156: Reaching Better Health with Mother Trucker Yoga

This week on the Oakley Podcast, host Jeremy Kellett chats with Hope Zvara, Co-Founder of Mother Trucker Yoga. During the episode, Hope shares her personal story of overcoming struggle and addiction through yoga. Topics in this conversation include the founding of Mother Trucker Yoga, the importance of motion and movement in everyday life, tips and exercises for drivers, and more.

Key topics in today’s conversation include:

  • Hope’s personal story of overcoming struggles and addictions with yoga (1:23)
  • The story of Mother Trucker Yoga (MTY) (3:43)
  • What MTY offers for truck drivers (6:12)
  • The importance of motion and movement (7:41)
  • Getting connected with Mother Trucker Yoga (8:49)
  • Overcoming stigmas with yoga to improve your health (11:24)
  • Simple tips and exercises for drivers (14:28)
  • Mother Trucker Yoga’s goal of helping one million drivers (16:37)
  • What does the future look like for Hope and her team? (20:48)

Oakley Trucking is a family-owned and operated trucking company headquartered in North Little Rock, Arkansas. For more information, check out our show website: podcast.bruceoakley.com.


Hope Zvara  00:12

If you’re listening to this, and you’re like truckers and yoga, it’s not what you think. I’m not rolling out a yoga mat with you. There’s no yoga pants involved unless you want to, totally your choice. But it’s really about the breakdown of what yoga can teach us. And so it’s the stretching. It’s the mindfulness. It’s the breathing. It is the strength training, but in tiny little bite sized pieces. And so for me yoga with mother trucker, yoga and fitness with mother trucker yoga is really about tiny little things that you can do throughout the day.

Jeremy Kellett  00:41

Welcome to the Oakley podcast, trucking, business and family. This show is brought to you by Oakley trucking headquartered in North Little Rock, Arkansas. The purpose of this podcast is to communicate with Oakley owner operators and their families by giving them up to date information concerning Oakley trucking and the trucking industry. From business advice to safety updates to success stories. Also to give an insight to outside truck drivers that might be interested in joining the Oakley family. We’re here to Mid America truck show and once again of have found a guest to come on the Oakley podcast you know with us in I hate us wouldn’t believe what you find around this place in it’s just a great gathering of all kinds of trucking professionals, truck drivers, anything you can think of that goes with a truck and need a lot of things that don’t have anything to do with a truck. And a lot of people here too. But I have a guest with me today that this is out of our norm. I know my audience is like what are you doing, Jeremy but this is a little bit out of our norm of doing it. But I just thought it was so interesting that I wanted to introduce Hope Zvara to you and what she does and what she’s trying to get done with truck drivers. Thanks for joining me.

Hope Zvara  01:51

Well, thanks so much for having me on. I’m excited to be here with you at the Mid America truck show

Jeremy Kellett  01:56

It’s fantastic.

Hope Zvara  01:57

Oh my gosh, such a great turnout this year. I’m so happy to see last year was great after COVID. But this year, I feel like people are back and they’re happy and they’re excited to be here.

Jeremy Kellett  02:06

Do you have a booth here?

Hope Zvara  02:08

We do. We’re actually just two rows down from you, my friend.

Jeremy Kellett  02:11

Do you do it every year? Are you star is this your first year this

Hope Zvara  02:14

is our fifth year. So we actually launched at the Mid America truck show in 2018. And I’ve been coming back after it’s ever since it’s just a truck show that keeps giving

Jeremy Kellett  02:24

It does mean you get to see all kinds of folks.

Hope Zvara  02:27

Yes. Okay. You could interpret that however you want. Yes.

Jeremy Kellett  02:30

Read the truth. Yeah. So give us a little bit of background on what I Hope does where you’re from maybe, family, hobbies, that kind of thing?

Hope Zvara  02:39

Yeah. Well, a lot of people asked me, Are you a truck driver? I did not get my start in trucking. I got my start in yoga in the fitness world. I’m a small town girl from southeastern Wisconsin. And I was just really looking for a solution for myself. I was struggling with addiction, anorexia, bulimia, drugs, alcohol, massive, massive anxiety and depression. And I was told the best case scenario, and not by one, not by two, but by three doctors, that I learned to live on medication indefinitely. And I decided that wouldn’t be my story. I decided that I didn’t want that to be how I would live into adulthood and have kids and a family. Like, I thought to myself, I can’t have kids in a family like that I can’t even function. And yoga just kind of fell into my lap. And I will give full disclosure. When someone mentioned to me that I looked like someone that would practice yoga. I don’t even think I ever heard the word yoga before that conversation. But you know, you have those moments in life where someone says something to you. And it’s just like you feel it so deep in you that you’re supposed to take action on that. That was that moment. And that yoga class I went to more than 20 years ago became my weekly ritual of second chances. I had no idea what I was doing Jeremy, I was shaking. I couldn’t touch my toes. I was like, I had no idea these words that they were using, but I was hooked. It was something about the breathing and the stretching and the moving that I walked out of that classroom that first time and for the first time. And as long as I can remember, my mind was clear. And for some of you listening out there, stress, anxiety, depression, racing thoughts, call it ADHD call whatever you want. we’ve normalized it like, oh, well, that’s okay. It’s just who you are. I’m here to say that this drug, yeah, you don’t have to live that way. Now you got to do the work. And so I started practicing yoga. And I started teaching yoga, because I realized that other people just like me, were struggling. They looked fine. On the outside. I looked fine on the outside, but I was a mess on the inside. And eventually I opened a yoga studio and I started training and started doing a lot of different things in the fitness and health world. But I never felt like that was where I belonged. I never felt like those were my people.

Jeremy Kellett  04:52

So how’d you get introduced to trucking?

Hope Zvara  04:54

So five years ago, actually a little bit more than five years ago. I met somebody at a local business mixer in my small hometown in Wisconsin. And I was trying to pitch him corporate yoga. And he looks at me and says, Do you have anything for truck drivers, like in the cab of the truck, and I think I’m funny sometimes. And I threw up my hands and I said, mothertrucker yoga, really just tried to get a rise out of the sky and make this conversation be a little less painful. And he looks at me and says, That’s brilliant. You want to go into business together. And so he was in trucking, and I was in yoga, and we kind of married together. And a year later, I bought him out of the business, because while I was kind of doing everything, I attribute his introduction to trucking. Really, to me, my dad was a sewer pipe player, I understand blue collar workers. I love the underdog. I live in a trucking community. And so I’ve been around it my whole life. But I never once had the connection between the two. And that night at that local mixer, it was like my whole future was laid out. I hope you can actually help these men and women and do what you did for yourself and 1000s of other people outside the trucking world for them. And I’ve been doing it ever since another

Jeremy Kellett  06:06

moment. You had

Hope Zvara  06:07

I had another internal moment. You’re gonna think a lot of people have those. But I think they don’t listen to them. They don’t listen to that. Like, you know, it’s like when you go to the grocery store, and you’re like, you should pick up salsa. And you’re like, why don’t you eat salsa? I’m making Italian tonight. And then like, the next day, your kid is like, Hey, Mom, I want some chips and salsa and you’re like, dang it. I should have bought the salsa. Those were my moments for me. The internal like, you need to do this. It’s your calling. It’s whatever you want to call it. I listened. I think that’s the only difference is I just listened and here I am.

Jeremy Kellett  06:40

Here you are doing it. Aero truck sales has been in business for over 60 years and a longtime partner of Oakley trucking and the Oakley podcast. Dre visor and Keith Wilson do a great job at putting you in the right truck to fit your needs and our needs here at Oakley. They carry all makes and models to choose from with on site financing through transport funding. So whether you’re a seasoned owner, operator, or first time buyer, be sure to contact Keith Wilson at Arrow Truck Sales at 573-216-6047. And tell him you heard it on the Oakley podcast. So tell us exactly what you offer truck drivers. Yeah,

Hope Zvara  07:25

so Mother trucker yoga is really so first of all, if you’re listening to this, and you’re like truckers and yoga, it’s not what you think. I’m not rolling out a yoga mat with you. There’s no yoga pants involved unless you want to totally choose. But it’s really about the breakdown of what yoga can teach us. And so it’s the stretching, it’s the mindfulness, it’s the breathing. It is strength training, but in tiny little bite sized pieces. And so I think that’s really where I’ve taken yoga with all of the people that I’ve worked with over the years, and broke it down and tried to get rid of the stigma, try to get rid of this, like I call it the box mentality, where I’m going to exercise in this location with this equipment at this time. And if I don’t win, I’m not going to do anything. Well, this is why we’re all so unhealthy. And so for me yoga with mother trucker, yoga and fitness with mother trucker yoga is really about tiny little things that you can do throughout the day. So when you wake up in the morning, you might not have a lot of space or time. But why don’t you just sit up at the edge of your sleeper at the edge of your bed and reach your arms up overhead and stretch. How about just twist your body, cross your ankle over your knee and bend forward and stretch your hip? All of that counts? How about when you’re doing your pre-trip check. You just take one or two extra laps around your truck. All of that counts. How about you just drink one bottle of water and still drink Mountain Dew? I’m not going to tell you no. But drink the dang bottle of water first. Yeah, these are the concepts and principles that we’re teaching drivers all across America with mother trucker yoga. And

Jeremy Kellett  08:50

Those are all great suggestions. Because Lord knows we need some more flexibility. I mean, we all do. You know, I’ve never done yoga, per se. I mean I do some stretching, you know and it does make me feel a lot better. And I can tell when I don’t do it a couple times a week but all I’m good for but I can tell when I don’t do it. I’d gone to a guy one time and he was a doctor and I was having some issues with back problems and he I’ll never forget me. My wife still jokes about it. He said motion is lotion. You got to be moving. The motion is lotion, you know. So we’ve always joked about that. And we got to keep moving, stretching and stuff. And there’s a ton of those exercises that you can do stretching. I mean, I had one buddy of mine that we actually bass fish together with and he messed up his knee real bad. And he has a key belief because he’s, you know, farthest thing from his mind would be doing yoga, but he’s been doing it every week now and it has healed his knees in Manhattan. That’s the best thing I’ve found to help me with my knee and I feel so much better. I mean, I guess truck drivers. Get involved with this. I mean, what’s the best way to do that hope?

Hope Zvara  10:03

Yeah, so you can get involved. If you’re ready to take back your health one stretch at a time, one move at a time, you can get involved by one, just check us out on social media, check us out on Instagram and Facebook, I post videos every single day, simple little things that you can do from water hydration, to sleep, to foods to how to shop at a truckstop for healthy meals, to basic exercise, and fitness and mental health. And so you can check us out there, you know, I don’t even need no, you don’t even have to tell me that you’re watching, you can just creep on me. And it’s not weird at all, I encourage it. But otherwise, if you really want to know more about how to work with us, go to Mother trucker, yoga.com. And check out our lifestyle, jumpstart membership app and platform. This is an opportunity for drivers to really kind of come into our family, we have I think over 200 videos on the platform right now I keep adding them every single month. And this is all things drivers can do. In the cab of the truck. I’m in the driver’s seat with you, I’m on the sleeper with you. I’m right outside the rig with you doing what I’m doing, you’re doing what I’m seeing, you’re seeing what I’m telling you, you will literally it’s right in front of you. I want drivers to feel like they have no excuses and no barriers to being able to add these things into their lives. The whole premise of the membership and the app is things that you can incorporate into your day. So instead of thinking like yoga with a yoga mat, or fitness with a gym, you’re sitting in your driver’s seat, waiting to load or unload. There’s a lot of downtime there. I know we think we’re busy. Sometimes I say that to myself, too. And I’m really just there’s a lot of downtime. There’s things that you can do in the driver’s seat. Five minutes before you go to bed, your back’s hurting, oh, I can just open up the app, here’s a five minute stretch so that you can fall asleep and not wake up with your hamstrings screaming atcha. And so this is really the premise of that, that if you can do one stretch, or you could do one move and you could feel better. Why wouldn’t you do it?

Jeremy Kellett  11:53

Yeah. Yeah. So this is, that’s what they get with a membership. And it’s a membership of a monthly membership monthly

Hope Zvara  11:59

membership. It’s mainly a video based platform. But we do have audios, we have meditations, we have some tracks that they can do while driving, it’s an audio they can listen to movements you can safely do. It’s like it’s 45 minutes. So for 45 minutes, you can be driving and moving at the same time. Like how could that get any better. And we have tons of downloads, tons of guides, things on food, things on how and so just opportunities for any driver of any age, any size, any demographic to be able to find something in there that they can add into their life to feel good again.

Jeremy Kellett  12:33

But I’m a man, I hope I’m a man, I need to lift the weight of your man. A man, sweaty, I need to run.

Hope Zvara  12:45

Girl, scratch you need to do all these things. Yeah,

Jeremy Kellett  12:48

man, thanks. I can’t be getting that doing this yoga, breathing and stretching, that ain’t gonna

Hope Zvara  12:54

help. You want to like to have people see you taking care of yourself. Like that’s so not manly like, Ah, well, here’s the funny thing, over 95% of our members are men. Really. And here’s what I’ve discovered over the last five years. A lot of the men that I work with, they’re between the ages of 45 and 65. Although that demographic is getting younger, with all the new people coming in. The number one thing I hear from these drivers is Why didn’t anyone tell me this sooner? They may be saying that on the outside. But they’re looking for something. Yeah, they’re desperate for something. And if you’re out there listening, and you’re just feeling like, Man, my back does hurt. Yeah, I do feel like you know, my brain is a little foggy, come you know, middle of the drive. Yeah, I am waking up and not feeling well or, you know, my body hurts. I’m here to tell you that there’s something that you can do about that. And I want to get rid of the shame and this weird stigma around taking care of yourself. And it is more prominent in the trucking and blue collar industries, where it’s like taking care of yourself. I think it’s a pride thing. And that’s okay. I mean, my dad was super prideful. I watched him for many years, but it ended up breaking his back, literally. And so what if there were things you could discreetly do in the driver’s seat in the cab of your truck, and you could feel good, and then you could empower your fellow drivers to say, Hey, man, like do this stretch, you’re gonna feel so much better. And now you made a real impact on another person, another human being that’s out there struggling. This is just how I live my life. I never want people to struggle like I did in my life. And I don’t want to ever lose touch with that reality. And when I see men and women out there, living life and in a body that doesn’t have to be that way. Man, I just want to come out and partly hug you and strangle you. I’m not sure which order. But there this isn’t really like what people think it is as far as yoga on a yoga mat and yoga pants. This is about you taking back your health. This is about you being in the driver’s seat of your life. You’re in the driver’s seat of a truck every single day driving for yourself if you’re an owner, operator or someone else, isn’t it about time you get in the driver’s seat of your own life and take charge of that and start doing some about something about that, and maybe change lanes into the trajectory of where you’re going to where you could go, that option is out there for you, all you need to do is take the first step. And if you take that first step, and you say, I want to take better care of myself, I’m going to be on the other side waiting for you,

Jeremy Kellett  15:14

if we would, as men and as truck drivers, if we would take care of our self, like we take care of our truck,

Hope Zvara  15:23

Oh my gosh. And that’s something we wouldn’t

Jeremy Kellett  15:26

have any problems because most guys take pride in or be oh my gosh, 100%. You know, but we don’t take care of ourselves. And that’s, you know, that’s just an ongoing thing. But I’m interested in this, because I’m interested in going and looking at some of these videos straight. What’s a couple of just simple exercises that I know you said, walk around the truck, but I mean, there’s it like, yeah, just grabbing a note and stretching or, you know, Toad or so

Hope Zvara  15:53

one thing you all can do is when you’re sitting in the driver’s seat, this is called pelvic tilts, all you’re going to do is sit up nice and tall. And take a nice deep, big breath in an arch your back away from the seat, like someone has a pin back there or like a hot match. And you’re going to arc away as much as you can, it’s going to feel stiff, you’re going to feel like wow, that hurts a little bit, because you’re not used to doing that. And then you’re going to take a nice big breath out and round your back and kind of push it into the seat as much as you can and pull your belly in. And you’re going to do that 10 times. That’s not only going to loosen up your lower lumbar, but it’s also going to improve circulation. One of the big issues for a lot of drivers, especially men, is because you’re sitting so much that blood is pulling in your pelvis. Now we have UTIs, now we have infection, now we’re not healing, now we’re not getting blood flow back up to the heart, because there’s no way to get that blood flow and that circulation moving between your upper and lower body. So that’s one great move. do that regularly while you’re driving. When you’re filling up with fuel. Just go up against the side of your truck, put your hands on your truck, step back a couple steps and lean down like a downward dog. It’s a half downward dog, essentially. And you’re gonna feel your back popping and clicking. Oh my gosh, that’s gonna feel so good. First truck show ever funny story here. 32nd story. First truck show ever had this older guy come up, overalls, white hair, white beard, nicest guy ever. And he’s like, You can’t help me. I’m too old for this. And I said, Oh, really. And I took him over by the truck that was parked next to us. And I had him do that half down dog. And all you could hear was. Other people could hear his spine clicking and popping. He stood up and I said okay, yeah, thanks. Bye. He comes running to my booth the next morning and goes I gotta tell you hope what you had me do there. I have not slept that well. And more than 20 years. I don’t know what you did. But thank you. Honest to God true story. That to me that day was like this is where I’m supposed to be. Yeah, I can help these guys. That’s why that was one stretch. One stretch one minute. And that’s all it takes

Jeremy Kellett  17:46

lease on with Oakley trucking America’s drop off call. Our owner operators are the top paid in the country and we will prove it to you. We offer steady year round freight as well as a yearly annual bonus and increases each year you are leased to us. Oakley has multiple divisions and dumps Hopper bottoms, and pneumatic. So we are sure to have something that works for your schedule and hometown. Check us out on YouTube as well as our weekly podcast or give us a call today and see why Oakley trucking was everything you had been looking for. I was reading some of your stuff on your website before and it said you were on a goal for 1 million drivers. How’s that? How’s that count coming?

Hope Zvara  18:23

I, to date in the last five years have helped and worked in various capacities. 200,000 drivers, right. And I want to meet that million. And I believe that this is the way to change this industry for the good. I’ve been talking about trucks before. I’ve talked with so many carriers and so many trucking companies. And they take such pride in their trucks and the newest trucks, the nicest trucks, all of these things, and they’re given their bonuses, and they’re doing all this and I’m like, Well, what about the drivers? Why aren’t you advocating for a healthy driver? Why aren’t you giving them tools and solutions? For them to be healthy? Well, they’re not going to use it. But if that’s the mentality you’re approaching it with, what do you think they’re following suit with? And so for those of you listening, take your health into your own hands, advocate for yourself, be the one that says hey, I don’t know where to find these resources. But could you help me a little bit like that goes such a long way from the driver and the company owner.

Jeremy Kellett  19:22

You’re just a ball of fire. I can see how this is working. 

Hope Zvara  19:30

I just feel like you know, I’m passionate about life. I’m high on life for my own self because I almost lost mine many years ago. I mistook my own life. And I don’t ever want someone to feel like they’re in that position. And so some of this is really driven by my own struggles by watching my dad, but also a lot of the men and women I’ve worked with over the years now and just watching them go from being in a place where they are just given up hope to feeling like they now have hope and I don’t think I’m a cure all I don’t think that I have a magic elixir. But if I can motivate someone, if I can just inspire someone, you don’t have to work with me, if you don’t work with me, though, find someone that knows what the hell they’re talking about, understands health and wellness. This isn’t just something they woke up and thought one day man, this would be really cool to do, actually wants to help you for the right reasons. But to have practical solutions that you can easily implement into your life. I’ve watched so many people come and go when it comes to health and wellness, outside of the trucking industry even. And I believe it’s because we’re trying to fit fitness into their life kind of backwards. I want you to find where fitness fits for you in your trucking life, rather than trying to remove yourself from trucking and then go to the gym, which is not always practical. And we kind of talked about that before.

Jeremy Kellett  20:43

Yeah, I mean, a lot of people go to the gym. That’s a whole nother sad story. But I used to do that. And I just, you know, just can’t can’t do that little thing in the box. NFL I don’t, I’m a failure. Yep. You know, and this can’t, you know, do that. I try to do things when I can do them. And when I feel good, I feel good. Yeah. And it’s amazing how you do a few things. And you’re like, Man, I feel great. Can I ask the guy that? You know, absolutely fantastic.

Hope Zvara  21:12

It’s interesting when I was doing yoga religiously and practicing our two hours every day. But then when I looked at the scope of my day, sure, I was practicing on the mat for that, that was doing jack shit the rest of the day. And so my whole process is like, Okay, why don’t you sprinkle that into your life throughout the day, and then you’ve moved your whole day. 100 years ago, exercise was not a thing people like this was not an industry. It is only that way now because we sit way too much sitting is the new smoking. Why not look for those tiny pockets through your day as a driver where there is downtime, hold yourself accountable. Tell your buddy, call them up, do it together, whatever it is your spouse, but you can be healthy and fit and a driver you can have both. And I’m on a mission to show everyone how to do that.

Jeremy Kellett  21:56

That’s fantastic. Did you know what the future looks like for mother trucker yoga?

Hope Zvara  22:02

Well, the future is expansive. For me, we have a whole product line now. We have pain relief cream line, we have fun hydration stuff for drivers, I want to make fitness and health things as simple as easy accessible, as accessible as I can for them. So I’m kind of developing that product line we’re in love’s truck stops right now working and growing from there. But really just continuing to work with trucking companies that are passionate about wellness, that this isn’t an afterthought for them, working with CDL schools and just continuing to grow my message and my mission and getting my voice out there as many places I can to help as many drivers as I can.

Jeremy Kellett  22:39

Fantastic story, your great story. It’s good. You know that because people are in those situations. They can see and hear, you know, by listening to you that it can be done. They can come out of it. There’s hope there’s hope and you are fun and sanded. So hope Zafar, I sure appreciate you visiting with me today here at the truck show and we’re gonna get the word spread out about mother trucker yoga to all our listeners for sure.

Hope Zvara  23:05

Awesome. Thank you so much. And for those of you listening, what’s one small thing you can add into your life today to improve your health? It all starts with one small

Jeremy Kellett  23:12

change. Amen. Amen. Thank you. You’re welcome. Thank you. Thanks for listening to this episode with Oakley podcast, trucking, business and family. If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to rate or review the show in the podcast platform of your choice and share it with a friend. We love hearing from our audience. So if you’ve got a question, comment or just want to say hello, head over to our website, the Oakley podcast.com and click the leave a comment button. We’ll get you a response soon and may even share some of the best ones here on the show. We’ll be back with a fresh episode very soon. Thanks for listening.