Yoga Belly Blog

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A change will do me good

August 15, 2013 / Aaron



Change is difficult at times. In my on-going exploration of self-improvement I have already spoken of my desire to live life at a different pace. As part of putting that into practice I have been teaching myself to focus on the little do-able things rather than trying to tackle the big changes first. I was driving to Yoga Belly San Jose the other day and rather than driving on the quickest route possible to get over to the studio I decided to take what I thought was the shortest distance in order to put the least amount of miles on my car. Which being realistic, with all the extra stop lights and wear on my brakes it’s probably a wash for driving an extra mile out of my way to get to the freeway but still it’s an exercise in discipline. Changing your mindset can prove to be one of the more difficult tasks that you can take on as a person on the path of self-improvement.

William and I had dinner with my former former boss at Symantec last night and before we went to the dinner I told William.,"I’m going to try to get through this evening without making any declarative statements." I knew that she would want to hear the story of how I was laid off and would want to know if I wanted her assistance in coming back to the company. The two of us have a natural symmetry working together and I know she values my skill set. She was and is an amazing manager and someone that I would like to be more like in helping people develop their skillset in a chosen profession.

So when the time came and she asked me, “Do you want to come back?” I said, “I’m taking some time to get myself in the place that I want to be in in life. I want to make myself the priority, be present and in a place to give something of quality to a company other than my own (meaning Yoga Belly). I can’t move backwards working for people that I don’t respect just to receive a paycheck. If the opportunity is right and the management style is in a place that I will thrive in, I’ll consider going back. I don’t think I am finished on the path of my corporate career yet. I have some things that I would like to accomplish in my career still. When the time is right, I will return.”

It would be easy for me to say that I will just jump back into the rat race and earn a paycheck. William and I have made a comfortable living with me helping to support our lifestyle and Yoga Belly. The safe choice is to continue down this path. The not so safe choice is to embrace change and try to improve my situation by being in the place mentally, spiritually, socially and emotionally that I should be in. To take a chance on Yoga Belly and see what the fruition of this dream could be.

I see how people are resistant to change. When we make changes to the instructor line-up at the studio there is a small percentage of people that are angry, a larger percentage of people that need closure and require explanations, the rest either don’t care or are unaffected by the change. Everyone deals with change in their own way.

I want to be the type of person that:

  1. Is a continual work in progress, is open to change
  2. A student of life until his dying day, realizing that life just gets better as long as you continue to do the work.
  3. Forcing myself to make the tough choices in order to learn the most rather than taking the path of least resistance
  4. Willing to work hard to make change a reality in my life
  5. A person that loves people unconditionally, understanding that part of loving some people is about setting them free from expectation, my own agenda is mine alone.

In order for me to be that type of person I must be:

  1. Self-aware, how can you move through life unaware of what kind of energy you are putting out into the world
  2. Willing, sitting at home watching TV isn’t doing anyone any good
  3. Loving, the golden rule comes to mind, do unto others as you would have them do unto you
  4. Thoughtful, a plan of attack is always needed when planning to take the hill
  5. Intelligent, continually seeking for personal truth and finding inspiration everywhere. Leaving no stone unturned.

I sit and I write my thoughts not just to go on a rant about myself to everyone but to remind myself of who I am, where I am going, and what my truths are. Sometimes amidst all the choices that are thrown at you it’s a good thing to remind yourself of who you are and where you’re going. Best of luck to all of you on your own personal journey of self-improvement. These are just a few notes from my journey.

Much Love,


Yoga Bellys newest employee

August 7, 2013 / Aaron

Chase your dreams


It’s been a while since I have written anything. 2013 has turned out to be a whirlwind of experiences around Yoga Belly and the Cristobal-Goodnow home. Between the decisions to adopt, the opening of Yoga Belly San Jose, CA, breaking my ankle, Jen and Jeff, a number of changes around the studio in Mountain View and my impending lay-off from Symantec it has been a myriad of twists and turns. With so many topics to choose from, where to begin. I should probably start with my impending lay-off from Symantec and my dive into self-employment so you finally can understand why I have free time to write this blog.

I say impending lay-off because technically I am still employed through the end of September even though my last day in the office was toward the end of July, in California you have to give 60 days’ notice when a lay-off occurs. As the final round of lay-offs occurred in Symantec’s big re-org there was a series of events that happened that lead me to believe that my time was coming to an end. With the lay-off of my boss on a Monday and me breaking my ankle that Thursday and being out of the office for 7 weeks prior to the final cut, the writing was on the wall for my future with Symantec.

I have to back track for a second and tell you that many many years ago when I was dreaming of a life together with William I had this vision of a life of self-employment where there was bound-less freedom to do what we wanted, when we wanted and with the means to do so. William quit his job and we opened Yoga Belly and I continued to work for THE MAN. This worked well for us because I was able to support us as we started up our business. We continued to thrive as we learned how to run a yoga studio and create the type of environment that we had hoped to establish. Light on tradition, heavy on workout with an emphasis on community. This was because of that decision to stay with Symantec.

3 and a half years later of working two full time jobs and opening up Yoga Belly San Jose, CA the universe has been screaming at me to stop working at that pace that I have been living for quite some time. Bell’s palsy, illness, being out of shape, breaking my ankle etc. etc. etc. I’ve tried to leave Symantec twice but I have been unable to pull the trigger on a six figure salary and say to myself and my family, “I don’t need this in my life, I am going to pursue my passions in life.” So finally the universe takes matters into its own hands and makes the decision for me and blesses me with severance and benefits for another year to give me the time and space to do whatever it is that I need to do to put Aaron Goodnow into the place that I need to be in.

What does that mean? Well today it meant that I went to the refrigerator and emptied the entire thing and cleaned it out and threw out all the old bottles of Mustard. Sounds silly but I am trying to teach myself to live life at a different pace. To find inspiration and react to it. I had planned to take Yoga at 9:15am with Barbara and meet with Cady afterwards to go through the curriculum for the new teacher training program, go install the shelves at Yoga Belly San Jose and come home and cook dinner for our friends Matt and Melissa who are coming over for dinner. The old Aaron planned every minute of every day and knew what he was doing for the next few weeks.

The new me is learning how to listen to his inner guide, to be in the moment and enjoy where he is right at this moment. To stop what he is doing and write out his feelings rather than doing a to-do list that is self-imposed. I’m challenging myself to be present and available. Sounds a little cliché but after years of working at a pace that most don’t I am retraining myself to live the life that I dared to dream of. Walking in the reality of your dreams is sometimes just as scary as daring to dream them in the first place and taking those first few steps.

It feels like I am starting over. The world is my oyster and I must challenge myself to find the hidden pearls of my new life. I have ideas and dreams for the next step for Yoga Belly but first I have to figure out what ideas and dreams I have for myself. I could have tried to throw myself back into the work force and find a better job but where is the fun in that. Why not take a chance on me and push myself to take myself personally to the next level. Our good friend Rebecca Bara was at our house last night and as we were talking I was doodling on a piece of paper and made this old woman’s face with curly hair and a smile. One of my go to doodles (why, I have no idea, I can also make a pretty bitchin clown) that I usually don’t think anything of and Rebecca said, “that’s really good, what are you doing to develop that artist talent.” It triggered thoughts of my own dreams that I had long forgotten to develop an avenue of artistry to express my inner thought process. It made me think of the days that I dreamed of writing professionally and kept journals to document my experiences for the book I would one day write. Long forgotten dreams of my youth that were tossed by the wayside to pursue wealth can now be dusted off and revisited.

That’s where I am at today, in case anyone was wondering…. Aaron Goodnow, Occupation: Self-Employed; dreamer, husband and soon to be father.

Much Love,

Grand Opening: Yoga Belly San Jose June 1st

May 28, 2013 / Aaron

YBSJ Grand Opening

April's "Hunger Games" Team Challenge

March 28, 2013 / Aaron

April Team Challenge

I woke up this morning and crawled out of bed with conviction. As I walked downstairs and grabbed my yoga clothes from the dryer and put them on, I went to the 7:15am Yoga Belly class with Anne Jelinek to meet my teammate Tiffany for a morning class. I figure since Big Daddy's Angels will primarily be practicing yoga as a team in the morning I should probably squeeze in a few morning classes before the challenge actually starts. I’m not usually a morning yoga person but when you are trying to coordinate 4 peoples schedule some sacrifices must be made. It took me a week to find a team and a week to coordinate everyone’s schedule. I now know the exact number of classes that I will be partaking in the challenge and have pre-registered accordingly. Team pictures were taken and published. Let the April Challenge begin!
I’m excited to find the strength to haul myself to my mat. I haven’t had the most motivated 6 months and it is a phenomenal feeling to be responsible to other people and force myself to do what I know will make a huge impact in my health, general mood and life. Its amazing to me that the simple fact of responsibility of letting people down is all it takes to get me beyond…me.
One of the things that make Yoga Belly such a beautiful space to share your practice in is the support and love that is felt in the smiles and warmth that exudes from its community. I hope you will excuse us as we clash in a Hunger Games-like fashion to compete for the title of Mr/Mrs April Team Challenge. Niceties will resume in May.
Happy Hunger Games in April everyone! And may the odds be ever in your favor.
P.S. There is still time to form your team and compete in the challenge. The prizes are amazing and may the spirit of competition inspire your practice to the next level. Team Challenge starts Monday. Dont make me erase your early entries from the log book by trying to sign in for classes over the weekend.....Right Team Awakening? lol

Envision Workshop® Manifest & Embody Your Fullest Potential

March 28, 2013 / Aaron

Wondering what the Envision Workshop® is all about? Well I'll tell ya. First off it was created and will be led by the beautiful Vidya Heisel, who also created our Lotus Frog International Teacher Training that we love so much! Her visit is going to be a real treat for all those that have done teacher training and are in the process of accomplishing their own. But also anyone can come to this workshop to learn and be enlightened by this "life-transforming practice."

The Envision Workshop® has techniques from Neuro Linguistic Programming and Hatha and Kundalaini inspired movement. You will be able to find yourself in the practice as well as do some partner work.



Envision Workshop®

Envision Yoga® Workshop will be held on Sunday, April 28 at Yoga Belly from 1-4pm.

Book now:

Class price: $45, or $35 by Wednesday 4/24

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT: April Team Challenge

March 18, 2013 / Aaron

YB Team Challenge

This challenge will be the biggest giveaway yet for Yoga Belly. Winners of the April Team Challenge will be whisked away for an all-inclusive weekend May 9 -12 filled with food, yoga and fun. Second place finishers will win a shirt and mat courtesy of Lululemon. Third place finishers will receive a free 30 day pass to Yoga Belly for unlimited Yoga classes. Registration is free, simply go to the check in desk and register your team anytime between March 20th and March 31st. Everytime your team practices together during the month of April sign in at the front desk in the registration book and receive a point. Team with the most points at the end of April will be placed 1st, 2nd or 3rd. In the event of a tie, winners will be drawn at random. Don't forget to come up with an awesome team name since we will be tracking the winners in the studio. Best of Luck YB Family...and may the best!

21 Day Challenge - Day 1

February 8, 2013 / Aaron

21 Day Challenge - Day 1

Good luck everyone! Please make sure that you check your account online to verify that you have been checked into the class that you attended. Only those that attend one class a day during the challenge will be entered to win the 6 month unlimited pass.

Check this out...

January 11, 2013 / William

Yoga Belly Mug

Happy New Year Yoga Belly!

January 1, 2013 / Aaron

Happy New Year Yoga Belly,

I have sat down to kick off the New Year with a blog giving my final thoughts for 2012 and my hopes and wishes for 2013 with inspirational words of encouragement about 10 times in the last 5 days. Words have not come easily for me over the course of the last week mostly due to the fact that I was diagnosed with Bell's Palsy right after Christmas.

I will pause to explain this part of the story before I get to my true intention for reaching out to you today. William and I had decided to not exchange X-mas gifts and instead go on a shopping spree after Christmas for clothes and things that we wanted. When we got to the mall as we were walking around I noticed that my lips were numb and I had a feeling that I needed to sit down before I fell down. Something wasn’t right. I apologized and asked William if he would mind if we just went home so that I could rest. Next day i woke up and my eyebrow wouldn't move and my smile was crooked. After my mini-panic of OMG, I am having a stroke and telling William that I think I need to go into the hospital, I went to the doctor to be diagnosed with Bell's Palsy and they immediately started me on a strong steroid and anti-virals to kill the virus that had begun to attack the facial nerve on the right side of my face. There is an 80% chance of a full recovery as long as the diagnosis is correct. I should know more in a few weeks until then I am taking it day by day and smiling out the side of my mouth and raising my eyebrow like "The Rock" with little effort.

So back to my final thoughts on 2012 and my writers block. Have you ever taken massive amounts of steroids for days upon end? There is a rage sizzling below the surface that could just run, scream, cry, laugh all in one outburst....

So I will try not to be dramatic when I say that 2012 was a magical year for William and I. We made our move to Mountain View to be closer to the studio and our YB Family. We focused on growth for the studio in expanding our line-up with diverse instructors (which included myself for a brief period of time.) We challenged you in May with the 30 Day Challenge and crowned our first ever Co-Winners of the competition Stan and Ann. We had our first ever Teacher Training lead by the amazing Edna and fabulous William. We threw parties at the studio where we danced, sang karaoke and we went to outdoor volleyball for the 2nd year anniversary. We went out and about with you and did Aerial Yoga and Stand Up Paddle Board. We added Yoga Tune-Up to the schedule. We hung out and had a good time at Happy Hour, Hot Babes luncheons and after classes. William and I set the intention for 2012 to focus on our community and strive to bring people together and have an amazing time while practicing the best Power Yoga.

I think this is what sets Yoga Belly apart from other Yoga spots and we will continue to hang out creating amazing memories on and off the mat in 2013. As for 2013 William and I have been spending the last week talking about what we want to see more of in 2013 and what we are going to bring fresh to the table. We both agree that Yoga Belly is not your traditional yoga studio and we will continue to bring you our brand of "Light on Tradition, Heavy on Workout" but we want to step up our game with Workshops and Trainings that stimulate your practice and bring awareness to the mat in a way that you have not experienced before. This is a challenge due in part to the strong practitioners that we have at the studio all the way down to the newbies. There has to be something for eveyone to keep them intrigued and stimulated. I have spent a month or so focusing on creating a leadership team in the studio that will focus on specific areas of stimulation. We are going to have another Teacher Training beginning in February by Mama Edna and Papa Will, Jeff Lang will be stepping up to lead our Workshop strategy and bringing in Top Talent / Fresh New Events to keep you educated and taking it to the next level. Matt Sharpe will be leading our next Retreat and taking more of a leadership role in the studio in the new year just to name a few. You'll see challenges, some familar and some new, with prizes in the coming year. Lots of opportunites to hang out and laugh together as we strive to make 2013 even more amazing than the previous. I dont want to share everything that we have planned because I want to keep some things as a surprise but I want you to know we are plottting and scheming to make your Yoga fantasys come true this year.

We love you and wish the best for you in the coming year. Thank you for being a part of the Yoga Belly Family.



Happy Thanksgiving

November 22, 2012 / Aaron

It is an honor to be able to share space and practice with such an amazing group of people. You really make the studio an amazing place. Thank you so much.