This Bodhisattva Yoga Blog series spotlights our rock star body of practitioners, for whom we are proud. The series is intended to inspire, thought-provoke and nurture the growing, friendly Bodhisattva Yoga community. When you see a featured Bodhisattva Yogin in class, say hello!
When we were considering whose portraits to share for the months of December, 2011 and January, 2012 we chose to use sheer attendance level from May 30, 2011 to the present (at the time, end of November 2011). Two people rose to the 1st and 2nd places. At just under 110 classes(!), Geoff Vidal scored 2nd place and became this month’s rock… er… jazz star. :)
Geoff came to Bodhisattva Yoga with a friendly energy from the start. Also almost from the get-go, Geoff shared his appreciation of how doing the pose, breath and flow nicely, complemented the discipline required as a musician. Last September, Geoff demonstrated his preparedness for Sati-level instruction by passing the Semi-Annual Personal Assessment. Although a strong practitioner, he also knows when to pull back and take a break, whether he’s working on hip opening, or using a child’s pose in the midst of a challenging flow.
In his indefatigable consistency, and interest in progressing skillfully, Geoff not only attends an outstandingly high number of classes (over many months!), he has also attended BY retreats and workshops – including last month’s Take it Deeper, Meditate Longer seminar. Perhaps most importantly, he has shared how he has begun to take the practice off the mat and that his mind and body have benefited tremendously as a result. We are honored to have practitioners like Geoff here.
Let’s give it up for Geoff! Whether or not you’ve met the friendly, consistent aspiring yogi yet, give him a shout the next time you see him in class. (He turns 32 this month! Double shouts.)
1. Bodhisattva Yoga: What is your age? Your profession and other life interests?
Geoff Vidal: I am just about to turn 32 years old (Jan 7th) and I am currently working as the executive assistant for Tony Bennett’s manager at RPM Productions in the West Village. The business is all things Tony Bennett, so it’s very exciting and very heavy duty. I am also a freelance jazz musician playing with some of the city’s brightest young talents and recently released my debut record “She Likes That” just this past October [- available at] www.geoffvidal.com. I love to cook and eat delicious food and have a slight obsession for the NFL.
2. BY: How often do you practice at Bodhisattva Yoga on a weekly basis?
GV: I get in to about 4 or 5 classes a week. If I’m home and there’s a class happening, chances are I’m enrolled in it.
3. BY: What classes do you take on a weekly basis?
GV: Lately I’ve been trying to make the Bodhisattva flow class on as close to a regular basis as possible because I really appreciate the teachings that are offered at the start of every class and each teaching has a knack for being just what you needed to hear on that given night. Gigs tend to make the evenings hard at times, but more and more I find myself wanting to be in class at night as opposed to doing a low-paying gig. I get a lot more out of staying true to my practice on the mat. The weekend classes are probably my favorite with the Sati and Inspired Flow classes setting the tone for the weekend.
4. BY: Where do you live and what is your trip like to and from Bodhisattva Yoga?
GV: I live right down 9th Street just off of 6th Ave, so the commute is pretty easy and a huge motivating factor in getting in to as many classes as possible.
5. BY: What is it that you like about practicing at Bodhisattva Yoga?
GV: There are MANY things that I like about practicing at BY, but if I had to pick one it would be the opportunity to have a teacher like Vivekan in my life, who is presenting a way of life to all of us and we get to choose just how much we want to get out of it. I appreciate the focus on honoring your body for where it is at any particular moment and trying to understand that it will not always feel how it does in that moment, but that it will constantly change. By emphasizing that this practice is a journey, and not just a couple of months type of thing encourages me to stay true to myself in way that I never thought about before.
6. BY: What is it that you like about your fellow practitioners at Bodhisattva Yoga?
GV: Watching the studio grow into the strong and dedicated group that we currently have has been amazing. I remember not that long ago, when there would be three or four practitioners in each class, but before long most classes were selling out. The retreat last August really brought together those of us that went and what you find is that there are all of these creative and hard working people that are all attracted to what is being offered at BY. It wouldn’t work any other way. I also appreciate the way that Vivekan’s presentation turns off a certain kind of person and a certain kind of attitude. We are all so lucky!
7. BY: What is it that you’ve mentally/physically/emotionally experienced as a result of practicing at Bodhisattva Yoga?
GV: I have seen how this practice can benefit all aspects of one’s life when done consistently and with the respect that the practice deserves. I have found many parallels to my practice of music, such as focus and diligence. I have also discovered that I am stronger than I have ever been physically but most of all mentally. Not too long ago I found myself in a terribly toxic work environment, but even amidst some of the nastiest behavior that I have every encountered I remained centered and used calm thinking to make my decisions. Watching the impact of the practice on my fiancée Stefanie’s life has probably been the most incredible experience for me at BY. We started coming in regularly just as she was finished with chemo, and I have watched (very closely) from alongside her on my mat as she regained her strength, got stronger and stronger and blossomed into the beautiful woman that she is today, and she just keeps getting more and more beautiful, never stagnant just like we are taught to approach our asanas. What a powerful thing to experience yoga with the love of my life with the frequency that we get to share it. It has changed my life in ways that I never thought possible and I am so grateful for being pointed down this road that is being shown to us.