Aileen Pham, Owner of Spectra Yoga in Costa Mesa, on Finding Balance

Allergies, asthma, and other health concerns prevented Aileen Pham from participating in most sports when she was a child. While attending USC, she discovered yoga and realized it was more than a workout. It helped her to improve her health and later to deal with the stress of witnessing her mom’s battle with breast cancer. “Every time I stepped onto the mat, it was just me and nobody else. I could stop and re-collect.” Now in her 12th year as an instructor, Pham leads several classes, including aerial yoga, where participants hold inverted poses.

Photograph by Priscilla Iezzi

“At first I hated it. It was hot, and I had on the wrong clothes. I couldn’t quit because my aunt had paid for my first two weeks.”

“I studied business in college. I got a ‘real’ job after school, but sitting in a corporate office wasn’t the most fun.”

“Aerial yoga uses hammocks that can hold up to 4,000 pounds. But it’s not like Cirque du Soleil.”

“It can be challenging, but the thing that’s beautiful about aerial yoga is that you can lie and sleep inside of the hammock at the end of class. It’s like a cocoon.”

“It’s modified for everyone. I want to create a community where everyone feels like they can come here.”

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