Namaste in the air

Fitness entrepreneur brings aerial yoga to Eau Claire


Photo by Kristina Bornholtz

Kim Landry-Ayres, owner of Mission Accomplished studio, practices an inversion in an aerial yoga hammock

Story by Kristina Bornholtz, Managing Editor

Five miles outside the heart of Eau Claire, down a nearly hidden road off Highway 37, is a quaint-looking farm, not unusual for the area.

What is unusual is this farm is actually home to a state-of-the-art fitness center, offering classes not seen in any other gym for 60 miles around.

“I knew my purpose in life was this area, of fitness and nutrition and wellness,” owner Kim Landry-Ayres said of her studio, Mission Accomplished.

Landry-Ayres opened Mission Accomplished, 4530 Porterville Rd., out of the farmhouse on the property she and her husband purchased in the early ’90s. The 2,400 square-foot space is home to a full gym, locker rooms, an office space and a yoga studio.

It is in this yoga studio that Landry-Ayres implemented her latest class, aerial fitness.

Aerial fitness, also known as “aerial yoga” at other gyms, is one of the latest fitness crazes, popular in major cities across the country, from Los Angeles and New York City. Landry-Ayres described the practice as a combination of stretching, core work and yoga poses, all while working with a hammock of fabric hung from the ceiling.

When Landry-Ayres moved to Eau Claire from San Diego in 1992, she found a gap in the market.

“All fitness is good, but I just think that when I created this, I was thinking of what’s missing, besides bringing in things that I know are coming anyway,” she said. “I needed my own space. I was tired of breaking ground for someone else. I needed to do this myself.”

Since opening Mission Accomplished, she and her business partner, Alisha Koutney, have brought a series of forward-thinking fitness classes to the Chippewa Valley, including boot camps, boxing, circuit training and yogalaties – a class that combines the more relaxed style of yoga with the core-focused pilates – keeping class sizes small to provide more focused attention on clients.

“Everything we do is sort of a miniature scale,” Landry-Ayres said. “If we have 15 people in a class, that would be a huge class.”

After taking an intensive course to learn how to instruct aerial fitness – and how to do it herself – Landry-Ayres decided to bring it to her studio. She said that part of the process in creating new classes for her studio is deciding first and foremost if they are worthwhile to her clients.

The ceiling of Landry-Ayres’s yoga studio is now lined with these aerial yoga hammocks, ready for her students to weightlessly perform their favorite yoga inversions. Those wishing to do aerial fitness at Mission Accomplished must first attend a two-hour aerial intro class, where Landry-Ayres walks students through the basics of technique. Then, students can experiment in the hammock in any of her open classes.

The nearest cities that had anything close to a class that could be described as aerial yoga were Minneapolis and La Crosse. Yoga has been increasing in popularity, and she saw that these classes took the practice to the next level.

“When I think of what I do in these hammocks, I think of it as another tool for yoga,” she said.

An intro to aerial fitness class costs $70 per person and can be scheduled at any time by calling Mission Accomplished at 715-831-0909. Open aerial classes are scheduled twice weekly and cost $20 for a single class drop-in.