Hope Zvara

My day job is CEO of Mother Trucker Yoga and creator of STIFF Pain-Relief Cream.

I first got interested in yoga about 20 years ago. A co-worker looked at me and said, “You look like someone who would practice yoga.” And something just clicked.

I’d been going through some challenging times—which my co-worker didn’t know—and this just seemed like something I should try. 

I went to my first class. I was the youngest by a good 20 years and I felt incredibly inflexible. But I also felt clarity and peace—for the first time in years, I felt like me.

That Wednesday night class became a weekly ritual of second chances that allowed me to move the needle forward in my life. It wasn’t some kind of magical moment—but it allowed me to see I wasn’t as broken as I thought I was. It pushed me in the direction to take better care of myself. 

Eventually, I became a yoga instructor and opened and ran my own yoga studio for 14 years. I kept evolving over and over again and that studio became a lifeline to help others physically, mentally, and emotionally. But I started to feel like there had to be something more than just owning a yoga studio—that there was something bigger I was supposed to be doing.

About three years ago, I was at a professional event and met a man who was in the trucking industry. We started talking and I tried to pitch him on the idea of corporate yoga. He said, “Do you have anything for truck drivers to do in the cab of their truck?”

I threw up my hands and said, “Mother Trucker Yoga!”

He stuck out his hand, shook mine and said, “That’s brilliant, let’s go into business.”

My husband, who’s always very practical—I call him my rock; I’m the balloon—said, “You should totally do it.”

The gentleman and I exchanged business cards, and he called the very next morning and said, “Well partner, are we doing this?” 

That was November 2017. By February 2018, we built a company, shot video, had branding, gear and a website. We launched at the country’s biggest trucking show, MATS (the Mid-America Trucking Show) and it’s been the missing piece of my puzzle. I can be 100% myself with drivers—it was a total breath of fresh air to step into the trucking world. 

Mother Trucker Yoga helps truckers incorporate yoga into their day—while they’re in the cab, while they’re fueling up, waiting for a load. It’s a philosophy anyone can follow to fit exercise into their day: Small, simple wins that help people feel better, sleep better, get healthier. 

I closed my yoga studio in July 2019 and bought my partner out in February 2019. 

I love that this business has given me the chance to do all these things I never did before. I’m a college drop-out; a “B” student. And yet, here I am, figuring it out, doing things and making it work. People like to say “I’m not…” good at numbers, a writer, smart enough, whatever. I like to say, “You jump and you’ll be given the tools to land.” It might not be a perfect landing, but it will be ok. 

The trucking community has been so open and wonderful to work with. I have met some the neatest, hardest-working people in this role. Truck drivers are the lifeline of America, yet pre-COVID how many people really thought much about how food and products got to their door? 

My newest idea is my pain relief cream, STIFF. I’d been thinking of doing this for 15 years. Whenever I used some other brand there was always something I didn’t like—it was greasy, or smelled bad or was full of scary chemicals. This one is made in America, has my wish list of ingredients, really works, and is brought to you by the people who use it. Isn’t that great?

My most memorable caffeine was the first coffee I drank as an adult. I was 19 and at a program for yoga instructors in the mountains in Colorado. Everyone else was drinking coffee. I never liked coffee, but I thought I should give it a try. I got my cup, put in a little oat milk, tried some honey because others were and took a sip. It was like I’d never tasted coffee before! It was delicious and really sticks in my memory. Was it the atmosphere? Some magic brew? All I know is that it was so satisfying and now I love coffee and drink it every day.

My current caffeine of choice is an almond milk latte with a splash of vanilla or monk fruit. I am not a black coffee drinker—I like my coffee on the caramel or white side. 

My favorite place for caffeine is the Perc Place in Hartford. It’s locally owned, all the food is fresh and organic and the baristas always seem like they’re having fun. 

The person I’d love to share a cup of caffeine with is my grandfather. He passed away when I was 15. He was an amazing business owner in Milwaukee. He was super savvy and smart. He had a really hard life and whenever I find myself wondering about a challenge I think, “What would Grandpa do?” I’d like to get advice and encouragement from him. He was always so positive and knew he could figure things out. 

He was such a kind man. My grandpa was the Santa Claus for people without money. He bailed people out and supported them on their journey. He had the soul, spirit and gift to help people, and he was good at business. I’d love to pick his brain. 

World problem that could be solved with the right amount of caffeine: Helping people never lose hope. If I could, I’d snap my fingers and help people keep going when they feel like they can’t. I wish I had a program, a magic potion, whatever it would take to help people feel they have what they need to keep going and overcome their obstacles. One coffee with a dose of hope, please!