A COMPANY WHO GETS ITBy Wren Schaefer
AIReal Yoga™ hammocks are being found more regularly in yoga studios, yoga festivals, and now in the workplace! Superlok USA is a small business located in Ventura, CA (birthplace of AIReal Yoga™) that has brought this stress-relieving activity into their daily operations. This company provides vales and fittings to industry, which may not be a very provocative-sounding business, but whose owners, Karen Hellmuth & Casey McLaughlin, are shining with inspiration.
Casey worked for a large industry company for 20 years when he met Karen working in the same field. After about 3 years of working together, they took a leap of faith and decided to go off on their own. They became business partners in 2006. The two describe their relationship as very much yin/yang and they need both sides to be complete. Karen is the administrative talent (a realist), and Casey is more the sales side (or what Karen, playfully, calls the delusional optimist).
Karen may be more realistic, but she is definitely more of the adventurous spirit. She began taking AIReal Yoga classes and it quickly became part of her weekday ritual. Karen dragged Casey to my AIReal Yoga class in 2014 and he didn’t say much to me for the first year of coming to class. Casey is an ex-football player, outdoorsman, father, grandfather, and entrepreneur. Naturally, he was skeptical about this new form of fitness and the hippy-dippy, yoga people that went with it.
After consistently taking class every Wednesday for one year, Casey began to comment that he had never felt better in his life. He had increased shoulder mobility, greater flexibility in his hamstrings, and a greater understanding of how to prevent injuries. He even began venturing into beginner aerial classes and handstand classes at 61!
Karen and Casey recognize the deep benefits that AIReal Yoga has had in their own lives and decided to bring the magic of the hammock into their company headquarters. Karen secretly ordered 4 hammocks from us and had them professionally rigged in the center of their warehouse.
Filled with excitement, Casey asked me to come over and teach a class to two of his employees. It was a new experience for me. Most beginner students who come to an AIReal Yoga class come voluntarily because they are excited to try something new. In this situation, I was bringing this foreign concept to two smart, independent women who were asked by their boss to take a class with a lady who works at a circus school… I was a little nervous, but decided to teach with the intention of offering tools to help these hard workers release stress, decompress the spine, and calm the mind so they could work more efficiently.
They were so wonderful to work with! We went through a series of shoulder stretches, hip openers, backbends and inversions. Using the hammock is a great way to get out kinks from typing on the computer all day, slouching and carrying stress in the body. So often we think that we need to stay wound up to get things finished, but in the long run neither our bodies nor our minds can sustain that type of workaholic tendency.
Superlok USA is a company that values hard work, efficiency and self care. They say the biggest asset in their company is valuing people. Protocol and policies are beneficial because they allow us clear guidelines to work from. But as human beings, sometimes we need to take a little time for ourselves to process what is going on in our ever-changing lives. By allowing your employees some flexibility to care for themselves, it will make them more productive and work from an authentic motivation. Superlok USA gets what it means to provide a healthy work environment.