Find Your Center and Your People with Geeky Yoga


It’s never been a better time to be a geek, and now you can even get your nerd on while working out! Geek-tastic versions of yoga classes featuring such fandoms as Harry Potter, Dungeons & Dragons, and The Legend of Zelda are cropping up at major pop culture conventions and in cities across the U.S. At these classes, you can cast off a Dementor with a wand and Warrior II, or channel the power of the Triforce in Triangle Pose. No matter your ability level or body type, you can pursue wellness while meeting others with similar interests.

I caught up with Justine “JustiniYogini” Mastin, creator and fearless leader of YogaQuest, to find out more about this intersection of fandom and fitness.

Katrina: Tell us a little about yourself and your journeys into yoga and geekdom. How did you get started with each, and what are some of your favorite fandoms?

Justine: For as long as I can remember, the word used most often to describe me is “weird.” Now I embrace this description. I’m not like anybody else, and that’s a wonderful thing.

My first foray into fandom was Twin Peaks—I watched it when it aired, which was probably not age appropriate, but I loved it. The world that David Lynch built captured my imagination in a way I’d not experienced before and showed me the wonders of weirdness. I also spent time in theatre and dance. What all of these experiences taught me is that stories are powerful and a vital part of our lives.

As for yoga, I attended my first yoga class with my mother as a tween and I was not a fan. Being a dancer, yoga was too static for me (at least the class my mother took me to), and it was so different from what I was used to. I noped it right out of the gate. I came back to yoga in my early twenties and found that yoga was immensely healing for me, and I wanted to share that with others. This healing led me to become a yoga teacher, and well, the rest is history.

Ooh, favorite fandoms, I’ll try and keep it to a top five: SuperWhoLock (that’s one, right?), the X-Files, LOST, the aforementioned Twin Peaks, and my guide-to-life Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

K: You created Yoga Quest to serve the geek community, who are generally overlooked by the mainstream wellness community. How can geeks benefit from yoga in particular? What sets yoga apart from other activities, such as biking or tennis or swimming?

J: A few things set yoga apart from other activities. The first, and what is most important to me, is community. YogaQuest set out to create a safe space for the geek community to gather and focus on wellness. Whether or not someone chooses YogaQuest, once they become part of yoga, they become part of a community. The fellowship that comes from being part of a community helps to show people that they are valued—that their ideas and the things they enjoy are valued.

Second, yoga is a healing practice. I am not knocking other forms of wellness—as a mental health practitioner, I know (and have said ad nauseam) that there’s nothing better you can do for your mental health than to move your body—but yoga incorporates mindfulness, which is not always found in other forms of movement. It is a non-shaming practice (at least, it should be) that welcomes you to join your mind and body wherever you’re at in the moment. It is not a competition with others or yourself but rather a time to tune in and become ever more you.

When you pair yoga with narratives, as we do, you are embodying yourself fully as well as enacting a story. Double power!

K: Now that we’re in the throes of the holiday season, do you have any self-care tips for geeks who might be feeling stressed or anxious about traveling, dealing with family, etc.?

J: The holidays are a very stressful time. It’s made even more stressful by the fact that media tells us that we should be happy and carefree this time of year. It makes people ask what’s wrong with themselves that they aren’t that smiling person in the diamond commercial. So there are a few self-care tips I would suggest. When that voice in your head says “I should be happy, the holidays are supposed to be great,” remind yourself that it’s perfectly okay to not feel happy during the holidays and that “should-ing” on yourself isn’t helpful. Then, take a deep breath. Take lots of deep breaths. Give yourself permission to do what you need—you likely wouldn’t tell a friend to “suck it up” and just deal with whatever was going on, so why is okay to tell yourself that? Overall, it’s about having compassion for yourself.

K: For our readers who can’t make it to your studio in Minneapolis or your appearances at conventions, the rental videos are a great resource. Can we look forward to new quests to rent on Vimeo?

J: Yes! You can already rent and download our Legend of Zelda–themed quest here, and we have two more videos in post-production right now! We’ll be filming more in the coming months.

I would also welcome folks to engage with us on social media and our blog where we discuss topics of yoga, geekery, and body positivity. People can find out about all of this and more at our website!

K: Thank you so much, Justine, and “Nerdmaste”!

How do you practice self-care during the holidays or year-round? How does geekdom inform your wellness practice? Let us know in the comments!

Image Credit: YogaQuest and Sarah Cantrell A2Z Photography

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