June Ambassador: Matt Wengraitis

Each month I get such an OMazing opportunity to get to know my students on a deeper level when they decide to become an ambassador for Barefoot Yoga Shala! I’m so lucky to have created this program and have such phenomenal people who sign up each month.

This past month was no different. Meet Matt… a writer with a full-time job in safety and a love of the theater. Oh, and did I mention that on our retreat he was one of the heroes of the weekend?

When one of our students fell, he was one of the beautiful souls who helped ban together and carry her out of the woods! What a kindhearted, loving guy!!! Our retreat certainly wouldn’t have been the same without him.

Let’s dig deeper and get to know Matt!!

1) What got you into yoga and how long have you been practicing?
I’ve been practicing yoga regularly for about three years—so age 43 is not too old start, not at all! I first got into it because I was looking to even up my workouts at the gym with yoga, thinking it would help me gain balance and flexibility. I was shocked when the teacher told us how yoga was about taking care of ourselves, that we should listen to our bodies and just do what we could. The idea that physical fitness could be about taking care of myself, rather than knocking myself dead, floored me. Less than a year later I took teacher training so that I could learn more about yoga, and it changed my life.
2) What made you choose to practice at Barefoot?
The teachers. You guys are all super-knowledgeable and friendly, and passionate about yoga. And you make yoga fun!
Barefoot classes are good workouts, and they always feel sincere, and thoughtful, focused on the breath and what we’re doing, and then we remember to smile and laugh and we do crazy poses—safely ;-)—because they’re fun! I love it.
3) What’s your favorite part of practice?
That moment that you let go. When you stop thinking about your week and your to-do list and your fears and your body, and you just do something… you breathe, and you reach farther than you thought you could, and you feel the balance in your body, and you feel yourself moving gracefully… and you just think, “Yes. This is it. Now I get it.”
4) As a writer sometimes it’s easy to be way up in the clouds with your thoughts (I completely understand this concept!!) — what are some ways you’ve been grounding yourself lately?
Sigh. Still working on that one. Maybe exercising some self-acceptance? The other day I was working on a story, and I got so tired of trying to get it the way that I wanted it, that I decided, “I give myself permission to write a bad story. I don’t care what it takes. This is me, this is the best I can do, this is my story and I love it, and I’m going to write it. I’ll polish it up later.” That felt really good. I’ve been barreling away with it ever since.
5) What is your favorite inspirational quote?
I’m surprised I can’t think of one! I’ve got one but I invented it — “The answer is ‘all of the above.’” It happened after being focused on one solution one too many times didn’t work out for me. That’s when I realized that no one has a monopoly on truth, that we all have a piece of the right answer, and you have to look at everything together, and do everything holistically, to get where you want to go. I’ve applied it in work, at home, in exercise… pretty much everything.
6) Tell us a fun fact about yourself
I’m going to be an extra in a musical theatre show later this summer—“Once on This Island,” sort of the third villager on the right. I never done anything like it before and it’s an amazing experience!
Thank you so much Matt for being a beautiful and inspiring soul, for promoting Barefoot Yoga Shala (we love you right back!!) and for seriously being such an amazing person.
Much much love!

Ps. Are YOU interested in becoming a BYS ambassador? Just ask myself or one of our teachers and we will bring you on board. It’s truly a fun and unique opportunity.

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