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Changing the world in memory of a daughter:
The Rachel Greene Memorial Fund

Spring 2007

by Tresca Weinstein


Zina Greene started going to yoga classes for a very important reason: She was being a supportive mom.

"When my daughter Rachel started teaching one of the first gentle yoga classes in the Washington, D.C. area, she asked me to come so she'd have a critical mass," Zina recalls. "I wouldn't be into yoga if it weren't for Rachel."

For Zina, those classes grew into a committed practice and, for both women, a deep connection to Kripalu, where Rachel received her training. Zina even bought a second home in the Berkshires, and Rachel visited frequently from Washington, D.C. When Rachel's father died, she planted a willow tree for him on the Kripalu grounds.

That's why, when Rachel died in May 2006 as a result of heart damage from radiation therapy for childhood cancer, Zina knew that she wanted to create something in her daughter's memory that would embrace what Rachel cared about most. Rachel taught yoga and stress management to heart patients at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and had created a yoga nidra program for soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder. She was actively and creatively involved in healing.

"I knew it had to be about yoga and healing, and I realized it could also be about something I care about," Zina said. "I have served for many years as a volunteer tutor in the D.C. elementary schools and I've become more and more disheartened by the students' lack of awareness and lack of attention. I had a nagging feeling that they, and their teachers, really needed something healing, something that would calm them and prepare them for learning."

Kripalu gave Zina an advance article for a Kripalu catalog about KYTA member Christine Fantini and the work she was doing with at-risk children in inner-city schools, funded by a grant from the Teaching for Diversity program. The pieces fell into place: Zina knew that bringing yoga to children was the mission that she wanted Rachel's memorial to support.

Today the Rachel Greene Memorial Fund provides scholarships for trainings that prepare yoga instructors to teach yoga to children in disadvantaged public schools (Title I schools or the equivalent) and to train classroom teachers in these schools to take yoga to their students. Members of KYTA and of IABYT (the International Association of Black Yoga Teachers) are eligible for scholarships.

"Rachel liked to create change, and this is something that makes a real difference," Zina says. "These men and women will truly change the lives of these children."

Teacher trainings like those developed by the California-based Yoga Ed. provide instructors with a manual and tools, such as visualization, games, and breath and movement sequences, to help students feel more attentive, energized, and calm. Yoga Ed. also teaches yoga instructors how to train classroom teachers in delivering a yoga experience to children, thus creating more harmonious, focused environments in the classroom.

"As a yoga teacher and mother of three, I've had a vision for many years of yoga being part of the daily curriculum in school," says Vandita Kate Marchesiello, Director of KYTA. "With the creation of the Rachel Greene Memorial Fund, that vision is becoming a reality. This scholarship program will create opportunities for great change in the world by helping teachers bring the transformative benefits of yoga to children, who are our future."

Scholarships are available for two upcoming Yoga Ed. trainings at Kripalu, Instructor Training for K-8, June 29-July 6, and Yoga Ed. Tools for Teachers Training, October 8-11. Yoga teachers who complete the Instructor Training are certified to teach a 36-week, K-8 curriculum to students as physical education, enrichment, or after-school programs, and to teach Yoga Tools for Teachers to classroom teachers. Yoga teachers who complete the Tools for Teachers Training will receive materials and support for marketing and teaching Yoga Ed.'s Tools for Teachers Professional Development Program, in the form of two-hour, four-hour, and full-day professional development programs for classroom teachers.

"I had to do something that I felt passionate about in Rachel's memory, guided by her passions," says Zina, who is also working with the Samueli Institute to develop a yoga program for use in military and public schools in Washington, D.C. "It has made dealing with her death so much easier to have these two wonderful projects in my life. To give the money and to participate in the process has been very healing."

For a scholarship application, write to kyta@kripalu.org with "RGMF Scholarship" in the subject line. For more information about Yoga Ed.'s trainings, visit www.yogaed.com or www.kripalu.org. To donate to the Rachel Greene Memorial Fund, contact the Kripalu Development Office at 413-448-3222.

Complete list of articles by this author:

The 1999 KYTA Conference Fosters Excitement and Growth

KYTA's Teaching for Diversity Program

Scenes from a Conference: More than 300 teachers attend KYTA Conference 2000

Snapshots from KYTA Conference 2001

Bindu Source Johnson shares her experience

Coverage of the 2002 KYTA Conference, Oct. 24-27

Tides Foundation awards KYTA $50,000 for yoga teachers serving diverse populations

Yoga on Tape: Reviews of yoga products created by KYTA members

Yoga on Disc and Tape

KYTA Conference 2003 in words and pictures

KYTA Conference 2004

Yoga on Disc

Kripalu implements new approach to program assisting

Complete guide to Kripalu Yoga hits the shelves

Coverage of KYTA Conference 2005

Enhancing your teaching with yoga's sister science: Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist training begins in January

A sneak peek at KYTA's 2006 Yoga Teachers Conference

Yoga on Disc

Green warriors: Laura Cornell's Green Yoga Association blends yoga and ecology

Yogagaia tells the story of the universe

The yoga of laughter: Keni Fine's Sleeping Swami brings giggles and guidance to the world

Yoga on Disc: Reviews of new yoga products created by KYTA members

Changing the world in memory of a daughter: The Rachel Greene Memorial Fund

Yoga on Disc: Reviews of new yoga CDs from our members

Yoga on Disc: Reviews of CDs by KYTA Conference 2007 presenters and entertainers

Reigniting the flame: KYTA Conference 2007

New member discounts are here! Save every time you visit Kripalu

Flow states: Questions for Ed Harrold

Yoga on Disc

Yoga on Disc, Tape, and Paper

Yoga Ed. trainer awarded $150,000 grant to bring yoga to Pittsburgh public schools

Yoga Everywhere: Spotlighting our Teaching for Diversity grant recipients

Yoga on Disc and on the Page

Green Yoga Association takes new form

Yoga on Disc and on the Page: Reviews of recently released products

Yoga and the Imagination: A Q&A with Randal Williams

Yoga on Disc and on the Page

How we got to the KYTA Conference, and what we found there

Yoga Everywhere: A column spotlighting our Teaching for Diversity grant recipients

Yoga on Disc

Profile of a Cross Trainer

Seva CD 2008: The Soundtrack of Kripalu

Restorative Yoga: The Yoga of Meditation

News from the Professional Trainings Office

Deep Green Yoga

Yoga on Disc and on the Page

The State of the Training

Yoga + Ayurveda: The Perfect Formula for Balance

Edi Pasalis and the Institute for Extraordinary Living pioneer a standardized Kripalu curriculum.

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