On the Mat with Nicole Cardoza, Founder of Yoga Foster
When you think about a yoga class, a school classroom is probably not the first setting that comes to mind. But Nicole Cardoza, Founder of Yoga Foster, is here to change that. She's bringing yoga to schools around the country—and with it, a totally new sense of mindfulness, too. Here, she chats with us about entrepreneurship, self awareness, and flowing with kids.
Plus, find out how you can donate to the Yoga Foster community when you shop our site!
First up, some rapid fire questions! Emojis are our bread and butter... Which is your most-used one?
Where do you call home?
Favorite way to get your sweat on?
A yoga session at home.
What song or songs are you vibing to these days?
It’s Friday night. Where are you?
Probably at home with a glass of wine, resting after a long week.
Now, down to business. First up: tell us about your day job!
I’m the founder of Yoga Foster, a nonprofit that brings yoga to schools! I spend my days chatting with teachers, connecting with our partners, and building products that support a mindful future for our students.
What were some of the biggest contributors that brought you to where you are today with Yoga Foster? What was your journey like?
I’ve had the most supportive family and friends while building Yoga Foster, and wouldn’t be here with them. Creating a nonprofit startup from scratch has been a stressful journey, but so rewarding. The process has made my practice and purpose completely aligned, and for that opportunity I’m very grateful.
Why yoga? Why kids?
We always tell kids to pay attention, but we never teach them how. In a world where mental health and physical inactivity are at all time highs, I believe the power of movement and mindfulness is the foundation for a healthy start for our future.
How can the average mom or dad translate those same benefits into a practice for their own kids?
Absolutely! Any grownup can make a mindful impact on the kids in their life. An easy way to start is to practice mindfulness in conversation with your child. Pause when you feel a difficult emotion arise before you respond, notice the emotion and the feelings it brings, and then communicate with intention. This helps parents respond, instead of react, when they’re in communication with their children. Kids build most of their interpersonal habits from family engagements, so this approach can have a lifelong impact.
What are some things (whether physical or mental) that we can easily add into our daily happenings to improve our bodies and minds?
Awareness is key. Give yourself space to simply acknowledge how you feel in moments of transition – while commuting to the office, waiting for your laundry to finish, or while waiting for your friend at the bar. The most we listen to our own feelings and emotions, the more capacity we have to understand and connect with others!
We’re sure kids do and say all sorts of funny things... What’s your favorite memory from a children’s yoga class?
I taught a yoga class for preschoolers a few years ago, and one student loved chewing on the edge of his yoga mat. I realized it was a habit for him that brought him calm and comfort! So we worked together to replace that practice for something more accessible (and sanitary). It reminds me that we’re always in practice of something, even if it’s not the most fulfilling.
Want to bring Yoga Foster to a community near you? You can start by donating through our site!