How Matt takes yoga off the Mat

I've known this yogi since high school!!!

Both SJV graduates, both proud to be from Matawan and two people that will NEVER forget where they came from.

Moving 17 miles south to Manasquan, this police officer of 22 years found his way on his yoga mat almost one year ago. 

Matt is a very close friend. On the mat and off. 

Kind, genuine, outgoing, friendly and sincere. And extremely good looking.

I have been very fortunate to have such a great friend in my life. Talking, walking, practicing yoga and throwing back a few Guinness from time to time.

Matt has been on this yoga journey since the first day I started teaching. Growing, learning and experiencing such a great practice. He incorporates yoga on and off the mat. In his personal life and on the job. I encourage all to do the same. 

I am so happy he found yoga. With that being said; this is what makes Matt smile:

 

I'm happy to be a part of the "What about Yoga makes me smile" campaign.  It's been almost a year since I've started yoga and its been a great ride….   Its hard for me to pinpoint, in one short blog, what specifically makes me smile.  But, I'll try.

First, the fitness aspect:  Everyday presents new personal challenges;  this makes me SMILE!

Next, the Dharmas absolutely make me smile!!!!  I like to learn something from everyone I meet and through each of life's short, or lengthy, interactions.  The daily dharma's are always thought provoking and make me look at life just a little bit differently.  I have learned a lot about myself within the past year.  This makes me SMILE!!

What really makes me smile about Yoga?  The people!!!!  I feel blessed to surround myself with a truly great group of people:  Fun, funny, and positive!!!   We are all there with the same goal:  to improve one or more aspects of our lives.  We laugh so much, with or at each other.  We support each other in our individual challenges, on and off the mat.  This makes me SMILE!!!

I don’t remember my expectations when I started this ride, but where it has brought me today certainly makes me SMILE!!!!

 

#whatmakesyousmile

#whatmakesyousmile

A hashtag I have been using for a few years on Instagram. Taking a pictures of things that make me smile. From sunrises to sunsets. My children. Yoga. Nature. My life.

So I decided to use the theme as one of my Dharma Talks during my classes.  Asking my class, my students, my friends, "What makes you smile"? Everyone participated with answers ranging from their children to walking on the beach. I love when the class participates and decided to take it a step further. The wheels were spinning on what I should do to take this a step further. A video testimonial of what makes them smile? Hmmmmmm

That Sunday evening my instant messenger on Facebook beeped. It was a message from one of my students. Bridget Petrulla. A student/friend that started taking my class in January. The message read: 

"I want to speak on your video that goes viral!! I want to say my happiness is now yoga! I want to say thank you for letting me learn to like and trust myself again! Your classes have made me stronger than I ever thought I could be. I came home and was teaching my kids yoga and they loved it! I have you to thank for that. Thank you, thank you for letting me love yoga again, thank you for letting me feel good about myself again, thank you for welcoming me into your class and spirit. I am truly inspired and you make me want to be a better person. You came into my life when I truly needed you.. It's amazing how things like that happen. So again, thank you, thank you."-Bridget

I was so touched by the message. But it wasn't me. It was Bridget. She found the courage to get back on her yoga mat. I was able to provide her with a comfortable place to practice yoga. A room with four walls and a great group of men and women.

Because of my love for taking photos and posting them on social media I have decided to take photos of each student that would like to participate in the "#whatmakesyousmile " SUKHA campaign.

Because Bridget was the first to respond, we met early Sunday morning for a photo shoot. She was nervous, but confident. Her poses were amazing. She has come so far in such a short period of time. After sending them over to her, she messaged me back; "I hate to admit it, but I think I actually look pretty good"!! ADMIT IT!!! You should. You look amazing". Yoga builds confidence, self esteem. We all have our insecurities. I get it. I still do. It is a process. Even this time in our lives. Moms and dads. Focusing mostly on our children. Make time for yourself. You are a reflection of your children. Be happy. Be healthy. Be strong.

Thank you Bridget!! I am so proud of you and I look forward to continue to guide you through your practice.