BACK IN 2015, Joe Kudla was a hardworking auditor who decided to decompress with yoga—except he couldn’t find any yoga clothes that he actually wanted to wear. So he launched Vuori activewear, comfortable SoCal-vibey gear that’s now in 2,000 stores globally and expanding nationwide. Huge growth means huge potential headaches. But Kudla has some keys to staying yoga calm through all of it.
“Dealing with stress starts well before you get to the office,” Kudla says. He “gets his head right” by waking up before his daughters, doing 15 to 20 minute of breath work/meditation, and moving his body with core stability work or cycling.
Hit the Ball Back
“An inbox with thousands of unread messages translates to anxiety for me,” he says. “Someone early in my career told me to treat email like tennis… when someone serves you a ball, you want to hit it right back and keep the ball in their court.” So he organizes his inbox multiple times a day: deleting spam, answering anything urgent, and flagging items that will require more thought.
Take Thinking Time
Designing products is what “lights me up and gives me energy,” he says. But as a leader who’s heavily scheduled, he gets easily entangled in the business side and disconnected from the creative. So every week, Kudla makes time to sit down and just think—that’s when many new designs and ideas are born.
Invest in Happiness
What every other company calls their lunch hour Vuori calls “Investment in Happiness” hour. Noon to 1:00 is a no-meetings zone so that everyone, Kudla included, can “do something that recharges the battery, whether it’s eating lunch in peace, eating lunch in peace, getting some fresh air, or hitting your favorite studio for a class.” He does any (or all).
Go Upside Down
Coffee at any time of day keeps Kudla up at night. If an after- noon slump hits, he inverts. “In yoga, you learn head and handstands. Even lying on the ground with your feet up against the wall will flush blood back into your head.” Not quite the same as a latte, he says, “but it accomplishes the goal.”
Evenings are dedicated to family time. That’s mainly piggyback rides and tickle fights with his daughters “until every ounce of energy has left my body.” The laughter and fun keep him connected and balanced. “It’s those things that stay with me and carry me through the more challenging times in my professional life,” he says.
Thanks and Goodnight
After dinner and books and the basic bedtime routine, “we do a short gratitude practice that my kids love. We simply ask each other what we’re grateful for that day,” he says. Then it’s “mindless TV,” reading, or preparing for the next day “until I’m out around 9:30.”
A version of this article originally appeared in the May/June 2023 issue of Men’s Health.
Cori Ritchey, NASM-CPT is an Associate Health & Fitness Editor at Men’s Health and a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor. You can find more of her work in HealthCentral, Livestrong, Self, and others.