Today we’d like to introduce you to Carmen Curtis.
Carmen, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I started as a gymnast, full-ride scholarship, part of the national championship team. I began yoga with Bryan Kest and Gurmukh over 25 years ago as a way to heal my body from the wear and tear of gymnastics. I loved it and began training to teach it in college. In college, I was also a personal trainer to celebrities and Olympic athletes. After graduating from UCLA I moved to NYC to perform on broadway. I continued my teaching and practice of yoga with many styles and many teachers in NYC including Shiva Rea. I performed in a harness flying dance show called De La Guarda and this launched my aerial and theatre career in NYC and on tour as lead performer and dance captain. Once I had my first child, I took my first prenatal teacher training and began my journey finding ways to make yoga accessible to all. I then got asked to be a part of the research and development team for Franco Dragone to help create and perform in Le Reve at the Wynn hotel in Las Vegas. I helped create the show, was dance captain and was the lead performer. I now focus on teaching and creating aerial curriculums along with choreographing for events, shows and pop stars. I like to integrate wellness in all my work, like when I choreographed the aerial acts for Beyonce’ and her Formation tour, I also integrated yoga and AIReal Yoga classes for the dancers warm ups and wellness routine.
In 2002, I started using my aerial hammock apparatus really low as a prop to hold me, support me and make yoga accessible during and after my pregnancy and during my fellow performer’s injuries. I began teaching aerial and aerial yoga to my cast members as a way to heal and gain strength. It wasn’t until my second child in 2009 that I formalized my aerial yoga curriculum for all levels and styles of yoga and create the brand AIReal Yoga™.
AIReal Yoga teacher training curriculum was the first 200-hour aerial yoga teacher training to be recognized by the Yoga Alliance. We now offer a wide range trainings and immersions from like our foundational training, Restorative, Yin, aerial yoga for athletes, assisting and hands on approaches for aerial circus teachers, yoga teachers, physical therapists and massage therapists. We license to brand to studios all over the world. We sell rated, tested and safe aerial gear and hammocks.
I currently travel the world with sharing my love for aerial yoga as it is an amazing yoga prop with incredible healing powers. I offer online classes and training so students and teachers and take with me anywhere they are. I own The Aerial Studio aerial arts company and studio in Ventura, CA, I am a mom, mentor and beach lover.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I live the circus life, literally, so no it has not always been smooth. I am lucky to surround myself with amazingly talent and loving people and we all have supported one another along the way. I am also blessed to have an amazing family and husband, Gregg Curtis that have been there to cheer me on as we make it happen together. I believe you have to think positive, live positive, and believe it is going to be amazing. Once I learned to let go of competition with others and instead love and compete with myself, working to be my best self and do my best work and live my best life this began to become more smooth. Smooth has come from being of service and sharing the love. I am by nature a hard worker but it was my mind that would get in the way and cause fear, once I changed my mind to love and trust, the rest began to fall into place.
Please tell us about AIReal Yoga.
AIReal Yoga™ is a leading brand of aerial yoga, it is real Yoga not circus tricks. We have the highest standards in quality and safety and offer a wide range of class styles so we can teach a wide range of clients. We are a brand you can trust and partner with as we offer support for our teachers, students and studio owners. We offer the most current curriculums so we are the leaders to the other aerial yoga brands, teaching their teachers and offering support for their growth.
The hammock is a prop for yoga, it can help hold you to make postures easier, or help you balance and refine, you get to float in it for an amazing Savasana and it is a spotting device for inversions allowing the student to flip upside down, and decompress the spine safely. The hammock makes yoga accessible because it can make yoga easier and safer, realign, refine and or it can make postures more challenging.
I am proud of the community to bring together. Creating communities all over the world offer a safe and fun place to learn and grow. Yoga is about self-realization and self-healing, it is an honor to share this with so many and help others find their own self-love and healing.
Studios can host a teacher training, so we bring AIReal Yoga to them.
AIReal Yoga at Resorts and Spas
Hammock rigging and installations
Festivals and Events
Classes for yogis, kids, athletes, therapy, all levels!
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I started by educating myself, researching and developing, then created detailed and safe programs that would last the test of time. The business side and marketing side took the back seat and I can not do it all myself. If I could go back, I would have brought on someone to run the business and marketing side of AIReal Yoga so I could focus on what I do best, teaching, filming and writing curriculum. Of course, you can not go back. Every mistake is an opportunity to learn…so now my hope and goal is to find someone or another business to take on the production, marketing and business aspects of AIReal Yoga™, so we can continue to grow, help others and blossom into all that we can and should be.
- Online class membership for only $25 a month, a library of aerial yoga classes and a new one added each month. https://airealyoga.com/membership/
- Online aerial yoga assisting and hands on approach teacher training, $450. https://airealyoga.com/air-assist/
- 200 hour Yoga and Aerial Yoga teacher training, weekend program, Yoga Alliance recognized, $3,800, payment plans available. https://airealyoga.com/200-hour/
- Website: www.airealyoga.com and www.theaerialstudio.net
- Phone: 805-340-3412
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/AIRealYoga/ https://www.instagram.com/carmencurtis1/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AirealYoga/
Pictured, Carmen Curtis in both photos. Top photo by Jennifer Brenneman. Bottom red photo by Katelyn Lance