Chang Liya 

Position: Yoga TeacherClasses: NGO Kids Yoga

Liya began practicing yoga with Isabelle Skaburskis, founder of Krama Yoga. This personal relationship with Isabelle inspired Liya to learn to share her feelings with others and helped her to change her life and feel connected to her body and mind. Coming from a difficult background where Liya’s family were unable to afford schooling for her, yoga supported Liya to establish a sense of purpose and direction as she learned that yoga could offer her many opportunities to live a purposeful life. She is now able to support her family, including housing her mother and raising her own son. Liya now enjoys a meaningful place in the world, by supporting others to know yoga.

Liya is one of the first group of six Khmer teachers who obtained their professional 200 hour Foundational teacher training certification under the direction of Hart Lazer from Canada. Liya now teaches many of the Krama Yoga classes for children. Liya and the other young women who teach with Krama have used the broad-reaching curriculum of the Krama Yoga apprenticeship program to overcome Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a condition that affects each member of the team to varying degrees, including the men. Yoga and meditation practice, a cohesive team and professional training have been instrumental in addressing dissociation, low self-esteem and combativeness, and have shown these young women that they have the capacity to relate to their world in positive ways. Through the physical practice of yoga, moral education, teamwork, and job opportunities, these young women have seen for themselves that they are capable of so much more than they thought they were. As Liya once said in class, “I know now what it means to have value for myself. Before, I did not know.”

With her beautiful son as an inspiration, Liya loves to teach children, as playing with kids and sharing yoga with them bring deep feelings of happiness and peace to her own life.