Hi! We’re Matt and Sarah, founders of 10 West Yoga. This business has been in the making for quite some time, not only in the logistical planning that it takes to build a yoga studio, but in the respective journeys that we’ve each taken to get here. The studio, and the community that is built within, is a testament to those journeys. We’re beyond excited to build a kind and compassionate community that is rooted in freely exploring physical and mental boundaries. Yoga has been one of the most formative aspects of our lives, and we can’t wait to share that experience with all of you.
Matt got into yoga during a pretty tumultuous time in his life. As many people can probably relate to, his late 20s found him in a situation where he was deeply unhappy, unhealthy, and burnt out on life. His body felt bad, and his mind felt even worse. Working long hours, neglecting physical and mental health, chasing all the material things society teaches us to value, and generally not enjoying the life he was living and the person he was becoming, Matt set out to make some major life changes. It was in the midst of these changes, which included leaving the job he was in, taking up better fitness and diet practices, and learning to meditate, that people close to him started recommending yoga. It turned out to be a perfect fit, and he was hooked from the start.
Sarah shared a similar experience. Six years ago, she found herself working for a high fashion company in New York City, going out too often and forgetting to take care of both her body and her mind. One day, she walked by a yoga studio that appeared more welcoming to someone like her who, at the time, was always slightly intimidated by the yoga community. She started going to classes slowly, and by month four, she had gained so much inner wisdom from the practice that she decided to move to Austin, become a yoga teacher, and pursue a healthier lifestyle.
Both our “yoga beginnings” were very humble. But even in the introductory experiences, we gravitated to the stillness and peace that came from breathwork and intentional movement. From there we embarked on an exploration of different styles, studios, and teachers, loving each new yoga experience that they encountered. Yoga was essentially a perfect embodiment of the new lives we were each trying to build, encompassing aspects of exercise, meditation, and connection to the present moment.
Yoga has a new lesson to teach every time we get on my mat. First of all, it has taught us to seek peace and serenity in the present moment. We all know how destructive things like anxiety and worry can be, and most of us have encountered philosophies, religions, or psychological studies that express the benefit of letting go of things beyond our control. Yoga does not just encourage that sentiment, but it provides a method that is thousands of years old. When Matt gets on my mat, he simplifies his life to the task at hand. He can let go of all the worry, fear, anxiety, and regret that we as humans are prone to experience. His world is reduced to breathing and moving in the space that he is in.
It helped to teach Sarah how real progress is made in life. “If there is a new pose I’d like to master, it does me no good to critique myself, compare myself to others, or feel hopeless. Instead, yoga encourages us to accept ourselves exactly as we are today, while simultaneously giving us the tools to make real change. If we are disciplined in both our self-love and in utilizing the tools of growth every day, we get to experience real change and realize versions of ourselves we never thought possible.”
Matt has a similar perspective: “For me it was an entrance to a completely new lifestyle. Before yoga I was never held accountable for my unhealthy habits but once I started practicing I realized how other factors of your life will shift. I learned that it truly can transform your whole life if you allow it to. The practice taught me that prioritizing my own happiness and wellbeing is way more important than hitting the grind everyday and encouraged me to take risks to find a healthier, happier life overall.
Perhaps the greatest lesson we have learned is that it is through this reduction, this focused way of living in the moment, that we give our mind the freedom and space it needs to successfully navigate this crazy world. The more we tap into the intentional movements of yoga, the more we are free to view life with a heightened perspective and see things in a larger context.
We hope yoga gives others what it has given us. We hope they are able to utilize breath and movement to be more present in their lives, reduce their stress and anxiety, and ultimately grow into a truer version of themselves. We hope they are able to experience the magic that happens when you step on your mat and let go of all the worrisome forces constantly competing for our attention. We hope they get to understand how great it feels to spend an hour of your day moving your body, breathing deeply, and tapping into the present moment.
10 West Yoga will offer a safe, comfortable, and encouraging space to accomplish what we described above. We will be the first to say that yoga can and should occur anywhere one desires it. Having experienced lots of yoga in lots of environments, however, we can personally attest to the power of having a dedicated space that encourages and instructs the path to growth. The ability to have a dedicated, beautiful space, with professional instruction, all in the context of a community of supportive, like-minded people, can have a profound impact on how one experiences yoga and the benefits one receives.
Exploring One’s Horizon is the practice of seeing exactly where one is, but also knowing there is more. The horizon, by its very nature, is literally the meeting of the known and the unknown. It is the like of demarcation between what is seen and what is unseen; what is attained, and what is perhaps attainable. To explore the horizon means first and foremost to be rooted in reality. It is to see exactly where we are and appreciate it for what it is. From there, we can boldly move towards the unknown, the new, the possible.
That is exactly the path that yoga provides. We tap into our reality. How do our bodies feel? What are our thoughts like? How does the mat feel under us? How does it feel to take a deep breath? Once we establish our mental and physical environment, we are prepared to explore our horizon. What does it feel like to move in a new way? To try something different? To accomplish something we never thought was possible? What does it mean to succeed? What does it mean to fail? How does it feel to make progress?
These are the questions we ask, and the answers we find, when we explore our horizons.