Joanie Woodward, founder of Monkey Mind Belly Breath, began practicing Yoga in 1970. Her discovery of yoga began as a gift of a Seventeen Magazine at 13 years old from her sister. Soon after, her family experienced numerous tragic losses including her beloved sister’s suicide. Within that pain and despair Yoga awakened in Joanie a love for movement, animals, books, art, and nature.
Yoga was a wellspring of comfort and peace as she bore witness to loved ones wrestling with mental health, cancer, alcoholism, death, drug addiction and recovery. In 2006 she went to her first laughter yoga class, crying instead, feeling she needed to remember to laugh more often. There she learned by incorporating laughter into her own yoga practice, she could “fake it till she made it”.
Laughter yoga has offered Joanie a way to transform her grief, as well as her own fears, worries and doubts into grace, spiritual wisdom, joy and peace. For Joanie, laughter’s contagiousness illuminates the fruit of Yoga‘s principles into joy and connection.
“I have been teaching children of all ages for 35 years, most recently at children’s museums, schools, libraries and private functions. I am providing symposium trainings for Early Childhood educators. I employ ‘The Seven Little Monkeys’ book and games I created as the ‘tools’ to encourage simple and fun mind-body techniques to help children, parents and teachers relax, connect and have more peace and joy in their lives. Look for my new book “The Transformation of Lila” and games coming soon.”
In 2007 Joanie became a certified Laughter Yoga teacher with Dr. Madan Kataria at the School of Laughter Yoga. She continues her extensive Yoga studies and trainings in Hatha, Vinyasa, Kundalini, Iyengar, Restorative, Thai, The Yogi Sutras of Patanjali, Meditation and Laughter (Haysa) Yoga.
Joanie lives in the Boston area with her partner and kitty. Surrounded by a big close knit extended family. She is a stepmom and aunt to 23 nieces and nephews as well as 35 great nieces and nephews who are some of her greatest teachers.