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GW015: Posture VS. Pill: UpRising with Jill Ippolito

Giving Warriors, givingwarriors


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All of us have heard about the link between exercise and happiness. Today’s guest, Jill Ippolito, decides to take us one step further.

Jill has been practicing yoga since 2000 and has been a certified yoga instructor since 2006. In 2011, she established UpRising Yoga (URY) – a project dedicated to bringing yoga to at-risk youth and to communities that need it most.

With a belief that yoga has the power to help heal individuals regardless of the setting, URY has been teaching yoga for one hour every Tuesday night to youth in the Alpha and Omega units at Central Juvenile Hall (CJH) since November 2011.

Ippolito talks about the history and current value of yoga in our lives. She speaks about the impact that it has had on her life. She tells us about the positive energy that yoga creates.. She tells us how the attitude one has towards yoga, reflects our attitude towards life.

UpRising Yoga’s mission is to unite resilient kids with resourceful communities. We teach yoga in juvenile halls, detention facilities, probation camps, group homes as well as community centers and schools. The specific populations served are incarcerated youth, children with a history of foster care and/or commercial sexual exploitation (CSEC), and people in communities that don’t have access to yoga.  We also hold trauma sensitive yoga trainings and bring yoga to communities that do not have access to yoga.


Yoga: A Prescription: Before Yoga was described as an art, or a form of exercise, it was viewed as a prescription for all ailments. Jill defines yoga as mindfulness and movement.

~ What made Jill go back to yoga? 14 years ago, Jill walked out of her first yoga class, breathing better than she ever did. That moment, she knew that her own healing process had begun.

Jill talks about her rollercoaster journey with yoga, which finally lead her to establish UpRising Yoga in 2011.

~ What’s in a name?: Jill describes a “Yogi” for us, and then reveals the reason behind naming her program UpRising.

~ Sensitive Designs: UpRising offers 50 minute classes that aim to empower the youth through various methods – non-violent communication, inspiring conversations.

Power Yoga or Kundalini or Ashtanga or Bikram Yoga – the teachers are instructed to assess the mood of the children before choosing the style for that session.

~  “Man, imagine if I take this out into the hood!” Positive, enthusiastic, courageous and responsive – Jill describes the reaction of a varied group of people, to UpRising’s classes.

Jill talks about how the commitment towards nailing a certain asana raises self confidence, and brings out strong smiles from those who have endured trauma.

~ Breakthroughs at UpRising: UpRising serves approximately 60 to 70 people, every week.

There have been no reported incidents of violence every since UpRising began working at Central Juvenile Hall, LA.

Jill shares the success of the project, and their future plans of expansion.

~ Mission UpRising: The foremost aim of the project is to show that yoga is an effective healing mechanism that can help at-risk youth and communities to recover.


Jill speaks about the connection between yoga and giving – “it’s all in the energy”. After experiencing yoga for herself, she cannot help but share her passion and happiness with everyone through UpRising.

She sees the world as warm, kind and generous, as opposed to the fight that she felt life was, when she was younger. She is surrounded by kindness, and relishes the joy of watching the transformation of her students, through yoga.

Giving Warriors means…

“Somebody who is not afraid to be bold, in giving.”


How Yoga Works by Michael Roach and Christie McNally



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