She’s an overachieving multihyphenate—JOGA creator and CEO, Reebok brand ambassador, former Real Housewives of Toronto cast member, teacher, writer, mother—but Jana Webb is so much more than a list of accomplishments. She’s a philosopher of life and has made her wildest dreams come true despite two serious car accidents that threatened her physical and mental wellbeing. With the launch of Reebok’s new women-led Be More Human campaign, Jana shares some of the wisdom she’s gleaned from working her way through life’s painful trials.
If you don’t like something, find a new way
Shortly after her first car accident when a driver rear-ended her vehicle in the mountains between Kelowna and Vancouver, Jana joined Toronto’s Randolph Academy and her singing teacher introduced her to yoga to manage her chronic pain. Though Jana loved the breathing and mindfulness component, which helped relieve her pain and stress levels, many of the poses didn’t suit her abilities. “I’m that typical athlete,” she says. “I’m tight in my hips, tight in my hamstrings. I started pushing myself in my yoga classes and ended up causing more injury.” Since she couldn’t find classes in Canada that fully suited her needs, she traveled to Japan to become certified in ISHTA yoga, a personalized practice with a scientific base. She then returned to Canada and became a yoga therapist in Calgary, using her own learning and experiences to heal the bodies of her clients.
Listen to the universe and run with every opportunity it gives you
The clinic where Jana worked was owned by a former pro football player who began to see a slew of positive physical and mental changes due to his sessions with Jana. Thanks to his recommendation, the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders called on her to develop a yoga program for the team. She jumped at the opportunity. Even when the first session failed miserably because 65 huge football players weren’t able to hold traditional static poses, Jana learned from her mistakes and redeveloped a program that would use movement and the cadence of sport to benefit athletes. The team gave her a second chance and in 2010, quarterback Henry Burris credited his CFL Most Outstanding Player Award to Jana and the training they had done together. He was the one who suggested Jana brand her unique form of yoga and helped her brainstorm the name JOGA (yoga crossed with jock and Jana). While it may seem like a fortunate series of events, “it’s not luck,” says Jana. “I created these opportunities because I’m engaged in the moment.” She has since trained elite athletes in the NHL, NFL, MBA, NBA and MLS.
Try to see the good in the bad
In late 2016, Jana was on vacation in the Dominican Republic when a drunk man driving a cement truck drove into her vehicle head-on. She broke her back, but she credits her resilience, perseverance and eternal optimism to getting her through. “I kept trying to say to myself that everything happens for a reason,” she says. “I’d say, ‘Okay, there is a bigger purpose here and maybe I’m designed to inspire people to be stronger than what they are.’” She even says that the accident knocked her back on her feet and gave her a fresh perspective. “In those moments of low is where you find your true character. There are two choices: to stay or rise up.” Jana chose to rise and within a month she was walking again.
Be More Human
For Jana, being human means to “love more people, see more of the world, explore emotion, find adventure, turn adversity into Amens, seek challenges, fail and fail again, go for the dream, listen to yourself and act on intuition,” she says. Her most recent accident only reinforced this belief that we each need to live our lives to the fullest, and in order to do that, she thinks we need to disconnect from technology, be more present and reconnect to our emotional intelligence. “Our minds are wandering and attached to things that aren’t real right now,” she says. “My happiness stems from the ability to be authentic and be in the moment.” To reconnect with herself, Jana focuses on her breathing or takes time for fitness activities where she is away from her phone and can get back to her most human self.
Together, women are majorly powerful
“When you can connect with somebody on a raw platform of challenge or adversity, that’s truly when you can inspire other people that are going through battles,” she says, and that’s why she’s so proud to be part of Reebok’s Be More Human campaign, which is led entirely by extraordinary women who have overcome major life challenges. “Having a bunch of women campaigning together creates flow and inspiration for everybody who’s going through something. If we get a group of women who are positive and moving together, how many people can that lift? That’s so powerful.”