Lauren Chaitoff, CEO and founder
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org , ph: (212) 585-2326
How many years have you been in business in NYC?
How did you get your start and what was your initial inspiration?
I started Yogi Beans in 2007. When I received my yoga certification, I did my teaching practical and the feedback I was given was that I knew my alignment points, cuing was good however, I had a lot of energy and may want to try and tone it down when I teach. In the spirit of authenticity and being true to yourself I took the comment I thought about how I could use my natural energy in a positive way. That was when I first had the idea to teach kids. I figured my high energy personality would be perfect to engage them. I also realized how over-scheduled and stressed so many city kids seemed to be. I thought yoga would be a wonderful outlet for them to learn the importance of relaxation, self-love, as well as having the benefit of being a non-competitive activity
What do you feel differentiates you from others in your field?
I think the people in my field are all doing amazing work. Every teacher and instructor brings their own personality and passion to their classes. I think what makes Yogi Bean so special is that we have found a way through our curriculum to teach kids yoga, without watering it down, while still keeping classes fun, light and playful. Even for our littlest beans we try and incorporate yoga philosophy on a level they can understand. At Yogi Beans it’s important for us that the kids understand that yoga is more than a pose it’s a way of living
What do you feel gives you longevity in this big city with so many options?
I think what gives us longevity is that yoga is a lifelong practice. Many activities have a lifespan. A child who does gymnastics at 3 years old may not be doing it at 10 or 11 years old. If a child starts their yoga practice at 2 years old in one of our Me & My Bean classes they can continue with Yogi Beans until they are a teenager and ready to move into an adult class.
How do you positively impact your clientele?
The positivity comes through the yoga. We are all about compassion, acceptance, unity, non-competition non-judgement and love. It also helps that we have great customer service and love our clientele and their beans!
What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of my job is the actual teaching. I love watching a child grow into their practice. I also love leading our teacher training and inspiring new kids yoga teachers with the knowledge and experience I have gained through the past 10 years.
What is your favorite secret NYC spot?
Sabor a Mexico II. I moved back to NYC after living in California for a few years where the Mexican food is amazing. It’s on E. 77th. I love that it’s a small place that’s a few steps below street level. It’s family owned and by far the best Mexican food in the city. Say hi to Carmen if you go!
How do you benefit mamas?
For many of the moms who come and take our Me & My Bean and family yoga it’s an opportunity for them to share their own practice with their child. For many that practice it’s a spiritual experience which is quite different from many other activities they may do with their child. We also do a lot of private parent and child classes which is a really special experience because it is one on one and a bit more intimate.
What is the most memorable feedback a client has given you?
AH SO MANY! The most recent I can think of is a mom whose daughter is autistic and comes to one of our classes. She’s not incredibly verbal, however, she speaks a bit in our class which is amazing. The mother told me after class how much her daughter loves yoga and connects with it. She said one day at home her daughter was upset and said that she needs to take a Namaste breath. That made my heart smile!
Pay it forward and name your top colleagues in the same field or related field:
Shari Vilchez-Blatt from Karma Kids yoga and Jodi Komitar from Next Generation Yoga. I’ve taken Shari’s training and she is awesome! I’ve actually never met Jodi however I follow her on Facebook and find her incredibly inspiring!
What is the best advice anyone's ever given you? Or what is your "mantra" / words to live by?
Two simple words “Thank you.” Staying in a state of gratitude helps keep me elevated and focused on all the positive things I have going on in my life. When I find myself straying into a place of lack or want I try and remember to be thankful for all the things I have.
As moms, the day can escape us, what is your best time-saving trick?
Ah, so true. I am one of those moms that does a lot of preparation the night before – packing lunches, laying out clothes and I do find that helps with the morning rush. I guess it would also be if there is something that you really want to do and don’t have time to do it try and find a way to incorporate your kids into the activity. With two little ones I often don’t have time to meditate or do yoga in the morning like I used to. Even if it’s just a one-minute meditation or a few cat/cow stretches with the kids hanging on me it feels better than not doing anything at all!