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Growth & Vulnerability

Alright, well here goes nothing.

Teaching yoga. It seems so easy to theme a class and talk about philosophical concepts, like how life can be so great if you just live more *insert inspirational word like compassionate, courageous, or vulnerable here*. But when it comes down to it, I have to ask myself, “am I really living that life, or am I just passing off the responsibility onto others?” I mean, it is one thing to talk about these ideas during a yoga practice, but living this way is another. I practice yoga a lot, and I acknowledge that I am dedicated and driven when it comes to improving. I am sure most people who do things consistently are great, or at least good, at what they do. They can easily “step into their courage”, “allow themselves to be vulnerable to make mistakes”, and “are compassionate enough with themselves to not overwork or injure their bodies”. But, what happens to the thoughts of the mind when we do something we are not necessarily “good” at? That is where the challenge is for me.

It also seems easy to make new year's resolutions, the hard part being to actually stick with them. So, this year, I am choosing to empower myself to become a better teacher, husband, and overall person. This includes softening, becoming less rigid, more vulnerable, and simply show up on my mat as a student more often. Recovering from a “slip up” when we commit to something like a diet, new workout regiment, or achieving a specific pose, can be difficult for the ego. But my hope is that by making my resolutions more like intentions, I can express more compassion to myself as I adjust to this new way of being.

The first part of changing is to acknowledge. Practicing yoga has given me a lot of time to self-reflect. I am the first to admit I am a no bullshit, tell it like is, hard ass that tries too hard to do everything on my own without asking for help. So. Writing and sharing myself with others is also something I struggle with. Even sharing pictures on social media is a challenge. I hide behind difficult yoga poses, or the love my wife, in an attempt to conceal my true self. In my mission to become more vulnerable and get everything out there, let me give you more background on my upbringing and why I believe I am the way I am.

I come from a small town in Southern California called Ventura. For those who do not know much about Ventura; it is a beach town between Malibu and Santa Barbara, neighboring Oxnard. It is filled with blue collar, hard working people. Surrounded by the ocean and mountains, it is naturally a secluded city, with a tendency for people preferring to keep it that way. Which is not a bad thing, especially if that is what you want. Most people I knew then did their work, went home, and generally kept to themselves.

My family is of mexican-filipino descent. To this day, my parents continue to work extremely hard, day in and day out, to keep the family happy. All while maintaining a strong marriage between the two of them. They both grew up with field worker jobs to help their families until meeting each other and finding better opportunities for themselves. My dad, Gilbert, is a machinist, and my mom, Rachel, a quality auditor, are both huge inspirations for how I want to live my life. My older sister has a great job as well. Growing up, both my sister and I were very competitive and heavily involved in sports. Most of the great coaches in my past were hard asses who took no shit, but that is what makes them memorable and essentially made me me. I also surrounded myself with people who did a lot of action sports like surfing, skateboarding, and snowboarding...and who commonly adopted a punk-rock attitude that I deeply resonated with. All of those elements had a major impact on my life.

That is who I was, and now to who I want to become...

My goal is to grow my yoga studio and to be a great yoga teacher. I can’t stay in my bubble. I aim to be more vulnerable and put myself out for the community. The more I give you me, the more I get of you. That is just how the world works. Relationships are reciprocal, you only get what you put in. I can’t live like I work for someone else who is going to automatically pay me week in and out; where I go into work, work my ass off, and come home with a paycheck. I have a business in which I want to grow. I have to be a part of the community that I want to help evolve.

That goes for my relationships at home as well. I intend to put the effort to grow, as I know my wife does to continuously transform herself and maintain a healthy relationship with me. My family relations can also improve; being more vulnerable and less rigid will help me have more compassion and find more time to connect with them. Relationship with friends… and the list goes on and on.

So here I am, starting the process. Opening up to the world, putting myself out for ridicule, feedback, success, and abundance. Do they go in that order? Of course not. Is there a formula? No. Is it going to be difficult? Hard as shit. This is why my students motivate me - especially those brand new to yoga. They are open to making mistakes, open to not being perfect, willing to fall and get right back up. All those moments of breakdowns and breakthroughs in their practice that brings me so much inspiration for my own journey. The tenacity and courage to keep going forward, even when it’s hard or feels impossible. I know I will falter, I will have days where I will resent and resist - I expect that. That doesn’t deter my students from coming back to their mats. And so I will strive forward as well, pushing past the confines of my comfort zone.

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