Building Networks Rooted in Healing

When Nicole Cardoza started practicing yoga in college, it was the first time she felt at home in her own body. “Yoga made me feel connected to who I am right here, right now,” the 29-year-old says.

So years later she wasn’t surprised when, as a volunteer yoga teacher, she noticed that her yoga students seemed to grow in confidence. Recognizing that schools in lower-income communities often didn’t have the resources to bring yoga programs to the classroom, Cardoza came up with an innovative solution.

With a background in tech working as a mobile strategist and product manager, Cardoza knew how to code and build apps. She set out to build an online teacher-training platform that would empower educators to teach yoga. In 2014, her labor of love—Yoga Foster—was born.

Yoga Foster, a nonprofit organization based in Brooklyn, New York, provides educators with free and low-cost online training, lesson plans, and yoga mats so they can teach kids yoga in the classroom. Since its rollout, Yoga Foster has been used by 1,400 teachers and 512 schools in 48 states.

“I didn’t build Yoga Foster with the intention of creating a big company,” Cardoza says. “I built it to help as many teachers as it can.” Though she’s accomplished that goal, Cardoza hasn’t stopped there.

Last year she launched Dahla 
(Thisisdahla.com), an online community giving women a safe space to talk about and heal their relationships with money. She’s also interested in pursuing other entrepreneurial efforts that help people sort through deep-seated issues that bring them pain. Cardoza came up with the name because “Dahla” sounds like “dolla,” and it is a play on the dahlia flower.

“All of my work is focused on the reclamation of healing,” she says. “I want to keep working in as many different modalities of healing as possible—whether I’m starting a company or consulting with companies that are doing that work.”

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