We were lucky to catch up with Janice Pratt recently and have shared our conversation below.
Janice, so excited to have you with us today. So much we can chat about, but one of the questions we are most interested in is how you have managed to keep your creativity alive.
I feel that my creativity is what created the two businesses that I own. While I feel like I am a very practical person, I often have these glimmers of insight if you will that spark these crazy ideas. Most of these glimmers have been triggered by passions in my life. I have always loved to read and write and while a later passion, yoga has had a profound effect on my life and career path.
I am pretty sure that I would have dropped out of the business owner world after the first month of business if I had not been creative. It is so easy to feel defeated when things don’t go as planned. However, when you strongly believe in your mission, it seems simple. I have come up with ideas for new programs for kid’s yoga. I have written a curriculum for kid’s yoga to support teachers. I changed our location. We went remote. And the list of creative changes goes on and on. And I feel that all of those little creative tweaks have kept us in business for the past 10 years!
Appreciate the insights and wisdom. Before we dig deeper and ask you about the skills that matter and more, maybe you can tell our readers about yourself?
First, I am a children’s yoga teacher and children’s yoga teacher trainer. I feel strongly that kids need tools to help them navigate this crazy world we live in. Suicide rates in children are climbing every year. Children are being prescribed medication for anxiety and depression. Children are experiencing trauma. To help with these situations, yoga can provide tools that are lifelong for dealing with life’s struggles. Going forward, Omtastic Yoga has the mission to get teachers of all kids trained in the method we have developed to bring yoga to kids. It is a simple, effective, and easy to use. And it can make a difference in the life of a child. The people on the front lines, working with kids every day can bring these tools to kids when they need it most.
As an author, I write kids picture books and short stories that are empowering. These stories are based on the amazing ideas and resilience that I have seen in kids that I have worked with in public schools and other capacities that I have worked with children. My main character is a feisty yoga girl who is out to change the world one project at a time. She helped her community build a barefoot park so that everyone could enjoy nature. She raised money for bilingual books at her school library. She helped her Ukrainian pen pal by starting a donation drive to a support organization.
She exemplifies the spirit of positive change in the world. I hope these stories inspire children to take action and make their dreams a reality.
Looking back, what do you think were the three qualities, skills, or areas of knowledge that were most impactful in your journey? What advice do you have for folks who are early in their journey in terms of how they can best develop or improve on these?
I feel like trying new opportunities has been a key to moving forward. I jumped into a yoga teacher training with no intention of being a teacher. I just wanted a deep understanding of the “why” of yoga. This one small opportunity of learning deeper fueled years of growth. I feel like I have so many yoga certifications: prenatal, kids, adaptive yoga, and yoga therapy- which provided the fuel for owning a studio, teaching yoga to kids and finally training other people to bring yoga to children.
I, also, feel that resilience has paid off immensely. This is a real buzzword in schools but it is so hard to teach. How do we know that if we fail, that we can still succeed? I was nurtured in this skill by my parents and so many wonderful teachers. They believed that I had the skills and talents to do great things. So when times got tough in my businesses I didn’t quit, I just found other ways to succeed. Each failure is a learning opportunity to get better at what you do!
Last but not least, I am a great planner. I love to look forward and to map my path out. Of course, it is not a straight line and requires constant tweaking! But this planning helped to bring yoga into schools, the development of a nonprofit to support these yoga programs, and the ability to offer scholarships for teachers who want to offer yoga to students.
What is the number one obstacle or challenge you are currently facing and what are you doing to try to resolve or overcome this challenge?
A big challenge in the yoga industry and maybe lots of industries, is getting the word out to the right audience. Being at the grassroots level, it can feel overwhelming to do all the marketing yourself and do a good job at it. It is a complex business!
What we offer can benefit kids nationally and internationally but it has been slow to find the marketing strategies to connect with our potential customers.