I ran into Stefania from Yoginfinity during an industry get-together. She somehow stood out of the crowd. I don’t know if it was her elegant style, her positive energy or friendly smile. Whatever. I have the habit to always approach the most colourful and unique individual I spot during an event. So I did what I always do, I said hi.
As I loved Stefania’s story and exciting business concept, I decided to interview her for my blog as well. If you are interested in yoga and/or meditation and live in the Middle East, you need to check out Yoginfinity. But let us start from the beginning…
Natalia: Stefania, what is your story?
Stefania: I moved from Barcelona to Dubai in 2009, with an Innovation Consultancy and kept on working in multinational companies in Marketing Strategy until 2014. By then, I had already been practising Yoga and Meditation for a decade. When I finished my last corporate job I wanted to take a new fresh step in my career, and couldn´t find any suitable position that would motivate me. So slowly but firmly I came up with the idea of creating my own company that would have a positive impact on the society. The decision was taken based in a desire to bring together my business skills and my passion for Yoga and Meditation, and the result was finally creating Yoginfinity.
Natalia: How did you find your way into yoga? Or did yoga find you?
Stefania: Yoga appeared into my life in a very painful moment, after a life crisis, when I was in search of new activities to help me manage anxiety. I started to practice three days per week, getting suddenly very engaged with it, not only physically but mentally, to the point that my lifestyle started to change. The result of that is that 12 years later it has become my profession. Yoga found me in the right moment and since then, it´s been one of the best supports to do important changes in my life and a powerful inner strength tool for my daily routines.
Natalia: For those who have never heard of meditation before. What is it and what is it good for?
Stefania: Contrary to what a lot of people think, meditation is not about having no thoughts at all, but a technique to develop concentration, clarity, and to increase the levels of consciousness, seeing the true nature of things. There are countless types of meditation, from silent, to chanting, to guided, walking meditation, Vipassana, etc…, and it is by practicing that we can develop the skill, as if it was a muscle. The continuous practice of meditation can be helpful in different ways: it stops recurrent unproductive recurrent thoughts, decreases anxiety, boosts creativity, reduces stress levels and improves our inner strength and self esteem, just to name a few of the benefits.
Natalia: …and what is Yoginfinity?
Stefania: Yoginfinity.com is the most complete online platform for Yoga and Meditation in the Middle East. Our aim is to make those disciplines more accessible to the whole population of the region, taking advantage of the limitless possibilities of the online world. Yoga practitioners of any level, can find the best studios and teachers of their town, do their own practice from home with online videos, get updates about the latest Yoga and Meditation of events, as well as learn from the most relevant personalities of the sector and be an active part of the community.
Natalia: What is your favourite part of this great platform? What excites you the most about it?
Stefania: The whole web is what I would have liked to find when I moved to Dubai in 2009 (I couldn´t spot all the Yoga and Meditation information in one place!), so what really excites me is to hear the feedback that our platform is already being very useful to the people. My favourite part is the area of the web for EVENTS, as there is an enormous offer and enough alternatives not to get bored any day of the week!
Natalia: What kind of yoga “should” a person start with, when (s)he has zero experience with yoga (and is a bit critical about the value of yoga)?
Stefania: My recommendation would be to read a bit about Yoga and to start with traditional approaches, such as Hatha and Vinyasa. And also each person is different, so I encourage the people to find their own style, by trying with various teachers before sticking to one particular professional.
Natalia: I have heard that you already achieved stunning milestones with Yoginfinity. Tell us more about it!
Stefania: Our platform has already included more than 400 Yoga and Meditation Studios and Teachers of the whole Middle East, showcased more than 140 events, and shared 30 videos for online practice, as well as having reached more than 400000 people through our Social Media conversations. We have had a growth of a 30% in our Social Media since we launched the web in January 24th, so we can´t be more happy with such a great welcome!
Natalia: In your opinion, what is the biggest misperception people have when it comes to yoga and meditation?
Stefania: Regarding Yoga I would point that many people think that yoga is equal to fitness, while the reality is that yoga is much more than that: It is a physical and mental activity, in which you work on your body at the same time that you bring awareness and work on your mind consciousness. And for meditation, is believed that you only meditate when you mind is thinking of nothing. Which is not true.
Meditation can be doing a body scan and focusing in the sensations that you are having, listening to your breath and getting into the flow of the air inside and out of your nostrils or many other techniques. It is more about allowing thoughts to come, being aware and seeing them in distance, rather than forcing not to have thoughts at all, which would be simply impossible, and by the way, would create the opposite effect: stress.
Natalia: How does your typical platform user look like?
Stefania: We have some newcomers who have never practiced Yoga or Meditation before but want to start practising, and also advanced practitioners from the whole Middle East who have already a good knowledge. There is always something useful for all in our web. The typical user is mostly a mindful person, sporty, conscious about sustainability and aware of healthy eating as well. Mostly women, in the same percentage that you would see in a yoga studio, but the number of men interested in our platform is increasing day after day.
Natalia: When and where can we learn more about you?