Today's featured yoga interview is with Derik Mills, founder of YogaGlo.com. YogaGlo is the new online yoga experience in HD video that gives you the feeling of being in an actual yoga class while practicing your poses at home or on the go. For students who wish to enroll in YogaGlo studio classes in real-time with experienced and certified yoga instructors, YogaGlo is located in Santa Monica, California. To learn more about watching YogaGlo videos, enrolling in YogaGlo studio classes and signing up for a free 15-day trial with limited access to videos, visit website here.
Derik Mills shares his experiences and insights on how he got into yoga, his inspiration for starting YogaGlo, and YogaGlo's widespread impact on yoga students worldwide.
How did you first get into yoga? What were some of the health benefits that you noticed from taking up the practice?
Looking back I think it has been since my mid teenage years that I’ve had a strong curiosity about the human condition. But it wasn’t until I was finishing my undergraduate degree in Chemistry in 1996 when I took a course on some of the early yoga texts that I discovered a fascinating, universal wisdom tradition that deeply resonated with me. I have found that yoga, meditation, contemplative practices essentially invite us to engage with the process of our optimal living, to live the authentic possibilities of our potential.
Through practice I find that as my awareness increases I begin to see what works for me and what doesn’t work for me. I become more aware of my behaviors, of why I do what I do so that I can begin to transform my unskillful habits and belief patterns. The health benefits, in my experience, seem limitless along a variety of dimensions – psychologically/emotionally, physically, interpersonally, etc. I see that at every moment there is an opportunity to practice wisdom.
As CEO of two companies it is sometimes difficult for me to carve out 60 or 90 minutes for a full class. I try to meditate every day for 30 minutes, often together with my wife and I find that meditation has been so helpful in allowing me to be more patient, compassionate and less impulsively reactive. Sometimes before a challenging phone call or meeting I’ll do a little warm up of sun salutations, maybe a few handstands or backbends to clear my mind, to remind me that I am part of something much larger than myself. What is learned “on the mat” translates to how I behave “off the mat” in both obvious and very subtle ways.
What was your inspiration for starting YogaGlo?
Since my introduction to those yoga texts I’ve wondered a lot about the unifying power of the realization that regardless of religion, culture, age, political views, etc., something we all have in common is the human condition. The yoga process is simply the lifelong process of investing the quality of our condition. I wanted to participate in spreading the tools of this process around the world. But I didn’t know how.
Then the idea for YogaGlo came to me when I was yet again about to be late to one of my favorite yoga asana classes and, sitting in my car in a moment of frustration, I wished there was a camera at the back of the studio that could beam me into my favorite class whenever I wanted. And what if that website, streaming directly into my living room, could also offer me a spectrum of yoga teachings and practices, in an accessible and non-dogmatic way, from a variety of great teachers? My mind spun with possibilities.
How did you go about turning your idea into a reality? What were some of the big challenges you faced along the way?
The short answer is pure passion. It requires a creative urgency and unwavering conviction in the vision to overcome the constant flow of challenges and obstacles. Also, an idea like YogaGlo can’t become a reality without a strong team behind it with the collective competency, shared values and passion to make it viable. The YogaGlo team of yoga teachers, employees, advisors and consultants are such an amazing group of people who are smart, visionary, experienced, intuitive, fun…I could go on and on. YogaGlo wouldn’t exist without them.
What are some of the testimonials you've received from students, especially the ones who are able to take advantage of doing yoga classes at home through the video recordings?
We receive testimonials from all over the world from people telling us how grateful they are for being able to experience world-class yoga teachers whenever they want in the comfort of their home or while traveling. Some of the testimonials that are especially dear to me are the ones from people telling us how YogaGlo has helped them maintain their yoga practice when they weren’t able to leave their home due to debilitating depression, illness, or while watching over new born babies, or from beginners who were afraid to go to a yoga studio but after taking classes on YogaGlo gathered the courage to go to a yoga studio regularly, to people thanking us for playing a role in improving their relationships with significant others, or after moving homes to help them feel less isolated, to people who have realized that they can do what they previously thought they were incapable of doing both physically and emotionally, to people learning to appreciate their bodies as they are, to people who have thanked us for helping them take the time out for themselves that they need, to teachers for thanking us for helping them become better teachers, and so on. As a result we at YogaGlo truly feel that YogaGlo is playing a small part in helping to improve the collective human experience.
YogaGlo is the first website with our unique filming perspective to create the experience of being in a real class at home or on the go so we get a lot of comments of how people from around the world feel like they are actually joining in on a real class with real students. They see other students in our videos who like them may also loose balance in a pose or who can’t touch their toes, etc. That YogaGlo helps create this sense of resonance with others virtually, and therefore encourages commitment to practice, regardless of one’s perceived ability, is something I’m very proud of.
What advice do you have for people who want to do a similar venture as yours (i.e. start their own yoga studio or gym, start their own innovative health community, but don't know where to start)?
One of my favorite passages from the Bhagavad-Gita says “Your own duty done imperfectly is better than another’s man’s done well.” I discovered that the magic happens at the point when I bring into confluence the various dimensions of myself that want to be exercised and challenged while directed towards a purpose thoroughly meaningful to me and larger than myself. In my experience it is true, if you are doing what is natural to you, what is true to you, all the rest will follow. Simply trust in that, always. And most importantly, embark on the journey only with a team that has the expertise, experience, vision, passion, mutual respect and capacity to have fun.
To learn more about YogaGlo, visit www.yogaglo.com