With winter approaching—and the pandemic still a large part of our lives—it’s more important than ever to take care of yourself, both mentally and physically. Enter YNDI Yoga, an Iceland-inspired yoga and meditation platform that allows you to get a holistic health experience safely at home. We sat down with creator Lana Vogestad to talk YNDI, yoga, and how to get some self-care during these unprecedented times.
Hi Lana! Thanks for talking with us. First off—YNDI Yoga. How did you get the idea for the platform?
It’s been a fun creative endeavour! I started creating short instructional yoga videos in June 2019—way before the pandemic—with a documentary filmmaker and with the mentorship of a yoga student and dear friend. My collaborator filmmaker Brett Wiese Saunders understood my visual art background and appreciation for stark beauty inspired by Iceland, and seamlessly captured my vision from the beginning. I realised early on we were creating another world that was so magical, authentic and pure, and establishing an online yoga platform that I would love to participate and engage in myself.
So what can people expect to find when they enter YNDI? What can they use it for?
Powerful and transformative yoga classes and meditation that are artfully done and will make you feel strong, healthy, resilient, focused, peaceful, and full of vitality. The engaging YNDI experiences inspire and motivate a dedicated home yoga and meditation practice, which is life-changing. A home yoga practice is so convenient since you can fit it in around a busy schedule.
What is unique about YNDI is that we create an all-encompassing experience with visuals and sound that all come together to take you on a transformational journey to bliss. This is combined with clear instruction and a minimalist art direction that eliminates distraction to facilitate a deeper, more direct connection, and holds ample space for healing.
You will find diverse yoga classes rooted in different disciplines, including therapeutic Hot Yoga, express classes when you’re short on time, and classes for newer students or students with injuries in addition to challenging classes for more seasoned practitioners. There’s also a diverse selection of guided meditations including Yoga Nidra which is a magical yogic sleep for deep rest. In addition to the growing video library, we also do livestream yoga classes for YNDI members collaborating with musicians such as dj.inc. in Atlanta, who has created amazing soundscapes for many of the YNDI videos and occasionally spins live from his turntables while I teach. In our recent livestream class, an accomplished pianist performed piano improvisation for our final relaxation which was incredible. In addition to yoga, there is also a curated YNDI Boutique on the platform with gorgeous pieces for sale that capture the essence of YNDI by the Icelandic designer Katrín Ólína and Icelandic photographer Christopher Lund. Part of the livestream programming is also artist talks with these artists, which have been very inspiring.
There’s a beautiful international YNDI community, which members have shared they’re grateful for.
So the special thing that distinguishes YNDI from other yoga platforms is that it offers a more holistic, overarching experience with soundscapes and cinematography. What do you think that adds to the yoga/meditation experience?
The power of YNDI lies in facilitating a deeper connection by touching all the senses. In yoga, the body is a vehicle to purify the body and mind and turn the chatter off. Music, art and film also can help turn the chatter off, elevate consciousness and enhance a blissful experience by stimulating the senses.
Sound, light and collaborating with musicians have always been a big part of my in-person yoga classes. It’s been great to collaborate with dj.inc. in Atlanta and Mikael Lind in Iceland over a number of years. Dj.inc. used to be a student of mine in Atlanta. He was in part drawn to my classes because of my yoga playlists so we share a taste in music. He’s been dj-ing for 25 years and has made incredible soundscapes for my annual workshops in Iceland so it was a no brainer to reach out to him when I started this project. I’ve been a fan of Mikael Lind and honoured to have him play live in my workshops in Iceland which have been awesome. It’s been very special to have him compose a few pieces for YNDI videos. The ethereal and ambient nature of his music is a perfect fit for the meditation and yoga classes. Brett Wiese Saunders, the filmmaker, has an extraordinary artistic sensibility capturing subtle nuances that are jaw-droppingly gorgeous. Brett ties it all together so the videos are truly magical.
You mentioned you have a background in visual art. How has your work as a visual artist affected your relationship with yoga?
I love this question. My art has inevitably affected my relationship with yoga and vice versa. I’ve been working with video projection installation for fifteen years and with a limited palette, mainly black and white. My art has been rooted in the phenomenological, getting to the essence of an experience with the combination of visuals and sound, which in hindsight was profoundly influenced by my yoga practice. I attended School of Visual Arts in New York City for my MFA and have shown my work around Europe and in the States. Just like an art project, as a yoga teacher I create an experience and in this case for yoga students to leave their everyday worries and hold space for healing, transformation and growth. It’s a responsibility to contribute to this carefully and be intentional, compassionate and authentic. Working as an artist has helped me understand the significance of addressing the question “why” rather than just “what” and “how”, the importance of authenticity and the power of meaningful and intentional experiences, and how it can shape and improve our world to thrive. Art and yoga have the power to elevate consciousness and together it’s even more impactful.
It was such an honour for YNDI to be in the official selection for the Reykjavík International Film Festival this fall.
What other things would you recommend people do to stay healthy and happy during this pandemic as the winter approaches?
Zoom comes in handy—stay connected to your people, be with nature, relish the quiet time with creative projects, hot baths and good books, eat well, and take good care of each other.
Check out YNDI Yoga here!
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