Yoga Ed.: Creating a Mindful Movement with a Blended Workforce
CEO Brynne Caleda of Yoga Ed. shares her experiences empowering children, growing a startup, and working with a blended workforce.
Yoga Ed. was founded to change education through the practice of yoga. The company’s philosophy is that “every child has the right and innate ability to be happy, healthy, and successful.” Yoga Ed. puts mindfulness into action with programming that integrates mindfulness and movement through yoga — empowering adults to improve their own lifelong health and that of the children and teens in their lives. Studies from Harvard and Tulane have found Yoga Ed.’s programs to be highly effective.
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Empowering Children to Be Happy and Healthy
Brynne was inspired by her experience teaching the Yoga Ed. curriculum to middle school students while working on her Master’s Degree in Education. Brynne says, “After seeing the profound physical, mental, emotional, and social outcomes of this work in the youth I was working with, I knew I wanted to be a part of Yoga Ed. in a more meaningful and impactful way.” In 2009, Brynne bought the company from its original founder, Tara Guber.
Yoga Ed. offers evidence-based training, credentialed curriculums, and resources that cultivate physical, mental, emotional, and social health. The goal is to empower adults to share these skills with children and teens. Brynne explains, “Our programs reduce stress while improving focus, self-esteem, self-management, physical fitness, and academic performance in kids. Children find joy and get to know themselves through yoga, and adults build their capacity to teach, listen, and be present.”
To date, Yoga Ed. has worked with over 11,000 schools and 77,000 educators worldwide, as well as with parents, school counselors, and healthcare professionals. Brynne says, “We’re willing and able to work with anyone who wants to use yoga and mindfulness to make a positive impact in a child’s life.”
Yoga Ed.’s success is reflected in its extremely high course completion rates, rapid growth, and highly engaged global community. Yoga Ed. boasts an 80% course completion rate (versus the industry average 5-15% for online courses) and is on track to double their 2019 revenue in 2020. Awareness of the ongoing effects of trauma (due to the COVID-19 global pandemic as well as the social justice movement) has accelerated global interest in Yoga Ed.’s programs. Users have been particularly drawn to Yoga Ed.’s trauma-informed yoga courses (such as their Yoga Alliance certified online 95-hour children’s yoga teacher training program with a trauma-informed focus).
A CEO’s Lessons
When reflecting on what she wished she knew when starting this journey, Brynne has 4 tips for entrepreneurs ready to create their own company.
- Find Funding (in the startup phase): If you are going to start a company, you will need to either have your own funding or find outside funding because it is incredibly stressful for the company to require it to pay your salary in its startup years.
- Take Care of Your Mental Health: Find a therapist, and commit to monthly therapy sessions, and if you have a business partner(s), commit to partner therapy.
- To Compare is Not Fair (to you, your company, and your employees): You are on your own journey, and it will unfold in its own way.
- Give the Middle Finger to Self-Doubt: Too many what-ifs lead to mental chaos and a lack of clarity for you and, more importantly, everyone you work with.
- Listen: You should listen more than you talk.
Yoga Ed. is currently raising a seed round of funding from investors through crowdraising on wefunder.com. CEO Brynne Caleda says, “At this point in our growth, being community-owned is what is in alignment with our mission.”
Growing with a Blended Workforce
Yoga Ed. relies on a blended workforce, engaging a mix of full-time employees, part-time employees, and freelancers. Initially, the Yoga Ed. team hesitated to hire freelancers due to concerns about how they would integrate and work with the full-time salary team. Brynne says that she wishes she knew sooner “how cost-efficient using freelancers would be as we scaled Yoga Ed. as that may have allowed us to scale faster and more efficiently.”
Brynne says that using a liquid workforce “has allowed us to work with highly skilled individuals whom we could not afford to bring on full time.” She adds that “We’ve developed amazing relationships with all of our contractors. They function as a part of our team, to the point that some of them even participate in professional development and team building activities with us. Yoga Ed. wouldn’t be what it is without them.”
Balancing Work and Life
Brynne shares that “between my 3 actual kids, and my 4th (Yoga Ed.!), it’s a fast-paced balance of attending to everyone’s needs and not letting any balls drop. To be honest, it feels like I work from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to bed.” Her secret to productivity? “Move your body before work.” In addition to yoga and meditation, Brynne is an avid runner.
Category: Spotlights Growth Stories
Updated: October 23, 2020