Jana Webb is the founder of JOGA, a unique fitness program of sport-specific yoga that she developed 15 years ago. If her name sounds familiar outside of fitness circles, that is probably because you recognize her as one of the six women cast in the reality television series the Real Housewives of Toronto, a platform that allowed her to expand the JOGA brand. Watching Jana on the show was my first introduction to her, and I was impressed by her ambition, her independence and her entrepreneurial drive. I couldn’t help but admire her even more after meeting with her at JOGA House, her studio in Yorkville in Toronto, where she shared her inspiring story about recovering from a near-fatal car accident that happened only a year ago, and how she fought through physical, mental and emotional challenges to keep her business moving forward during her recovery. It’s really hard not to feel motivated after spending time with Jana - she inspired me to get back into a regular workout routine and, thanks to her, I find myself putting that much more effort into achieving my personal and professional goals, too. It’s a real pleasure to introduce you to Jana Webb, and I hope you will in turn be inspired by her, too!
Jana conceived of the concept for JOGA when it was recommended that she try doing yoga to rehabilitate from injuries resulting from a serious car accident (the first of two such incidents that would have a profound impact on her life). Though she didn’t find traditional yoga conducive to her, she was intrigued by the practice and wanted to find a way to make it work with her athleticism and sports-driven background. She spent time in Japan studying ISHTA yoga (Integrated Science of Hatha, Tantra and Ayurveda) and incorporated this individualized training with the athletic poses that she was beginning to develop. Jana reminisced on being asked to teach yoga to the Canadian Football League’s Calgary Stampeders as a defining moment that propelled her to fully bridge the gap between yoga and sport, and to create a program that makes yoga relatable to how athletes perform, developing movements that follow the cadence of particular motions the body experiences in sports. Though Jana has been practicing and teaching yoga for the last 15 years, JOGA (so named as a play on “yoga for ‘jocks’”) finally had a name and the brand was officially established in 2010. Jana herself has trained professional athletes and sports teams across North America, and she created the JOGA certification program so that others can in turn train their clients; today there are over 400 trained JOGA instructors and it gives Jana great satisfaction to be able to help others kickstart their careers.
Opening JOGA House was a massive accomplishment for Jana, and that’s an understatement. Even knowing that there is a successful outcome to Jana’s story didn’t make hearing it any less heartbreaking. Shooting of Real Housewives had wrapped and Jana was moving on to her next endeavour, having just signed the lease for the space that would become JOGA House. Before beginning the work on making her studio a reality, she was appointed to train the Dominican Republic’s national baseball team. The day before she was scheduled to return home from the DR, the vehicle she was riding in was involved in a head-on collision with a cement truck, giving Jana a concussion and breaking her back in three places. Thankful to be alive and fearing she wouldn’t walk again, Jana worked hard to return her body to its optimal physical health. She credits having been strong and fit going into the accident with aiding in a quicker recovery, and advocates for making movement and exercise a part of daily life. Jana believes that strength of mind is just as important, and was determined to keep her studio opening on schedule, overseeing everything remotely from renovations to operations while recovering from her injuries. While Jana still struggles with elements of her recovery and has experienced intense lows in the last year, the year has not been entirely without its highs. The release of the Real Housewives of Toronto was an exciting time, bringing increased awareness to JOGA and bringing new opportunities with it. One of these opportunities led Jana to partner with Reebok Canada on a collection of workout clothing that was presented during TW Toronto Women’s Fashion Week - Reebok’s “Be More Human” campaign aligned with Jana’s values and resonated with what she’s been through in the last year, and it was important for her to share their message of embracing constant progress through fitness. Jana has a genuine desire to help others achieve their personal fitness goals - there’s a really great quote on the JOGA House website that reads: “We don’t care if you can’t touch your toes. Keep agile not fragile.”
It’s a real testament to Jana’s strength of body, character and mind that not one, but two car accidents compromised her physical health and she was able to recover from both of them. I’m amazed by what she has accomplished - it inspires me to strive for more and motivates me to live a more healthy, active lifestyle. For more information about classes and training offered at JOGA House, visit the website here.
Want more? Here’s what #WeWantToKnow, direct from Jana herself:
I can't start my morning without...Coffee
I have a weakness for...Pepperoni
Most people don't know that I...Grew up on a working farm in a town of 800 people
Currently reading... The Healing Code by Alexander Loyd
I want...To inspire all to be the best versions of themselves
Thank you, Jana, for participating in #WeWantToKnow, and for motivating me to keep active!