By Mateo Marquez
They say you don’t know a person until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes. I’ve worn a lot of different shoes in my life: sneakers, hi-tops, flip flops, you name it. Having grown up in New Mexico and living in Texas for the past twenty years, ever the cowboy at heart and in spirit, I usually wear boots. I own a dozen pair of Luccheses alone and even practice yoga in them more often than going barefoot; ever the cowboy, a rebel, a pioneer, and a trailblazer.
I was a self-made millionaire, quickly becoming one of the top professional headhunters in the industry. I was young, dumb, and largely unfulfilled, despite filling my bank account and my ego for the better part of my 20s. The money eventually dried up, with a big chunk of my soul becoming equally barren and desolate, and I turned to the well of booze to attempt to hydrate both in vain. I was an alcoholic. I was lost. I didn’t like the person I had become very much.
The bottles went dry eventually too, and I checked myself into rehab five years ago. I haven’t had a sip of alcohol ever since. They say when things get tough, the tough get going. Well, between dying a spiritual death, suffering through two divorces, walking the tightrope between entrepreneurial glory and utter bankruptcy, even losing one child to true death, this past decade has felt like my life has gone from tough to tougher every time I choose to get going. But that’s what I did: I went. I continued moving and progressing and trying to remember the lessons of my past while residing fully in the present and paving the way for a brighter future.
Walking is what those boots are made for, after all.
My three best friends in life are my mother, my sister, and my daughter. I was dragged kicking and screaming to my first yoga session by my sister, literally the last guy on the planet that would ever set foot in a yoga class. People don’t change: we are what we are. But we can change two things, the only two things any of us can control even though we drive ourselves to the brink of insanity trying to control everything else in our lives. We can change our attitude and our actions. I shifted my focus to dominating both. Poses done inside a sweaty room became practice for the poses that actually matter: the poses of our daily lives. This is yoga at its purest, despite America’s overemphasis on the physicality, it’s actually all about what happens in your mind and in your heart. Mindfulness is even something of a misnomer as popular as that term has become. Our mind is the problem. Mindlessness isn’t the goal either, but to me Heartfulness is what yoga, and life, is all about.
With time, and practice, problems that only seemed to be getting worse every day were shrinking. They never went away, nor do they, but they become opportunities. Failure is a success mechanism. Humility, a teacher. The fear that drives most dissipates into the love that should govern all and we become whole again. Still human, perfectly imperfect, flawed, vulnerable, and beautiful. I was my own man again. I had a brand new outlook on life, and business, and relationships. I emerged from a cocoon of self-loathing and despair, still rockin’ the Luccheses, jeans and a t-shirt, but also rockin’ poses, embracing this second chance (or 87th, I’ve lost count honestly). I had become a Poser. I was creating a brand, but more so a way of being, called “PoserKids.”
Yoga has exploded in the United States. There must be as many yoga studios as there are Starbucks at this point. Yoga teachers seem to be falling from the sky. But every time I went to a class or a studio, the clientele was exclusively adult. There isn’t any rule against certain ages in a yoga class, but it seemed like it was an adult activity. That kids wouldn’t be interested, or welcomed. I’d bring my daughter to yoga stuff and it garnered very polarized reactions, some thought it was cute others were super annoyed. As I often do, I decided to make my own thing, for children and families to find what I had discovered myself.
I am a kid at heart. Being a kid with other kids is very natural for me. PoserKids became a convergence of everything I was, everything I am now, and everything I hope to become. It’s about acceptance, starting with yourself. Acceptance is the key to life and the heart of Yoga. My teaching, my walking the talk, in boots, is leading kids and their grown-ups alike to discover (or re-discover) themselves in a world full of chaos and distraction. Just like I did. Just like I am, more precisely, with every day and with each pose.
“Meet the child where they’re at” Maria Montessori said. I produce, write and star in a video series, The PoserKids Show, write books and create original music as PoserKids has become a virtual studio with a global community. This screenbaby generation is online, where they’re at is on the Internet. We’ve been fortunate to find our show debuting on Amazon Prime within months of premiering it, but even our content as dynamic and creative and engaging as it is had its own setbacks as well, as we struggled to find the best way to not only make amazing content, but more importantly to share it with as many children and families as possible.
I thought yet again that this was the result of something I had done, or failed to do. But I knew the content was solid, educational, and engaging. It has Yoga integrity, is clinically sound, early childhood education savvy and downright entertaining to boot. We had done our part. Patience. Progress never Perfection. I didn’t give up, and now with Prime, we’re grossing over ten thousand watch minutes per month and growing, in just our second month on the platform, constantly climbing Amazon’s rankings.
Progress, never Perfection. Perseverance. Staying in the Present. It’s what being a Poser is all about. It’s anything but pedestrian and you have to keep those feet moving. We all have our own paths to tread, one foot in front of the other. One day at a time. Mine has never been a smooth or straight and narrow path, but whose is? This is why I wear those boots.
I personally welcome you to our all-inclusive retreat in Colorado this summer. Join me and maybe start yourself on a new path, just like I did: Sign Up Now