Andrea Creel of Shining Kids Yoga on her exciting new book launch, how she pivoted her yoga studio, and following her passion
How did you get started teaching yoga to kids?
I have been practicing yoga since 1999. I started doing yoga when I was studying acting in college and found it really helped me feel more calm especially when dealing with the stresses of college life. In 2005 I began teaching yoga to adults and became certified in teaching yoga to kids through Radiant Child Yoga. Deciding to become a yoga teacher is one of the best decisions I ever made! I love getting to share the joy and the gifts of yoga with kids and people of all ages!
What should people know about your business? How did it all begin?
Shining Kids Yoga offers online and in-person yoga classes for kids and families as well as yoga-related books and products. Shining Kids Yoga started with me teaching after-school yoga classes at my son’s elementary school. The class was so popular and I started hearing from other schools and PTAs who wanted classes offered as part of their after-school enrichment program. Eventually there were so many schools interested in after-school yoga programming that I hired additional teachers and Shining Kids Yoga really started to expand and grow! It showed me that there is a big need and interest in yoga for kids. Kids love our classes because they’re fun and parents love them because it helps their child feel more relaxed and peaceful. In 2019, I created the Shining Kids Yoga Teacher Training Program to train a new generation of kids yoga teachers. And this year, Shining Kids Yoga expanded into the world of publishing with the release of my first yoga book for kids, Mystery Pose: A Yoga Guessing Game . There are some yoga games and other products in the pipeline, too – I can’t wait to share more about those calming and creative products soon! It brings me so much joy to share these essential tools with children that they can use to create more peaceful, happier lives!
How did the pandemic affect your business?
Just like for many businesses, teaching yoga became really tough during the pandemic. I remember a few days before everything shut down, my sister told me I should start teaching online yoga classes and I told her I hate being in front of the camera and would never do it. Then a month later, I was creating YouTube videos and teaching yoga to kids ages 2-13 on Zoom 5 days a week! I definitely learned to never say never and to listen to experienced business leaders!
I was really lucky that I was already using a great class scheduling and registration system called Sawyer which made the transition to online classes really easy and grateful that many parents signed their children up for virtual yoga classes last spring and summer and that online classes in general became so popular. We will probably continue to offer online classes after the pandemic is over so that’s actually a positive thing that’s come out of the pandemic – a new avenue for sharing yoga with children around the country and around the world! Without COVID-19, I doubt that online children’s activities would have caught on and become as normalized as they are and likely will continue to be.
Facing this challenge that upended the traditional model of yoga studios and yoga classes actually gave me both the time and space to become more innovative in figuring out new and innovative ways to share yoga with kids and create a bigger vision for my business.
How did you get the idea for your book?
My new yoga book, Mystery Pose: A Yoga Guessing Game actually came out of me trying to figure out how to teach yoga to kids online during the pandemic and brainstorming how to create new ideas and activities to engage children in the practice of yoga in a virtual space. As part of my online classes, I created rhyming clues and riddles to help children learn and remember yoga poses, and turned it into a game where my students tried to guess what pose I was describing. It was a hit – kids loved guessing and doing the poses and asked for more and more riddles…and the book Mystery Pose was born!
Who is this book for?
Mystery Pose is for children ages 3-8 but people of all ages who like doing yoga can find enjoyment with this book! Children love listening to the rhyming poems help them discover the colorful yoga pose hiding on the next page. Parents will enjoy reading the book to their children and practicing yoga together.
This book is also great for use by teachers in pre-k and early childhood classrooms to use as movement breaks and introduce yoga in a playful way. The book incorporates literacy concepts including rhyme scheme and poetry as well as logic skills, vocabulary development and understanding from decoding the riddles which makes it great to incorporate as part of a language arts curriculum.
Since the book was released, I’ve also heard from doctors, nurse practitioners, and psychologists who are all planning to use and recommend the book to their pediatric patients. My favorite pediatrician/blogger, Dr. Steve Silvestro, Host of The Child Repair Guide Podcast shared with me that “I’m always looking for creative ways to help kids fall in love with healthy habits. Mystery Pose is exactly that–a beautiful, engaging book that puts the fun in fitness and inspires children to be mentally and physically strong, whether they realize it or not.”
What’s something that people probably don’t know about you?
I love singing Disney songs – I may like them more than the kids! And I make amazing habanero salsa – but it’s so spicy not everyone can handle it! I’m always happy to share my recipe – just email me!
How can people buy your book?
My pose is currently available on Amazon as well as on my website. It will be released by Barnes & Noble and other independent retailers soon, so be on the lookout for it whenever you love to buy books!