Jana Webb, creator of Joga, is a lifelong athlete with a passion for sharing her intimate knowledge of health and fitness. She is a published fitness writer, TV host, entrepreneur, TEDx presenter, teacher and mother, as well as the founder of Joga World and Joga House.
1. Not only have you founded your own business, but you also created your own unique style of practising yoga, all while appearing on network television and being a mom. Busy woman! What inspires you to achieve these amazing things? What motivates you to succeed?
My inspiration is driven by this force called entrepreneurship. Ever since I was a little girl I knew that I would do something bigger than myself. I grew up in a very rural area in which I had a lot of time to imagine and create. My parent always re-enforced that I could do anything that I set my mind to do. So, that’s what I do – I make seemingly unrealistic goals and then work with integrity and let the cards unfold as they should. So ultimately my inspiration comes from thinking I can do anything, and my motivation is driven by the desire to achieve anything.
2. We love the concept of Joga! Can you explain to our readers the core differences between Joga and yoga? What was the driving force that prompted you to create your specialized style of practice?
Joga is a hybrid of breathing and relaxation methods of yoga combined with the biomechanics of sports movements. Athletes are always in motion – so the traditional long holds of yoga aren’t cohesive to how athletes train and compete. I always use the example of a football player – you will never see that player mid-field standing in tree pose. In fact – traditional yoga can cause more harm to athletes – most yoga postures require a lot of flexibility and are designed for bodies that are completely opposite of athlete. Athletes are tight and need to remain tight to have speed and power, so they can be explosive. Becoming too flexible will make them too loose and they will lose the elasticity required to be fast. Think of an overused elastic band – if it is overstretched and overused it loses its coil and spring. Joga focuses on the athletes entire training program and is only an ingredient to make them the best possible athlete. The entire Joga program incorporates movements, positions, breathing and relaxation tools that have been adapted and transcribed for the athlete, and the culture of sport.
3. In your opinion, how important is sleep for an athlete? Is rest really that important to performance?
Oh, where I do I start ….. Sleep is imperative for the sustainability of an athlete both short term and long term. Without proper sleep, an athlete can not recover properly. Sleep increases HGH (human growth hormone) was is necessary for the cellular rejuvenation and muscle repair, it decreases the stress hormone cortisol, which is a hormone that, if is in excess, impedes optimal body function and it restores the brain and cognitive function. Without sleep, an athlete’s reactions times aren’t as quick – which can affect performance and increase the risk of injury. Without sleep, an athlete’s immune system is jeopardized which, in the course of a vigorous season, can lead to illness and games missed --which over time, effects the longevity of that athlete’s career.
4. Based on your experience, does sleep play a major role in healing?
After being through my own injuries this year, I would say that sleep played the most important role in my healing. Because I had a concussion, sleep is mandatory to rest the brain, shut down, and remove all stimulation. Even without the concussion, sleep plays an important role in the healing of my back. The body needs a break from everything or else it shifts into fight-or-flight mode to try and survive. This mode is a stressor and necessary if fighting off a bear, but not necessary 24/7. Living in the sympathetic nervous system mode eventually breaks down the body. It reduces blood flow to internal organs, it creates a chemical imbalance that effects our biochemistry, and it increases blood pressure – all symptoms leading to complete body malfunction.
5. How severely do you think tiredness impacts an athlete's performance during away games? What advice can you give athletes to prioritize sleep even when they are travelling?
The demands of travel alone will impair the body from optimal function; layer lack of sleep on this and its like compound interest. Different cities, different hotel rooms, different time zones, different food – nothing is regulated – consequently, their bodies will react. This reaction, inevitably, will affect peak performance. I give athletes many techniques for sleep on the road, encourage them to relax/meditate, and to practice mindfulness as often as they can; on the plane, on the bus, in their rooms etc..
6. As a fellow Toronto girl, what are some of your favourite ways to exercise/stay fit in the 6ix?
Well, I definitely love to go to the Joga House . Besides that I am an avid walker – since my accident, I have not been able to do a lot of things I use to – but I live in the Beach where there are some amazing paths by the water. I'll walk for hours and take in the water, the sun and the air. I find this very meditative and a great opportunity to reflect and strum up my next goal.
7. Back in the city, in your own bed, what is your secret to sweet dreams?
I try to practice consistent sleep hygiene, I use an eye pillow, I practice belly breathing, I think through all of the things I am grateful for, I say a little prayer, and always acknowledge that me, my son, my family and loved ones are healthy and happy.
ABOUT JANA WEBB
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