During any given Toronto Raptors game, there’s a good chance you’ll catch Patrick Patterson doing some peculiar stretching exercises on the sideline. That’s Joga — a new hybrid form of yoga specifically designed for jocks. For over a decade, Jana Webb, Joga’s Toronto-based creator, has kept busy training some of the top athletes in professional sports. Along with Patterson, Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays, Michael Del Zotto of the Philadelphia Flyers, and Patrick Patterson of the Toronto Raptors are just a few of those who have worked with her.
Joga’s appeal is it was created with an athlete’s body in mind. Focusing on a unique blend of postures to find balance in strength and flexibility, breathing techniques to improve breath control, and recovery and relaxation tools to maintain a calm mind on the field and off, Webb’s techniques leave athletes feeling stronger, more flexible, and re-energized as well as providing all the other physiological and psychological benefits of yoga.
But, hey, not all of us are worried about scoring 30 goals in the NHL or hitting 40 home runs in Major League Baseball. That’s okay. Even if you aren’t driving to the rim in the NBA, Joga still has immense benefits to the regular, everyday person who enjoys staying fit. With that in mind, Webb recently opened Joga House, her first flagship location in Toronto.
If all that wasn’t enough, her life was thrust into the public eye when she was cast as one of the six women featured on the inaugural season of Real Housewives of Toronto, which aired this spring.
Webb recently sat to sit down with SHARP tell us why top athletes have turned to Joga, why you should too, and what it was like having her every step followed by cameras last summer.
Since we’re a magazine tailored to men’s interests, let’s clear up this myth right away: there is a perception that yoga, and in this case Joga, is not for guys; that it’s only something women do. What do you say to this?
That it’s nonsense. My whole methodology behind Joga was to first introduce it just to athletes, but by doing that, we started attracting more men to our classes. Our demographic is 50/50. The program of Joga is specifically designed for tighter bodies so inherently that attracts more men. The first thing a guy usually says when you mention yoga is, “Oh well, I can’t even touch my toes.” And I say, “Perfect!” In Joga, you don’t need to touch your toes — none of the movements require you to touch your toes so we make the most un-yoga-ish people feel successful in Joga.
You’ve been fortunate to train a lot of elite level athletes over the years. Did you get any encouragement when working with them to make your program available to regular people who just enjoy keeping fit but aren’t making the big bucks that professional athletes do?
Oh absolutely. The first thing the players tell me is that they recognize right away the difference between yoga and Joga because of how the cueing is specific to the tighter body. Mostly all of my professional clients have told me everybody should do this. In the 25 or 60 minutes when I work with them, it changes habits positively in their physiology.
Who would you say is the ideal client or athlete who could really benefit from Joga?
The urban athlete. What we are trying to do is redefine what that urban athlete is. Of course, it’s the weekend warrior, guys who play beer league hockey, the moms who go spinning and go to different exercise classes to make sure they’re always finding their edge. We always look at Joga as just a part of someone’s fitness regime. It’s just meant to keep you sustainable and injury free. The second piece of the urban athlete is just people living in Toronto, trying to keep up with the pace of living in the city. Everybody is always on their phones, on their computers, constantly driving; now more than ever, people need to make time for their mental well-being, their physical well-being, and their emotional well-being, just because of the stress we all have in our lives.
So in addition to opening up Joga House, you’ve become a star on the small screen as one of the Real Housewives of Toronto. How do you look back on your time filming it last summer?
It was crazy! I wrote a personal manifesto before I did the show and really understood what I wanted from the show and my intentions going in. I wouldn’t say it was strategic but I definitely had a plan going into the show. I wasn’t going to change my life for the show, I was just going to be who I was. The producers learned very quickly that my life revolves around my son William and building my business. That didn’t change on the show. Anything that you’d see in my personal life would have to do with either William or my business, whether it was doing certifications or a charity golf tournament or photoshoots, all the things that have helped grow the business. I met Bethenny Frankel three years ago and she told me to grow your brand exponentially, you need to be on a platform where there are lots of eyeballs on you. That’s only going to help your business.
What was the experience like having cameras following you around in your everyday life?
At first there was definitely a time period where it was awkward but over the course of the summer, after two or three weeks of filming, I just surrendered to the process. I was trying to be guarded at first and watch what I was saying and then I thought my true personality isn’t going to come off if I’m like this. One thing that the producers did tell us was that your true personality by the end of the show will always prevail. Their job is to create drama; the show is based on drama so you get nervous about that but they said me as Jana will be shown as who I really am.
Has being on the show had a noticeable effect on your business and the exposure of Joga to new people?
I think because they introduced me as the fitness guru on the show and a woman who has built her empire around Joga, people have been curious. The biggest question I’m constantly getting from people who watch the show is, “What is the difference between yoga and Joga?” And the next question is, “Where can I do it?” And a lot of people have said, Can I be a Jogi (certified Joga instructor)?” It’s actually really benefitted our certification business. That’s where we’ve seen the most conversion and interest, is people wanting to be on the Joga team. Our brand awareness has really increased across the country.
Want to train like 2Pats? Try this Joga technique.
Chest / Belly Breathing
1. Lie on your back and bring the soles of your feet on the floor with your knees bent.
2. Place your right hand on your lower belly, your left hand on chest.
3. Inhale through your nose, exhale through your mouth. Soften your jaw and relax.
Isolate Belly and Chest Breathing
4. Inhale: into your belly for a count of 3.
5. Exhale: Empty out completely for a count of 3.
Repeat 3 times.
6. Inhale: breathe into your chest for a count of 3. Hold.
7. Exhale: empty out completely for a count of 3. Hold.
Repeat 3 times.
Combine Both Breaths
8. Inhale: into your belly (count of 3)>Hold.
9. Inhale into your chest (count of 3)>Hold.
Hold for a count of 3.
10. Exhale out as one unit for a count of 5.
Repeat 2 times.
The benefits of this technique?
– Balances left and right brain
– Improves focus and balance
– Separates upper and lower body neurologically to prepare body for muscular movement to follow suit