About Jacqueline Maloney (PhD Candidate, RCYT, E-RYT-200)
I have dedicated my life to sharing yoga and mindfulness with children, adolescents, families, and educators to foster healthy and happy people, harmonious relationships, and a peaceful world. I have been sharing yoga with young people from preschoolers to adolescents for more than a decade.
I was first introduced to yoga at the age of 17. It was another 3 years before I returned to yoga, but it was that first class that planted a profound seed – the realization that peace was possible. Having experienced symptoms of depression and anxiety since a young child, this was truly a revelation to me. Sadly, no one around me – neither my teachers, parents, friends, nor school counsellors – ever knew that I was struggling with these overwhelming feelings because I was ashamed and afraid to share them.
As the symptoms of anxiety and depression escalated in my early 20s, I instinctually knew that yoga could help. These practices allowed me to find that beautiful equanimous stillness at the centre of my being, which I could tap into regardless of the thoughts or emotions I was experiencing. From this place of calm, present-centred awareness, I could choose to respond to the situation at hand with a sense of clarity instead of feeling driven and controlled by my emotions. I only wish that I had had access to these profound tools earlier! It was this wish that motivated me to find ways to share contemplative practices with young people. As so many symptoms of mental and emotional dis-ease go unobserved in young people, integrating secular contemplative practices into the school day seemed one way to allow universal access to children who otherwise may not have the opportunity to try them.
After taking the Radiant Child Training with Shakta Kaur Khalsa in 2006, I introduced yoga into my English classroom. Of course, students were always given the option to join in or sit and relax, observe, read, or draw. I was amazed to see how many students were enthusiastic about practice and how much they valued their yoga time. By sharing yoga with my students, I also noticed that I was more present, more patient, more compassionate, more understanding, and less frustrated as a teacher, leading to a better educational experience for all.
In 2009, I met my mentor Maalaa, who invited me along her Path of Happiness to assist her with her Kids’ Yoga Now trainings. I transitioned from being a classroom teacher to teaching yoga full time. Since then, I have spent thousands of hours bringing yoga to young people in many settings, including schools, community centers, hospitals, and yoga studios. I continue to hear from children, teens, and their caregivers that practicing yoga has increased their resiliency and overall well-being. Many have shared that yoga has also helped them live more thoughtful and meaningful lives.
Ever the student, I am currently completing my PhD in Human Development, Learning, and Culture at the University of British Columbia (UBC). My research interests include exploring the effects of yoga and mindfulness practices on the health and well-being of young people and educators. My master’s thesis investigated early adolescents’ experiences with MindUP, a mindfulness-based social and emotional learning program offered in many schools around the world. Since 2012, I have worked as a Research Assistant in Dr. Kimberly Schonert-Reichl’s Social and Emotional Learning Lab and, more recently, at the Human Early Learning Partnership at UBC. I have worked on several studies evaluating the effectiveness of mindfulness education programs for children and teens, as well as other social and emotional learning programs, such as the Random Acts of Kindness Program.
I am continually deepening my study of yoga. I offer my profound thanks to my inspirational teachers: Maalaa, Megha Nancy Buttenheim, Chris Chavez, Madhuri Phillips, Gloria Latham, Shakta Kaur Khalsa, Kimberly Schonert-Reichl, and each and every one of my students.
In my free time, I love dancing and singing with my husband and son, relaxing with my two cats, hiking in the beautiful BC rainforest, and breathing in the ocean air at Spanish Banks.
Education and Training
Jacqueline was among the first teachers in Canada to receive the Registered Children’s Yoga Teacher designation from the Yoga Alliance. She also is an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher – 200 Hours with the Yoga Alliance.
PhD Candidate in Human Development, Learning, and Culture in the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia
MA in Human Development, Learning, and Culture in the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia
Yoga Teacher Training
200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training from Semperviva Yoga
Yoga Outreach Core Training in Trauma-Sensitive Yoga (23 hours, in-classroom training)
Children’s Yoga Teacher Training and Teaching Apprenticeship with Maalaa Rosalie Lazaar of Kid’s Yoga Now (100 hours)
Levels 1 and 2 Radiant Child Yoga Teacher Training with Shakta Kaur Khalsa (18 hours)
Baby and Me Teacher Training with Teresa Campbell at Semperviva Yoga (20 hours)
75-Hour Ayurveda Teacher Training with Madhuri Philips (in-person training)