(So)(Co) Sit Down with Anne Desmond


I'm excited to share this week's (So)(Co) Sit Down with you! I met Anne Desmond while I was working at Agent of Change and we produced the gala for her nonprofit, Bent on Learning. As someone that loves and feels truly passionate about the benefits of yoga, I was really thrilled to worked with an organization that brings this practice into NYC public schools. Can you imagine having yoga as part of your school curriculum?  

I admire Anne for starting this movement to bring yoga to public schools and being able to provide proven results that showcase how students have changed in positive ways since they've practiced yoga. You can hear from some of the students here. I love Anne's playful and fun vibe while maintaining a real get shit done approach in growing Bent on Learning.




As Co-founder and Executive Director of Bent On Learning, I am lucky to spend most of my day working with superb women!  Together, we work hard to raise funds and implement quality yoga programs in New York City public schools.   The remainder of my day is interlaced with yoga, walking my dog and cooking to live sitar concerts at home.

What are three things you are grateful for?

1) Moses, my dog, for his unconditional love and instant gratification.

2) My mother, for her kindness and resiliency.

3) Yoga.  It is always there for me.

Explain your lifestyle in 5 words or less.

My own.

If you were to attend a potluck dinner, what would you bring?

Lobster Tails – the Italian Pastry – from Court Pastry Shop in Brooklyn.  Delicious and decadent!

If you could gift everyone you meet with one book, what would it be and why?

Go Wild by John J. Ratey and Richard Manning, for its approachable and practical guidance on self-healing and living well.

What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

Dress for yoga or the gym so I have no excuse to skip it.

If you could change one thing in your daily routine, what would it be? What would it take for you to make that change?

Start my day at 5:30am.  You might have to come over and physically make that happen.

What does being healthy mean to you?  

The usual – lots of exercise, whole foods and sleep -- but, above all, self-acceptance.

Have you ever been faced with health concerns that pushed you to change your lifestyle? Explain.

I found yoga during my turbulent twenties and know it led me on a path to health, healing and happiness.  Showing up on my mat has taught me to show up for myself and those I love everyday.

what song can immediately change your mood in the best way possible?

Just Do You by India Arie

What is one piece of advice someone has given you that shifted your way of thinking?

Not exactly a direct piece of advice…but this quote by the Dalai Lama, ‘The world will be saved by the western woman’, reminds me how vital it is to embrace the feminine and allow it to be a guiding force in work and in life.   Watch out competitive, aggressive, goal-directed world!  Here comes intuition, emotions and empathy to balance you out!

What article of clothing/outfit do you feel most empowered wearing?

Any shoes that make me taller and that I can actually walk in.

Complete this sentence: “In order to be happy, I need to….”  

Love and be loved.

What do you have going on in your life that you’d like to share with the (So)(Co) Community?

Back to School is a busy and exciting time of year for Bent On Learning!  

In September 2015, we begin our next Teacher Training Program that prepares school teachers, yoga instructors and parents to teach yoga to kids in an educational setting and allows us to increase the number of kids receiving quality yoga classes that improve their health and learning ability.

Additionally, Bent On Learning has partnered with Manduka and artist, Ryan McGinness, to create a stunning charity yoga mat and towel that will be available this holiday season (2015).  It will certainly grab attention, and proceeds will help us teach yoga to hundreds of children and teachers in New York City public schools.

For more information or to get involved, please visit www.bentonlearning.org.

Anne Desmond is a certified yoga teacher and co-founder of Bent On Learning.  She is co-creator of their yoga curriculum and has taught yoga to hundreds of middle and high school students in urban classrooms since 2001.  Currently, Anne serves as the Executive Director of Bent On Learning –a 501(c)(3) organization that brings yoga into New York City public schools during the academic day.  To date, they have taught yoga to over 20,000 inner-city youth.

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