200 RYT Vinyasa, 35 Hour Aerial Yoga
Uplift Active, Founder
Tell us about yourself, your story, where you are from, practice, etc.
I am the founder and creative of Uplift Active, an online aerial yoga studio, Aerial Fitness and Yoga Equipment Retailer based in Florida, USA. I'm originally from Missouri and relocated to Florida a few years ago. I've spent the last year traveling the world and studying yoga in different schools.
How and why did you start yoga?
I was always into health and fitness, but yoga wasn't always my favorite. I tried my first few classes as a teenager, but yoga felt too physically "easy", and my rebellious spirit resented other people telling me how to breathe. My preference at the time was high intensity cycling and hardcore bootcamp classes.
However, when I graduated from college and started my first full time office job, everything changed. Overnight, my life became very sedentary and stressful. 6 months in, I was overworked, sleep-deprived and depressed. I gained weight and suffered from sporadic back pain, insomnia, and stiffness. Anyone that has suffered from back pain knows that it affects all aspects of your life. My doctor recommended painkillers, but that wasn't a sustainable solution in my mind.
Through research online, I learned about inversion therapy and aerial yoga. Aerial Yoga was a novel concept at the time, but still people online shared glowing stories of how inversion therapy managed back pain, and beautiful photos wrapped in fabric. It looked like a challenge that could help me - I was intrigued and had to give it a try.
After my first class I was hooked, and the rest is history. It humbled me, challenged my body and uplifted my spirit. I started teaching and created Uplift Active to share the experience with others to try at home. I've since expanded to other styles of yoga and have vowed to be a forever student, learning more every chance I can.
Who was your great mentor/teacher?
The instructors at Kapok Pilates and Wellness, in Clearwater Fl are my mentors and inspiration! I took my Aerial Yoga certification with them and started my teaching career at this studio. They taught me the importance of building community at a studio and building rapport with each student on an individual level.
Tell us your practice style and how did you choose your yoga method?
Aerial Yoga challenged me in a way that the previous yin and hatha classes did not. Aerial Yoga is truly both a mental challenge and a physical challenge. The mental aspect pushed me to trust myself, focus on the pose, and breathe. It was one thing that took my mind off my stress and became my form of moving meditation. The physical aspect challenged muscles I didn't even know I had! Aerial yoga was my gateway to other types of yoga. It opened my mind to the reality that yoga can be lighthearted, fun and exciting. I've continued my practice in other styles including Power Vinyasa with the Fred Busch training program.
What obstacles has yoga helped you overcome?
Aerial yoga has changed my own preconceived notions on what success looks like, healed my mental and physical stresses, and taught me to take life a bit less seriously. I left my career at corporate desk jobs to teach and run Uplift Active full time 1.5 years ago, and I have not looked back. 5-10 years ago, I never would have dreamed this was possible. My yoga training has given me a new sense of confidence, gratitude, and empathy.
What is your mind set when you step onto the mat?
In my own practice, yoga is a time to assess my physical and mental self. I am very focused on work and this is my time to focus and care for on my own being. In a class, I focus on the energy I bring to the room. The energy you project upfront can completely change the day of your students.
When did you understand you wanted to be a yoga teacher?
I knew I wanted to share aerial yoga with others, but it took me awhile to figure out that teaching is one of the best ways to build deep connections on an individual level. It took me a few practice classes in training before I realized that this felt right for me.
What is the most rewarding part of being a yoga teacher?
Everything always comes back to the students. I push people out of their comfort zones and get to see them grow in their journey to better health. It's a truly rewarding feeling to watch your students succeeding.
Why is yoga so important for the times we’re living in?
Life right now is extremely stressful for a lot of people in modern America. People are working longer hours than ever before, and for many workers work life balance has turned into work life blend. Yoga provides an outlet for stress on a personal level, but studios also unite the community in-person in a time where it's harder and harder to do that offline.
How important is living a healthy lifestyle (clean eating/eating healthy for example) important to the yogi lifestyle?
Healthy eating is critical to the yogi lifestyle. But, it doesn’t have to be complex or fancy. Simply focus on eating as many fruits and vegetables as possible. If you consider vegetables as the main portion of each meal, and get a variety of everything else, it will even out. Focus on adding more good things to your daily routine, and never diet. A diet will never teach you to build healthy habits. The only way to form healthy habits is to focus on adding, never restricting.
Any natural ingredients and/or vitamins (example: Chlorophyll, Vitamin b12) that you recommend? And why?
Food is the best source of vitamins, but it can sometimes be hard to get enough with a modern diet. I take B12 and a multivitamin each day to supplement. If you have access to it, get your vitamin levels tested. This is the most helpful thing you can do for your body to be aware of any inadequacies and supplement or adjust your diet accordingly. Getting more chlorophyll and leafy greens is super important, and a lot of people are deficient in key nutrients from greens.
How important is hydrating/drinking water to the yoga lifestyle/your practice?
Water is everything! I'm very fortunate to live in a place with access to clean drinking water. If you have this privilege as well - take advantage of it with gratitude. Water fuels your body, helping digestion, circulation, nutrient absorption, body temperature regulation, etc.
Your favorite quote?
"You can't control the situation, only your reaction." Your mindset impacts every outcome of every decision you make. In my teacher training, we had a rule that we could never complain. It was quite difficult for me, and I challenge anyone to try this out for a week. I didn't realize how much I complained until I had the other teacher training students pointing it out every time. I realized that I had a habit of injecting complaints into conversation to keep words flowing, without even noticing the effects this had on others around me! Even the tiniest complaints like "wow, it's cold in here" can push people away and lower others' energy. Now I consciously try to avoid complaining whenever possible, and it's had a huge impact on my relationships. It's amazing what a positive outlook can do for your life. Positivity is contagious.
Where we can we find you? Instagram, website, etc
I keep a blog at www.upliftactive.com, and my Instagram is @aerialyogaelaine
Anything else you want to share?