Presenter Spotlight: Doreen Foxwell, Children’s School of Yoga

Doreen Foxwell
Children’s School of Yoga

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Doreen Foxwell founded The Children’s School of Yoga 11 years ago, creating one of the largest children’s yoga programs throughout the Hudson Valley, NY area.

How long have you been teaching kids yoga? What inspired you to get started?

I have been teaching for 11 years after having an epiphany in the middle of the night 12 years ago that I should be teaching children’s yoga. At the time I was a student of yoga and working in the field of children’s recreation, so creating a children’s yoga program and curriculum was very natural.

Tell us a bit more about your work. What does a typical class [or day] look like? Who is the community or population that you serve?

I could be teaching a class or classes in my studio, or on the road at a school or I could be spending time behind the scenes doing the operations of the business, or marketing or training someone in my business. Every day pulls me in a different direction based on the number of locations my program is currently teaching classes in, if I have a teacher to cover a site or if I can spend time building the business. My program is in 10 counties and 3 states currently inside childcare/preschools/afterschool programs, camps, health and wellness centers, yoga studios and more. We teach from newborn to young adult including special needs and high risk youth.

What are the specific ways you think yoga can be helpful for kids?

I have found that Yoga can be helpful for children in a variety of ways based on their age and abilities. Children that are in school can benefit from the poses and breathing techniques that help to improve focus and concentration as well as poses for flexibility to help with their posture from sitting all day at desks/chairs/tables. They can also implement their breathing techniques prior to test taking. Children that have asthma/allergies can benefit from the chest opening poses and breathing techniques that will increase their lung capacity. Children under 5 can benefit from learning yoga poses that help their coordination in addition to being introduced to breathing techniques to help them in any stressful situations at home or school. There are countless ways children can benefit from yoga, too many too list! My program’s goal/mission is to be a child’s first yoga teacher in a fun, effective way so that the child will continue doing yoga into their adult life. We feel that if a child learns just one pose or one breathing technique that they implement as a life skill in their daily life, that we have done our job as their teacher and are successful in our mission.

Tell us about that one pivotal experience–the student, class or moment–that keeps you going even when your work gets challenging.

When my work gets challenging whether it is a bad day, difficult class, challenging student, irrational customer, problem with an employee/teacher I take a break..whether that means leaving the office/studio, or treating myself to something (retail therapy) or walking around the lake by my studio or home, or seeing/calling a friend. I take myself out of the situation to reflect on the best course of action and refocus on what is really important. Usually a good night sleep gives me a different perspective/outlook on the situation and often I wake in the middle of the night with the solution.

Who or what inspires you the most in your work?

I am most inspired when I am teaching children under 5 as they are the most fun for me to teach.

What is the most rewarding part of your work?

Working with the special needs/high risk youth population. That is where I feel like we make the most difference.

What brings you the deepest joy in your own yoga practice and in sharing yoga with kids?

I love learning about traditional yoga stories and the history of certain poses as well as yoga/Indian traditions.

What is your favorite yoga pose?

My favorite yoga pose is Dancer Pose. I danced from age 3 to 16 years and wish that I had been introduced to yoga as a teen.

Describe your vision for the future of kids yoga.

My vision is to see kids yoga in every school in every state in every country and be blessed to be a part of it.

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