Testimonio Matt Greenberg

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Compartimos en testimonio de nuestro yogui, Matt Greenberg, estadounidense de nacimiento pero con un corazón bien yogui y bien peruano. El le escribió está carta a Angie Ferrero, directora de BYP, para que la comparta con toda la comunidad y el staff de nuestra escuela. Palabras como éstas nos animan a seguir con nuestro trabajo y compartiendo el yoga con más personas. Gracias Matt por tus palabras, tu cariño y toda la voluntad que le pones a la práctica. Suerte en tu segundo desafío de 30 clases en 30 días!


Dear Angie,

I’ve owed you a testimonial for some time now.  Please accept my apologies for the delay. Como todo. Tiene que ser en su momento.  Eso momento fue después de clase hoy.  I’ll say thank you in a combination of Spanish and English, because they are both part of me or whoever the awkward big gringo you’ve let into your studio is after over a decade of living here. Let your studio become my home. Que su voz sería mi voz.  My apologies as the first draft of this is being written on my cell phone on a bumpy Uber ride back home after tonight’s 8 pm class.

Today was a bad day.  The why and how come no importa tanto.  Todos tenemos nuestras cosas. Los problemas no son únicos a nadie.  It´s part of the blessing of being alive at times I think.   A veces peleamos sin razón.  A veces parte de nuestras dias parece la sala de tortura y la sala de verdad en tu estudió es el lugar de paz y razón (maybe slightly less so when Luis Miguel is teaching J).The world has seemed full of too much ugly lately, too much pain, too much ignorance and not enough kindness and pause for reflection.  I opened the door to your studio with so many negative thoughts in my head. And poof.  Como si fuera nada.  En menos del tiempo que me dura de caer en camello… Todo se cambió.  Todo lo malo evaporated like it never existed.  And my heart was full of gratitude … and my mind was coherent of peace y la buena en el mundo.  It only took seeing Talia.  I adore her classes.  I cherish her post class chanting.  In a world where so many people speak empty words hers always seem to overflow with the stuff that pure good is made of.  Her classes make me smile, during the actual classes themselves!  En verdad me sonríe en su clase. Y si me conoces .. you know I’m normally probably making all sorts of weird noises and faces in class – but smiling isn’t usually part of the repertoire.  Porque su voz es tu voz.  Y tú voz es su voz. Y su voz es 100% suya y tuya 100% tuya.  Different.  But the same too.  I did 33 classes in 30 days just a few months ago.  And I didn’t want to tell anyone why or that I was doing it in the first place until I was half way done because I was scared I’d fail.  I don’t care about failing so much this time around though.  I understand it´s less about failing and succeeding and more about just showing up.   Sometimes it still feels like class # 1 on repeat forever.  In some weird way (and I realize many Peruvians won´t know this movie, it seems like the old American movie Groundhog Day with Bill Murray – a classic). We wake up every day to the same day, but different too.  The challenges and actions required from us from the world around us may be the same or different, and ultimately, it´s not about finding the perfect day, but just making small steps forward when we can – searching for moments, wherever and however they present themselves to us, that help us stumble forward more often than backwards.  And sometimes, in a momento –  far less than a second, mucho menos que un pensamiento entra y otra sale todo tiene algo de sentido.  I had one of those moments tonight.  A few actually.  When I saw you, Lara and Talia when I entered, and at various moments throughout Talia’s beautiful class I could only feel gratitude to the world for whatever allowed her to be teaching an 8  pm class.  Those moments put together might not have lasted más de un minuto de la vida real.  Pero they were more powerful than the 12 previous hours of terrible thoughts and times I experienced prior to that moment, and ultimately, maybe, at least un poquito, why I love bikram, and why I love BYP.
Your staff and your fellow teachers don´t usually provide these moments in such an easy transaction.  Es más, nos dan la oportunidad de encontrarlos por nuestras mismas.   Y eso no pasa siempre, pero cuando si pasa, te das cuenta que todo vale la pena.

I´d be remiss not to mention some of the special characters (miembros de tu tribu) that have also helped me stumble upon such moments.

To Claudia, and her persistence and patience with me.  For pushing me, up until the point, to the tipping point sometimes, but with love and compassion, always there to help fight through the next class no matter how good or bad the last one was.  I will never cease trying to better the bending of my bareejah to my rodeejah or whatever nonsense it is you ask of us, for you are you a wonderful teacher of bikram, and your classes are a blessing.  My life is a better one knowing you.

To Luis Miguel, for being the most psychotic, yet mindful, bikam teacher I´ve ever come across menos su paisano Nacho en Miami.   Luis, you are beautiful destruction.  Your classes often test the limits of not only my heart and mind, but also my body, and lead me to fall to the ground.  But we always get back up (be it in the next pose, or next class) to enjoy the fight, and the light with you the next time around again, because your passion is different, and authentic.  I don’t have to understand it to respect it, and respect it, I do my friend.

To Lara, and our misplaced Chicago backgrounds that somehow led us to a random yoga studio in Lima, Peru.  Thank you.

To Mariana, and your wonderful smile every time I walk in the door, which often helps to reset my own internal setting. Thank you

To Valeria, and your ability to understand everything and anything sometimes without me even saying a word, Thank you.

To Silvana, and your borderline creepy recent habits of sneaking up behind us and filming us in class (I use the word creepy with the utmost affection here), thank you for being such a positive promoter of our practice, and the tribe that frequents it.

To Karen´s smile and humble strength, and to Abrahams genuine goodness no matter how long it´s been since we practice together, Thank you.

To Hernan and Rossana, for showing me what a beautiful relationship between two beautiful souls can look like in real life, day after day, a pesar de cual otra problems en la vida que nos enfrentan, Gracias.

To Rolando. Leonor and Chabelli, for showing me what the most beautiful connected family can look like.  Your family inspires me.  And your chocolate vegan balls fill my week with newfound strength.

To Cristina, for reminding me what only 6 months of Bikram can do to a person and how quickly you can improve, and for being my birthday soul mate, and challenging me at the same time.

To Barney, and his beautiful wife Valeria.  Barney, for teaching me that the first row is not something to fear, but so much more than that.

To my brother Brett and his amazing wife Cindy in the US.  My brother had the opportunity to visit the BYP when he visited Lima,  and without him I´d never have entered a Bikram studio 6-7 years ago in the first place.  He is my not so silent hero and role model in life, and as responsible as anything or anyone for whatever good in me there is as anyone or anything else in this world.

To Mora, who has literally and physically showed me more love and affection than any other mammal in the last year, even if that love is by licking my sweaty legs after class like they were pie de Limón.

There are so many more, but thanking each person isn´t the reason for this note Angie.

And of course Angie, more than anyone else, to you.  por todo lo que puedo explicar…. Y más… por todo lo que no puedo realmente explicar… Gracias.

Last night´s class (or rather Talia maybe more specifically) inspired me to try and do something good for a group of strangers.  Doing so, hoping not to receive any thanks or acknowledgement in return, but rather, hoping that maybe a few of the people that had something nice done for them would in return do something else nice on their own for someone else without reason or need.  Maybe to encourage a few more people to try and “be the good” in this crazy world and time we live in.  In hope that just the smallest actions may cause a change for the good in the rhythms, vibrations and ripples of the world around us that interconnect us all.

Last week, Angie, you posted this on the FB page “Los japoneses tienen una costumbre hermosa: cuando algo se rompe, lo reparan con oro. Pegan los pedacitos con un metal precioso para resaltar la ruptura, la herida, para celebrar el aprendizaje. Generalmente, cuando algo se rompe, lo botamos o lo guardamos. Pocas veces decidimos ponerlo en un lugar más especial o convertirlo en algún aún más valioso. Sin embargo, ¿no son nuestras heridas, nuestros aprendizajes y nuestros golpes los que nos hacen madurar y nos definen? Hay muchas maneras de pegar las cosas. No uses scotch para recomponerte. Honra lo que te golpea y no deje de darle gracias a todo lo que te hace crecer. – Angie Ferrero”

It´s ironic, as just this morning I listened to a podcast that talked about this practice you wrote about called Kintsugi.  What a beautiful practice and thought, and it brought me back to Bikram as well.  Leonard Cohen was quoted as saying “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”  And in some ways that´s kind of how I think of this whole world of Bikram.  We all fight, struggle, love, feel pain, joy and a plethora of other emotions that bring both pain and joy to our lives and the world around us.  Our natural instincts are to cover up these cracks – seeing them as a negative.  But perhaps, the practice (both Kintsugi and Bikram), rather than trying to cover up our cracks, can help us hold  up our imperfections, cracks, pain or anything else negative, and turn them into a positive, taking patience and knowledge that they help make us, and the world around us more beautiful (even if difficult at times as well) to be capable and conscious enough to be present to feel such emotions.   They turn what we thought made us broken or times difficult into something that actually makes us, or our lives, at least in some ways, a little more beautiful.  And -  I think more than anything, as Leonard Cohen said, what BYP helps do, is let the light in, osea, que entra la luz, amidst the cracks that adorn our lives, so that it can be a little bit more beautiful, or meaningful, even in the smallest of ways.
Namaste y con mucho cariño,
P.S.  When I was getting out of the Uber after writing this the song “man in the mirror” by Michael Jackson came on the radio.  The irony is beyond me J



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