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About Us

Our Story

While teaching second and third grade in Brooklyn, New York, founder Sonya Patel, noticed that her students were feeling overstimulated and stressed from pressures they felt at home and other environments. Sonya began showing her students basic yoga and breathing techniques to use when they needed a break or stress relief. Upon returning to her hometown of Cleveland in 2010, Sonya founded ZENworks Yoga with the core mission of providing access to yoga and mindfulness for children and families in underserved schools and community organizations throughout Northeast Ohio.

Teaming up with a passionate group of educators and yogis, they began building the ZENworks Yoga program.

Over time, ZENworks Yoga has continued to grow and tailor our programs to the ever-changing needs of our students, families, and communities. The dynamic support of our programs empowers and encourages students for lifelong success.


ZENworks Yoga officially became a 501(c)(3) organization in 2013.

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Vision and Core Values

Our vision is to inspire all bodies to connect, belong, and flourish.​


  • Access: ZENworks Yoga is committed to providing accessible programming for all participants.

  • Belonging: ZENworks Yoga is committed to anti-racism, inclusion, and the right for all bodies to belong.

  • Trauma-Informed: ZENworks Yoga is committed to using an empathetic and informed approach when working with youth who may have experienced trauma.

  • Empowerment: ZENworks Yoga is committed to building the self-confidence of its participants to reach maximum potential and create personal wellness practices.

  • Accountability: ZENworks Yoga is committed to being a stable presence in its students' lives and using the best research-based practices to guide its curriculum.

ZENworks Yoga is driven by our changing culture, where children are faced with rising expectations and constant stimulation, compounding upon the stress and demands of normal childhood development. This is leading to a mental health crisis, especially for urban populations that additionally face trauma, scarcity, and instability associated with poverty and urban dangers.

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