Getting High On Yoga
Wendi Lynch Owner of Aerial Yoga Hawaii
Please tell us about your business. I teach aerial yoga classes at Golden Lotus Studio in Kapa‘a. I also teach monthly workshops on Oahu, and do teacher training for people who want to learn how to teach aerial yoga.
What is aerial yoga? It is yoga practiced with a silk hammock. It’s the same material people use for acrobatics, like in Cirque du Soleil. It’s the exact same fabric, but I tie it in a loop and it’s hooked into a point on the ceiling. You can do almost any pose that you would do in other forms of yoga. It’s one of the fastest-growing yoga practices. It’s really fun, and everyone needs more laughter, pleasure and curiosity in their lives.
What is the history of aerial yoga? There are many different people who have been practicing this for the last 10 or so years. And there are two main people who started it: AntiGravity yoga group, and then there is Unnata Aerial Yoga — both are based in New York. I trained with Unnata Aerial Yoga, which is mostly people who have a circus background.
What is your background in yoga? I’ve been practicing yoga for more than 10 years. I was living in Portland, Ore., and was looking for something to do. I found this circus school, and I started taking trapeze classes and completely fell in love with it. It was my new favorite thing. The place that I was learning was offering aerial yoga, but it was on a trapeze. It got my curiosity going and I started looking into it. I found the school in New York that was doing it with the silks, and it just looked like you could do so much more with the fabric than with just the bar and the rope. So I went to train for it in 2010. I’m also Yoga Alliance-registered and had already been teaching standard yoga.
What is beneficial about aerial yoga? There are so many benefits. The really obvious benefits are you get to be inverted and it holds your body weight. There is a huge compression that regularly happens in your spine. And that’s just in your spine. It happens everywhere — your elbows, knees and shoulders. Aerial yoga is like a full-body decompression, so it’s really good for increasing flexibility. It also improves your balance and awareness of your body, and where you are in relation to other things. When you’re inverted, rather than thinking left from right, you’re thinking more three-dimensionally. It’s also wobbly, and you’re using your core to balance and your upper body in the climbing action.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of your business? I have a lot of students who come in, and their imagination is really fired up by it and they are inspired by the fabric. The poses that you can do feel really amazing, and it feels like you’re doing something really special. I think that one of the coolest things is teaching people who think they can’t do it, and they keep coming back and you watch them get stronger and stronger. Once people realize they can do things with their bodies, they think, ‘If that’s possible, then what else is possible?’ It opens up this whole new path for somebody to feel like they’re capable of doing whatever they want to do, like breaking through limits.
What’s a challenging aspect of your business? It’s the same thing that’s challenging for any small business. Figuring out how to get people to try it and how to let people know about it.
What makes you get up every day and do this? I’m in love with it and I believe in it. It’s made such a huge difference in my life — not just physically, it makes you feel a sense of limitlessness. That’s one thing I love about the fabric is I’m constantly making up new poses; I’m constantly changing the things that I do with it. It’s such a diverse medium.
How often do you recommend people take classes? I have classes twice a week. Once a week, however, is good for people starting out. But if someone can commit to twice a week, they’ll see really big improvements in their strength; it happens a lot faster. Classes are from 7 to 8:15 p.m. Tuesdays, and from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. Wednesdays.
What are your future aspirations for this business? I would love to have a center. If I were to dream big and have anything I wanted, I would want a center where aerialists could do retreats with trapezes, silks, bungees — all that kind of stuff — and I’d have my primary business be aerial yoga and train people internationally.
Golden Lotus Studio 4-941a Kuhio Hwy., Kapa‘a