It’s hard to imagine Martina Rando doing anything besides sharing yoga with hundreds of thousands of people every day. Her passion for the practice runs deep—she’s always thinking of new ways to make yoga more accessible, to inspire a larger community and, ultimately, to help people connect with themselves through yoga, just as she did. Like building a community on Instagram where people can learn from and support one another, teaching classes in Milan, her home base, and maintaining a hunger for learning. She let us in on her own journey to yoga and what she’s been up to since.

How did you get into yoga?

My first encounter with yoga was quite fortuitous. I’d spent a year studying and backpacking in China, and when I came back to Italy I realized that my body was craving balance and movement. I started doing workouts and different kind of trainings until I found a yoga account on Instagram that left me totally fascinated. I booked my first yoga class and was hooked!

In what ways has yoga affected your life, big or small?

Growing up I’ve always thought about myself as physically weak. As a child I was often sick, which led to insecurities and an unhealthy relationship with myself and my body. Yoga helped me see how strong and amazing my mind and body are—it led me on a path of self-discovery. I found a new love for myself and for the people around me. I used to struggle with anxiety and depression for years. Practicing yoga and learning about myself helped me become calmer and happier. I used to live in fear of falling back into those patterns, but now I know I have the tools to face any struggle and to always get back up.

Cover Tank, Solar Sweatpant

You’re really passionate about sharing yoga with the world—you teach weekly classes in Italy, you have an instructional yoga e-book with Martina Sergi, and a YouTube channel that you update frequently. At what point did you realize this is what you wanted to do?

When I did my teacher training I had just graduated from university, and I had no intention of becoming a yoga teacher. I decided to gift myself a YTT to take a break and gain the tools to have a safer practice at home. And because I’m a nerd and need to study everything! Little did I know that would be how I found my true passion. After the training I started to teach a couple of classes in Milan, and as I started to teach more, I found out how passionate I was about it. My mom helped me understand that and encouraged me to follow my heart.

I wanted to do my own part in making yoga accessible to as many people as possible. Yoga brought so much happiness and awareness to my life that I felt I needed to share that with as many people as possible. That is why I created the #READYSETYOGA community. I think about myself mostly as a student because I love learning, studying and evolving. I find that the place I learn the most is actually in class, from my students.

“I wanted to do my own part in making yoga accessible to as many people as possible. Yoga brought so much happiness and awareness to my life that I felt I needed to share that with as many people as possible.”

You and Martina S. are #FriendshipGoals. How did you two meet and what’s it like sharing your practice with each other?

Me and Martina met back in 2016. We had crossed path a couple of times at various fitness and yoga events here in Milan, but never really got the chance to know each other. We had been following each other on Instagram for a while. I participated in and won a challenge she was hosting. I introduced myself to Marti a couple of times, but she is a bit shy at first, so that was it. I’m not the kind of person who insists or introduces herself more than once, but for some reason with Marti I felt a connection and I did.

We met for the fourth time at an event she was teaching at, and after the class we started talking. We started to practice together and became family. She inspired me so much at the beginning of this journey. She encouraged me to believe in myself, and I learned a lot from her. We are so different, both on the mat and in life, and that’s why I like sharing this practice with her. We trust each other and we learn from each other. It might sound like we have this perfect relationship where we agree on everything and never fight, but we are actually more like sisters, and you know how sisters’ relationships are—sometime messy, but true! I love being surrounded by badass women like her.

Alosoft Serenity Bra, High-Waist Lounge Legging

You cater to English speakers and Italian speakers, uploading tutorials in both languages and translating Instagram captions. Was this a conscious decision or did it happen organically?

At the beginning I used to write and post only in English. Nowadays pretty much everyone speaks English, and I felt that was the best way to engage with everyone.

When I started my Youtube channel though, I immediately started uploading classes in English and Italian. It was a spontaneous choice. The more people I can share my practice with the better, so providing content in two languages felt more inclusive.

The use of both languages on Instagram was organic as well. I’m still using mostly English, but I use Italian in situations where I would usually talk in Italian. For example, talking about my life in Italy or my Italian community. Even though I feel confident about my English, on my Instagram I try to be as myself as I can be, and it feels authentic to express myself in my first language sometimes. I’ll always remember a line from the show Modern Family. Gloria says, “I know what I meant to mean. Do you even know how smart I am in Spanish?” It cracks me up every single time.

What’s something that people might be surprised to learn about you?

One thing people are always surprised to hear is that I have a Masters degree in Chinese Language and Culture, and that I lived in China for one year in 2015. It was a unique, life-changing, character-building experience for me, and I would do it all over again.

What are you working on right now?

I’m working on a series of projects, and one of them will be out very soon! As I mentioned before, the #READYSETYOGA community was born with the aim of making yoga accessible, approachable and safer for people that can’t attend classes in studios, and to give them a safe space to find inspiration and support. My upcoming project will be an app that will help people stay motivated in their yoga journey. The aim of my first online course, #READYSETYOGA: Splits Edition, is to use a single pose, the splits, to help people stay motivated, reach a deeper goal, create a new habit, and build a safe and well-balanced home practice. I’m also planning on teaching more workshops around Europe and hosting retreats, which is something I’ve been dreaming about for a while and finally feel ready to do!

Make mat moves to Martina’s favorite jams!