Mark Goltiao
While leading a recent yoga class, Mark Goltiao shared a seemingly simple but poignant anecdote. He described a situation in the grocery store where he had the choice to look down at his phone, or he could choose to connect with the cashier. It is this mindset of connection that allows Mark to see the boundless potential in everyone and everything. He embodies the spirit of our city and strives each day to ensure that “e” is for everyone.

Living in Evansville

I was born and raised in San Francisco, California. After a few military base closures, my family had a choice to move to either San Diego or Jacksonville, Florida. We chose Florida because we thought it would be all palm trees and flamingos. While Jacksonville didn’t exactly fit the Miami Beach vision we had in mind, I grew to love the city. My partner at the time was from the Evansville area and needed to be near his family. So, we moved to Evansville — and that’s what you do for love, right?!

I love the smallness of Evansville! Coming from San Francisco and then Jacksonville, I was used to lots of traffic and the hustle-and-bustle. So I appreciate that Evansville is a little bit more quiet. I also love the people. I find everyone here is personable and welcoming. My neighbors wave! In the city, they don’t do that.

A Value-Driven Practice

Yoga has become my life. It has become my source of inspiration; it’s my medicine, my community. Yoga is a way of being. People often think of yoga as just movement and postures. Through the physical practice comes self-inquiry and questioning on a deeper level. You begin to break away tension in the body and the mind. It’s about thinking more clearly and being grounded. When I’m grounded I feel as if I can find my way in this world. By nature, I’m chaotic and so yoga gets me to that place of stillness.

I’ve done a lot of inner work, and one of the commitments that I’ve made to myself is to live a life with love and connection. To me, that means looking at people and not being quick to judge — to see someone as a whole human being and really be able to connect with them.

Evansville Power Yoga

Testing Assumptions About Life in Evansville

People say Evansville has a small-town mentality. Often times, I think people will focus on the smallness and miss out on the opportunities that are here — we do have a thriving art community, we have parks and fun weekend events. Things might not be as big as in other cities, but we have access to all of the same things.

I see Evansville as a rose. Consider San Francisco like a fully blossomed rose, and Evansville is a rose that’s budding. Sometimes, people are quick to want to force that bud to open — to bloom. But if we force a rose to open, we will tear the petals. So, over the next few years, I see a continuation of what’s happening already. I already see people opening restaurants and starting music festivals — we’re on the right path. The key is just to let it all happen naturally, rather than force it. I fear that we’ll lose the beauty of the growth if we force it to happen.  

There is a lot of bickering right now, especially in politics. And I struggle with that too. I have to go back to my principles of love and connection to understand where other people are coming from. Currently, there’s a lack of understanding, a lack of pausing to see others as human beings instead of assigning political or religious labels. I think that is a big issue we face.

Developing New Definitions of Success

Success to me is if you’re happy in what you do, and you don’t care what people think about you. For example, I might strive to have a studio that’s busting at the seams and I would like that, but would that be what’s needed in my life? Maybe, maybe not. So it’s about being happy with where I am right now — being present to what’s here now.

I know for sure that people are perfect. We are all enough, just as we are. I think it’s so easy to lose sight of that. It gets clouded by what society says we should be. Even as kids we can get trapped by what our classmates say about us, or what our parents or religious leaders say we should do or be. I know that we are each perfect just as we are, and we should shine exactly as we are.

If someone can be happy about exactly who and where they are in life — that’s success.