Trailblazer: Wendi Lynch
Wendi Lynch is an E-RYT200, Unnata Aerial certified yoga instructor, and has been a devoted student of yoga since 2002. After falling in love with trapeze arts in 2008 she naturally gravitated to aerial yoga. Her teaching style is playful and athletic, encouraging and creative. As the first certified Aerial Yoga instructor in the islands, Wendi developed the Aerial Yoga program at the Still and Moving Center in Honolulu. She founded Aerial Yoga Hawaii, teaches weekly classes on Kauai and monthly workshops and bi-annual teacher trainings on O'ahu. Learn more about Wendi in our interview with her below, and sign up for one of her aerial classes at Wanderlust O'ahu!
WJ: What aspects of yoga / meditation / spirituality do you bring into your work?
WL: My main focus in my work is to bring awareness and spirituality back to the body. We are not our bodies and we are not our minds; we are whole and connected to each other and our environment. The systematic dissection of the human psyche from the physical body has been detrimental to the human race. I believe in getting people back in touch with their physicality so they can truly listen. If humans were all in touch with their bodies the world would be a very different place. The body is at least as spiritual as the mind. The deepest moments of peace create health. I work to expand proprioception and knowledge of the body so people can experience the connection of all things within themselves. Yoga is not a physical action nor is it a seated mediation; yoga is every moment that you experience fully.
WJ: How did you get involved with yoga?
WL: I studied sculpture in college. The art I made always featured the body. A friend invited me to a yoga class and I was instantly intrigued. I danced when I was a kid so yoga felt familiar but challenging, the sequences were like methodical dance. I became interested in the practice almost as a work of art; each time I approached the mat I felt I was creating something extremely personal. I was mesmerized by the endless details of alignment and synchronizing the breath with movement. I experienced timelessness at the top and bottom of the breath and started to feel the transitions from pose to pose as a separate experience. I thought I wanted to go into art therapy and I needed to do some volunteer work for the program I was interested in. I found an organization that was bringing yoga to prisons, drug rehabilitation facilities and homeless shelters. I completed their training and started teaching yoga to teens in drug rehab and fell in love with teaching yoga. I was no longer interested in art therapy; I feel that I am practicing the most personal and potent art therapy when I teach movement. One especially dark and gloomy winter in Portland OR brought me to the trapeze. Aerial dance was just another way of practicing yoga for me. I started searching for Aerial Yoga because of the clear connection. I did an Aerial Yoga teacher training in 2010 and felt something click. Aerial Yoga is my ultimate personal art piece. The fabric is full of endless possibility. Every time I practice I feel as though I am discovering, learning, growing, and expanding.
WJ: What's your favorite pose?
WL: It is a tie between Savasana and handstand. It took me a long time to be able to get up in a handstand and even longer to be able to hold it. It was (is) an extremely psychological pose for me. After I was able to hold it and got over some of the fear of what is behind me I felt like I had been given the key to a thousand locked doors. I understood my abilities both physically and mentally in a new way. It spurred a new hunger for challenge and gave me confidence. In handstands I feel like I possess a secret super power.
WJ: What's feeding your wanderlust today?
WL: Traveling and meeting new people teaches new perspectives. I have an endless desire for learning and experiencing new things. The name Wendi means to wander so maybe it’s my mother’s fault! My curiosity tells me to wander through my mind, my practice and the world. In the Upanishads there is a saying “All who worship ignorance Enter blind darkness, Those who love knowledge Enter into a greater darkness.”
WJ: If you could leave one legacy for your community what would it be?
WL: Loving kindness. I believe that if everyone felt happy and free dis-ease and disease would cease to exist. If each person could choose love the ripple effect would be cataclysmic.