I was an athlete and very active back in the day, but then life happened: long working hours, kids, a sitting job. I ended up with inflammation of the spine, acute lower back pain, and tight muscles. Fast forward, with little relief from physical therapy, I decided to change to a lifestyle that would be sustainable and rewarding. When Covid hit us all, the BYSJ Zoom classes became a boon. I was very excited about the prospect of getting online to practice. Thus, my yoga journey began. It was painful, challenging, and frustrating for me. Then another hamstring injury put me on crutches, which drove the need to gain my body back. It is not all a sob story, though 😊. I am young at heart and love nature, but my body is not keeping up.

I made a promise to myself to share my feelings, seek out help and like Matt says, “just show up.” I have been a faithful and blessed yogi, not missing a single day since December. The results speak for themselves: I’m more lean, flexible, calm, and composed. For a long time now, I have had no pain. I still have a long way to go and look and stand with my accomplished fellow yogis, but just the mental strength that I have gained will get me there. You will see me more vibrant in my gardening, music, playing drums, and having fun with my kids.

Avi in Locust pose

Avi practices Locust pose from home during an online class.

My biggest struggle is with the head-to-knee poses, and it makes me realize how much I have abused my body over the years. From where I started to where I stand today is a blessing. The BYSJ family has been a constant help and motivation. I would not be where I am without the teaching, constant corrections, and encouragement. For that, I am truly thankful to Matt, Sarah, Michele, and other teachers. I have found teachers, mentors, and true friends who are not shy to correct me and praise me for a job well done, thus allowing for self-awareness and increased learning.

The biggest win for me is the happiness that I can share with my family. Looking at my transition and dedication, not only does our beautiful Shephard Summer show off her downward dog, but my wife Shilpa and children Anya and Ayan want to join and get in on my journey. It makes me very happy and proud.

Avi's wife, two kids, and dog.

Avi enjoying time in a local park with his family.

The only advice I have for friends on the fence or not keeping up with the schedule is “just show up.” You may sit through half the class, but the energy all around will rub off on you, and eventually, 90 minutes will leave you wanting for more. This yoga is not a competition to win an award or “Bend it Like Beckham.” We strive to do better than the last time, correct ourselves with effort, and be present. Do what works for you today. We are trying to build a strong house for our soul to play in!

As the saying goes, “No pain, no gain.” You must put in 100 percent effort when you are expecting gains.