We had the good fortune of connecting with Eugene Bear Gibbs and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Eugene Bear, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?

Pursuing an artistic career was something I’ve stumbled upon by accident. I’ve convinced myself I wouldn’t pursue this until peace in my reality presented itself to me. I fell in love with creating conversations through movement, dance, handstands and yoga.

I’ve never liked dancing or anything involving movement growing up! I wanted to pursue a regular lifestyle, with dreams of going to college, pursuing a master’s degree, getting a 9 to 5 office job, getting married and having two kids. I grew up in a stabled Christian family full of career driven and God fearing people that I’ve admired and still admired to this very day. Sure, no family is perfect, mine isn’t, but I love their approach to life, their value on working hard, being faithful, and becoming educated black men and black women. I wanted to model my parents in almost every way. These were my dreams growing up for a longtime. However, I had no idea what kind of career I wanted. Though, I didn’t want a career in any physical sport or art related field. I thought it was a stupid career choice and a waste of knowledge. I always knew our bodies will age over time so pursuing a career in physically demanding fields would lead to various injuries and/or surgeries down the road. I’d always told myself I would never choose those careers; boy was I wrong!

It was not until the end of high school where I stumbled upon dancing to impress my prom date. I found dancing enjoyable and I fell in love with the practice. I’ve tried to avoid it because it was not my dream. I prayed on it and finally accepted this. I can fully express myself and communicate truly through the use of movement as my canvas. This is the same feeling I’ve felt when I started Handstands and Yoga. When I was learning breakdancing, I was fascinated to see people stay on their hands for a second. This terminology in the bboy/breakdancing world is called freezes.  That area was one of my favorite things to work on. I thought it was a beautiful moment to just stop in mid-air which led me to explore learning a handstand and now the art of handbalancing. What got me into Yoga was the King Pigeon Pose. Also, I realized there were yogis who balanced on their hands too, so I learned about arm balancing in the yoga world.  This led me to taking classes and workshops from studios such as TheSpaceATL, Circus School of Atlanta, Big Red Barn, and Hotlanta Yoga. I learned techniques from acrobats, contortionists, performers, aerialists and a yogi who studied from an ex-gymnast and taught me how to spot students in a handstand.  These places are not around anymore except for the Big Red Barn, but I still keep in touch with some of my circus art and yogi friends. When I started performing and later on went into teaching, I felt like an artist of service with different realms of knowledge and I’ve found my purpose.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?

My business is just beginning! I’ve started with a plan, but I didn’t expect the plan to become a business so soon. It’s not easy, it’s hard. I take a few hours or more a day to work on business stuff. I learned starting out to get work is hard as I went off to search for clients and teach various places to get myself out there. Some hired me and some didn’t, but I still have the drive to get out there and share my gifts, talents and knowledge to the world! When I’m not an art teacher at school I teach yoga, handstands and work on creative projects.

My business is called Yogi Bear’s Health and Wellness LLC. I started it last year but my services are more mobile and on Zoom for right now. I don’t have a studio but rent out some for private and classes.

My business focuses on health and wellness activities that help take a person out of their head and the daily stresses of everyday work life. I come up and host outdoor group yoga sessions, private yoga sessions, Zoom sessions, Handstand workshops, calisthenics and breakdancing sessions, arts and crafts for kids.

I’m proud of the skills I’ve trained over the years in different disciplines. I’m excited about teaching Handstand and Movement workshops and getting requests to teach these workshops. I’m excited I created my 1st online arm balancing yoga courses called Yogi Bear’s Arm Balance Progressions Guide. I’m excited I’ve sold some of them. I’m excited for my long term goals of having a studio, building my brand, building a team, and performing. I’m excited about scheduling projects toward building my business, and reading all the books I’ve ordered. In my physical practice I’m working on short term goals such as getting my one arm handstand on both sides. I’m so close to getting that skill and I’m excited!

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?

I would take my best friend to some entertaining spots such as Six Flags, Georgia Aquarium, DragonCon and the Fox Theater. For outdoor spots, I would take my best friend to see the Appalachian Trail, Suwanee, Arabia and Stone Mountain. I would take my friend around Centennial Olympic Park and to visit the National Center for Civil Rights along with visiting Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Park.

For art places, I would take my friend to see the High Museum, Georgia State University College of Arts, Spelman College Museum of Fine Arts , the Zuckerman Museum and the Goat Farm,

Also, I would take my friend to see some circus & aerial arts and yoga studios so I can introduce people I know in the business.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?

First, Almighty Father Who Art Thou in Heaven/God for creating me and giving me the gifts, talents, and purpose. This is my belief, everyone has their own belief, so we shouldn’t judge or cast anyone out based on their beliefs. Second, my parents! My dad taught me how to be a man, a leader, a problem-solver and critical thinker. He taught me mountain man skills. Also, my dad taught me how to draw. Without that I would be an art teacher today. My mom who is not here anymore physically, but her strength and being a supporter of my career in dancing and yoga. Third, is my grandparents! My grandma taught me the value of working in the yard, planting flowers, working in the field, building a fire pit and surviving in the country. My grandpa who is not living anymore was a hero and a wise man. When I was a teenager he told me I would become a great teacher and now I’m a teacher in different fields.

My mentors and people who taught and inspired me along my journey:

Shout outs:
-Miss Kamille/Kameo Productions Studios LLC- taught me Hip-Hop choreography
-B-boy Nigel/B-boy, Breakdancer/ inspired me to practice
-Master Pop/ Professional Dancer/ International Entertainer- taught me hip hop history and my popping teacher
-Breakdance Club at Georgia State University

Art Professors
-Mel Davenport/ Graduate Art Education Professor at Georgia State University- inspired me to pursue the arts
-Adam Wagner/ Georgia State University/College of the Art Advisor/ Art Life Mentor- guided me through art school
-Stephanie Kolpy/ Printmaking Professor at GSU- taught me printmaking
-William Downs/ Drawing Professor at GSU – taught me figure drawing
-Professor John Decker/ Art History Professor at GSU- a down to earth tell it like it is guy, inspired me to think critically

– Jorrel “JFly” Flynn/ Professional Drummer/ CEO and Founder of the HBIYD Foundation- Inspiration and one of my first
volunteer experiences teaching kids how to dance at his summer music camp
-Ashleyi Ascent/ Singer/ Songwriter/ Performer- she inspires me to keep doing what I love regardless of any obstacles

Circus, Handstands/ Hand Balancing and Flexibility mentors:
-Tara Cary/Contortionist- my first handstand coach
-Shannon Mckenna/Aerialist- my substitute handstand coach
-Rocco Lapire/ Professional Hand Balancing/Acrobat/Juggler/ Performer- my handstand teacher
-Tim Mack/ Photographer/ Circus Owner/ Professional Silts Walker/ Acrobat- gave me a circus home, circus training
classes and inspired me to use my skills to the fullest.
-Montana DeBor/ Professional Aerialist/ Traveling Performer/ Violinist- taught me trapeze and climbing rope basics
-Trick the Bastard / Sideshow Circus Performer/ Circus Technician- Learned about two whip cracking styles and being a character on stage

Yuval Ayalon/ Cirque du Soleil acrobat/ one of the best Handbalancers & Coach- I recently stumbled on him on instagram @Yuval_on_hands and been taking his online coaching workshops. I’m learning from the best to help improve my handstand technique and make holding a handstand more effortless.

-Evan “Eazy” Hill/ Yoga Instructor/ Handstand Teacher- Handstand Squad class
-Sumayya Allen/ Yoga Instructor/ Handstand Teacher- Handstand Squad class
-Emalee Sigur/ Yoga Student/ Handstand & Back bending Practitioner- Yoga Handstand Squad friend and inspiration
-Clarence aka XP Seven/ Yoga Instructor- my arm balance teacher and mentor
-Peachtree Yoga Center Graham Fowler and Ilona Moore/ Owner/ Yoga Teacher/ Meditation Teacher- I did my yoga
teacher training and got certified
-Marlan Sandoval/ Suma Gold/ Web Developer/ Yoga Instructor at Open Mind Center- inspired and encouraged me to
start teaching handstand workshops to yogis.

The Bible

Yoga Therapy by Mark Stevens
Yoga Anatomy 2nd Edition by Leslie Kaminoff & Amy Matthews
Pilates Anatomy by Rael Isacowitz & Karen Clippinger
Anatomy for Arm Balances and Inversions by Ray Long

The Little Hand Balancing book by Nicole Kehrwald
Overcoming Gravity 2nd Edition by Steven Low
How to do the One Arm Handstand by Professor E.M Orlick
Yoga Anatomy 2nd Edition by Leslie Kaminoff & Amy Matthews
Trail Guide to the Body by Andrew Biel

The First Days of School by Harry K. Wong & Rosemary T. Wong

Balancing the Equation by Yuri Marmerstein & Mike Komitsch

Website: https://www.ebg3.com

Instagram: www.Instagram.com/@bgene903

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/eugene-bear-gibbs-668877172/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bgene903/

Youtube: Bear Spider-Legs Gene and Arm Balances with Yogi Bear

Other: Join my Email list: https://mailchi.mp/459ac5081aa3/yogibearsarmbalanceguidecom Online learning courses https://yogibears-armbalances.teachable.com/ Blog: https://yogibeararmbalances.wordpress.com/2020/02/27/inversions-anyone/

Image Credits
Sass & Frass Photography @sahndraelizabeth Barbie Margolies @gakimedia Andrew X Point @studio_imagelab Dave’s Creative Side @dwvining Sherry Lanford @performancepoweryoga

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