Mackenzie Vojvoda may be best known as a member of the Oakland Raiders Raiderettes for the last two seasons, but even before she was a pro cheerleader, the 24-year-old Watsonville native was a certified yoga instructor.
In the NFL offseason, she hosts women’s yoga classes and offers private sessions from her South County home studio. She specializes in the dynamic style of Buti yoga, a power yoga that incorporates tribal dance to traditional yoga movements.
With the success of becoming part of a pro team and being certified in yoga, Vojvoda has combined her skills of teaching and leading as well as her experiences of what it takes to become a pro organization and created retreats. The retreats are created to help women with their confidence and skills to audition for pro dance teams.
But perhaps her biggest innovation is a holistic approach to Buti, which she calls Kind Individuals Naturally Dance (KIND). It combines her work as a yoga teacher with her experience in the high-pressure world of professional dance and sports.
“I put a different twist on that, because it’s not just focus on dancing—it’s focused on character and how you want to show your best self to auditions. During my auditions journey, I was focused on my character and how I presented myself. I was kind to myself and kind to those around me.”
Vojvoda offers help for those who have a goal in the business but no clue where to begin.
“I started auditioning when I was 18, and I had no idea where to start, how to do my hair, where to get my outfits, what makeup to use. Little simple tips that I feel like people would benefit from—especially other girls who are planning on to audition—I put that all in the KIND retreat.”
Vojvoda strives to be open and honest with the women who attend her retreats, ensuring that they will leave with the advice and information needed to succeed.
“I make it a really safe and honest, real and raw retreat for others to just grow and feel more empowered,” she says. “When you go out to auditions, you need to have that self love. That’s where it starts first. I focus on making sure you have that strong foundation at KIND, and sharing any tips I have. Nothing is a secret. All questions are welcomed and answered at the KIND retreats.”
Vojvoda’s yoga classes are held in her family’s beautiful glass greenhouse studio, filled with fresh herbal essences, twinkling lights that hang across the top of the clear ceiling and assorted plants. Vojvoda’s vision is to create a warm, peaceful environment; part of her goal is to make her students feel good about themselves by working on their relationships with their bodies and self-love before beginning the rhythmic art of buti yoga.
“The tea, the hot towels and the experience of everything—little details to me are so important,” she says.
You won’t be able to find an itinerary, as Vojvoda’s classes are freestyled to an hour long “fire” playlist created for each. With her passion for music and interest in a wide range of genres, the playlists are Vojvoda’s driving factor while working out.
“Music is a huge part of what drives me,” she says. “My playlist has to be fire, because for me when I’m working out. When my booty is starting to burn, that good song is going to push me through it. I feel like that really helps my students to push through it. You just want to groove with it, you just want to keep that flow going.”
Vojvoda found her passion for cheering while attending Watsonville High as a WildCat cheerleader freshman through junior year.
“I loved Friday nights, and I loved being under the lights,” she says. “The energy of people and making them smile is something I love—and being in front of a crowd, it really brings me to life.”
Taking a giant leap from cheering highschool to the NFL, Vojvoda made the Raiderettes cheer team in 2018.
“My grandpa was a big time Raider fan. He had a Raider man cave. I would sit on his lap watching the Raiders. We grew up Raider fans; my brothers and dad, we are all Raider Nation. Once I got to be on the field, it felt like home.”
Vojvoda remembers watching Raider games when she was younger and admiring the Raderettes for their beauty and confidence. It has now come full circle, as she can embody her idea of what it takes to be a Raiderette.
”I was able to have so many people’s attention. I was on the platform to make people feel good, cheer on a team, bring up the spirit, moral and keep Raider Nation smiling.”
Diving even deeper into self-love and body positivity, Vojvoda also has created the BUTIful You yoga retreat. BUTIful YOU allows women to connect with other women to build confidence as they do yoga. She calls it “the ultimate ladies night.”
“We do a yoga flow, and we do a candlelight dinner, usually outside on a long table. We usually have a guest speaker,” she says. “Last retreat, we had a tarot card reader. She read the energy of the room as a whole group. We do yummy dessert together. We do an empowerment circle where we go around and do an exercise.”
The night is dedicated to all-around health, inside and out. She provides a fresh, organic, healthy delicious meal at the end of the yoga flow.
“I love filling my body with good food,” she says. “That’s a big part of fitness. It’s good to establish a good relationship with food and not restrict yourself. I don’t believe in restricting, I really just believe in moderation. Health from the inside all the way out.”
While modeling a life of health and fitness. Vojvoda enjoys helping people by becoming their best self. In addition to her certification of yoga, she also has her AA in health and sciences. She hopes to fulfill another goal of becoming a nurse.
“I am just following that health and wellness path, making people feel good,” she says. “I feel like everybody should be able to do yoga and I wanted to make it reachable and attainable for those who have never tried yoga. It’s for everybody. I’m super passionate about Watsonville, it’s home to me. To be able to give back to my community is super cool. We deserve it.”
Mackenzie Vojvoda releases her monthly schedule on her Instagram @kenzi4u