An Interview With Yogi Couple Claudine and Honza Lafond of YogaBeyond

Traveling the world with the love of your life and making a career out of your biggest passion sounds like something out of a fairy tale or your favorite movie, but for real life couple Honza and Claudine Lafond, that is real life. From falling in love, their popular Instagram page, a growing company and the creation of Acrovinyasa, their past 8 years have certainly been busy! We spoke with the inspirational couple about their love of life, yoga and of course, each other.

YA: You have more than 400,000 followers on social media and you are known across the globe. For those of us just now just learning who Claudine and Honza are, please tell us your story.
Claudine: We are active, happy and healthy people. As a native New Yorker, with parents from Polish and Haitian heritage, my upbringing consisted of lots of diversity, travel and adventure. Honza grew up on a farm in the Czech Republic, spending much time playing with animals, climbing trees and connecting with nature. Before we met, we had both done some soul searching, exploration and discovery. When we finally met, it seemed as if our free spirits and grounded hearts had found the missing piece for higher-vibration living!
Since meeting eight years ago, we have explored many different endeavors. The more time we have spent together, the more apparent it became that we were meant to be and create together. It felt like the next logical step to find a way in which we could work together and earn a living whilst traveling the world! Often times, we wake up and are blown away with gratitude for the life that we are living, but what we always remember is that we are living this life on purpose and with passion. Choosing to “follow our bliss” as we often say, we have inspired many others to “follow their own bliss.”

YA: How and when did you find yoga?
Honza: My yoga journey began with meditation. I began to ask myself the larger existential life questions that most of us ask ourselves at some point . . . why am I here and what is life really all about? I began collecting a collage of beliefs that over time brought much needed clarity to the invisible lens through which I perceive the world around and within me. After delving into a regular and deep period with meditation, I started exploring the physical practice of asana. I have had a personal training business for over 15 years, which greatly contributed to my understanding of the human body and how to move with ease. Granted, there was still a massive learning curve. It was a whole new experience to what I had been doing previously but I absolutely loved it and have never looked back ever since!
Claudine: My yoga journey began at the age of 15 in Bali. I was invited to an Iyengar yoga class in a beautiful garden at someone’s home. We practiced for two hours in an outdoor gazebo with birds chirping and cows grazing nearby. At the end of the practice, we all sat around drinking chai and talking (well I was just listening) yoga philosophy. I recall my curiosity at the beautiful, mysterious chants and my smile from ear to ear at the end of the practice. I went back every day for the next five weeks and by the time I got back to New York, I knew that teaching yoga would become my life’s journey. I was just beginning to ask myself the larger questions of my life purpose and what it all means. I often say, as many others have also claimed, that yoga saved my life. I took to yoga like a fish to water. I always acknowledge that there is more to learn, like alignment, integration and strength but at the beginning my strongest imprint of the world of yoga was sheer wonderment!
YA: What do you love most about yoga? What continues to fuel your passion?
Claudine: We love the way in which yoga can make you a kinder and more compassionate person. It may start as a physical practice that has stemmed from a desire to fix or change something and over time, yoga offers a way back home to a time and space where nothing else matters but the moment. We remember that all we have is right now. We love witnessing the ripple effect of stillness and strength on the mat and celebrating the mastery of a new posture or concept. Maintaining a sense of wonder, innocence and curiosity, we remember that we are all students, so taking time for ourselves to study and practice with new teachers keeps our yoga passion burning bright. We encourage one another to stay fiercely dedicated to the practice.

YA: What does yoga mean to you in your everyday life?
Honza: It means treating everyone you meet with kindness. We choose to envision everyone around us as a great teacher that should be treated with admiration and respect. Conscious choices that serve our own growth and compassion for others, whatever we do and wherever we go. This is yoga in everyday life.
YA: Why did you choose to call Australia your home?
Honza: Originally from the Czech Republic, I fell in love with Australia in 2000 when coming over to study. I had planned on staying for 6 months and 15 years later, I’m still here! It is such a stunning, natural and vibrant place to call home. When Claudine and I met, she was ready for a change in scenery, making Sydney a home away from home. We travel often, so we feel as if we have many homes in the world but Australia certainly feels like our sanctuary.
yoga beyond sydney
YA: You have traveled the world and have done yoga in many places. Where is your favorite location?
Claudine: This is always a tough question! One of our favorite locations would have to be southern Turkey, teaching in Fethiye right by the Aegean Sea with remnants of volcanoes, lush trees, rainbow birds and so much natural beauty surrounding us. All the stunning reminders of our deep connection to the natural world always inspires an epic yoga experience.
YA: Tell us about your brand YogaBeyond. Where do you see YogaBeyond 5 years from now?
Honza: Over the next 5 years, we see YogaBeyond continuing to grow and cultivate many branches from which we can connect with others. A natural progression of this brand may stretch into yoga with kids and work with families. There are so many directions we can take but what is clear to us is that we see ourselves and YogaBeyond weaving into the intricate and divine web of the global yoga network. The beauty of what we are do is that we have a platform to house all of our interests. The possibilities of what may unfold is truly endless!
YA: We’ve seen your Instagram, and the images of the two of you are stunning. Can you tell us a bit about ACROVINYASA™?
Claudine and Honza: Our intention is to inspire playfulness and community, as we teach adults how to reconnect with the child within. We are all searching for deeper connection and our goals are based strongly around encouraging this opportunity to connect the global community. ACROVINYASA takes yoga from earth to air. Uniting elements of vinyasa, acroyoga and inversion training, this practice cultivates trust and community in a powerful way. The core of ACROVINYASA is focused on synchronizing breath in movement, building strength and finding balance.
Inspired by traditional yoga asanas and L-based acrobatic flying, this progressive yoga system includes both solo and partner practice. The aerial part revolves around one partner (the base) supporting the other (the flyer) in flying through the air in a sequenced series of yoga postures. Bringing a refreshingly playful approach to an ancient tradition, ACROVINYASA feels more like a dance with gravity than physical exercise. Getting inverted with a partner is very empowering, especially for people who may be fearful of supporting or being supported by others.
yogabeyond paris
YA: What’s next for Claudine and Honza?
Claudine and Honza: We never cease evolving and exploring, so the future is wide open. We love what we’re doing and are blessed for all the opportunities that come our way. We have other interests outside of yoga of course, such as cooking, dancing and painting, but the beauty of what we’re doing now is that we can exercise nearly all of our passions under this one umbrella of wellness, creativity and community. We certainly foresee more exciting travel, in-depth trainings, online yoga expansion with YogaGlo (you can find me on there teaching vinyasa now) and larger performances and involvement with Wanderlust festivals across Australia, New Zealand, Asia and beyond!
Making the most of every day that you have, following your bliss, experiencing life, Honza and Claudine certainly can be seen as a true inspiration with all that they have accomplished. Make sure you check out their website, join in on their daily #ACROVINYASA Instagram Challenge, and follow them on Instagram @YogaBeyond and @ACROVINYASA for some amazing pictures, and to follow where they take yoga beyond.

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Andrea Karwandy

Andrea is a fashion and fitness enthusiast who blogs at Andi's Attic. She is from Saskatchewan, Canada and has an interest in learning about different types of fitness and living a healthy life.

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