communities of color. She also practices and teaches trauma sensitive yoga making asanas available to all. Understanding social and emotional development from a background in early childhood education, Mackenzi has successfully taught movement and dance to children across Colorado as well as in New York CIty. Her students have ranged in age from 9-36months (Citibabes), 4-10 years old (Harlem Children’s Zone), 11-14 years old (Direction for our Youth), teen and adult (Denver Dance) as well as elderly (The Healing Garden). When Mackenzi was inspired by Dance Movement Therapy, she has travelled in search of different techniques used across the world. From Shanghai to London to Bangkok to NYC, she learned her passion for dance and movement was a universal connection between all people. As an empathic, holistic wellness coach, Mackenzi uses movement like yoga and dance to live the fullest life and inspire other to do the same.
Pardees’ yoga journey began in 2009 and brought with it an ever evolving sense of tranquility, bliss, and awareness. After diving deep into this powerful practice, she felt called to share its gifts and began teaching family and friends from her home in Buffalo, NY. In 2014, her wandering spirit led her to Rishikesh, India where she studied to receive her RYT-200 certification.
Pardees calls herself an artist and has a deep love for all things that nourish the soul, expand the heart, and challenge the mind. She has found that seeing the interconnectedness of all things leads to a peaceful spirit, so she truly enjoys incorporating all things art into her teaching style. Poetry, music, aromatherapy, healing touch, dance.
For Pardees, yoga is so much more than exercise. It is a chance to reconnect with our deepest self through presence, breath, movement and stillness. By shedding light on our darkness, we create space to heal and transform.
Her mantra: “I am that which merges with you.”
Beth’s yoga journey began many years ago as an elective in college while living in Lancaster, England. In the past several years, she has completed a 200 hour yoga certification through Kindness Yoga in Denver as well as certification in Street Yoga (trauma informed yoga for youth). She is passionate about the benefits of yoga and mindfulness and how they support new ways of viewing oneself and others. She has spent over 20 years working with children and families as a mental health professional in the public school system as well as in her private practice. Beth has experience with children of all ages (preschool through high school). She believes that yoga and mindfulness can affect physical and mental health with the possibility of improvements in mood, attention, muscle strength and coordination.
Beth loves spending time in nature, as well as with family and friends. She enjoys outdoor activities and travels when she has the opportunity. Beth grew up in the Midwest but has been a longtime resident of Colorado, attending the University of Colorado for her BA and MA in Psychology.
Leah began exploring movement when introduced to aerial acrobatics in 2013. The thrill of discovering her immense strength gave her the courage to examine the way she moved throughout all aspects of her life. Strength can only take one so far, however, & she found herself unable to reach, to bend, to achieve the full range of her body (& mind). Flexibility, she found soon enough, to be critical in order to advance her artform. It was through yoga, stillness & release, breath of life, that she found this balance. Utilizing both these physicalities along with numerous self-care modalities, Leah has forged a path to her healing. She has uncovered the ability to be in her body again, after having spent the majority of her life escaping it & the pain it caused, in various ways.
Intent on sharing these gifts of movement with others, Leah began learning how to teach in 2016. Leah identifies as a holistic educator & a movement guide, believing the importance of embracing one’s inner dork should never be underestimated! Her teaching philosophy encourages her students to honor their authentic selves by identifying strengths, accepting limitations, and exploring areas to cultivate growth. When not teaching or offering guidance, Leah enjoys spending time with her incredible children, palate-pleasing meals, & training in various circus arts.
Angela Casella is a Colorado born outdoor enthusiast who loves hiking around the mountains with her large dogs. She first discovered yoga in college and saw the huge benefits it had on her concentration and mind body connection. She continued to practice when she moved back to Denver and decided to pursue her 200 hour yoga teacher training through Whole Yoga. She then traveled through India and Southeast Asia to gain more diverse yoga training before returning home to begin teaching. She has been teaching yoga for the last couple of years around Denver and enjoys opening students hearts and minds to a better way of dealing with the everyday stresses of life.