I am excited to introduce a new series of interviews I am doing with the leaders in children’s wellness. The format will include Q&A, Lessons Learned, and video clips for your enjoyment.
Interview #1 in the Series
Leaders of the Children’s Wellness Movement: Doreen Foxwell
Doreen Foxwell, Founder of The Children’s School of Yoga, owner of the only children’s yoga franchise in the United States, which launched in 2004.
Q: What drew you to this work?
A: 14 years ago, I literally had an epiphany in the middle of the night that... I’m supposed to be teaching children’s yoga.”
Doreen didn’t fall into this work. She did research to find out what being in kids yoga involved. She was already a yogi for some time when it dawned on her. She got her certifications and completed the behind the scenes work required to build her business. Her business launched in 2004 and was so successful that she hired teachers within 4 months of opening. Since then it has grown to 4 states, 10 counties, and serves 1000s of children weekly.
She was drawn to this work because she had done so much yoga for herself. She was dealing with her teen daughter at home, which is difficult for every family. She was already involved in children’s recreation so it was easy to combine children, yoga, and recreation.
Q: Who is your greatest teacher or mentor and what lessons did they impart on you?
A: “I truly believe you have teachers all over that you learn from.”
One her greatest teachers is one she has never met but follows – David Ji. David Ji has a weekly show on Hay House radio and writes newsletters, emails, and books. She uses his techniques even though he doesn’t work with children. She relates to him because he is also a New Yorker.
Q: Who else does Doreen learn from?
- Her (young) students
- Adult yoga students (a new addition to her teaching in the last 6 months!)
- Anyone- They don’t have to be a yogi
Q: How can women make an impact as entrepreneurs? What is one thing you wish you knew when you first began down the road?
A: Join other women entrepreneurs.
Women entrepreneur groups, business groups like, Count Me In and, Make Mine a Million make all the difference. “You have to find the right organization,” to influence you, to learn from, and to voice your concerns with. The organizations that didn’t work for her were comprised of online sales services that don’t and can’t relate to someone with a brick and mortar site and employees. She recommends finding relatable businesses to learn from, maybe a step up from your own in their development. The two aforementioned groups have since dissolved.
“What I have now found is that I am building my own support group”
Doreen has not found another group since the others dissolved. She says the yoga community is nice to get together with, such as the major conferences, but there can be cliques and not everyone is open to sharing. So she attracted her tribe and they became the franchise owners and the teachers, and together they help build each other up.
Q: Was there an especially magical moment in your years of teaching that has stayed with you?
A: “Two types of teaching that I really could do all day every day. I love teaching children under 5 and special needs.”
The most rewarding work for her is working with these special populations. They give her tremendous joy.
Q: Why do you think yoga is good for children?
A:“I’m not into the studies, the numbers, and the data. That is not me personally. I am more of the feeling that they get. I can immediately see if the light bulb clicks. If we can teach a child one thing that they’re going to utilize into their adulthood, we have done our job. Even if it's only one breath or pose to help them focus.”
Lessons Learned from Doreen:
Get enough sleep
“My best ideas always come in the middle of the night”
Build a business
Treating it like a business versus a hobby makes a huge difference in your credibility and ability to succeed as a professional. Many people in the yoga industry come to it as a hobby and find it hard to separate the hobby from the business side of things.
Good people are hard to find
Staffing is the most challenging part of this work.
Don’t take things too seriously
“I’ve learned to SOFTEN MY EDGES and think about how I am going to say something to somebody…new Yorkers can sometimes sound gruff.” It has really improved her personal and business relationships.
The Universe Provides (sometimes)
“I can’t say I experienced (the universe provides) until now. Oh my gosh, I am really experiencing this.”
Sometimes you have to put in the time before everything falls into place. You can’t have everything align perfectly every step of the way. When you are in a groove, after lots of dedication that is when the universe provides!
Find the Right Organization
You will not learn everything you need to know from other people doing the exact same work. Join organizations that will support you and have different perspectives to get the support you need. And when the organization doesn’t exist, create it!