• Combining storytelling and yoga
• Form, fun, and function
During an engaged, line-networking conversation, while attending NYC Comic Con last fall, I met Justine Mastin, creator of YogaQuest. She was presenting her style of yoga to one of the largest geek communities and I was excited to learn all about it. YogaQuest is a yoga class which blends yoga poses with fan-fiction storytelling. Each quest is guided by a narrator and a certified yoga instructor, taking each class on an epic journey (yoga sequence) which will engage the mind and improve strength, balance, and flexibility.
In Mastin’s ‘previous life’ she worked in hospitality administration and came to heated yoga and vinyasa flow in the early 2000s as a way to discharge excess energy and destress. “After practicing for a few years, I decided to become a teacher in the hopes that I could share the practice, which had helped me so much, with other people. My practice now is quite different than it was then, but at the time, it was just what I needed,” Mastin said.
Over time, Mastin felt she didn’t ‘fit’ in the spaces (places) she was practicing yoga. “Upon reflection, this was because the yoga spaces I inhabited were intentionally exclusionary. And even though I fit a particular ‘type’ I was sensitive to the lack of inclusivity. As a life-long nerd, and often outsider, I could pretend I was normal, but I always knew I wasn’t. This isn’t a self put-down, it’s simply my reality - and the reality of many people as well,” Mastin shared.
After attending her first comic con, Mastin was able to pinpoint the problem she was experiencing. “I had thrown myself entirely into the mainstream, western yoga world and I was ignoring my authentic self. The self who needed to surround myself with nerds. In that moment, I made it my mission to create a style of yoga that was not just accessible, but unbelievably fun for the geek community. What I discovered was that this practice not only resonated with the geeks, but with many other people as well. The linking together of stories with movement is as old as time and so it speaks to people on a deep level. Most adults in our country are starved for play, and YogaQuest offers them a fun arena to let go of their inhibitions and truly be playful.
When asked what she wished others knew about yoga, Mastin replied, “I really wish people knew yoga isn’t what you see on Instagram®. Yoga is a practice, not a picture. And the best yoga teachers know the goal is to find a way to help the practice fit the body of the practitioner and not the other way around. That means that yoga truly is accessible to all shapes, sizes, and levels of ability. Yes, you can do yoga.”
If you are looking for a fun new way to juxtapose health, wellness, and fun at your next event, consider a yoga quest. If nothing else, make sure participants get enough time to stretch. View a stretch video at