Francesca Michelle-Lies, Professional Bio, Owner
Yoga Therapist, E-RYT 500 x 2, International Association of Yoga Therapists, YTRx
Francesca teaches and blends yoga, mindfulness, guided relaxation, meditation, and self-inquiry as an approach to life and as a holistic approach to meeting life with an open mind and compassionate heart. Francesca's life path has led her in to deep study within two potent lineages: The Himalayan Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy (a world authority on Yoga, Meditation, and Ayurveda) and in the Tradition of Krishnamacharya (widely regarded as the Father of Modern Yoga).
Francesca has a lifelong connection to and has studied the teachings and work of J. Krishnamurti, which informs her approach to teaching; she leads yoga and philosophical self-inquiry retreats at his former home in Ojai, California. She is a lifelong competitive artistic roller skater, competing at the National level and in World-Class events. Francesca has been published online and in print through a variety of platforms including teach.yoga. She holds a degree in Psychology and currently studies Clinical Yoga Therapy at Loyola Marymount University. Click here for details on her professional training and outreach.
Francesca is a respected and sought after teacher in Ojai, California and is hired by a wide variety of individuals, organizations, and corporations to lead classes, workshops, and retreats. Her approach is grounded, practical, rooted in self-knowledge and deep self-study, and is accessible and suited to each individual. She crafts individualized therapeutic yoga sequences for people from all walks of life. She describes her teaching style as holistic, observation based, mindful, and meditative.
(in chronological order)
- 'Take Five' Children's Yoga Training Certification (2014)
- Yoga Teacher Training with Senior Iyengar Yoga Teachers (2014)
- Level I and II Gendai Reiki Certification (2010-2012)
- 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training Certification through the Himalayan Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy (2010-2011)
- BA Psychology, Cum Laude; Minors in Philosophy, Public Policy & Leadership (2009)
- 500 hour YTRx: Clinical Yoga Therapy Studies at Loyola Marymount University in their celebrated Yoga Therapy Rx program (2015-2017)
- 500 hour Yoga Teacher Training Certification through the Himalayan Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy (2014)
- Advanced 80 hour yoga anatomy training (2015)
- Level 1 Shambhala Meditation Training (2015)
- CPR + First Aid - adults & youth (2015)
- Therapeutic and mental health clinics (yoga, relaxation, mindfulness)
- IOP (intensive outpatient)
- PHP (partial hospitalization programs)
- OP (outpatient)
- Schools (grades K-12) (yoga, mindfulness)
- Educational therapy clinics (yoga, mindfulness)
- Recovery centers (yoga, meditation, mindfulness)
- Sober living houses (yoga, meditation)
- Public studio settings (yoga, meditation, workshops)
- Private practice with individuals and small groups
- Mind/Body Retreats (yoga, philosophical self-inquiry)
- 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Trainings (event organizer, assistant)
- Physical Therapy Centers (yoga)
- Corporate Clients (yoga, mindfulness, meditation)
Francesca's Philosophy on Yoga
Yoga is unity of perception and I teach yoga as a tool with which to observe and commune with inner thoughts, habits, and feelings. I encourage mindful holds with attention to the breath in poses to support exploration of the spaces within your body and to facilitate an environment of openness to yourself.
Having personally utilized the healing aspects of yoga for body, mind and spirit, I offer a unique and compassionate perspective to my clients. I see and meet you where you are in your new or existing yoga practice.
I discovered yoga when I was a teenager after reading a book given to me by my dad titled, "The Yoga System of Health and Relief from Tension," by Yogi Vithaldas and became fascinated with the mind-body connection. I began a regular yoga practice upon entering college. As a lifelong competitive roller figure skater, yoga complimented this sport and allowed me to blossom as an athlete. I continue to coach and compete nationally.
I'm a pioneer in implementing yoga therapy programs into health and wellness centers, rehabilitation clinics, and schools on both the East and West Coast. Currently, I organize and teach yoga retreats, trainings, and yoga therapy programs in Southern California.
I specialize in applying yoga, relaxation, meditation, mindfulness, and self-inquiry in the fields of mental and psychological wellness and in physical rehabilitation settings. I work with clients living with chronic physical, emotional, and psychological pain.
My goal is to always to transfer the skills and wisdom of the ancient teachings and philosophy of yoga, and to combine and apply them in a modern day context, so that you may begin to manage your own well-being and find strength and hope in your own ability.
Francesca Michelle Lies, Yoga Therapist and E-RYT 500, began yoga as a teenager when she discovered it helped her with anxiety and stress. As an athlete competing at a national level, she found yoga supported her physically and gave her the mental edge to focus. Having studied Psychology and Philosophy as an undergraduate, she intuitively and quickly made the connection between yoga postures and mental wellbeing and immediately began teaching individuals one on one to share these findings.
She went on to train at the respected Himalayan Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy and earned both her 200 and 500 hour teaching certification. She earned a Yoga Therapy certificate at Loyola Marymount University and continues to study in their Clinical Yoga Therapy Rx program, working towards a 1,000 hour certification.
Francesca was introduced to Jiddu Krishnamurti's teachings in her childhood, has participated in events at the Krishnamurti Foundation of America since 2007, including a year long residential program in 2012, and has facilitated dialogue groups, workshops and retreats in Pittsburgh, PA and Ojai, CA. Krishnamurti has deeply impacted the way she lives her life, her yoga practice, and her relationships with herself, others, and the world.
She is grateful for the gifts of life and love and aims to live fully in the world with an open heart. She has been crafting individualized therapeutic yoga sequences for people from all walks of life since 2011. She describes her teaching style as holistic, observation based, mindful, and meditative.
Additional Professional Experience
Yoga Education in Schools
- Introduced and developed yoga into the curriculum of both public and private schools in the Southern California region.
- Teach yoga, mindfulness, and movement classes for kids of all ages in studios, public & private schools in Pittsburgh, PA, Ojai, CA, and Ventura, CA.
Yoga Centers & Retreats
Yoga Therapy Program Development
- Create intake, assessment forms, standard operating procedures, and pricing system for Holistic Psychotherapy Center.
- Pioneered blossoming Yoga Therapy programs in Residential, PHP, IOP facilities, holistic therapy centers, and more.
Created proposal and presented to board of directors on constructing a brand new structure for yoga programs to be offered. This structure was successfully constructed in 2014 and is a beautiful venue where yoga retreats are offered.
The structure furthers and is in alignment with the mission of the retreat center through bringing people to the center and also through sharing the centers values and teachings with more people.
- Created and facilitated mind & body retreats with up to 15 participants with participants from all over the country.
Francesca is a facilitator at the Krishnamurti Foundation of America in Ojai, CA where she supports the foundation in furthering its mission of disseminating the works of J. Krishnamurti.
Exercise Consciousness Yoga Experiment
I created and conducted a research experiment, based on IRB (International Review Board) standards and approval which combined my fascination between yoga, psychology, and the mind-body connection.
- I examined the correlation between maintaining a regular yoga practice and levels of stress and attitudes towards exercise in college students.
- Findings showed that there is a connection between the amount of and type of exercise done on a daily basis and an individuals mood, energy level and outlook on life.