One mom’s mission to teach kids mindfulness, health & wellness – It’s Lil’ Yogis!

May 1, 2018

Written By

Mary Friona Celani

Melissa Morinello is a certified Children’s Yoga instructor and she’s on a mission to get kids healthy! Melissa started Baby Yogis of WNY recently and couldn’t be more excited.

Why does she want to teach children yoga?

“My second daughter, Raffaela, was born in October of last year. She suffered from terrible acid reflux and colic, and at times I honestly didn’t know what to do. Finally, during one of my sleepless nights, I decided to look up baby yoga to see if the benefits could help her at all. We would literally sit on my family room floor in the middle of one of her screaming episodes and watch YouTube videos of mams doing yoga with their infants. Well, it seemed to help. It didn’t completely rid her of the situation, it definitely made an improvement. She wasn’t as tense when I’d stretch her arms and she seemed relieved of gas pain when I’d fold her legs into her belly, all while singing silly little songs and bonding with my girl. It made my heart melt, and reassured me that I was still a good mom, when she’d start to smile during our sessions.”

And as the saying goes – the more the merrier – which is great because Melissa’s 3-year-old, Guiliana would join it, “So we’d down dog together, me over the baby and Gigi over one of her dolls. We’d get into happy baby pose and laugh together and it became just a fun thing to do with my girls.

Melissa has been a huge fan of the benefits of yoga for a long time, so seeing her girls get a taste of it, was something special. She decided to get certified and get moving on this dream business. She’s teamed up with some remarkable people who have opened their arms to Melissa and her little yogis.

Melissa teamed up with Amy Patrick of Embody Health & Fitness which is a perfect fit,

“There are multiple benefits here, moms can work out in one room of the fitness studio, while their kids are down the hall in a Lil’ Yogis class exercising, learning how to meditate and mindfulness. It sets their foundation for true health and wellness at a young age.”

Melissa says some other benefits of yoga for children include:

  • Promotes thinking and memory
  • Helps with motor development
  • Creates a playful and fun activity
  • Builds self-esteem and confidence
  • Encourages good posture
  • Develops a strong and flexible body
  • Increases balance, body awareness and coordination

It’s about a lifestyle, teaching children important life lessons and instilling a life-long love of health and wellness. And that, my friends, is so much more than just a couple of downward or upward dogs!

“In all of my classes we incorporate movement, storytelling, songs, breathing exercises, meditation but I also teach them what it means to be a Karma Yogi.  I explain the importance of doing something nice for someone else without expecting anything in return. We then go around the circle and have each child give an example of what he/she can do out of class to be a karma yogi. I’m excited to announce that I’ll be giving each child a Karma Yogi Card, and when their parents witness this behavior, they can sign off. After 20 acts of kindness, they will be rewarded with a personal pizza at Gallo Coal Fire Kitchen.”

For more information on class times, locations and prices – check out Lil Yogis of WNY Facebook Page. (Their website will be up and running soon!)



About Me

Welcome to Totally Buffalo! My name is Mary Friona-Celani and I am the creator of this site! After spending 20 years in the Buffalo media, I moved on to focus on my beautiful family. Now, the time has come for a new project. I was ready for something new. Something mine.
I am born and raised in WNY and my pride runs deep. My husband, Scott and I are very happy to be raising our four daughters here.






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