The Insight & Inspire interview series feature different people who are bringing ideas to life and sharing something with the world that they are passionate about, whether it's through teaching yoga, creating a business, doing work in their community, creating art, hosting events, bringing to life new wellness products, or more.
These interviews highlight real people who have brought ideas to life and give real-life insight and inspiration on their processes and journey.
This session is with the Publish & Editor-in-Cief of NY Yoga Life magazine, Iana Velez.
What are you passionate about sharing with the world? Why does this motivate you?
I started NY YOGA LIFE magazine in 2014 to combine my love for yoga, design, creativity, community and my hometown of NYC. NY YOGA LIFE is a print and digital publication that also curates and co-produces events with Kripalu, Omega, The Rubin Museum and many more!
Sharing people’s stories, learning about different healing modalities, putting something beautiful back into the world, is what motivates me. Our print magazine is carefully curated and designed, and I always like to imagine that people can enjoy every issue while sitting in a comfortable chair sipping their favorite tea or coffee.
What are some books and podcasts you recommend?
My all-time favorite podcast is How I Built This on NPR. It showcases interviews of people who have started big businesses, and most started with nothing but dreams and incredible passion for what they created. It is incredibly inspiring and a reminder that growth (personal and professional) is hardly ever linear. That passion and grit are required. That challenges, and what might initially be perceived as setbacks will happen to everyone, but keep going no matter what. If you are feeling like you need inspiration, have a listen to Cathy Hughes’s story (founder of Radio One) or real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran in this series, it will give you new life!]
Where are you from and how has this shaped you?
I was born and raised in NYC. Being a native New Yorker has been invaluable in shaping the voice of the magazine, and it provides an authentic perspective for our publication. Someone who grows up in a small town or suburb will have a very different perspective since the NY experience is like none other! It was never intentional, but about ½ of our team are actually native New Yorkers, from Long Island, Staten Island to the Bronx!
What advice do you have for people starting a new project?
Since day one I have worked a full-time job in addition to launching and running NY YOGA LIFE, and it has had its pros and cons. Having a full-time job has given me the financial flexibility to keep going with this “passion project” even when no money is coming in through the magazine. I didn’t have any investors or extra sources of income to launch the magazine, so for me I had no choice but to keep working another job. This may be a good option for some people starting out if they are not financially (or emotionally) ready to launch a new business, it provides a safety net if needed.
Of course, working full time while launching a new business felt like having twelve new full time jobs! When you own your own business you are the owner, lawyer, accountant, janitor, you name it! I did every job and to some extent still do, five years later! If you have the energy and passion for what you do, working another job while starting your business might be a good option for you.
What is unique about the way you work and how you operate?
Our entire team is volunteer-based, from writers to photographers, and this greatly helps us provide the magazine for free to the community. Our volunteers have a great deal of passion and knowledge about yoga and wellness, and want to share it with the community.
How do you have good business relationships?
Respect and gratitude are the foundations of any relationship (personal and professional) for me. One of the things I love about owning my own business is having the opportunity to work with people that inspire me.
Enjoy reading NY Yoga Life magazine here!
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