Our Story

Leonie van Iersel felt pulled to move from the Netherlands to Peru to live and teach. She began volunteering to teach weekly yoga classes at a primary school in the slums of Manchay, an impoverished suburb of Lima in Peru. Leonie noticed how much fun these kids had, and the positive effect that yoga on the children's mood and behavior as individuals and as a group. The teachers also noticed the changes, and encouraged Leonie to continue teaching.

This inspired Leonie to think bigger...how could the practice of yoga and mindfulness be incorporated into a bigger program to bring about sustainable change in the lives of these children. Leonie talked to her closest friends, and Con Pazion Foundation was formed. 

The name Con Pazion embraces all our values as a foundation. It came from the Spanish phrases "con paz," meaning with peace, and "con pasión," meaning with passion. This is combined with the word "compasión," meaning compassion, which also the name of the group Leonie started with as a volunteer in Peru and was also the theme of the Find What Feels Good roadshow (with Yoga with Adriene) that inspired Leonie to grab her cat and move to Peru to give back and make a difference in the world. The word Zion has meanings of being raised up and fortified. Our goal is to empower the children to rise up and overcome difficulty in their lives, and to live meaningful lives with peace and compassion.


Our Team

Our team is growing as we work to begin the Foundation and open a primary school in Peru. These are the people with big hearts who are committed to this cause:



Leonie van Iersel

Founder, Director
Education Specialist
Yoga Teacher - 200 RYT

Kevin French

Project Manager

Jude Evans

Content Writer
Yoga Teacher - 500 RYT

Rachel Rock

Social Media Manager


Felicity Cornish

Social Media Coordinator
Yoga Teacher - 200 RYT



Biddy Messchaert

Board - Chairman
Yoga Teacher - 200 RYT

Marijke Breugem

Board - Secretary

Vincent Gerichhausen

Board - Treasurer

Adriene Mishler

Yoga teacher - Yoga with Adriene

Be the change you want to see in the world.
— Mahatma Gandhi