Yoga Belly Blog

Committed to delivering the 𝖌𝖓𝖆𝖗𝖑𝖎𝖊𝖘𝖙 yoga experience.


Day 20: Yoga Belly 30 Day challenge

May 20, 2012 / Aaron

Its Day 20 of the 30 day challenge and I wasn’t going to write another blog post until tomorrow but William is at Lululemon teaching a class and I decided to stay home and practice my own practice today. I’m a bit sore from yesterdays practice with Adam. I don’t feel like a Ninja trained by a ballerina today. Side note: Adam has a martial arts background and whenever he comes up in conversation I say in my best South African accent…Put your foot down like a ninja. William will respond in like with…trained by a ballerina. Adam loves his Ninja references in class in order to express his point of silence, grace and precision in class (That’s my interpretation of what he is doing, he didn’t say that to me). After a tough workout and a day of trying to put together my new man-cave since we just moved to a new house in Mountain View to be closer to the studio, I’m a bit sore and tired. I decide a long session of ball rolling, stretching and light yoga is what I need.
I’m doing my thing and I am in down dog bicycling my heels trying to stretch out my calves and I am thinking to myself, “what day is today?” I realize that today is May 20, 2012. It’s my sister Darlene’s birthday; she would have been 45 today. I immediately got up from my practice and came to the computer to write down my thoughts. I hadn’t remembered that her birthday was coming up and I was dumbfounded with the idea that it hadn’t been on my mind like it had in recent years. Right after she passed I was keenly aware of the milestones like her birthday, the day she passed and her son’s birthday. It was a fresh wound and reminder that she was no longer with us.
My sister was a bit of a hot mess and was never quite able to get it together in life. Never quite able to get over the hardships that she had been through in her childhood she bounced around from job to job and from different people’s homes that helped her along the way. She was overweight and didn’t take very good care of herself. She would be in and out of the hospital with various illnesses that plagued her because of the hard road miles that she was putting on the car. I had become numb in a way to the drama that surrounded her and I would tell her on the rare occasions that I saw her in the later stages of her life that she was never going to live with me because she would ruin it. I loved her and she loved me but there was no amount that I could give her in order for her to love herself and make the necessary changes in order for her to grow and prosper. Even to the point where she was a bit of a transient for a part of her life. It’s a hard decision to come to about someone, especially someone that you love.
I remember my mother called my on Wednesday October 8, 2008 and told me that my sister was in hospital. I asked her, “is it serious?” My sister was always in and out of the hospital. My mom said she didn’t know and I told her that I would call her. We finished our conversation and I thought to myself, “I’ll call her tomorrow.” Thursday came and went and I still didn’t feel like dealing with it. I got the call at 5 in the morning on Friday October 10, 2008 from my father telling me that she had passed in the night. William and my Aunt Dena (who was living with us at the time) stood in the dining room while I was in shock as I tried to gather myself together to go pick up my parents and take them to go claim the body. I don’t remember the ride to my parents house (I drove FYI….horrible decision making in the moment). I don’t remember the drive to the hospital with my parents. All I remember is walking into the hospital and telling the check in desk that my sister had passed away and I was here to see her. I walked in front of my parents and did all of the talking to everyone that was trying to help us. Finally we got to the floor where her room was. They hadn’t moved her yet and the lady told me the room number and that it was at the end of the hall.
It was a long walk down the hall to the room and it was like in a movie as I led my parents to it. The door was facing the hall at the end and as I moved toward it, it started to move toward me like tunnel vision. As I got closer and closer I began to say, “Oh shit” over and over and louder and louder until I walked in the room and squatted down against the wall and wailed uncontrollably. The curtain was closed and I couldn’t see the body. It took me a while to get myself under control and move around the curtain to look at her. I grieved with my parents for what seemed like a very long time in private. I was devastated. I hadn’t called; I hadn’t done my part as the only man in her life to make sure that she was okay.
It took me years to come to an understanding of what I did right and what I could have done better. I was keenly aware of all the milestones of her life after her passing. This is why it is important that I hadn’t dwelled on the sorrow before today. Time has healed a multitude of wounds in this area for me. Today I am able to honor my sister’s memory with not just the truth about what her life was but remember her laughter, her sense of humor, the silly movie quotes that constantly came out of her mouth. I am comforted in the fact that she left this world with the gift of her son who’s future is bright and is loved and taken care of by his father and step-mother.
Time heals all wounds, even the ones that are devastating. I’m so happy that I took time for myself today to listen to what my body needed. Instead of distracting myself with a bunch of other people, I quieted my mind and listened to what I needed to hear. My sister’s memory visited me today and it hurt a little less and I am able to acknowledge the joy it was to be her brother.
I hope you all are having a wonderful weekend. Thank you for taking time out of your day to listen to me share about the life and passing of my sister Darlene Linda Goodnow. I will see you all in the studio on Monday.


Day 18: Yoga Belly 30 Day Challenge

May 18, 2012 / Aaron

Day 18 of the 30 Day challenge and I made a date with Tiffany to practice yoga together. I woke up at 5:45am in order to make sure I had enough time to do everything that I needed to do in order to get to Yoga on time. William came with me and Tiffany was already there. She greeted me with a hug and a smile first thing in the morning. Rociel was doing check in so we had an opportunity to meet. Rociel had sent me the sweetest note about the blog the other day and we hadn’t had the opportunity to meet in person. I was excited to put a face to a name. Morgan was there to try Thoa for the first time. Stan and Anna and I talked about the 30 Day Challenge. Kathleen is over in her corner. Eli is in the back of the room. William , Tiffany and I practice over in the corner and Thoa takes us on a journey. 60 minutes later I pull myself up from Shivasan and am making small talk and saying my goodbyes as I head out to start my day. Not a bad way to start my Friday. Business as usual at the Belly on a Friday morning.
I’ve been experimenting with my practice a lot lately. I’m working on taking a second pushup in my vinyasa. I can do it for a while with my knees up but eventually I tire. So in order to increase strength I come forward into my plank and lower down. Roll over the toes and come into Up Dog without dropping my knees. Lower the knees and take the second push-up and push back into my Down Dog. Something is changing in my practice and my shape is changing. I have this sweater that I wear on occasion and I usually don’t button it up cause it’s a big snug and I don’t try to draw attention to my love handles. The other day I threw it on and buttoned it up and it hung loose. For the first time I realized, my shape is changing. Talk about a little extra pep in your step.
I’ve also been trying to engage in a self massage routine. I have a couple of balls and a bag that Jeff gave me lying around the house and after he gave me the pep talk about self massage and how if you’re going to have a daily practice you have to have a self massage practice I decided to give it a try. After about 3 minutes of rolling around on it trying to figure out what I am doing I realized….I don’t know what I am doing. I decided that I was going to start with what feels good and after a week or so I can now roll out my back and neck and shoulders to a point that makes a difference. I roll it out in the evenings as needed and when I wake up I don’t have that same level of stiffness. It really makes a difference. I’m still trying to figure out how to relieve my hips and legs but it’s a start and I am still going strong.
So many changes, so many steps forward in my practice and in the way I get myself to my mat every day. It’s an exciting place to be 18 days in. I hope you all are experiencing the same kind of milestones in your daily practice and I would love to hear about it. My e-mail address is aaron@yogabellystudio.com or share on Facebook if you’re up for the public eye. I have received notes from people that tell me they read the blog or see people in the studio that tell me they are reading it but I would never know based on Facebook. If you have made it to the end and have read this blog, please Like it on Facebook so I know I am not standing out here on the ledge by myself. I appreciate the support you all have shown me and the kind words. It really means a lot. We love harnessing the group energy for the power of good here at Yoga Belly, we love hearing from you. Day 18 yoga….check!
Much Love,
Aaron


Day 17: Yoga Belly 30 Day Challenge

May 18, 2012 / Aaron

Day 17 of the 30 Day challenge and I intended on waking up and taking Williams 7:00 am class but on the morning that William teaches it’s my responsibility to get up and take the dogs for a walk and I was moving slow so it didn’t happen. We each went on our merry ways and I had a morning full of meetings so I went into the office early to get a jump on my day. After my morning meetings I went back to my desk and finally sat in front of my computer and that’s when I realized what had happened. Donna Summer had passed away. There are a few people that have played an important role in Williams life and Donna Summer was one of them. I grabbed my keys and went to my car and drove down to the studio to catch him after he finished teaching the 9:15am class. I arrived as it was ending and I was expecting to have to pull him off the floor and carry him to the car and drive him home. Someone had already texted him before his class and he was aware of what was going on. I spent a few minutes with him to talk about Donna Summer and reminisce about when we saw her in concert. He was okay (except for another sad phone call and instructions to pick up beer on the way home as we prepare for our Donna Summer goodbye life celebration tonight). My husbandly duties were fulfilled and I returned to work.
I thought a lot about my Uncle Gary today. He passed away when I was in High School. Growing up my entire family lived on a piece of property that had a main house (my grandparents lived there), a duplex (we lived there and my uncles family in the other one) a one bedroom house (my aunt lived there) and a studio (Uncle Gary lived there ). He was a gay man but as it goes in my family he came out and was sent away from the family and in order to come back to be a part of the family he had to renounce his homosexuality and embrace Jesus as his personal savior. He had a heart condition and was not the healthiest person physically so he was at times dependent on the family a lot. I can remember on the days that my grandparents would leave the house he would crank up the stereo and play Donna Summer records at full volume. The property would be filled with Love to Love you baby and Last Dance and all her hits. He would have been dramatically upset had he lived to hear of the passing of Donna Summer. He would have been around 54-ish if he was alive today. I remember his crazy laugh and his closeted softness with which he carried himself. As Donna Summer passes away another memory I share of him passes with her. Another reminder that life is precious and everyday is a gift.
I take myself to Edna’s 4:15pm class and prepare to spend my time on my mat in preparation for the evening of Disco Music being played in my home and the beers on chill waiting to tip a 40 to Donna. I appreciate every smile in the studio today. The strength in my practice. The rest when I need it. Day 17 yoga…..check!
Congrats to everyone that has completed at least 17 days of Yoga in 17 days (presented in Alphabetical order):
Chin, Nicki
Kalb, Kathleen
Mok, Stan
Moore, Lorraine
Novak, Stan
Petrochenko, Anna
Pimentel, Therese
Rostamian, Eli
Strojny, Katherine
Van Schaack, Leslie
Viskic, Ines


Day 16: Yoga Belly 30 day challenge

May 17, 2012 / Aaron

Day 16 of the 30 Day challenge and I know I said no more drama but this is too good to not share. I got an e-mail around 3:00pm and they needed a check in person for Barbara’s 4:15pm class and so I said I would do it. Melinda also responded around the same time as me so I wasn’t in a rush to finish up what I was working on at work. I began to chat with my cousin and during the course of the conversation she mentioned to be how a family member of mine was telling her that women’s sports had made another one of my family members a lesbian. I immediately flew off the handle and started to tell her what a “jerk” (I’ll clean it up for you all since you don’t need to hear what a potty mouth I have when I am angry) he is. My family doesn’t speak about anything other than God’s love and ignores the things that they do not approve of. I am welcome to participate in the family as long as they are not confronted with my lifestyle choices and there is certainly no place in their lives for William and our relationship of over 10 years. I have witnessed the affect that this has had on other members of my family both gay and straight and have chosen to make their beliefs public in order to secure the fact that this religious bigotry is not perpetuated in another generation of my family. Although my cousins support me and continue to share in my life, I stand alone in my protest and boycott of the family until William is given his equal rights and share in the place that he deserves. I have not asked anyone to share in my burden. It is beyond anything I have ever experienced facing the rejection of my parents, grandparents and certain family members and I would not expect anyone else to make that choice with me. I want to show kindness to my family in a way that they have not shown me. Acceptance when they are ready. I am secure in the knowledge that this may never be. I however will not, cannot and will never allow ignorance to be thrown around in my direction without sharing my truth. My days of silence are over. I just wish that I would remember that as I knee jerk react to said ignorance. In this day and age to be directly confronted with prejudice is just shocking. I immediately left and went to the yoga studio and set my mat down. I tried to have a normal conversation with Kyle and Brendan but could only talk about myself (which as I was talking I was trying to get myself to say, hi how are you….how have you two been…but continued to tell them what a “jerk” I was related to). I got on my mat and practiced angry yoga for a solid 45 minutes before I realized…Hey…you’re not thinking about your practice and you’re doing better than you regularly do. I was in a hip opener on the outside edge of my front foot with my torso in a twist with my back knee up off the mat and it dawned on me….Your stronger than you think you are. I smiled and my mind settled and I began to release my anger and embrace my practice. I thought of Jimmy and said to myself, Happy Yoga Aaron. I left my mat less defeated by my anger and with a better understanding of who I am and where I am at in life. A few years ago, I would have been defeated in my sorrows. But today, I was pissed for an hour and a half and now I am moving on. That’s progress for me. Every day I move a little closer to where I have set my eyes on the horizon. I push myself to be the person that I want to be. Even if I fight myself and my nature dragging, kicking and screaming to get there. Day 16 yoga…..check!
Congrats to everyone that has completed at least 16 days of Yoga in 16 days (presented in Alphabetical order):
Chin, Nicki
Kalb, Kathleen
Mok, Stan
Moore, Lorraine
Novak, Stan
Petrochenko, Anna
Pimentel, Therese
Rostamian, Eli
Strojny, Katherine
Van Schaack, Leslie
Viskic, Ines


Day 15: Yoga Belly 30 Day Challenge

May 15, 2012 / Aaron

Day 15 of the 30 Day challenge and we are halfway finished! Woohoo! Inhale your right hand into the air, bend at the elbow and place the flat of the hand in between your shoulder blades and tap three times. You deserve it…. 15 Days of yoga is quite a feat in my world. I’ve decide to take a note from my soul sister and guru Mary J for today’s blog: No more drama. I realize that I have been introspective the past few days and thinking my internal thoughts aloud. I walked into the studio today and I was listening to Jimmy tell Anne his drama and I said something even more dramatic to put some perspective on what Jimmy was saying and then I told Jimmy….Happy Yoga Jimmy. Happy Yoga. Its time I take my own sarcastic advice.
If you haven’t met or practiced with Jimmy his yoga is on point. He’s just this mellow guy with a phenomenal yoga practice. He is not a moody man, he’s just chill. He has this feeling of an old soul trapped in the body of someone with an 8 pack. I’ve been working to get Jimmy to start contributing to the blog since he is a private chef by day and yoga teacher by night. I’ve tasted his cooking and it is this off the hook unique spin on healthy living. I’m dying to get him sharing recipes for you folks. (Side note: See…. I am constantly thinking of ways to hook my YB Family up) Your going to see more about Jimmy in the coming weeks from us. He has a lot to give both on the mat and the way that he carries himself. I’ve been meaning to get into his class so that I can share with you all my thoughts on Jimmy but it hasn’t happened yet. Today was finally the day. I was going to go to his class tonight (he’s subbing Jeff’s YB class tonight) but an opening in my workday opened up and so I thought I would go sample some of Jimmy’s Hour of Power.
I like my Hour of Power to deliver a right cross right off the bat and work the body up until right before the end, slow it down quickly and throw me into a Shivasan. I want a lot of bang for my buck. We only have an hour, let’s do this. I have to say, it was pretty impressive. It started off slow but quickly started to move through a rigorous pace. I practiced next to my friend Bryan and we caught eyes a few times as we struggled together to get into this and that. It sure is nice to have a friend that is working beside you for a common goal. Makes the journey more bearable. I always try to practice next to a friend or if I don’t know the people around me I try to make conversation with them. Before I sweat on them or fling my block in their direction as I struggle to get myself into a supported pose, it’s nice to greet people with a smile. Sometimes you just have to turn to the person next to you and say….shit, this is hard. Then it’s like an elementary school yard giggle and it somehow lifts some of the burden during the practice. Happy yoga. We are definitely serving Happy Yoga here at the Belly.
I’m extremely proud of everyone that is participating in the challenge (including me). I see the numbers and the visit habits of everyone involved in the challenge and even though you can’t see them…there is a truck load of people that are just outside the postings that I do, of the people that have taken at least the number of classes as the day of the challenge. I chose to do it this way because I have no desire to get people to push themselves beyond their bodies limits in order to “win” yet I want to celebrate each others hard work.
This is my first time participating in a 30 day challenge and I must say. I have learned a lot about me, my practice and the habits with which I conduct myself. It’s definitely interesting to not only practice every day a rigorous practice but to write about your experience on and off the mat. I’ve learned through this experience that part of the experience of yoga is the journey to your mat. How you got yourself there. Just showing up has got to be in the top 5 most important things about having a daily yoga practice. I would encourage anyone and everyone to keep a journal about their experience in their practice. It’s pretty incredible and an insightful look at how you operate….Okay…I’m going to sign off before I get all Oprah on it.
Day 15…the halfway point…Yoga is done….check!


Day 14: Yoga Belly 30 Day Challenge

May 15, 2012 / Aaron

Day 14 of the Challenge and another day, another challenge to face (no pun intended). A lady named Diane that I know through some close friends that I haven’t seen in a while passed away over the weekend. I had the pleasure of knowing her through a girl named Veronica who Diane was close with through-out the years. Veronica is very sad and I reached out to her to express my sympathies for her loss and to tell her I love her. I went to my mat today with a lot on my mind and I wouldn’t describe my practice to be focused or mind-blowing. I went there to set my intention to send my energy and good will to my friend in need. I dedicated my practice to Veronica. My friend for the past 15 years and the sweetest woman with the thickest accent that somehow has remained despite living in California for as long as I have known her. Veronica is kind and faithful, hard-working and the kind of friend that will be there for you when you need her to be there for you.
When my sister passed away a few years ago I learned that not everyone is going to make it to the end of the story. We all have our time here on earth to touch lives and make a difference in the world. Some peoples time are shorter than others. Making a difference in the world doesn’t start by going to 3rd world countries and starting a school for the underprivileged (unless your Oprah). Making a difference in the world is the world in which you live. The friends you make. The kindness you show to strangers. The time you take to show others you love them. Dedicating your practice for me is not only about sending your energy to the object of your dedication but about coming to a conclusion about how you will choose to react to life when it throws you a curveball. Thank you William for a wonderful class today where I can harness the groups energy to regroup and realize what is important in my life. See that my world is surrounded with people that share a common goal. I am not alone. I have my health and my sound mind and people that love and support me. As I put my troubles aside and try to lift my legs into the air in a chin stand. Even though Leslie is next to me doing it in a much more graceful way. I lay in Shivasan and my mind comes back to my dedication and I focus my mind’s eye to Veronica as she deals with things that I can only imagine must be extremely hard to deal with. Much love to Veronica and Diane’s family and friends in their moment of need.
Congratulations to everyone that has completed at least 14 classes in 14 days (Presented Alphabetically)
Chin, Nicki
Duong, Ton
Kalb, Kathleen
Manalo, Mae
Moore, Lorraine
Novak, Stan
Petrochenko, Anna
Pimentel, Therese
Rostamian, Eli
Strojny, Katherine
Sun, Jessica
Van Schaack, Leslie
Viskic, Ines


Day 13: Yoga Belly 30 Day Challenge

May 14, 2012 / Aaron

Day 13 of the Challenge and its Mother’s day. I didn’t get to post on Day 12 since we had so much going on at the studio. We had a donation class to benefit Oakland Children’s Hospital led by Kevin Collins that was amazing / hard / beautiful. Whenever I have the honor of practicing with Kevin I am reminded that:
1. There is more to yoga than just the Yoga Asana practice.
2. Yoga doesn’t have to be complex in order to be powerful.
3. Yoga is for everyone, not just the skinny little yogi’s with 4% body fat.
His practice speaks to me on many levels, plus I have the honor of calling him a friend now. Will and I started off at YogaSource, Palo Alto checking in his Sunday night class so we have known each other for many years. His yoga studio Groove Yoga in Berkeley started a couple of months after Yoga Belly so we had a chance to get to know him and his wife Jen even better comparing notes and bonding over the life choice of starting a yoga studio.
After the workshop we had a Silent Auction for Livestrong put on by Team Spike. They showed up like an army to transform the studio and working to raise money for such a great charity. I’ve known the founder of Team Spike since 1998 so to be able to share the YB space to (hopefully) make the Auction / fundraiser even better was a delight.
Such a busy Saturday kept me busy and not thinking about the fact that mother’s day was on Sunday. I don’t have much of a relationship with my immediate family anymore since I came out to them a few years ago. My family has chosen to reject my lifestyle and not make a place for it in their lives. Holidays have been hard for the last few years and I have learned to create new traditions in place of the old traditions that I was raised in. I find my thoughts wander to my family everyday at some point and I have come to terms with the fact that sometimes love is not enough to make things work. Sometimes part of loving someone is letting them go and letting them live the life that they think will bring them the greatest joy and happiness. I love my mother more than I could express but she rejects my Yoga practice and lifestyle as demonic and so I must walk my own path in order to maintain healthy boundaries. These are lessons I do not speak of lightly but in the spirit of putting down the things that bind us and picking up the things that make a difference in our day to day walk. I mention them so that sharing with others will help to make my burden lighter on a day that feels a little heavy.
Ive learned that there is a place where I can go to take my troubles and it helps to make things better. Ive learned that I can go somewhere and forget about my worries and work through my issues. Its on my mat. I hope that if you get anything from Yoga Belly it is a place of refuge from lifes troubles. I hope that you know that you can go somewhere and you will be greeted with a smile and see friendly faces and you will leave feeling better than when you got there.
I’m sorry I was late in posting, there was a lot on my mind yesterday. Congratulations to everyone that has completed at least 13 classes in 13 days (Presented Alphabetically)
Chin, Nicki
Duong, Ton
Kalb, Kathleen
Moore, Lorraine
Novak, Stan
Petrochenko, Anna
Pimentel, Therese
Rostamian, Eli
Strojny, Katherine
Sun, Jessica
Van Schaack, Leslie
Viskic, Ines


Day 11: Yoga Belly 30 Day Challenge

May 11, 2012 / Aaron

Its Day 11 of the Yoga Belly 30 Day challenge and I am back on the blogging bandwagon. I took Edna’s 4:15 class last night and let’s just say if 100% is maximum effort I probably gave Edna about 65%. I was distracted during her class and it took my about 3/4 of class to get out of my head and really onto my mat. I had dinner plans and a blog to write and people to check to see who came on Day 10. Fast forward to 2 Margaritas later I was turning down cocktails telling people. … “I have to do yoga tomorrow….no mas.” Like the faithful man that I am I woke up this morning and hauled my big butt over to the studio to take Thoa’s 7:15am class. Of course Stan and Anna are there and the first thing she says to me is, “ Where is the blog? I went to look for it last night and it wasn’t there.” Darn Tequila….a thorn in my side for many a year now. I practice next to Stan and Anna and at Day 11 they do EVERYTHING that Thoa tells them while I am dialing it down to my mighty 70%. The old Aaron would have pushed them over…the new Aaron stays on his mat and holds the course. I see Kathleen over in the corner coming up in Bird of Paradise on both sides…..Amazing. You all amaze me with the dedication that you have to your practice and the improvements that are coming in leaps and bounds. Truth be told….My intention for this 30 Day challenge is not to spend 30 days trying to power my way into arm balances. My intention is come out the other side more flexible and more dedicated to my personal practice. Its not about going balls to the wall in every class. For me it’s about spending time opening the body, being aware of how I am feeling in my skin and making the decision to go every day. Power yoga was not intended to be done every day. I was talking to Jeff last night about that very same topic and he was telling me in order to maintain a daily yoga practice you have to be aware of what your body needs, know when to back off and practice self massage. I feel like I am really dialing in to the first two. I’m going to try to figure out what he means and how I can apply the self massage to my daily practice. See if it makes a difference. Its Day 11 and yoga is done….check. Take care my friends and keep on keeping on. You’re almost at the halfway point.

Much Love,

Aaron


Day 9: Yoga Belly 30 Day Challenge

May 10, 2012 / Aaron

Its day 9 of the 30 day challenge and I feel like I am running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Its been one of those days that I am all over the map. I leave work at 4 (Ive been working since 7 in the morning) and head over to the studio to grab a yoga class before heading home to finish working. There are many work items left to do and Yoga Belly things that I need to work on (this blog included). I roll in right on time and there is a decent amount of people there for the 4:15 class (Yay!) and grab my spot and change my clothes. Its Barbara West’s turn to do her thing and take me on my yoga journey for the day. Barbara’s Yoga Belly class is much different than Jeff’s from the day before. Barbara has very much the look and feel of Williams’s class. She spent a lot of time working with William to perfect her Yoga belly class so its only fitting that her style resembles his. Her play list is on point, I find myself bobbing my head and notthinking about what a tough days it been. I find myself working my way up from the floor and moving through her flow sequence. The body is still performing above par (for me) considering its 9 days into the challenge. I’ve come to the conclusion that bringing awareness to your practice and showing up everyday makes a significant improvement in your practice. Its one thing to preach it, its another to experience it in your own practice. I’m beginning to really believe that 30 days of this is going to make a big impact not only on my practice but what I am going to look like with my shirt off this summer. It’s exciting. I practice next to a guy who I can tell is a newbie because he is breathing so hard out of his mouth I can feel his breathe on the back of my neck while we are in side plank. He’s watching me while I go through the balance sequence use my towel to get a better grip. I make it a point to go talk to him afterwards and get to know his name and encourage him. He’s complimenting me on my practice which makes me smile inside. I am no master, but after 7 years I bring a certain season to my yoga practice. I tell him…ya gotta start somewhere. We both laugh. I tell him about the trick your mind plays on you about being sore or tired. Theres a big difference between the good kind of sore and injured. You have to learn the difference and know when to rest and when to back off in your practice. I tell him…..You know you don’t have to do everything. You just have to go as many days in a row as you can and take a day off. Then you get back in the studio and do as many days in a row as you can again and again. Before you know it, your practice is in another place. Your doing things that you didn’t know you could do. You’re challenging yourself in ways that you didn’t know were possible. That is the wonder of yoga. I am tired, but I feel good headed back to work. Day 9…..check.


Day 8: Yoga Belly 30 Day challenge

May 9, 2012 / Aaron

Its day 8 of the 30 day challenge and today I set my sights on Jeff’s Yoga Belly class. I’ve already stated my feelings about Jeff’s yoga practice. He continually surprises me no matter if its Tuesday night Yoga Belly or Thursday night Power or his Sunday morning Tune-up class, its labeled power but really he’s doing breaking out the lacrosse balls and getting playful. I never know what to expect. Yoga Belly is designed to start you on your back and slowly work your way into a standing series but leave it to Jeff to push me to my edge in the “beginner friendly” class. I chat with Courtney before class about the studio and she wants to know how long we have been in business and who are the amazing teachers that she needs to try since she is new to the studio. After I rattle off my list of favorite things about each of the teachers (cause I’m bias and we have handpicked each of the amazing teachers that help make Yoga Belly the amazing studio that it is) Jeff is ready to get started and 75 minutes later I am up from Shivasan and in that “yoga glow” in a puddle of my own sweat and feeling like I am ready to float away to heaven. I talk with Stan and Ton for minute. Float my way out to the lobby and see Therese….I have to tease her a little. She’s all about the win in the 30 day challenge and is not shy about commenting on the blog (which makes me smile). I tell her teasingly that she could be a bit more supportive to everyone else to which she informs me, “No, its about winning.” I smile in my heart to hear people taking their practice seriously and wanting “the win.” I know what its about (and so does Therese) but there is that thing inside of me that wants to be #1 (or #3 if your Lorraine, she informed me the other day she wants the 3rd place prize). It’s hard to break from our nature at times. I find myself falling into routines and habits, especially as I get older, and have to continually push myself to remain challenged in all aspects of my life. I want to grow, grow in my practice, grow as a person. Be the best me that I can be. For my family and for myself. Day 8….check, and it wasn’t that hard to get myself there surprisingly. The more I push myself to perform. The more I step up to the challenge. Hang in there folks….22 more days of transformation to go.

P.S. I had a flat tire after I left class and changed the tire in under 20 minutes. Whos serving Yoga macho realness? Thats right baby...me!