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Meet Jill Weiss Ippolito of UpRising Yoga in Silver lake

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jill Weiss Ippolito.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Jill. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Yoga saved my life from a path of jails and institutions, addiction and medications, depression and hopelessness. I shed the imprisonment of despair with a yoga practice that changed the direction of my life. After volunteering in juvenile hall, I discovered I was once a youth detained in the same location I was teaching yoga in. This led me to study about stress, trauma and the brain and learn as much as I can to share with yoga instructors and those working in the field of healing trauma, or simply interested in yoga life skills.

UpRising Yoga is dedicated to bringing yoga to those incarcerated and to communities that need it most. We teach in various locations such as detention centers, schools, hospitals, group homes and skid row. We taught yoga in Los Angeles County Central Juvenile Hall on a weekly basis for almost six years. On average we have about seven to ten students per unit each week. During this time, it was documented by the Probation Department that our classes helped reduce violence in those units. It was while teaching in Juvenile Hall that we discovered a staggering fact: that 82% of system-involved youth were sexually trafficked and so we focused in on healing this trauma. Today in every training we cover Child Sex Trafficking in a portion of our training to help spread awareness.

I offer Trauma-Informed Yoga Trainings locally and internationally. I have trained Los Angeles County Probation Staff, and teach Trauma-Informed Yoga Life Skills to Social Workers at groups homes and universities.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
In the beginning, it was pretty smooth and happened fast because of the momentum and interest grew quickly. But I had to learn “on the job” how to run a non-profit, fund raise, work with a Board on top of making sure we scheduled yoga teachers for the locations we offered classes at and other duties. So the bumps and struggles were really more like opportunities for growth, especially in leadership. I also experienced some fatigue and burnout, so I learned in a very real way that self-care is so vital to being successful.

UpRising Yoga – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
UpRising Yoga teaches yoga to incarcerated youth, children with a history of foster care and/or commercial sexual exploitation (CSEC), and to people in communities that do not have access to yoga. We also lead trauma-sensitive yoga training, both for yoga teachers interested in getting involved in our work, as well as service professionals that are looking to yoga as a new alternative approach to at-risk populations.

Our teachers go through extensive training and are VISTO approved. We teach in our classes “ URY Yoga Life Skills.” It includes education, support and individual attention. Through URY’s Yoga Life Skill Classes, students are engaged in basic yoga poses, meditative techniques, and are taught various postures that are useful for restoring and maintaining a student’s well-being and improve their body’s flexibility and vitality. Instruction and practice are provided within a structured yet nurturing and positive environment. Instructors teach in a sensitive manner that takes into account each individual student’s physical ability.

Students are provided with positive reinforcement for what they can achieve in the classes so that they feel encouraged to continue with their yoga practice. Yoga Life Skills are introduced weekly and provides education, leadership and confidence.

With Yoga For Healing Trauma, I teach Trauma-Informed Yoga Trainings Worldwide.

What sets us apart from other Trauma-Informed Yoga Training programs is that we provide direct services rather than spread awareness. We do both. I work hard to motivate activists but I also make sure we locate funding to compensate UpRising Yoga Trauma-informed Yoga Instructors. This way we can advocate for policy enhancements and funding for long lasting programs.

With Yoga For Healing Trauma, I am literally “Bridging Communities Worldwide” by traveling and connecting others teaching yoga in prisons and developing programs.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success is in the personal satisfaction of self-care, harmony and the confidence that I made a positive contribution to enrich the lives of others.


  • Sign up for the Trauma-Informed Yoga Training in October 27 & 28, 2018 $419

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Robert Sturman, Sarit Z. Rogers, Nir Livni

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