Soul People: What if you could replace your shouty alarm tone with a beautiful, guided audio meditation or yoga class? In bed. Sounds dreamy, right?
THANKFULLY this actually exists. We chat to our friend Lizzie, co-founder of Yoga Wake Up, the more holistic alternative to blindly stabbing at the snooze button 6,435 times every morning.
Tell us about Yoga Wake Up…what inspired you to set up the business?
Yoga Wake Up came about quite naturally in a yoga class!
More than 5 years ago, Joaquin, my husband and co-founder, was in a class that began in Savasana lying down. He was asked to imagine that he was still in bed, making himself comfortable with blankets and a bolster for a pillow.
The teacher then gently eased them through poses on the floor until they were brought to standing in Tadasana, when she announced, “Good Morning”. He wondered, “What if we all woke up like this?”
Within days we were creating the first ever “yoga alarm clock”.
What is Yoga Wake Up’s purpose?
Our mission is to make yoga and meditation easily accessible to all and deliver happy thoughts to you in those first minutes upon waking up.
Why do you think purpose driven businesses matter?
Oh how I love this question! As human beings living in these modern times, we have so much choice – too much, one might argue!
It is so important that we lift up businesses we believe in and vote down businesses that are not in our best interest…doing so with our dollar. Mission driven companies — ACTUALLY mission driven companies are ones that operate sustainably and create a service or product that is making the world a better place. It’s then up to us, as the consumers, to choose them over others that are perhaps convenient but not sustainable, trendy but not lasting.
Businesses are a reflection of the people behind them and we have to celebrate and support the ones that are doing good so that eventually the ones driven by greed or power lose and all we have left are responsible, sustainable companies. (We can dream, right?!)
Biggest challenge about running your business?
Scaling sustainably, affordably. Creating deep connection via a mobile experience.
How have you handled the huge changes forced upon us all? If you’ve embraced it, and leaned it into it, tell us how?
We were some of the lucky ones because we happened to own a business that felt a bit “pandemic-proof”. Our challenges were less about survival and more about how we could support other businesses and our customers through such volatile times.
We immediately dropped our prices for 2 months and donated Yoga Wake Up subscriptions to first-responders, teachers and schools and any other organisations that were in dire need of accessible self-care tools. We also added live-streamed video content daily to support all of our members that are missing their home yoga studios.
In these times we need our community most and although audio-guided yoga serves an incredible purpose in the bedroom, seeing your teacher in person and getting that facetime was and still is very important for us all.
Furthermore it allowed us the ability to pay it forward, supporting our teachers, most of whom have lost all of their work, with a supplemental income.
How do you feel about the world slowly returning to something resembling normality?
I am not so sure we will ever return to “the way things were” and I am also not crazy about the term “new normal”. I am feeling that there is beauty in the uncertainty and this extraordinary change can be viewed as a rebirth, if we allow for it.
We just have to find our way again – the resilient will do it well, the less so will struggle, and it is up to us all to support each other through it. My favourite thing about this experience is that it is a global one – has there ever been another time in our lifetime, or ever, in which we are all connected and all affected?
Sure it’s awful in many ways, but we will get through it. We’re human, we’re designed to evolve.
How do you connect with the Now?
I pause, close my eyes and listen to my breath. I’m a natural busy-body so slowing down is the best way for me to consciously be present.
What creative inspiration have you drawn from your travels?
Yoga began in India more than 5000 years ago, and in the last 50, western culture has whitewashed it and put a premium on it. We launched Yoga Wake Up in the age of Instagram and it was important to us to create a sacred space that is accessible and representative of all people.
We still have a lot of work to do and this last June, on International Yoga Day, we created WAKE UP FEST, a live-streamed virtual festival to celebrate and honour the lineage and original meaning of yoga, which is “to yoke” or to unite. Although I have only traveled to India once, I was privileged to practice yoga there and see first-hand its impact on the people, and vice versa. We want to go back so badly!
It’s my dream to record audio in many languages and have Yoga Wake Up HQs in California, Barcelona and Mysore, the birthplace of Ashtanga.
S&S is all about Now / Soul / Risk / Balance. Do any of those strike a chord with you?
Balance really strikes a chord with me because it’s one of my guiding principles in life. My family is from Cuba and early on my Mom taught me “Work to live, not live to work.” It is important to me that we also encourage balance across our team, giving them permission to lead a life of balance as well.
Where’s next on your own travel bucket list?
It pains me to say this but we had plans to visit Patagonia in December for the Global Eclipse Gathering. It’s not looking feasible but here’s hoping! If that doesn’t work out, I would like to reschedule Italy with my Mom and sister next spring.
And finally – what does Soul mean to you?
I love that saying “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” I really find comfort in that because it reminds me that I am forever in existence, connected to all beings and we are all one.
Find out more: yogawakeup.comBack to Journal