Local couple are founders of Yoga Flexer
Anthony Kokakis recalls his wife’s fitness accessories spread all around their house with limited use.
“The house was a mess,” he said. “I’m looking at all these accessories and there’s no structure, she’s not using them.”
He thought, “I need to roll them into one, right now, I need to figure out a way.”
Anthony and Janie are co-founders of the Yoga Flexer System, a five training props rolled into one.
“It’s everything you need for a full body workout at home or on-the-go,” Anthony said.
The Yoga Flexer includes a mat, weighted body bar, massage roller, resistance bands, weighted handles and accessories.
The custom mat has two foot holes built in for support. The body bar can be used on its own or with the weighted handles. There’s a durable zipper attachment that holds the mat and body bar together.
Originally developed for Janie, after having their first son, the couple quickly found that Yoga Flexer is the solution for many busy lifestyles, whether it’s family, work, travel or school.
It’s perfect for any age of fitness, though Anthony says, it’s been most popular for women between the ages of 30 and 55. It can be paired with many different training methods including pilates, HIIT (high intensity interval training), barre, sandbag style, cardio and strength, and even physical therapy.
A self-described entrepreneur, Anthony went to the drawing board with his vision. He saw the product in his head right away, he says, and started building.
“Since I’m not an engineer, it took a lot of time and cost me a lot of money to get the right prototype,” Anthony said. “I went through about five prototypes before I was ready.”
Janie, who competed for the University of Northern Iowa track team, has always been into fitness. She earned a graduate degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Northern Iowa and continues to enjoy her career in the field today. The couple are high school sweethearts who grew up in Buffalo Center, a tiny town in northern Iowa. They lived in the Des Moines area for a couple years before recently finding their home in Panora.
“We found a house we could afford and are happy to be here,” Anthony said of the community. “We didn’t even know about the lake, so that was a pleasant surprise. We’re really happy here, we’re comfortable in the smalltowns, our hometown maybe had 1,000 people.”
Anthony, who earned a community college degree in Cedar Falls, has always wanted to invent things. He has a lot of ideas sketched out.
The Kokakis’ have funded the Yoga Flexer through a Kickstarter campaign, and are currently in their second go-around, with over 60 percent of it already funded.
“The only way we could bring this to market and compete with the big guys out there is to use Kickstarter,” Anthony said, explaining the crowd funding platform. “It’s a pre-order that allows us to bring our dream to life. The Kickstarter gives us an opportunity to compete.”
You can visit Yoga Flexer kickstarter at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/106511102/yoga-flexer-20-travel-gym...
Reshape, the new fitness studio in Panora, will be hosting a Yoga Flexer demonstration this Saturday, May 5 from 9:15-10 a.m. You must sign up on their Mindbody app.
“We absolutely love the opportunity it may bring,” Anthony Kokakis said. “We hope people will come test it out.”