Grad Spotlight: Ava Dussault
Have you ever wondered who's behind our social media posts? That's Ava Dussault, who was in the first Flow and Grow Kids Yoga Kids Yoga 95-hour Training cohort (Spring 2020). She works closely with Lara Hocheiser, Flow and Grow Kids Yoga Founder, Owner, and Teacher Trainer, to create engaging and meaningful content for our audience and community members.
Following graduating from our 95-hour training, she also created 2 Mindful Girls wit her mother, an elementary wellness specialist. The company offers classes, practice resources like cards and sequences -- bringing yoga and mindfulness to elementary-aged children to foster healthy development, kindness, and overall positive growth. Ava is also a dancer, fitness professional (she teaches Zumba and HIIT), and is studying Psychology and Elementary Education at Providence College.
Ava recently shared more about her background, how the Flow and Grow Kids Yoga training led her to grow, how she juggles many responsibilities and interests, and more. We hope that you enjoy getting to know a bit about her!
You have a diverse background -- in education, psychology, dance, fitness, yoga, and more. Do all of these interests, skillsets, and experiences play into what you do in kids yoga and mindfulness -- for Flow and Grow and 2 Mindful Girls -- and if so how?
AD: I think my diverse background helps me understand kids more and what is developmentally appropriate for each age group. Sometimes in my classes (if the kids like) we both like to incorporate some dance in -- whether it is freeze dance (or Freeze Yogi) or just a small break in the class.
My mom and I are both certified in Zumba Kids and have taught some of those classes, which are primarily dance classes. In those classes, I always start with a breath. So, I guess to make it simple, I intertwine them both. I would say psychology really helps me understand kids, and the education is beneficial for both my mom and I because we can write organized lesson plans easily.
What was your favorite part of the FGKY 95-hour training -- favorite course, treasured memory or memories, most useful thing you took away, etc the like? What about the training helped you to build 2 Mindful Girls (of course in collaboration with your very experienced mom)?
AD: My favorite part of the course was the Mindful Beginnings course. This was my favorite because I remember going through the poses and activities in a pair with Teresa and it was so out of both our comfort zones. Then I submitted my assignment for the course, and Lara loved the Baby Shark Adventure class I did. She suggested we put it on Kidpass. Since June, over 60 people have taken that class, and I have created 20 other classes for preschool ages -- and love it! Although I do not work with preschoolers right now, it opened a new door to me.
In addition, my mom has been doing virtual preschool workshops, and the kids are so engaged. I think the ideas we both have help create these fun and interactive classes. I think another huge help is my mom came into the business with a teacher lens, so she knew exactly what would and would not work well in a classroom setting. She has tried out so many different activities over the years that now she is collecting the best practices and working with me to make these marketable!
What has it been like to work with your mom, building a kids yoga and mindfulness business? What would you say are the guiding principles of 2 Mindful Girls?
AD: It has been so fun to start this journey with my mom because I love spending time with her and it is something that we both love and get to do together. During the pandemic when I was sent home from school, we had a lot of time, so we developed a logo, website, content, and even some pre-recorded classes.
I love when we host our monthly Zoom classes because I get to see some of our students, and my mom -- and have fun with her. I think the business is guided in kindness to all. We want children to be true to themselves, kind, spread love, and be present.
You have a lot going on -- school, FGKY, 2 Mindful Girls, your dance group, and I'm sure a lot else -- and still to seem to stay calm and composed. What helps you to maintain balance? What guiding points might you share with someone who struggles to find and keep balance in their life?
AD: I am doing a lot right now! I am currently a junior in college, work for Lara at Flow and Grow, am a volunteer at the National Kids Yoga Conference, manage 2MindfulGirls, am the Treasurer of Dance Club, and I have a job at the school gym teaching HIIT classes and Zumba classes. I think the most important thing that helps me keep balance is creating a schedule each day with tasks that I want to get done (and fund things I want to do with my friends!).
Another thing that really helps is getting up an hour earlier than I normally would (around 6:30) and taking about 30 minutes to workout, meditate (for literally 5 minutes) and make a healthy breakfast. It is my favorite part of the day and really sets me up for a successful day. A routine is what really keeps me going.
Please share anything else that you'd like to say here -- thanks so much for your time and sharing your experiences and insights!
AD: Our website is 2mindfulgirls.com and our Instagram is @2mindfulgirls (same for facebook). We have a superhero May class coming up on Saturday, May 8th from 9-9:45 AM on Zoom, for ages 6-12. Each student will also get superhero downloads!
What could a Flow and Grow Training offer you? What new adventure could it lead you on? Our next training starts on June 22nd, and we're holding another one in the fall! Email Lara at firstname.lastname@example.org, or book a call with her here, if you have any questions. We can't wait to hear from you!