Each month I get such an OMazing opportunity to get to know my students on a deeper level when they decide to become an ambassador for Barefoot Yoga Shala! I’m so lucky to have created this program and have such phenomenal people who sign up each month.
This past month was no different. Meet Matt… a writer with a full-time job in safety and a love of the theater. Oh, and did I mention that on our retreat he was one of the heroes of the weekend?
When one of our students fell, he was one of the beautiful souls who helped ban together and carry her out of the woods! What a kindhearted, loving guy!!! Our retreat certainly wouldn’t have been the same without him.
Let’s dig deeper and get to know Matt!!
1) What got you into yoga and how long have you been practicing?
I’ve been practicing yoga regularly for about three years—so age 43 is not too old start, not at all! I first got into it because I was looking to even up my workouts at the gym with yoga, thinking it would help me gain balance and flexibility. I was shocked when the teacher told us how yoga was about taking care of ourselves, that we should listen to our bodies and just do what we could. The idea that physical fitness could be about taking care of myself, rather than knocking myself dead, floored me. Less than a year later I took teacher training so that I could learn more about yoga, and it changed my life.
2) What made you choose to practice at Barefoot?
The teachers. You guys are all super-knowledgeable and friendly, and passionate about yoga. And you make yoga fun!
Barefoot classes are good workouts, and they always feel sincere, and thoughtful, focused on the breath and what we’re doing, and then we remember to smile and laugh and we do crazy poses—safely ;-)—because they’re fun! I love it.
3) What’s your favorite part of practice?
That moment that you let go. When you stop thinking about your week and your to-do list and your fears and your body, and you just do something… you breathe, and you reach farther than you thought you could, and you feel the balance in your body, and you feel yourself moving gracefully… and you just think, “Yes. This is it. Now I get it.”
4) As a writer sometimes it’s easy to be way up in the clouds with your thoughts (I completely understand this concept!!) — what are some ways you’ve been grounding yourself lately?
Sigh. Still working on that one. Maybe exercising some self-acceptance? The other day I was working on a story, and I got so tired of trying to get it the way that I wanted it, that I decided, “I give myself permission to write a bad story. I don’t care what it takes. This is me, this is the best I can do, this is my story and I love it, and I’m going to write it. I’ll polish it up later.” That felt really good. I’ve been barreling away with it ever since.
5) What is your favorite inspirational quote?
I’m surprised I can’t think of one! I’ve got one but I invented it — “The answer is ‘all of the above.’” It happened after being focused on one solution one too many times didn’t work out for me. That’s when I realized that no one has a monopoly on truth, that we all have a piece of the right answer, and you have to look at everything together, and do everything holistically, to get where you want to go. I’ve applied it in work, at home, in exercise… pretty much everything.
6) Tell us a fun fact about yourself
I’m going to be an extra in a musical theatre show later this summer—“Once on This Island,” sort of the third villager on the right. I never done anything like it before and it’s an amazing experience!
Thank you so much Matt for being a beautiful and inspiring soul, for promoting Barefoot Yoga Shala (we love you right back!!) and for seriously being such an amazing person.
Much much love!
Ps. Are YOU interested in becoming a BYS ambassador? Just ask myself or one of our teachers and we will bring you on board. It’s truly a fun and unique opportunity.
A few months back I promised you I would write about pregnancy on my blog, and I haven’t really held up to this promise. It’s been quite an interesting journey and even though it’s been 8 (long) months, I’m still formulating how I feel about this journey.
You see, pregnancy for me was/is a complete breeze. I feel like such a bitch saying this as I know there are many women in this world who have morning sickness, heartburn, swelling of their hands/feet, terrible things happening to their unmentionables. We also got pregnant literally right away, which as I know from many family members and friends, is not common.
However I feel like a fraud. While I love my son and I am getting so (so so so so sooooo itchy) to be a momma, being pregnant hasn’t been the easiest for me emotionally.
As a yoga teacher and someone who constantly works on self-love, I have been ignoring my own advice and forgetting to listen to my body. I have been doubting my intuition and forgetting to really breathe in the tough moments: and that’s what it’s all about… breathing in the tough moments.
27 weeks – teaching my first yoga retreat
When I catch myself, or if I’m caught in the act by my mother or husband, I am instantly reminded of my own advice: JUST BREATHE, YOU’RE EXACTLY WHERE YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE.
My son has already been teaching me a million lessons: slow down, ask for help, say yes to adventure (but remember when you need a nap), honor your body (it’s doing some amazing things), stop complaining and start re-framing, open your heart, it’s okay to cry (and laugh).
While this new body has certainly taken some getting used to: it’s not all that bad (although I have got to say, I will be really, really excited if/when my top half returns to their normal size – I drop things down there ALL the time!)
30 weeks on my paddleboard
The best thing for me this past year has been my theme: Warrior Princess.
I admit, I am selfish and independent. I love to do things on my own. As a DJ I often ignore the folks trying to help me as I want to prove I can lift all my equipment on my own. As a yogi I will attempt many pinterest-like poses. As the daughter of an engineer and the sister of a cabinet maker I feel damn proud when I assemble a piece of furniture or fix something in my home.
And as of late: NONE OF THAT has happened. I have gotten to the point where I cannot bring the laundry up and down the stairs, I didn’t build my own crib and I most certainly can no longer do atravakasana. My warrior side is slowly vanishing towards the end of this pregnancy.
And my princess side, my yin, it’s creeping in there bit by bit. I’m eating more, resting more and backing off in class when I need a much needed break or a glass of water. I’m indulging in massages and reflexology these last few weeks and actually asking for help, which is something I’m not usually very good at.
YOGA has been my constant. Without it, I wouldn’t remember to breathe. I would forget to balance my yin and yang energy. I wouldn’t have felt so physically amazing during this pregnancy.
The first time I wrote this article to you, I knew I needed to FLIP MY SCRIPT. Pregnancy to me has been a blessing. I admit, it’s not easy (just ask any of my girlfriends from some of their hilarious late night group texts)… but it is a blessing. I may not be that girl who walks around glowing saying how wonderful pregnancy is every 5 minutes, but I’m certainly not someone who would complain about it every day.
My body may not be what it was a few months ago, but I can still get into a mean back bend and play on my paddleboard. Today I even did a headstand!
At 33 weeks, I’m pretty exhausted but I am trying my best to continue to stay healthy for my yogi baby boy. I’m getting beyond excited for him to arrive!! The nursery is ready, his name is picked out, my hospital/diaper bags are packed and he already has the perfect hashtag: #Ziggyisloved (that’s his nickname, but no other hints on what his actual name is).
I can’t wait to meet him and get my body back, but for today I am so grateful for all the lessons he has been teaching me thus far.
Sending you all lots of love, and the reminder to listen to yourself… always.