Jodi Guber struggled for many years with weight and self-esteem and - along the way - learned secrets to flatter her body shape the best she could. And, as entrepreneurs generally do, she seized the opportunity to create a business: a no body-photoshopping, one-size-doesn't-fit-all fitness collection for every woman. Enter BEYOND YOGA, one of our favorite brands, who believes beauty isn't a size - it's a state of mind. We were lucky enough to steal a few moments with Jodi to chat more about their mission (and garner a few fitness tips for ourselves!). Enjoy, and be inspired!:
We love BEYOND YOGA's commitment to every woman's body. How do you balance your own fitness-oriented lifestyle while giving yourself and your body a healthy dose of grace?
When I started this business I wanted it to embody what the line was about—to go beyond just the yoga mat. I use my daily practice to strengthen my mind & body and really explore my physical capabilities. But yoga is much more than just a routine on a mat. Yoga is how you treat your employees. It’s how you behave in traffic. It’s how you breathe. I love exercising – but it’s important for me to find activities I love so that it’s fun and desirable. If I don’t like it, I likely won’t keep it up but, when I love it, it is my daily dose of grace!!
What have been a few challenges - both personally and professionally - of launching BEYOND YOGA?
We have an amazing team now but, looking back, I would have hired people with more experience even though it would have meant spending more than we should have. It pays off in the end and saves you money in the long run.
I also would have pushed our messaging about self-esteem and body image more strongly in the beginning. I would have implemented some of the things we are implementing now, like girls of different sizes modeling on our website, but there is no better time than the present.
Any wise fitness tips for women who feel pressed for time?
Wear your workout clothes during the day in a way that allows for an effortless transition from your day to the gym. As that is a big part of the inspiration behind BEYOND YOGA – I would have to say – wear BEYOND YOGA as it is designed for just that! That way, any time you have a little time, you can squeeze in a 30 minute walk or a class. I am always in some form of BEYOND YOGA. I feel that if I have something on, I am more inclined to quickly change parts of my outfit and make it happen.
Find a workout that you really love and you will look forward to going and find the time. I love dancing – it’s a lot of fun and a fantastic workout. Most importantly don’t feel like you need an hour in order to get your exercise in – even 15-20 minutes can make a difference.
Do you live by a particular mantra or motto? We'd love to hear!
Be inclusive – what you put out you get back!
And what is your deepest mission and hope for BEYOND YOGA?
My main goal with BEYOND YOGA is to empower women of all shapes and sizes be it through thoughtful design, our messaging, and soon enough, through our blog. We are also committed to no body photo shopping, which allows women to better relate to our models and, in turn, not have such unrealistic expectations for themselves. We believe in nurturing ones self-esteem and celebrating the uniqueness of every woman’s body, just as they are.
BEYOND YOGA’s mission has always been one that cultivates, empowers and enriches the lives of others far beyond the bottom line. The idea of “living beyond” lives in everything BEYOND YOGA represents.
I was at a stage in my life where working for myself was becoming a major priority. I was determined to find something that I loved so that I could start my own business and be my own boss. I thought about things that I was both passionate about and knew I was good at. I love yoga, exercise, fashion and helping people.
I took my personal struggle with my own weight and self-esteem, along with how I had learned to flatter my body during the most challenging times, and created Beyond Yoga.
p.s. Such an inspiring journey, yes? Hear from another fitness-centered Everyday Icon: Lisa Hirsch.