Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and fitness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Carmen Curtis, creator of AIReal Yoga, located in Ventura, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My business is Aireal Yoga; I use an aerial hammock as a yoga prop. The hammock helps to make Yoga accessible to everybody, every age, and every level. It makes Yoga safer and more fun. You can use the hammock to make your yoga practice easier or more challenging. You can use the hammock to flip upside down and do postures you never thought possible.
AIReal Yoga was the first aerial yoga teacher training brand to be recognized by the Yoga Alliance. I’ve been doing Yoga and aerial for over 25 years, and I love how the hammock has become a wonderful tool for physical and mental wellness. We offer classes, teacher training, studio installations. We sell hammocks and portable rigs and have online classes.
Tell us about yourself
I started as a national champion gymnast from UCLA, personally training Olympic athletes and studying Yoga to heal my body from competitive sports. I then went into the aerial arts as a professional Cirque performer, performing and traveling all over the world. I helped to create the award-winning show Le Reve at the Wynn hotel in Las Vegas.
Throughout my career, I used Yoga as a way to offer longevity in my sport. As a yoga teacher, I found that many of my students wanted to do more advanced postures. I found my circus hammock to be an amazing tool for my students. When I opened my first studio, classes became full, and I needed teachers. This inspired me to create my own curriculum. I was honored to be the first aerial yoga teacher training program ever recognized by the Yoga Alliance. I offer a full 200-hour teacher training along with workshops and immersions. I believe it’s so important to make Yoga accessible, and AIReal Yoga can help so many physically and mentally. I love that the hammock can make it possible for everybody to do Yoga and enjoy the physical and mental benefits it offers.
I am overwhelmed with gratitude as I have taught thousands of teachers and have licensed my brand to hundreds of studios around the world. The ripple effect these teachers and studios have is profound, and I am so honored to get to share this and help so many.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Recently one of my biggest accomplishments actually happened during COVID. I have written many different Aireal Yoga manuals, and I have been traveling the world, opening new studios and teaching teachers, but it was becoming challenging to get to so many places and share so much. COVID offered me time at home, and with this time, I was able to film hundreds of hours of classes, teacher trainings, and videos to go with my manuals. This has now allowed me to have a greater reach and support more people. You can now take my classes and teacher trainings online at your own pace and have access to unlimited classes and videos. My husband also recently designed the first engineer-stamped and safest portable rig on the market so my students can practice at home too.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Being a business owner is definitely a balancing act. Learning to balance your time and energy and making sure to integrate self-care. Nowadays, with business, there are a lot of expectations for a business owner to always be available, like answering the email at all hours of the day. So I constantly have to remind myself to take a pause, breathe and be present in the moment. I’ve had to learn to trust in the process.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Make sure you love what you do. When you own a business, you can be working all day, every day, so whatever your business is, make sure that it makes you happy to do it. When you love what you do, then it doesn’t become “work.” It becomes doing what you love.
- Compete with yourself, not the other businesses. Work to be your best self, your best business. Focusing on the competition is not helpful. Instead of competing with other companies, look to collaborate with them. The more you collaborate and support other businesses, the more you can all work together to help lift one another up.
- Surround yourself with people that make you happy and inspire you. Trust your instincts when it comes to the community you have surrounding and supporting you. Let go of what does not serve your heart and soul and hold tight to those that love and lift you up.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
You can’t truly understand just by reading this how amazing the hammock and AIReal Yoga can feel to your mind and body. The only way to truly know is to try it. I do hope this article has inspired you to give AIReal Yoga a chance and give yourself the opportunity to enjoy a new form of self-care.
My purpose is to be of service and help share this incredible form of yoga with others. Please reach out if you have any questions or would like more information.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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