Life is hard no matter what but it’s so much better when you feel good and you are functioning optimally.
A common misconception is that only women do yoga although yoga was started by men in India over 5,000 years ago. Also, some people mistakenly believe that eating clean organic food, being spiritual, and taking a holistic approach to life is only for the odd ball. We disagree and we have proof.
Men and women from all walks of life are starting to join the cosmic wave of holistic healing. People from young to old, alternative to conventional, athletic to brittle have gained a thirst to heal with natural remedies and enhance their human life experience.
- Le Bron James perhaps the most well known NBA player attributes some of his skills and health to yoga
- The New York Giants NFL team chose yoga to help prepare for the super bowl this year
- Brendan Brazier a professional Ironman Triathlete developed an organic plant based diet during training and gained extremely rapid recovery rates
I am very happy to have this opportunity to interview Kirk Hensler, owner of Hale Holistic yoga/kick boxing studio in downtown San Diego, CA. Kirk uses his studio as a platform to promote holistic living to the San Diego community. He gifts a shot of organic green smoothie after each class and also offers one week of free classes to new students. In this interview you will find out why holistic living can be such a valuable asset to your life. Kirk’s fun and light-hearted approach to life is infectious. Let’s begin!
Tell us about your business Kirk? How would you describe it?
Well, it’s a yoga and kickboxing studio with organic green smoothies. It’s down to earth but the instructors and the services are as good as you can get. People come here to get healthier but also not to be judged in the process. Just as many people come here to be apart of a collective movement towards wellness as they do for specific workouts. Personally, I think it’s a one of a kind place and more studios are going to try and replicate what we are doing.
How did you get started? What led you to opening the studio?
I was originally over the US and on my way back to Asia. Two days before flying to India I had a minor panic attack and realized I was going to come back to nothing once again. I sat down and wrote out what I wanted to do with my life and Hale was at the top of the list. I made some phone calls, found investors, and hurried back to San Diego. Also, I was so sick of paying a ton of money to go to a yoga studio and be spoon fed a bunch of bulls$*t all in the name of profits. I want to meet people that feel the same as me, I don’t want to be rushed out of a room after I have a great experience. I care much more about people than I do money, money doesn’t make me happy.
What made you decide to offer yoga and kickboxing classes? How do they compliment each other?
Well, yogis are historically insane so I figured it made sense to have kickboxers around to protect me from them. I was a martial artist before a yogi and I think the movement aspects and the positive effects on the body and mind are closely related. And for most people, one style of movement just isn’t enough. Whether they realize it or not. It also feels good to hit things sometimes. And we shouldn’t make our lives so dogmatic, it’s silly really.
What’s the deal with your organic green smoothies? Can you explain why you gift them, how you make them etc…
Man I love fruits and vegetables, it’s just so damn hard to eat enough of them. Thank god for Vitamix. I can’t go a day without drinking a green smoothie and the recipe I’ve created has literally improved everyone’s life that I’ve shared it with. Got rid of my sister’s anemia, my mom’s cholesterol stuff, some peoples inability to poop often, the list goes on. And it’s a nice little ceremony after class to bring people together and give them a chance to actually be a part of something.
Can you share some of the benefits of a holistic lifestyle?
Ha, yes I can. First of all you will be happier. People don’t even realize how little control they are taking over their own happiness. There’s the mapped out version of living which involves working a shitty job, eating shitty food, and turning your brain off night after night to some form of useless entertainment. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to shut it off once in awhile, but if it’s never on you’re not even living. I want to know about people, what drives them, what makes them overwhelmed with excitement. I want them to wake the hell up and start living. I don’t give a shit if you’re hardcore or just scratching the surface but there’s a whole lot of amazing sensations in and out of the body that people just don’t get a chance to experience. There’s a good reason that when I come home to visit my family I get everyone eating clean and staying active; they love it and they want it, it’s contagious and life-changing all at once. Sometimes it just takes an example and I’m fine being the example. Doesn’t mean I don’t want to have a drink or a burrito now and then, and doesn’t mean I won’t either; because let’s be honest, who doesn’t?
How do you stand out against the competition in the holistic community?
Some of those people are simply full of it. They’ve read the material but haven’t put it to practice. First of all, I’m a bonafied martial artist and yoga practitioner and my diet is pretty tight. I know what this can do. I’ve lived through some shitty times and have had to overcome some serious mental demons. But there’s a reason I made it out and fought through. Hale is legit, it’s the real deal. You know it from the moment you walk in. What sets us apart is that we give a shit. Quite a bit actually. I care more about good health than anything in the world, how can you top that?
Describe your teaching style…. I hear you got jokes! 😉 How does your humor contribute to your class?
Haha yeah I like jokes. I get a little uncomfortable in a room full of strangers that have all showed up for me to help them solve their problems, lotta pressure there. But the jokes bring us all on the same page. I couldn’t care less how advanced someone’s practice is if they are an asshole so I try and remind people that we are all here to be better people, and it should be fun if you really think about it. I have a problem with swearing but I’m trying to work it out of my teaching style, hear it’s not a good thing. And you know what, the practice speaks for itself so I just want to make people feel comfortable with where they are at. It’s amazing to be able to do the things we do and if someone is held back because they are afraid of how they look, then that just sucks; I want to get rid of that.
What would you say to all the people that think yoga is for wimps?
Ha. I would tell them to try it. But that’s an act, everyone knows it’s the real thing. Men who say it’s for wimps are just the ones that are scared of trying it because it will kick their ass. I practice yoga usually 6 days a week and I box the other day. I can do things with my body that I never thought possible like flip, hand stand, arm balance, lotus, etc and I can still beat some serious ass if needed (although funny enough I never find myself in conflict or in the mood for that matter).
Does your studio offer beginner and expert level classes? How do you accommodate different experience levels?
We have some classes that are more mellow like the Candlelit Flow or the Gentle Flow and, for the most part, all of our teachers are highly skilled and able to work with all levels. We pride ourselves on being the studio with the most beginners because we make it comfortable for them. Nobody owns yoga and they’re a bit of an idiot if they think their advanced practice makes them any better than a beginner. As for the physically advanced students, we work them hard as well.
Can you describe your philosophy on organic food? Why do you feel it’s important?
If I was running for President I wouldn’t answer this question but since I have experimented with drugs and avoided taxes once or twice in my life I don’t think I’ll ever make it that far. Organic is great. It’s clean and our bodies perform so much better on it. How do I know this? Because I’ve eaten non-organic and then I’ve eaten organic and it’s obvious. I know that it’s expensive and there’s all this controversy and whatnot but if you don’t pay for it now, you’ll pay for it later; plain and simple.
What advice do you have for people that have never lived an active lifestyle?
I would first ask them if they are happy. If they said yes I would start doing what they are doing myself. But most likely they are not and I would tell them that I know the road to happiness and it comes through good health. It’s not a myth and I’m not some twisted out crazy person on some new health bender trying to preach the ways to salvation. Life is hard no matter what but it’s so much better when you feel good and you are functioning optimally. I mean is it really even in question that people want to be healthy? Just show up, we’ll take care of you.