Yoga, but Affordable (The Atlantic)

Jordan Rosenfeld - 12 Jan, 2016
Yoga 4 Change, founded by Kathryn Thomas, a former Navy pilot from Jacksonville, is another organization committed to bringing yoga to low-income communities. After an accident on deployment forced her into an early retirement from the Navy, Thomas took up yoga to heal her body, and found that it also helped calm her. “I realized this was a way to heal people,” she says... more

Quiet the Mind, Open the Heart (First Coast Magazine)

By Anna Jacobson | Photography by Tracey Williams and compliments of Yoga 4 Change
If a student cries, and her guys do, Thomas is not able to comfort them—a comforting touch would be unsafe and unproductive. But in their breakdown and independent recovery Thomas says, they learn the lesson: “I’m good in my own skin. I can control my emotions.” Sometimes, Thomas says, she has hysterically funny classes but to keep her neutrality, she has to hold her laughter in until she gets to the car. While she gives tremendously of herself, the students give to her as well... more

‘Shark Tank’ meets SXSW at the One Spark festival (Dallas News)

ROBIN SOSLOW - 04 April 2016
Last year’s One Spark showcased 537 projects, attracted 320,500 attendees and inspired $93,324 in crowdfunding in addition to juried monetary awards. Pitches ran the gamut. Yoga 4 Change planned to expand yoga programs for veterans, inmates, at-risk youth and people with addictions... more

7 Surprising Reasons To Try Yoga (Bustle.com)

GINA M. FLORIO - 9 Mar, 2016
The very people who could benefit greatly from yoga, though, are the ones who can't afford to go, or simply have no access to the practice. Luckily, there are more studios and organizations popping up all over the U.S. that are addressing this issue: Street Yoga in Seattle and Portland offers classes to the homeless and other underserved individuals; Yoga 4 Change in Jacksonville teaches yoga in low-income neighborhoods, drug rehabilitation centers, and schools; Yoga to the People, with locations in New York and California, only charges $10 for a single class... more

Businesses react to possible shortening of One Spark (News 4 Jax)

Crowdfunding festival could be reduced to 3 days, with 1 day for public - January 28, 2016
The festival’s big winner last year was the nonprofit Yoga 4 Change. Executive Director Kathryn Thomas said shortening the festival from five days will help attendees focus more on creators. “Now, they’re not being forced to vote the day of the festival, but they’re able to see that their impact is a lot stronger because the festival has been shortened,” she said... more

Therapeutic benefits of yoga catch on among Jacksonville's caregivers (Jacksonville.com)

Tessa Duvall - Mon, Jan 4, 2016
For Kathryn Thomas, founder and executive director of Yoga 4 Change, it was about restoring her well-being after an injury forced her to retire from her job as a Navy helicopter pilot. The unexpected career change left her devastated... more

D'Angelo Stallworth Shooting; Laser Light Show Innovator Richard Borders; Yoga 4 Change (WJCT)

Sean Birch - 29 May, 2015
The nonprofit Yoga 4 Change, uses yoga to promote healthy living and foster self-confidence among children, at-risk youth, veterans, inmates and those suffering from substance abuse. Yoga 4 Change was one of the big winners from this year's One Spark festival. We speak with Executive Director Kathryn Thomas. more

Buoyed by One Spark, nonprofit Yoga 4 Change looks to grow (Jacksonville.com)

Ron Whittington - 12 May, 2015
Founded by Atlantic Beach resident Kathryn Thomas, Yoga 4 Change was a little over a year old when it came out a big winner at last month’s One Spark in downtown Jacksonville. The nonprofit agency, which primarily reaches out to the high-risk population in Jacksonville and introduces them to yoga to help them manage anger, stress and overcome other mental and physical challenges, was awarded $32,000 in addition to $2,000 in public contributions made at the annual crowdfunding event. more

Onespark changes everything for Yoga 4 Change (Jax Daily Record)

Max Marbut - 28 April, 2015
That’s how Kathryn Thomas, founder and executive director of Yoga 4 Change, describes what happened this month at the crowdfunding festival. Her year-old nonprofit that provides yoga classes to people who would not otherwise be able to afford them received more than $32,000 in cash awards and crowdfunding contributions at the conclusion of One Spark. Yoga 4 Change earned the most prize money and funding in the three-year history of the festival. more

Here's how a Jacksonville company became the big winner at One Spark — and what it plans to do next (Jacksonville Business Journal)

Colleen Michele Jones
With a big win at One Spark under their belt, the Yoga 4 Change team has big plans for the nonprofit’s expansion — here in Jacksonville and beyond. The fledgling organization picked up both a jury prize in the social good category, worth just over $17,000, as well as the award for the most crowd votes, earning another $15,000. In all, Yoga 4 Change took home $32,000, the largest amount a single creator project at One Spark has ever received in awards and prize money. more

Yoga 4 Change Biggest Winner in One Spark History (PR News Wire)

PRNewswire - 14 April, 2015
Yoga 4 Change is proud to announce their win in two categories: Juried Award and Most Votes. This marks the first time in One Spark history that a creator project has taken home two separate awards. The Juried Award prize, worth $15,000, went to the top-voted creator (by a panel of judges) in each category: art, education, science, music, social good and technology. Yoga 4 Change also earned the most popular votes in the social good category, receiving 1,563 of 117,169 total votes cast by attendees at One Spark 2015. With the Most Votes award, valued at $17,001.11, Yoga 4 Change brought home a total of $32,001.11, the largest amount a single creator project at One Spark has ever received in awards and prize money. The judges said "we have never before seen a grassroots organization make such change in people's lives." more

Onespark 2015 Winners take home thousands in reward money (First Coast News)

Brittany D Dionne - 13 April, 2015
One Spark 2015 ended on a high note Sunday night with the announcement of its winners. The week-long festival saw record attendance numbers and exceeded last years donations. According to organizers, topped 325,000 people gathered downtown to support more than 530 creator projects. One Spark pulled in $93,000 in crowd funding contributions; that's more than double what creators made last year. more

Yoga 4 Change seeks community support for KIND Snacks grant (Jacksonvilkle.com)

Beth Cravey - 16 January, 2015
A Jacksonville nonprofit that introduces at-risk people to yoga is in the running for a $10,000 grant. Yoga 4 Change is participating in an online contest sponsored by KIND Causes, a monthly grant program from KIND Snacks, according to a news release. more

Setting Up For One Spark (First Coast News)

Shelby Danielsen - 7 April, 2015
A video about setting up for One Spark featuring a number of creators, including Kathryn and Aidee from Yoga 4 Change. We can't wait to participate in this amazing crowd funding festival! Please come out and see us at booth #21743. more

Yoga And Prison Rehabilitation Programs (Huffington Post)

Rob Schware - 19 November, 2014
This is an interview with Kathryn Thomas. Before training as a yoga instructor, Kathryn was a Naval Officer and Naval Aviator flying SH-60 helicopters. She suffered a permanently disabling non-combat related injury in 2011, and was medically retired from active duty in 2013. She moved to Kailua, Hawaii, to join her husband in 2012, and rediscovered yoga as a means of coping with the emotional and physical challenges of her injury. "My practice gave me new direction in life, and aided me in overcoming the loss of my career in the Navy," says Kathryn. more

Yoga 4 Change Changes Lives (First Coast News)

Lindsey Boetsch - 15 January, 2015

A local organization is up for a sizable grant from a national company. Yoga 4 Change is the only group in the area within reach of $10,000 from KIND Snacks.

Kathryn Thomas got her yoga certificate in December 2012 and started the organization. In the past year, it's had a big impact on the Jacksonville community, breathing new life into people who wouldn't normally get a second chance.

"We started a program here with the veterans who are in the HUD-VASH. These are houseless vets who are dealing with every day living situations on top of physical ailments, disabilities, PTSD," said Thomas.

Yoga 4 Change doesn't stop there. She also works with at risk youth and people in correctional facilities.

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10 Noteworthy Yoga Developments To Recall In 2015 (Religion Dispatches)

ANDREA R. JAIN - 5 January, 2015
2. Yoga For All Many yoga advocates expressed increased concern about the disparity in access to yoga and its concomitant near absence among disenfranchised populations despite the many evidence-based claims regarding its physical and mental health benefits. In 2014, many non-profit organizations, including Yoga 4 Change, the Prison Yoga Project, Yoga Behind Bars, and the Africa Yoga Project to name just a few, made yoga more accessible to at-risk youth, veterans, prisoners, and those suffering from substance abuse. more

From kindergartners to inmates, Jacksonville nonprofit spreads the calming influence of yoga (Jacksonville.com)

Beth Reese Cravey - 3 June, 2014

The kindergartners effortlessly balanced their bodies on one leg, flamingo-style, and adopted the tree pose. They stood ramrod straight and stretched their arms as high as they could in the mountain pose.

They dropped to the floor, got on their sides and did the gator chop.

Then came the jungle run, with each of them trying to tag each other as they ran around and around in a big circle, followed by quiet time and a positive chant: “Peace begins with me!”

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Yoga 4 Change Teacher Talks About Teaching To Incarcerated Women (Elephant Journal)

Aidee Douglas - 27 January, 2015

Since I was young, my heart felt a strong connection to anyone in need, especially kids who were poor or abused—knowing they had to struggle and overcome more in life.

Growing up, I was very social and had a good sense of what society expected from me. So, I performed well, made friends, and met societies expectations.

However, there was always someone in my class who was not as accepted.

I sensed their pain and I was empathetic to their suffering. I knew they didn’t have some of the advantages I was born into —loving parents, encouragement and happiness. I never let myself take what I had for granted. I knew I had it better, simply because I was born into a different family—even then, I knew I was a lucky one.

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