Today on the Healthpreneur Podcast we’re going to explore the world of JOGA. If you’ve never heard of JOGA, you’re going to learn all about it here with its founder, Jana Webb. Jana discovered that yoga wasn’t conducive to her athletic body, movement, and mental needs. From this realization, she created JOGA, a brand and practice that combines yoga with the movement, cadence, and flow that athletes require. She also discovered the importance of creating a business and a product that works; with results that speak for themselves.
Jana has built a solid foundation with her brand. She discusses how she maintains alignment with her brand while organically growing her business and connecting with high-level teams to make JOGA a common and widely-accepted practice. She also gives real-talk about her entrepreneurial drive and accurately reminds us that “the hustle is real.”
If you’re a Healthpreneur creating something wildly new in our space, this episode will provide you with some invaluable information. It is possible to provide the world with a new way to move, live, and thrive; you just need to have the foundational blocks in order. Jana has learned that resilience and hustle will propel you towards your goals and allow you to create things that no one ever thought possible. As an entrepreneur in the health space, I can really relate to Jana’s passion and perseverance, and I think you will, too.
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In This Episode Jana and I discuss:
1:00 – 10:00 – Jana, JOGA, and her journey towards finding a yoga for athletes
10:00 – 15:30 – Jana’s background and building her company
15:30 – 21:00 – Organic growth and representing the JOGA brand
21:00 – 28:00 – Resilience, perseverance, passion and hustle
28:00 – 31:00 – The Rapid Five
What You Missed:
In the last episode, I had Dr. Steven Masley onto the show.
Dr. Masley is a physician, nutritionist, trained chef, author, speaker, and creator of the number one all-time health program for PBS.
He has now done 3 PBS specials, has authored multiple books and scientific articles, and helps people tune up their heart, brain, and sexual performance. His passion is helping people solve big problems with simple and proven solutions.
Steven and I get into the details that go into creating a successful TV program, which also apply to any kind of program you offer, both online and off. He reveals how self-publishing a book launched his business to a new level and skyrocketed his credibility.
If you missed this episode, you’ll want to tune in right here to learn the simple equation for success in any health or wellness business. Hint: It includes heart!
What’s up Healthpreneurs! Welcome to the Healthpreneur Podcast. This is going to be a great episode, because we have the founder and creator of JOGA, Jana Webb. That’s not Ron Burgundy talking about yoga, that’s actually the name of the company.
It’s such a cleverly branded name and it makes sense. JOGA is a yoga system for athletes, designed for the athletic mind and body. She is a Ted Talk presenter, keynote speaker, and just an overall influencer in the health industry.
She’s going to talk about her journey creating this company, which has become, in my eyes, the yoga brand in the world, as far as I’m concerned, for athletes and high performance. It’s cool stuff. She’s also grown a network of JOGA coaches to over 350 certified coaches across North America. They train NFL, NHL, MLB, NBA, and CFL, which is the Canadian Football League, teams. And they’ve recently opened a flagship JOGA House in Toronto.
Jana is amazing. She went through a bit of a personal trauma about a year ago, which she’ll tell us about. It’s scary, and I didn’t even know about it until we got to talking before the interview. I’m excited to have her on the podcast because she’s doing some amazing things. What you’ll get out of this is inspiring to take what it is you do to the next level.
So, without any further ado, let’s bring Jana Webb onto the Healthpreneur podcast.
Jana, welcome to the Healthpreneur Podcast. How’s it going?
Jana: Good, how are you doing?
Yuri: I’m doing great, and I’m on a mission to highlight and connect with every amazing health entrepreneur in Toronto. I think we’re doing a good job. Obviously, you’re the crème de la crème of movers and shakers in our space who also lives in Toronto, so I’m excited to have you on the show.
Jana: Thank you for having me, I appreciate it.
Yuri: You’re very welcome.
For the listeners who are not aware of what you’ve done, I’ve gone through your bio and introduced you a little bit. How do you describe to the everyday person what you do?
Jana, JOGA, and her journey towards finding a yoga for athletes
Jana: JOGA is the brand I’ve created in the space of yoga. It’s a hybrid of what we all can benefit from yoga, like breathing and relaxation, with biomechanical sport. We train athletes and teams, and traditional yoga postures don’t make sense for how athletes move, train, and/or how they even understand information.
We transcribed yoga and made it more accessible to the athlete.
Yuri: That’s awesome. I was the strength and conditioning coach at the University of Toronto for seven years. One of the things we did with the men’s soccer program that made a huge difference was yoga three times a week.
I was doing high yoga for many years. I tweaked a couple things and brought it to those guys. I remember the university guys saying, “Yeah, yoga, whatever,” but it made the biggest difference in their performance; in their ability to reduce injuries, improve mental clarity, and focus.
By no means am I comparing what I did with you, but I can’t speak highly enough to the value of this as a former professional athlete myself. What you do for these athletes makes a huge difference.
How did you get into doing what you do and working with these teams and athletes?
Jana: My journey’s an interesting one. I used to work in marketing. I was in a car accident many years ago, and was introduced to yoga to help rehabilitate and manage the chronic pain and soft tissue damage.
There was something about it that made me feel good, so I became very curious. I did every yoga class I could possibly get my hands on. I tried Ashtanga yoga, hot yoga, Bikram yoga, and all these different things. It was a love, hate relationship.
I was an athlete growing up as well, so I loved the idea of not making a play and just being on the mat and learning about my body. The breathing was very special.
But every time I left yoga class, I injured myself more. I am the typical athlete; I have tight hamstrings, tight hips, and because I’m used to being coached my entire life, I also have that monkey see, monkey do attitude.
If there’s somebody in front of the room teaching me, whatever they’re doing, I’m going to do it, even if I shouldn’t be doing it. The yoga positions that were being offered to me probably weren’t the most beneficial for my body type.
But I kept going back to it. It’s like a bad relationship.
Then I thought, “Why isn’t there anything out there for people who are injured or have tight bodies?” I couldn’t find anything. I eventually went to Japan and learned this style of yoga called ISHTA yoga, which translates into individual or personalized movement, breathing, and meditation based on your Ayurvedic Dosha.
That was interesting.
So I studied over in Japan, and this individual style of yoga, and then that’s when my journey into creating JOGA started.
Yuri: That’s awesome.
How did you go from, “I’ve got this concept,” to working with NFL, NHL, and NBA teams? A lot of people in our space are good trainers or nutritionists, but they’re not working with these teams.
How did that even happen?
Jana’s background and building her company
Jana: Well, it was very organic. I didn’t set out to be a yoga teacher then train athletes. That wasn’t my trajectory.
It was all reactionary, to be honest. I started to teach, and because I was an athlete, I started to adapt the positions, or the postures, to make more sense for my body. Then, when I got asked to train the CFL, the Calgary Stampeders.
I failed miserably my first class. It was awful. I was trying to make athletes yogis, which is not the right intention.
That became a conversation, and I literally got a second chance, then a third and fourth chance, which led me to conversations with athletes. I asked, “How did this make you feel? Did this help you pregame? Did this help you sleep at night?”
What I understood was these athletes needed something different than yoga. If you think about it, in yoga, a lot of the postures are long static holds.
And I always give this example: I’ve never seen a soccer or football player stop midfield and do tree pose. You know what I mean? It just doesn’t make sense for the neurological needs of the athlete.
So, I started to manipulate the postures and make them more biomechanically focused on sports movement. Then I added in a layer of cadence as well. Athletes are always in movement.
How could we bridge that gap between yoga and what these athletes need? That got started with the CFL, to answer your question, and we had a lot of success there. It brought me to Toronto. In that space, when you hit that level of pro sports and you’re good at something, your name gets passed around quickly.
This was long ago though, almost 15 years ago. Yoga and sport was not trending at all.
Only a few others and I were out there pioneering this at the time. I didn’t have the intention of ever working with athletes, but Henry Burris, one of my very first clients – we won a championship together – attributed a lot of it to this new thing he was doing.
He said, “You have to call this something. You should brand it. It’s not like anything I’ve ever done before. It’s not yoga, it’s not Pilates…” Then we started to brainstorm, the name jocks, my name’s Jana. So, that’s where JOGA, that brainchild, was born; sitting, having a conversation with a football player in my studio at the time in Calgary.
It’s interesting because a lot of people go the other way. They have a plan they execute, whereas mine always unraveled very organically.
Yuri: That’s cool. It’s important for our listeners to remember this: The quality of your product is the best marketing. You’ve done a remarkable job at producing results for people, and because of that, they simply tell others.
I want to go back to the marketing thing for a second. A lot of people in our space, the technicians like yoga teachers, health coaches, trainers, and so forth, are great at what they do but they don’t like marketing. They feel slimy asking for money.
There’s a bit of a mindset shift that needs to happen there. But, if like you, someone creates a great product and result for people, it becomes easier for people to want to do business with you.
Jana: Absolutely. It’s interesting to hear you say that, because I had the head trainer for the New Jersey Devils at the JOGA House last night. He’s said, “You know, your website’s great, your space is beautiful,” but he also said, “And your product’s awesome.” We have all these pretty things – great marketing, great branding – but it means nothing if your product doesn’t align with it.
So, my whole thing about marketing is to be very honest; if you’re passionate about what you’re doing, that comes out in your product at the end of the day.
Yuri: So do you find that having a background in marketing was helpful as you started your business?
Jana: I do, absolutely. At a very young age I learned how to cold call, the value of loss leader, the value of hassle, and that not everyone’s going to yes, and that’s okay.
JOGA’s not for everybody, and that’s okay. I believe that people, things, and experiences place themselves in your life in the exact moment that they’re supposed to.
It’s the same in your business. You must approach your clients, your target market, with a plan, and you should know where you’re going. But along the way, it’s okay that not everyone’s going to like what you do.
Yuri: Yeah, if everyone likes what you do, you’re probably doing something a little bit too vanilla.
Jana: That’s true! People have called me a disruptor. I like that. I like to be known as a disruptor in sport and in my industry.
Yuri: Absolutely. As a point of clarification for the listener’s sake, can you define a “loss leader” and give us an example of how you use that in your business?
Jana: I always describe a loss leader like Groupon, which is probably the easiest example. They utilize other people’s services to get people in the door and show them the experience, the product, and hopefully capture those people to get some return business.
In my business, sometimes it’s going to a team and offering a free demo. Not charging out front, but letting them buy into it first. Once they’ve bought into it and have had an opportunity to educate, then there’s an opportunity to sell.
There is a sales cycle involved. You can’t go asking for money if they don’t even know what they’re buying.
I find loss leaders, in all businesses, are the best way to capture the audience that you want.
A lot of people want to try stuff on for size, especially these days. There’s just too much for free out there, so you almost have to.
Yuri: It’s so important though, and maybe this changes a little bit nowadays with being able to buy clothing online, but typically if you want to buy a pair of jeans, you try them on first.
Yuri: If you want a scoop of ice cream, people want to give it a taste first. There are so many analogies in everyday life like that. You might say, “I’ve got this cool program, buy it,” and everyone thinks, “Well, I don’t know about that.”
Organic growth and representing the JOGA brand
Jana: Exactly. When I started JOGA, we got busy, and we created our certification program, one of my biggest mandates with our team of coaches was to make them feel valued. I had given so much away for free, but there’s balance.
I love what I do so much, so I was giving too much away for free. But that’s okay, because I did that for the sake of building something bigger and giving the coaches in our coach academy a platform to be of value.
You’re working with somebody’s energy all day, every day, so there must be value there.
I think dealing with and helping human beings is the most challenging thing that there is to do. It’s not a button. There’s no algorithm. You’re dealing with real things, real emotions.
A big philosophy when we created our certification program was: How can I bring these people into our academy, and give them a tool, a foundation, so they can go out and say, “No. My fee’s $100 an hour. That’s what we’re charging.” So they’re not out there running around the city making $20 here, $30 there.
And having the intention to help people.
Yuri: Yeah. That’s smart.
I know certifications are a big deal in the health and fitness space. Walk us through how you, as the creator of one, think through and deliver that.
Jana: So, again, very organically.
I was training the Toronto Argos at the time. We won a championship and The Toronto shared an article about what this team was doing: JOGA. After that, I got an influx of emails about teams and athletes wanting JOGA. I couldn’t keep up with the demand.
There were two girls that I was working with at the studio where I was teaching at the time. They’d come to my classes. Vanessa was one of them. She said, “You should create a certification program.” I thought that sounded cool.
She helped me put together the JOGA program. We did a photo shoot, she helped me write up a manual, she recorded all my classes, and transcribed them into literature. We put a sign up at the studio that said, “Looking for JOGA trainers, sign up here.” We had seven people sign up for the first one.
Now, since we’ve obviously grown that business, we have over 400 trained Jogis in Canada which is exciting.
Yuri: I love how you call them Jogis. That’s nice. Awesome.
Another thing I want to point out is that a lot of times, from a tribe-building perspective, having your own language is very powerful.
Jana: Absolutely. Brand identity. There’s definitely a JOGA look. When you meet a JOGA trainer, you know that they’re JOGA; they’ve got a snap back on, they’ve probably got some mesh in their tights, and they look different than a yoga teacher. That’s something that we educate in our certification program.
What is the brand we’re representing? It’s important that the brand is consistent throughout all the coaches.
Yuri: That’s super smart. How have you used or leveraged the internet to spread your business?
Jana: Internet, meaning social media, or media itself is our biggest tool. Similarly to a lot of different health experts out there, you get spots on TV shows. People in different rural parts of Canada will see JOGA or me on TV, jump on my website, and see what I’m doing. That feeds more business.
The site says, “Do you want to be part of the team, click here.” Or, “Are you interested in what we’re doing?” For us, it’s probably the most important tool.
Resilience, perseverance, passion and hustle
Yuri: Totally. Over the journey from a business perspective, can you remember a challenging time where you didn’t know if you were going to make it? Was there ever financial trouble or a big pivotal moment in your business trajectory?
Is there one that stands out for you, and if so, how did you get through it?
Jana: There are a few. I’ve been doing this for almost 15 years, and the actual business for almost 10 years. There were points along the way where I bootstrapped the business, until last year.
That moment was last year when I was in my car accident. I broke by back, had a concussion, and had just signed a half a million-dollar lease in Yorkville with no physical or financial means to do it.
That was stressful.
Thank God I had started some conversations with an investor and had sought investment for almost a year prior. One month before my accident, I had an investor agree, over the phone, that they would invest a certain amount of money. That person did stick by me after the accident, even though the person he invested in was broke. He stuck by me and that’s what got me through to where I am now.
He saw the perseverance in what I was doing. Even while I was in the hospital, I was giving construction orders. I didn’t see my space until after it was built. I did everything via phone and email.
Yuri: That’s remarkable.
Jana: But, you know, it’s one of those things. When you’re an entrepreneur, it’s your livelihood, your whole life.
So, there’s always a way. My dad taught me that no matter what, when you do things with good intention and passion, everything will always work out. I truly believe in that.
I don’t try to manipulate people. I’m a good person, and I truly believe that the universe takes care of people who are like that.
Yuri: Absolutely. And just for everyone listening, if you live in Toronto, you’re a good person.
Jana: All Torontonians are, well, we’re Canadian. We can’t be that bad.
Yuri: Exactly, we’re all good. So, speaking of entrepreneurship, what do you think is a skill or a trait that entrepreneurs have to have for lasting success?
You’ve been at this for a long time. It’s not just a year and done.
You have to be so resilient to everything. You have to be resilient to competition. You have to be able to wake up in the morning and find another path, if one path’s not working. Perseverance, too.
Yuri: I agree 100% with you. I call it delusional optimism when you get so many no’s, so many failures relative to the successes, that you just want to fail to get to the yeses faster.
Jana: I love that. That’s an even better way to look at it.
Yuri: What I love about entrepreneurs is that we play these games in our head where it’s like, “How do I make the most out of this situation,” right? A lot of people just think, “Oh, they said no, I’m done, this is not going to work.”
If you went on Shark Tank or Dragon’s Den, you pitched an idea, and they said, “Oh, this is never going to work, you’re a cockroach,” some people let that destroy them.
Other people say, “I’m going to show them and build something amazing.”
Jana: I have that little thing in me, too. When somebody says, “no,” I say, “Really? Watch this.”
I have “watch this” playing in the back of my head all the time.
I remember when I first started this, my goal was to have JOGA mandated by the leagues like NHL and NFL.
People thought I was crazy and that it would never happen. And I will get there. I look at it this way; when I first started to work with the Detroit Red Wings, they only had a strength and conditioning coach for seven years. In the scope of sport, even strength and conditioning was new only 10 years ago.
There is no governing body of yoga in sport. There’s no one out there setting standards. It’s just, “Oh, our strength coach used yoga. That’s good,” so they just send their athlete to a random yoga class with no education or understanding.
There’s no governing body holding that space, so we’ll get there. If a strength coach wants yoga – that modality in their training protocol – the next question would be, “Are you JOGA certified?”
That’s the next evolution of what we’re attempting to do.
Yuri: That’s awesome. A random question: Do you think that taking more action is better than quality of action, or do you think they’re interrelated?
Jana: More action over quality of action.
For the first five years of my business, I would say “The hustle is real.” You have to hit everything that you possibly can, because that’s where you’re going to get most of your learning.
After you’ve proven yourself and have had some successes, then I think it turns into choice. Quality. Because you have the confidence, the know, and the experience to make that decision.
Yuri: That’s an important distinction. There’s the whole Gary V. grind and hustle, work 27 hours a day approach, and others are all about working smarter and not working at all.
In different seasons of life and business it varies. If you’re just starting off, you have to put in the groundwork and the hours.
Jana: Absolutely. I always said that if anyone ever comes to me and says, “You’re lucky,” I might kick then in the face. I’ll say, “There is nothing about luck here. This is working hard, every day, for a long time.”
But, in the same breath, I like that. I grew up on a farm in Alberta so I’ve been working since I was 12 years old. So, I also don’t have the distinction between work and rest. I just knew that when I grew up, you just work until the work is done.
Then I played sports and it’s the same kind of mentality. These attributes may just be in me. I don’t know what the shift would look like if somebody went into work Monday to Friday then decided to be an entrepreneur.
Yuri: Yeah. It’s tough. From my perspective, I think being an entrepreneur is innate, somewhere in your DNA, and can be developed or revealed over time.
But I think growing up on a farm, with that work ethic, creates a huge unfair advantage for athletes that naturally leads into entrepreneurship. The things we experience like hard work, discipline, and teamwork, create an awesome foundation.
So, if you’re listening, you’re 40 years old, and you have none of that, sorry guys, it’s too late.
Jana: Yeah, don’t even try it.
Yuri: Well, I don’t think it’s ever too late, right?
It’s bravery. People have ideas or things in the back of their mind that they talk about. I always say, “Just try!” Life is too short. You just don’t know.
I’m always trying to be that person of inspiration that says, “Please just live your passion, please just wake up and enjoy what you do every day.” If that’s working at Starbucks and making the best cappuccino ever, amazing!
There’s a role for everybody. Just be passionate about it.
Yuri: It’s true. Have you seen The Founder? The McDonald’s story?
Jana: No, I haven’t.
Yuri: It’s amazingly inspiring. He was a guy who was a door to door salesman back in the 50s, I think. He’d been doing that for 30 years or so, selling everything under the sun. He did okay, but was in his 50s when he discovered McDonald’s.
Yuri: And within a few years, he became the wealthiest man in America. It’s a cool story to see that, no matter what your age, if you keep going, never give up, and are passionate about what you do, the first 30 years could just be the first chapter, right?
Jana: Right. Or you’re learning what you need to learn to do what you’ll do next.
The Rapid Five
Yuri: Absolutely. Jana, this has been a lot of fun. Are you ready for The Rapid Five?
Yuri: Okay, roll up the sleeves, here we go.
Number one, what is your biggest weakness?
Jana: Saying yes.
Yuri: So you say yes too often?
Yuri: What has that cost you in your business or life?
Jana: I over extend myself mentally, physically, and emotionally. I’m a yes person and it gets me in trouble sometimes.
Yuri: Yeah. Cool.
Number two, what is your biggest strength?
Jana: Saying yes.
Yuri: Inspired by the Jim Carrey movie, Yes Man. Awesome.
Number three, what’s one skill you’ve become dangerously good at to grow your business?
Yuri: Spreading the message, teaching?
Jana: Educating on human movement. Before I teach I always say, “My role here is just to educate you and give you something, a piece of information about yourself that you don’t know.”
Jana: It’s powerful when your intention is always to educate.
Yuri: I couldn’t agree more.
Number four, what do you do first thing in the morning?
Jana: I look for coffee.
Yuri: Look for coffee?
Jana: Manically. If it’s not in my house, that’s a problem.
Yuri: Do you have a favorite coffee place, or a favorite drink?
Jana: I do. I like a cappuccino, or drip coffee with some half and half.
Yuri: Very nice. Finally, complete this sentence: I know I’m being successful when…
Jana: I know I’m being successful when I get a lot of messages from my team saying thank you. Thank you for creating this opportunity.
Yuri: Awesome. Those are better messages than having to put out fires. That’s great.
Jana: When I get to change someone’s life, that’s the best feeling ever.
Yuri: That’s great. Jana. Thank you so much for taking the time with us today.
This has been inspiring. I acknowledge you for the amazing brand, and movement you’ve created with JOGA. It’s amazing to see what you’ve done with athletes and certifying professionals to spread the word.
It sucks to be injured and not perform at your best, even if you’re not an athlete, so I just wanted to thank you for doing everything you’ve done.
Jana: Awesome. Thank you for that. So generous.
Yuri: You’re welcome.
Before we finish off, where’s the best place for people to follow you online and learn more about JOGA?
Jana: Go to JOGAWorld.com. Come find us!
Yuri: Jana, once again, thanks so much for taking the time, and I hope you guys enjoyed this one.
Jana: Thank you, Yuri. Have an awesome day.
Yuri: You too.
A great interview with the one and only Jana Webb from JOGA. J-O-G-A, a pretty cool name. When I first heard about it a little while ago, I thought, “Wow, this is such a cool brand.”
One of the things I want to leave you with, which we talked about earlier in the interview, is the notion that if your product is great, that’s the essence of your marketing. There are ways to market a bad product, and there are great products that never see the light of day because they’re not marketed properly.
But the marketing of anything becomes so much easier when you have a great product or service. By great I mean this: It’s not that it looks cool or has nice branding. All that matters is that it produces a result that is meaningful to your clients or customers.
The thing is, we get so caught up in how cool our stuff is. “Oh, it’s so beautiful, and we did these professional videos.” Who cares? That does not matter.
People need to get down off the perfectionist platform and focus on if they only got paid after producing a result for a client or customer. What would have to be true for your product to do that?
Think about this: A realtor sells your house, right? They don’t get a commission before selling your house, they get a commission after they sell the house. But in our industry, in our space, we accept payment before producing anything for a customer or client. That’s a little bit backwards, and that’s why, in general, transactions are heavily burdened, in terms of risk on the customer.
They’re getting into something where there’s a certain amount of blind faith. They don’t know if they’re going to get results by working with you or buying your thing. But there’s a certain amount of faith that goes into that.
If you think, “What do I have to create? What do I have to do in my business, in my product, in my service to create?” then it becomes impossible not to succeed. Be fanatically focused on that, because when you do, and you focus on creating outcomes for people, and helping them achieve their goals, people will start talking.
They will spread the word, and you’ll get more business through word of mouth than you can handle.
Facebook ads are awesome, SEO is great, and YouTube is cool. But at the end of the day, if you can’t produce a result and you’re making big promises that aren’t backed up, your business will suffer.
So, focus on the results, focus on the outcome, and focus on what people want, not the features of your product.
Now, with that said, there are just a couple housekeeping things before we finish off today. As always, if you’ve enjoyed this podcast, I would greatly appreciate if you subscribed if you haven’t already. Go to iTunes, and if you’re listening on your phone, you can just hit the little subscribe button.
I’ve got lots of amazing episodes coming your way, with lots of great interviews and solo sessions. There have been about 100 amazing episodes so far. I can’t even reference any specific ones because they’re all good. Sift through the feed, see which ones jump out at you, and give them a listen.
It’s inspiring stuff.
That’s all for today, my friends. I hope you have an amazing day. Thank you so much for joining me. I appreciate your attention, loyalty, and all the amazing work you continue to do in the world. It matters. Never forget that.
With that said, continue to go out there and be great, do great, and I’ll see you in our next episode.
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