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Austin From Scratch: An Interview with Abby Nagler, Founder of The Little Yoga House

Austin From Scratch is our favorite series on the blog and involves Owen (age 8) and Malia (age 5) interviewing local entrepreneurs who have created a thriving business here in the heart of Texas.  For this session, we sat down with Abby Nagler, Founder of  The Little Yoga House.  The kids chose Abby and The Little Yoga House because it’s their favorite place to do tree, child and coyote (yes, coyote) pose.  Oww oww owwww!

When we arrive at The Little Yoga House, the first thing I notice is a cool mural on the wall and lots of little boys and girls getting their yoga on.  The Little Yoga House is literally that…a house that’s been converted into a yoga center for children.  It reminds me more of a fun, energetic center for kids than a quiet, whisper-only-type of yoga center.  Which is good right, because how many kids do you know who are good whisperers?

We’re really excited for this interview with Abby as the kids already know her.  You see, they’ve been participating in one of weekly yoga program for the last several weeks.  Abby greets us and takes us to quiet lounge in the back of the house with a giant bean bag in the middle.  The kids and I immediately gravitate toward it.

Owen (our eight-year-old son)
What were your favorite things to do as a kid?

Abby (Abby Nagler, Founder of The Little Yoga House)
One of my favorite things to do was dance.  I always, always loved to dance.  I loved to play and dance and I loved to play soccer.  Soccer and dance were my two favorite things to do as a kid.

Owen
How did you go about learning as a child?

Abby
I learned through doing things.  I didn’t really like to read that much and I wasn’t the best listener in school but I really loved to do projects and to be really creative.  I was a really creative learner.  I learned through experience so I had to figure out how to do it in my body or say it out loud instead of listening.

Owen
I like soccer too and (sheepishly) I don’t really like to read either.

Abby
Yeah, it sounds like we got some stuff in common.  (laughs all around)

Owen
When did you first know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

Abby
I think I’ve always come up with business plans since I was about your age.  I can remember saying, “Dad, I have an idea.”  I always  had lots of ideas and I think growing up I always knew I wanted to own my own business.  When I was in college and I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do, I always knew I didn’t want to work for anybody and I remembered being little and saying, “I’m gonna own my own business.  I don’t quite know what it’s going to be but I’m going to own my own business.”  So I think I was was born knowing I was going to be an entrepreneur.

Owen
What is your favorite thing about being an entrepreneur?

Abby
My favorite thing has been learning how to become organized and reliable and just learning a lot from being an entrepreneur.  Also, gaining a lot of respect from my peers and being able to create a vision that was in my mind and see it come to life has been a really cool thing.  And to see it be successful has been a cool thing as well.

Owen
What is the most challenging thing about being an entrepreneur?

Abby
It’s the same thing that I’ve found to be the best part of it and that’s to be organized.  You see, when you’re running your own business it’s like having a baby.  You gotta nurture it and take care of it all the time and that’s a really hard thing to do because you have to give up a lot of other things in your life to be able to do that.  Not forever, but you do have to take a lot of time to nurture your baby.

Owen
What would you be doing if you weren’t running The Little Yoga House?

Abby
Part of me says I would be in some other country and learning about another culture and working with kids somewhere else.  I would probably be teaching yoga but I was also in fashion design and fashion marketing so maybe life would have taken me in that direction.  But my guess is working with kids in some other country.

Owen
What is your favorite yoga pose?

Abby
I really feel at home and I feel safe in downward dog.  And I love coming back to downward dog.  (Our 5yo daughter, Malia, proudly interrupts, “Our mommy taught us that one.”  Both kids laugh and then acknowledge that Abby also taught them that pose.)  Yep, I feel at home in downward dog and I feel like I’m landing on my mat when I’m in that pose.

Owen
Do you have any advice for young entrepreneurs?

Abby
I would say plan ahead.  Definitely know exactly what you want to do before you execute it.  Try to have a vision and get creative with it but make sure you have a plan before you get started.  Because when you go into a business without have a plan, different obstacles are going to come up and you’re not going to know how to handle them.  And that’s going to happen anyway, but having a good plan with lots of goals will really help you.  We tried this (Little Yoga House) about 4 or 5 year ago and we didn’t have a plan and we lost a lot of money because I didn’t really know how to do it.  So I would say have a plan and know what you want for the business.  I would say that’s my advice for a young entrepreneur.

Malia (our five-year-old daughter)
How did you come up with this idea?

Abby
I came up with this idea when I was taking a yoga class and I heard some kids in the next room and I thought to myself, “What’s going on over there…I’m trying to relax!”  And so I went to look and I saw a bunch of kids doing yoga and I thought it was the greatest thing I’ve ever seen…and I took a training and I just decided, “I want to create a place just for kids so when they get to the studio, they feel it’s just for them and they feel at home there.  And my little entrepreneurial mind just started working and I discovered there were other things like it so I went to find those other things and learn from those other people.  And then I did it here!

Owen
I have one other question!  Why do you call it The Little Yoga House?

Abby
Well, we use the word “little” because it’s littler people that come to the studio.  And the reason we called it “house” is because we want kids to feel at home here so you can take your practice home with you.  We want it to feel very personal and we want you to feel at home here.  (Malia chimes in with some beautiful 5yo wisdom, “And the reason you call it yoga is because you do yoga here.”  More laughs.)

And with that, Abby and the kids proceed to the yoga room with the cool mural and do some sort of handstand up against the wall.  It’s pretty awesome because the kids know exactly what to do and the three of them hold the pose while I take some pictures.  Thank you Abby…namaste!

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