Category Archives: Lifestyle

Africa Yoga Project: Inspiring Social Change in Africa

Martin Luther King  said it best when he noted, “Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better”.

Certainly in the case of the Africa Yoga Project, which came about as the result of one young native New Yorker’s passion, this is definitely true. 

The Africa Yoga Project (AYP), which was established as a non-profit organization in 2007, currently enables close to 5,000 people to participate in over 200 weekly workshops throughout Nairobi.   It also provides a viable livelihood for local yoga teachers who a few years ago may have had little hope of finding any job that would help them to feed and take care of their families. Now, the 98 AYP teachers share their knowledge and love of yoga, teaching in prisons, schools, special need centers, HIV/AIDS support groups, deaf schools and rural villages throughout Kenya. 

AYP Co-Founder, Director and human dynamo Paige Elenson, who now lives in Africa, is constantly busy, working out of the AYP community yoga center in Nairobi (known as the ‘Shine Center’).  

However, we were thrilled that she was still able to put aside some time to discuss with Muuyu how the AYP came into being, its principles and plans for the future.

Africa Yoga Project, Muuyu, Yoga, Wellness, Mindful living

How did the Africa Yoga Project come about?

In 2006, I was on a safari in Kenya with my family when I saw a group of young Kenyan men doing handstands in the middle of the bush.

As a yoga teacher my first reaction was to jump out of the vehicle and do handstands with these young acrobats.  Little did I know this brief connection would forever change my life.

After returning to New York I was contacted by the Kenyan Acrobats and asked to come back to teach them yoga.  My heart said yes.

What I did not realize was that I would be staying in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya, where most people live on less than $1 a day.

It seems that the communities of East Africa have really embraced this project – How did you ensure that AYP remained rooted in empowering and enabling local individuals?

AYP staff members and teachers are almost completely from where we work,  ensuring we are in touch with the real need on the ground and that we remain true to our vision and mission.

We are also constantly reviewing our activities to ensure we are on track to achieve our goals.

Many of the people practicing yoga through the Africa Yoga Project live in terrible conditions, whether it’s in slum areas, prisons or orphanages. How does yoga actually benefit them and is the environment within which they live integral to AYP’s teaching methods?

We strive to create empowerment and employment for youth from marginalized communities, to open up new possibilities for leadership and self-sustaining incomes.

The outreach programs also reach out to marginalized communities to share health and well-being practices.  Through yoga we are elevating communities far and wide!

What is your most memorable moment with regards to the Africa Yoga Project?

I have so many memories and people who are close to my heart it would be hard to choose just one.  I consider it a privilege to be part of the process and I treasure every moment.

In fact, just last week a moment that I have been waiting for occurred.

Mainstream media seems often to leave out people of color as representatives of yoga professionals.  So I was so excited when I opened last month’s Yoga Journal and saw an Africa Yoga Project teacher as a model!

This means so much to me – that we are able to affect the global community and be a stand for diversity and inclusion, that a young man from the urban slums in Kenya can be a Yoga Journal model.  Anything is possible!

What are the future priorities for the organization?

AYP plans on becoming the biggest and highest quality yoga training academy in Africa, where we graduate the best of the best in terms of wellness experts.  The potential of the wellness industry in Africa still remains largely untapped, but our instructors/graduates are slowly filling the niche.

If someone wanted to get involved with the project how would they do that and are their skills that are specifically welcome?

We welcome anyone who wants to be involved in AYP!

Anyone can come to the Shine Center in Nairobi at 10 am every Saturday for our free community class, which is always followed by a free vegetarian lunch.

We have studio classes at the Shine Center and in Pop-Up studio locations across Nairobi throughout the week.  We update our calendar on the website so do please check here.

Anyone can arrange a private class in their workplace or home with our qualified teachers.

You can also register for our annual 200 hour yoga teacher training by applying on-line, and you can apply to a scholarship if you live in Africa and meet our criteria.

As a mentor, the Mentor Program is a 12-month commitment.  The monthly contribution of $125 pays for the salary of an AYP teacher. Mentors and AYP Teachers engage in monthly Skype conversations and email exchanges.  In order to facilitate learning and sharing a new theme is presented each month based on the year of the mentee.

One can also volunteer by being part of the Seva Safari team, which is an opportunity for an adventure, service, yoga practice, and building community.  We have trips planned all year round.

So you see, opportunities to plug in are plenty! I would encourage anyone interested to visit our website  to learn more.

Siobhan01

Siobhan is the Head of Communication and Content withMuuyu and a co-founder of the company.  Born in Ireland she has close to 20 years’ experience working in the areas of PR, communication and journalism.  She is also the editor of the Muuyu blog.  Siobhan has been practicing yoga on and off for most of her adult life.  However it was while doing a post-natal yoga class when pregnant that she really began to connect with her practice and she has been a regular practitioner ever since.

Connect with Siobhan here.

If you liked this, you might also enjoy these two posts.  Just click on the pictures to bring you directly to the article.

Yoga, Inner Fire Apparel, Muuyu    Meditation, Muuyu, Health and Wellness, Yoga     Lighting Yoga’s Inner Fire          Why Meditation is Good for Your Gut

 

 

Lighting Yoga’s Inner Fire

In 2011 a young yoga teacher in Vancouver decided to develop a small business selling her authentic yoga props and meditation cushions.  In the last four years that modest one-person business has developed into Inner Fire Apparel, a thriving international company creating yoga apparel and lifestyle products.  Muuyu was delighted to have the chance to discuss organic business growth,  following passions and giving back to your community with inspiring Inner Fire founder,  LEAH EMMOTT.

When did you establish Inner Fire Apparel and what was the momentum behind it?

Back in 2011,  I was working as a yoga teacher when I suddenly had to be rushed to the hospital for the removal of a giant ovarian cyst, which left me in recovery for 6 weeks.  I had a lot of friends who were yoga teachers so I decided to make some gifts for them while I was off during the holiday season.  The first items I made were yoga props and meditation cushions.

After giving some out as gifts, I had some people from my yoga studio ask if I could sell them some there.   I just followed the demand and started to make and sell yoga props,  bit by bit.  After selling a fair amount I decided it was time to call the company something.  I decided to call it Inner Fire because the area of my belly where I had the cyst was the same area where the 3rd chakra resides.  It is an area with fiery qualities that is responsible for passion, creativity and drive.  I really felt like this fire got lit during those 6 weeks off.

When I was back teaching,  I started to brainstorm some cool shirt design ideas that had been mulling around in my brain for a while.  I took a local screen printing workshop and then started to print my own shirts at home.  I would wear them out and to class and had even more people ask me if I could make some for them. It grew very organically.

About a year ago, I added a line of eco-friendly leggings made from recycled water bottles as a medium to express my love for nature and art.  The clothing side of the business grew so quickly that I decided to no longer offer the yoga props. It’s funny how a business evolves!

How difficult was it to progress without a background in fashion design or experience in setting up a business (that needed a home, staff, funding, etc)?

My business never intended to be a fashion business when I started out.   It was strictly yoga props and casual tanks and tees at the beginning.  I didn’t even want to get into cut and sew apparel until a couple of years in (and with the help of people with actual backgrounds in the fashion world).  I let it grow organically;  letting my creativity drive the direction rather than the industry.  I was just lucky that what I was doing ended up being what the industry was looking for!

As for the business side,  I have a degree in business  but I can’t say that it helped much when it came to all the ins and outs of entrepreneurship.  I was lucky to be able to move back home to focus on the business,  which allowed me to put a lot of sweat equity into the project without too much financial risk.  I bootstrapped the entire business off of my savings and worked on the side when I started.   As the business continued to grow,  I experienced some major growing pains.  It was clear after the first year and a half that I needed to move into a proper space and hire staff.  At the time,  it definitely was scary to be taking those risks,  but I am so glad I made the decision to go big or go home.

As a fashion brand Inner Fire is fun and playful but can you explain how you keep it grounded in a genuine yoga philosophy.

My inspiration comes from my experience as a yoga practitioner and as a yoga teacher.  To me, yoga,  at its core,  is simply the practice of being fully present and connected.  Being in that state of mind opens up the potential for more fun,  joy and playfulness in one’s day-to-day life.  It can be expressed in so many different ways.   For me it is through words and art.  I always make sure that the phrases I put on my shirts honor the practice of yoga and the person wearing it, however tongue in cheek the saying might be.

I feel so indebted to yoga for helping me get through tough times and reminding me what is important in life.  It has also introduced me to a community of deeply loving and conscious individuals.  It has humbled me in so many ways.  The practice reminds me that we are all connected and that we can really create a positive impact through our actions.

Inner Fire, Yoga, Muuyu    Inner Fire, Yoga, Muuyu

You are now the designer and the CEO of a yoga clothing company – what inspires you in both these roles, and do you find one role fits you more easily than the other?

As with any business,  the founder needs to wear a lot of hats to get the work done.  The business side and the creative side have to go hand in hand in order for the whole business to be successful.  It’s less compartmentalized and more of a continuum for me though. They blend with each other because that’s the nature of the day-to-day of small business.  The business side is primarily about people, whereas the creative side is primarily about thoughts and feelings. The two roles balance each other out naturally.

I’ve had people refer to me as the CEO before, and for some reason, I never liked that title.  Although I believe in leadership  I don’t see the need for corporate hierarchy.  This company is definitely something that came from me but I feel like now it’s grown bigger than me.  It’s created a community of conscious individuals,  of which I see myself as an equal.

Which of your collections (or pieces within a particular collection) are your favorites and why?

It’s really hard to choose any one collection, but I would have to say my favorite is the ‘Laughing Yogi Collection’.  It was my original collection of yoga puns and funny sayings.  When I initially came up with it,  I thought that no one would have the same humor as me but it turns out I was definitely wrong!  I love that it brings out the lighthearted side in people.

An important part of the Inner Fire philosophy is giving back to the larger community – can you talk about why this is integral to the company what it entails exactly?

When I started the company I finally felt like I had found my life calling.  I felt like the fire was lit within me to make a positive impact in the world.  One day while meditating I felt the need to somehow give this same feeling to others.  Everyone has a passion – but not everyone is fortunate enough to have the means to make it a reality. I had a friend in university who had started an organization called the School Fund.  Their mandate is to help link up youth in developing countries with micro-donors in order to fund their education.  The light bulb went off in my head – I could donate a portion (10%) of my profits to The School Fund to help other young people realize their dreams too!

Most of the students we support are looking to attend post-secondary or vocational programs in their communities.  It’s been quite eye-opening to learn how little there is out there for students in their late teens and early twenties.  In order to maximize our contribution we usually engage in matching campaigns with other organizations.  So far we’ve funded educational scholarships for over 10 students in Africa and Ecuador.

 The company has grown at quite a rapid rate – how have you coped with that?

2014 was the turning point year for me.  I can’t believe how fast it’s grown!  I went from making everything myself to having to locally outsource production just to keep up.   It was super rewarding to see how far I was able to take it on my own.  Of course, I had a lot of help from friends and family during those first two years – of which I am eternally grateful.

I did find it hard to let go and give up some control but I found myself overworked and unable to enjoy the things I used to enjoy when I had spare time.  I had to hire some help so that I could live a normal life again. The people on my team have been amazing. I feel like the big growing pains phase is finally over.

What are the future priorities for you and Inner Fire Apparel?

I hope to continue to build a strong team of conscious people who enjoy working in a dynamic environment.  I have plans to expand the wholesale side of the business into international markets, like Australia, the UK, Singapore and Dubai.  It’s been really crazy to see how many people from all over the world know about Inner Fire. Gotta thank the internet for that one!  I hope to be able to impact more people through our philanthropic activities as well.

As a business woman as well as a yoga practitioner and teacher, what advise can you give to other working women in relation to using yoga both on and off the mat to live a fulfilling life? 

I have learned many things along this journey and one of the biggest things is that the best thing you can do is be true to yourself and open your heart to those around you.  When you live in a state of authenticity,  gratitude and selflessness you attract the things that you are looking for.  You attract the right people and from there the opportunities start to flow.

You can call it the Law of Attraction or manifestation, but it’s basically about living as though we are in this together. It really works!

Oh, and it’s OK to show up to a class and spend the whole time in Savasana! I think there’s a shirt for that! 😉

All Inner Fire Apparel products can be found on  their website http://www.myinnerfire.com 

If you liked this, you might also enjoy these two posts.  Just click on the pictures to bring you directly to the article.

weargrace01      Juices  Yoga Fashion’s Gift of Grace       3 Juice Recipes to Help Fight the Flu  

 

Yoga Fashion’s Gift of Grace

Since its establishment the yoga attire company weargrace has become brand of choice for women who want their clothing – both on and off the mat – to spark a deeper, authentic personal style.    Muuyu was fortunate to recently catch up with weargrace Founder, KAREN JOYCE, to find out what inspires the former Gucci Image Director as the woman at the helm of this unique yoga clothing collection.  

 When did you establish weargrace and what was the momentum behind it?

I have been practicing yoga for many years and in 2009 after 20 years in the fashion industry, I left my business and traveled to Asia in search of more meaning, deeper self-understanding and a greater awareness of the ancient disciplines of the east.

In my travels and study I found that the ancient teachings and philosophy inherent in yoga and meditation are very different from their western interpretations.  There is a very pure and simple side, a more meaningful foundation that gets lost in our hectic lifestyles and conditioning.

The creation of weargrace was an opportunity to use a language that I know (fashion) as a vehicle to share these precious teachings by embodying them in the brand values and the clothing itself.

This idea was born in late 2009 and developed through many subsequent trips to Asia and many yoga experiences in different parts of the world.  The first collection was produced is 2012.

You’ve talked before about there being three specific events that woke you up to the fact that you needed to change the work/life you were leading, but at what moment did you start to think about setting up your own yoga fashion line and were you not worried that the work might consume you once again?

I started thinking about a yoga line in 2009 when I sat in my teachers training workshop in Bali, listening to the profound, life changing philosophy behind this ancient discipline and observed that everyone was dressed the same.  Yoga attire was totally disconnected to the teachings.  It occurred to me that the clothing could be a vehicle to remind people of the precious values inherent in yoga and to keep these teachings alive.

I trusted that if my work could be a natural extension of who I am and the values I sustain, that I could stay aligned and not fall into the old work patterns.

“Living” the precepts of yoga and meditation is much harder than studying it on an island or in the Himalayas.  The real challenge comes in the integration of this wisdom into the ups and downs of everyday life. This remains a continual challenge for me and is what stimulates me to keep weargrace growing and to stay true to the message behind the brand.

Weargrace is so much more than a fashion brand. Along with the weargrace collection there are also grace retreats and a philosophy that promotes the practice of yoga – Can you explain further how these strands all tie together? 

Grace retreats and the weargrace philosophy are all vehicles to remind people to live from the inside out. To connect to their unique inner wisdom and guidance.  The clothing, the retreats,  the philosophy, are all part of  the same message.

You may buy a weargrace legging because you see it on Net-a-Porter or because you like the particular color or style.  Maybe you read about the prayer flag symbolism and it helps to bring more compassion to your day, or the text in the weargrace mantra inspires you to take a yoga or meditation class and you begin to live from a different space.  It is my hope that weargrace plants a seed that can lead people to their own unique path of personal growth.

You are one of the 16 hand-selected fashion lines that debuted as part of Net-a-Porter’s new, luxury activewear offering, Net-a-Sporter. How did that come about and what can we expect as part of your future relationship with them?

I first contacted Net-a-Porter in 2012, introducing the brand message, philosophy and product selection.   Candice Fragis, the buyer who I was in touch with, was very kind in her feedback, recognizing the unique offering but relaying that there was not yet a place for this niche market on the N-A-P platform.  In March of 2014, I received a call directly from Candice, senior buyer of the activewear segment.  She had remembered the brand and explained the plan to launch the Net-a -Sporter platform, and came by to see the collection.

As an avid yogi, Candice connected immediately with the deeper message behind the brand, as well as its simple and elegant style, versatility and comfort that made the offering different from all other activewear brands.

Being in the right place at the right time and having someone who understood what the brand was trying to communicate, this was grace!

In July, 2014 weargrace was the only brand to represent the yoga sector on the Net–a-Sporter platform launch.  Our presence on this important channel reaching over 170 countries is the perfect opportunity to share our unique message and offers all women simple, stylish and comfortable clothing that inspires a more personal, authentic part of themselves.

What are the future priorities for the company?

Weargrace aims to establish itself as the most modern, tasteful and meaningful brand in yoga attire, encouraging women to live from the core of their being, and connect to their unique personal style and inner guidance.

As a business woman and an avid yoga practitioner, what advice can you give to other working women in relation to using yoga both on and off the mat to live a fulfilling life? 

Yoga is not just a physical practice.  It is a tool that helps us to align with who we really are.   Approach your practice with compassion and presence.  In this connection, you will discover an inner knowing, a guidance that will help you to live from a more peaceful and authentic space.

This is living from the inside out and is my challenge every day.   To live from this space is our greatest gift.

KarenJoyce

US-born Karen Joyce is the founder of weargrace.   Following her graduation from Providence College and Rhode Island School of Design, Karen moved to Venice, Italy where she worked as a consultant for the Peggy Guggenheim Collection.  From there she moved to Milan where she joined Gucci as a graphic designer, then as Art Director before relocating to London as Director of Image for the Gucci Group.  In this position she managed an in-house creative agency for all Gucci’s brands including Yves Saint Laurent, Sergio Rossi, Bottega Veneta, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney and Balenciaga.  However, after almost two decades in the business Karen decided to make some personal changes that would greatly impact her professional life …and weargrace was born.

Weargrace products can be found on weargrace.com, Net-a-Porter and, from next year onwards, across the USA in 9 locations of the luxury department store chain, Barney’s.

Smart Mat to take Yoga to the Next Level – And Beyond!

There’s been a lot of buzz lately in the yoga world about SmartMat. The world’s first yoga mat with embedded sensor technology it basically simulates the adjustments of a real live yoga teacher to guide you through a series of visual and audio yoga poses based on your own personal positioning on the mat.

Launching on the crowdfunding site Indiegogo in late September, Smart Mat reached its funding goal of $110,000 in less than 24 hours – Proof, if you needed it, that yoga practitioners were not afraid to embrace futuristic technology if it promised a fresh and complementary way to evolve their yoga experience.

With the 31-day Indiegogo campaign due to close tomorrow (31 October) with double their original financial goal raised, Smart Mat have now been able to extend the campaign to run up to December which may allow them to meet further development milestones in addition to the core feature of pre-programmed course work.

These include custom music options and fitness add-ons to help with weight loss, back pain and to support athlete workouts, multi-user support enabling the whole family to use it  and the ability to program whatever class you want from a database of 62 poses.

“The stretch goals (on Indiegogo) are already in the roadmap and we do plan on developing each and every one of them.”  Smart Mat CEO and practicing yogi, Neyma Jahan told Muuyu.  “Getting the funding and reaching the goals simply means that we will be able to implement them sooner than later.”

For Jahan and the team the aim of Smart Mat is not to replace teachers and studio-based classes but to enhance the yoga practice for both beginners and the more advanced yogi.

“While there will never be a replacement for human intuition and instruction,” Jahan says.  “What Smart Mat offers can be considered a complement.  A computerized brain will never be able to accurately read the thousands of elements a trained Yoga teacher can decipher just by looking at the student for a moment.  However at the same time, a human will never be able to read the micro points of balance and equilibrium required to achieve a “Perfect Pose” based on the specific measurements of the practitioners body.”

He adds, “It’s our hope that Smart Mat allows the practitioner to take their practice to the next level with this futuristic technology.”

Finding a balance between the ancient yogic tradition and, this futuristic fitness technology is hugely important to the company and all the additional add-on classes and programs take this into consideration.  Indeed, as Jahan states, “As Yoga practitioners ourselves it is important for us to create coursework that really meets the needs of our community.”

Sounds good to us – but what do you think?

Siobhan01

Siobhan is the Head of Communication and Content with Muuyu and a co-founder of the company.  Born in Ireland she has close to 20 years’ experience working in the areas of PR, communication and journalism.  She is also the editor of the Muuyu blog.  Siobhan has been practicing yoga on and off for most of her adult life.  However it was while doing a post-natal yoga class when pregnant that she really began to connect with her practice and she has been a regular practitioner ever since.

Connect with Siobhan here.

How women can save the startup scene

It seems that as a start-up, Muuyu just hasn’t managed to tick all of the typical boxes.

Resources:  Overstretched and under-financed – Tick!   Employees:  Similar!    Environment:  Open and engaging; Spontaneous meetings that result in 500 colored stickies being posted on all available wall-space – Tick!

Gender-bias in favour of men: Tick…wait…what?!

It’s true that the CEO of the company, Matt Devine, is a guy.  Muuyu was his idea in the first place so we’re all quite happy for him to take responsibility for that!  However, until recently there were more female employees in the company than male and even, while some folk have moved on, women still make up a large part of the team.

This is far from the usual picture though.  According to the Center for Women’s Business Research in the US, while women own approximately 40% of America’s private businesses when it comes to venture-backed startups that figure plummets to less than 10%.  The 2012 ‘Women at the Wheel’ report which was carried out by Dow Jones and studied venture-backed startups over a period of 15 years, claimed that 1.3% of privately held companies had a female founder, 6.5% had a female CEO, and 20% had only one or more female C-level executives.

Europe’s start-up story has a similar plot-line.  In fact, that was one of the reasons why American entrepreneur Jess Erickson set up the Berlin-based Geekettes, a network of female tech entrepreneurs and professionals.  She, like everyone else with adequate eyesight in the German capital could see that the internet start-up sector was swinging and yet there were very few women at the party.   Her company, which holds regular network meetings, runs courses and workshops, mentor programmes, pitch sessions and hackathons for female entrepreneurs, aims to encourage more women to step up when it comes to, well, startups.

Geekette now has over 700 German members and branches across the globe including New York and London.  In Germany, where according to BITKOM, the German Association for IT, Telecommunications and New Media, over 100,000 new jobs in the Internet sector have been created over the last five years, it is people like Erickson that are ensuring that women can be viable contenders for those positions.

But at Muuyu, gender equality runs to more than just a head-count.  As a small (but perfectly formed) start-up of eight we, in fact, represent a host of different nationalities, cultural backgrounds and age groups.  So even before we separate the men from the not-men, diversity is a given and therefore an integral part of our company culture.

On both a social and strategic level this is really a good thing.

Firstly, problem-solving, while it may take a little longer when you are eight equal voices with eight differing perspectives, happens within a much broader frame of reference.

An additional benefit to managing our issues by looking at them from all angles is that we’re also strengthened as a team because we learn to bounce off, listen to and lean on each other.

From a strategic point of view it’s also hugely important for any startup to mirror the demographics of its target market.  As Muuyu is an online yoga platform it thus goes without saying that a large part of our customer-base will be women.  Including female perspectives in the decision-making processes, then, is kind of a no-brainer.

And here’s the thing: even while women make up less than 20% of the startup sector, those companies that do include women generally perform better.  In fact, studies have shown that an average of 30% of companies with more gender diversity had better success rates from IPOs.

So what’s the problem?  Isn’t it time to drop the gender imbalance in the startup scene?

Looks like Muuyu is ticking the right boxes after all.

Siobhan01

Siobhan is the Head of Communication and Content with Muuyuand a co-founder of the company.  Born in Ireland she has close to 20 years’ experience working in the areas of PR, communication and journalism.  She is also the editor of the Muuyu blog.  Siobhan has been practicing yoga on and off for most of her adult life.  However it was while doing a post-natal yoga class when pregnant that she really began to connect with her practice and she has been a regular practitioner ever since.

Connect with Siobhan here.

The Roots of Muuyu

It was back in 2007, whilst doing my teacher training that I registered the name Muuyu.  Being from Zimbabwe, I knew that the tree was a really positive, powerful symbol of stability and peace. It was also only 5 letters, 3 of them the same, and available as a dotcom!  My idea at the time was to create a social network to connect all the great people I met on teacher training, most of whom I still haven’t seen for over seven years.  However, at the same time that I was thinking about this a new platform called Facebook was really starting to take off …so that put an end to that idea!

Following my training I returned to Australia, which was where my family had moved, and it was there that the idea of Muuyu as a live interactive yoga platform, connecting like-minded people, really started to take shape.

My Dad and I were sitting on a bench in front of our house looking out across the sea. We began to chat about family, about staying in touch, and also about this new business idea that was slowly percolating in my mind. He said it was a pity I was going back to China, where I was living at the time, as he had wanted to do my yoga with me.

My first introduction to yoga came from my Dad.  As a child I’d watch him do Richard Hittleman’s Yoga from a book.  This was back in the Seventies in Africa, so waaaaay progressive then!

Talking to him that day outside our home in Australia, everything suddenly became clear to me.  I realized that even though I was living on another continent, I still wanted to be able to connect with my family through yoga. I wanted to be able to do live classes with them, and, in fact with everyone.  I just had to redefine how that connection could happen against the obvious geographical barriers.  That was when Muuyu was born.

I wrote my first business plan in 2008 and tried to find a video conferencing platform that would enable me to realize my vision of live, interactive yoga practice in real time.  But this was 6 years ago and the technology was still way too slow and way too expensive.

So I built my own.

Not me personally, of course, but through connecting with partners and friends who were way smarter than me.

And now, here it is.   I hope you like it.  I think this platform might become really useful to a lot of people, both experienced and new to yoga.

And hopefully our mantra will shape how Muuyu evolves.  And what is that mantra?

Redefine Connection.

Please Enjoy!

A funny thing happens when you put a team of people in a room…

 

Over the last few months – heck, weeks, really! – there have been a lot of changes in Muuyu. We’ve been trying to get to the absolute heart of how we can best deliver everything that Muuyu has to offer to the wider world. You see, Muuyu as an online yoga platform providing live classes in real time to students around the globe is doing something quite unique at the moment. It’s redefining how we connect – to our yoga practice, to ourselves and our bodies, to the world that we’re constantly creating.

Yet it’s a simple idea. Really. I mean, think about it.

Bringing teachers and students together in a live class through the internet – what could be easier and more convenient in today’s world of digital interconnectedness where global travel, either for business or fun, is the norm for so many?

As CEO of Muuyu I’ve always known that a platform like this would be great. Great for teachers because it can liberate them to connect with their regular pupils as well as new students no matter where they are in the world. And great for students because it can give them the freedom of practicing yoga with world-class teachers from the comfort of their own homes or when they themselves are travelling. It is also an answer for those questioning how they might find a way into yoga but for geographical, health or other reasons can’t make it to a local studio class.

Still, it hasn’t always been easy for me to fully express all the benefits of Muuyu to others. Sometimes, when you’re so close to an idea, when you’ve been dreaming, living, breathing this idea for so long, you need other people to reveal all that’s been hiding in plain sight, to ask those questions for which the answers have always been intuitive feelings for you in the past, but which you now need to find a way to express openly.

So that’s what the team at Muuyu has been doing. I could say things like we’re ‘developing our strategy’, or ‘analyzing’ and ‘forecasting’ but mostly we’ve been sitting in a room together talking and questioning and dreaming and laughing.

Because a funny thing happens when you put a group of people together in a room to discuss one idea: a whole host of other ideas start to snowball, ideas that I could never have thought or dreamed of on my own. Crazy, singular and smart ideas that all come back to Muuyu’s main intention, which is to help anyone and everyone do yoga their way, on their time and in their own space. They’ve teased thoughts out of me I didn’t even know I was thinking and brought so much new thinking to the table that I feel as excited now as I was when the idea of creating a connected community of people through an online, live yoga platform first started to come into focus for me.

We’re starting to put real shape on these ideas as well as an action plan in place and we promise to keep you updated each step of the way. We’ve been pretty quiet this last while but that’s all about to change as we’ve a whole host of new possibilities that we want to share.

In the meantime, check out our website, do a class – if you’re a first time user whatever class you chose will be FREE! – and while we’re opening up to you, please feel free to share any ideas with us that you might have about Muuyu.