Uplifting teens through yoga

The Uplift Yoga Foundation provides a encouraging community for juniors Keely Mulvihill and Clara Cherney to practice yoga and learn about themselves.


Natalie Moser

Girl gang- During a weekend retreat the Uplift Yoga ambassadors and mentors come together to practice yoga and discover themselves.

Wanting to a discover a new workout program, juniors Keely Mulvihill and Clara Cherney happened to stumble across a flyer for the Uplift Yoga Foundation. After researching and discovering more about the foundation, they decided to sign up and were welcomed into a supportive group of girls dedicated to practicing yoga and improving their well-being.

The Uplift Yoga Program is a non-profit organization created by co-founders Erica Austin and Camilla Bruno in 2014. The foundation is designed for teenage girls looking to practice yoga and learn about themselves in a safe space.

“It’s like a support group, but ten times better,” said Mulvihill. “We start our practice with yoga, but we do so many other things, like learning how cope with the struggles in our lives and how to truly live a fulfilled and happy life, it’s such a safe place.”

After Mulvihill and Cherney signed up, they attended the eight-week series, where they spent two hours a week practicing yoga, meditation, journaling, and engaging in meaningful discussions. This established connections with the other uplift teens, mentors, and ambassadors.

“My first day of the series I was really nervous because I didn’t know anyone, but when the class started, I realized the importance of the program,” said Mulvihill.

An important part of the foundation is when everyone is placed in a small group of teenage girls. This opens the girls up to meet new people and create a support group within the program. For Mulvihill and Cherney, yoga is only a part of the experience, now they have a group of girls that they can depend on.

“When I am with these girls, I feel less alone,” said Cherney. “When we put out all of our feelings out there, you get to see that there are so many other girls who are feeling the same way and you can all battle it and figure out how to work your way around it as a group.”

For those wanting to join the foundation, there are two eight-week series in the fall and spring. However due to the corona virus, anyone interested in joining can follow the foundation’s Instagram, @upliftyogafoundation and join the live yoga classes every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Once quarantine is over, there are plans for a summer retreat so all new members can meet the rest of the people in the foundation.

“All of us who are [in the foundation] are connected for our passion for yoga, our love for each other and for our quest to get into a better place ourselves,” Cherney said. “We’re all connected by that one like thing that we all love to do.”