Day 30: Yoga Belly 30 Day Challenge

May 31, 2012 / Aaron


Its Day 30 of the 30 Day Challenge and I have just completed my last class of the challenge. I can’t help but think back to when I thought about having a 30 Day Challenge and where I was at personally when we decided to do something different at the studio. I had been teaching yoga Thursday mornings and was finishing up my 200 hour RYT certification. We took Rainbow Flow off the schedule and had our very first Rainbow Flow Workshop at Groove Yoga. Attendance at the studio was sparse during the day and in the 4:15 classes. I had become focused on my journey as an instructor and things were starting to slip between the cracks behind the scenes. Our blogger Tristan moved to San Francisco and we were in a position of change. It was time for us to switch gears and change with the times or continue down the road that we were headed to an unknown conclusion.
I had to have a hard look at myself and be tremendously honest regarding my motivations. I had become so focused on my personal journey as an instructor that I was allowing my personal practice to fall to 5th place in my life behind work, running the studio, teaching and my personal life. Looking back now I can honestly tell you that it was a blow to my ego watching William shine in the studio and receive credit for Yoga Belly considering the amount of work that goes into maintaining a full time studio behind the scenes. I had become jealous of the amount of free time he enjoyed (my perspective even though we had chosen this path together in order to move more into alignment with the vision we had for our lives). On many occasions people would tell me, “Oh I thought William owned the studio.” I pushed myself to contribute more on the front end of the studio in part to play a more significant role in our customers personal development. In an argument with William I took myself off the schedule and went back to what I had been doing prior to teaching. Behind the scenes guy. I nurtured the 30 day challenge and decided to blog about how I returned to my mat and made it my first priority in my personal development.
Almost as important as the return to making myself a priority and making sure I got my practice in everyday was the decision to sit and reflect on my day and how I got to my mat. The yogic journey is not an easy path. It is a daily decision to return to your mat and spend time re-focusing and centering your mind while strengthening the body. At several points in the past 30 days major chaos has erupted and I could have made the choice to quit or give up. I pride myself on being a man of my word and seeing through the verbal commitments that I make and cannot allow myself to let you down. I realize now that by not making myself a priority and finding time to refresh myself I was burning the candle at both ends. I tried to honestly share with you all in my blog my personal journey to my mat despite of how I felt physically or mentally.
I think some people look at my life and only see the successes. I am a successful business man, happily married, own my own business, live in a prominent community and share my life with friends and extended family. Laughter is a huge part of my existence. No one sees the blood, sweat and tears that have gotten me here. The loss I have suffered through the passing of loved ones, the rejection of family because of my life style, the car that was repossessed, the house that was foreclosed, the decade spent in the throes of addiction. The 30 pounds I put on dealing with the state of the union. All I could focus on was dealing with the decisions that had gotten me to where I was in my life. I yo-yoed up and down in my weight in my 30’s trying to deal with the things that I let happen in my 20’s.
It was a big deal to put myself first. After coming out to my family in 2010 and the tragic aftermath of those decision I threw myself into the creation of Yoga Belly. After leaving my parents church in 2004 I threw myself into developing a community of like minded people. After discovering yoga in 2005 my life had been transformed. 5 years later the full expression of that journey was set into motion with the birth of Yoga Belly. Trying to understand my place in the journey 2 years later after the creation of Yoga Belly has been another struggle that I did not anticipate.
Without understanding what I put into motion, I decided to put my practice first at a moment in my life where I just needed a break. I needed a little bit of introspection. I needed to understand my place and my contribution better. I hope that as I have shared this journey with you in my blog or in the conversations that we have had in the studio you understand that my journey is not greater or more tragic than yours. We are all on this journey that we call life and share in the time that we decide to make ourselves a priority. Its me time at Yoga Belly. I hope it helps to hear how the struggle to prioritize appropriately makes a difference. I hope that it helps to hear about the transformative journey that a yoga practice can bring into your life. I hope that you have pushed yourself outside your comfort zone and gleaned something unexpected from the journey. I hope you had the opportunity to push yourself outside your comfort zone and experience unexpected moments of bliss with teachers that you don’t normally practice with. I hope being a part of this journey with us makes a difference in making the burdens that are unavoidable a little lighter. I hope you learned something about yourself on your mat, in the studio and the moments that we have to share in each other’s lives.
Thank you for indulging me and allowing me to share my personal journey with you.
It’s a big day tomorrow. Winners will be announced and I will push myself to practice on day 31….just cause I will not be pigeon holed into just 30 days of yoga. It’s a daily choice to come to my mat and tomorrow is just another step in the journey to the best me possible. Thank you for sharing your life and practice with us. I am amazed by your dedication and the journey that you share with us.
Much love,
Aaron