40 Under 40 The Class of 2010

Aaron Vega

Aaron Vega: 39

Co-director, Vega Yoga & Movement Arts;
Holyoke City Councilor

Aaron Vega said he never considered himself to be the “big entrepreneur type.”

After years of freelance video editing in New York City, though, Vega knew that the time had come to make a change. An avid practitioner of yoga, he thought that teaching the movement art would be a good fit. And for a few years, working for other people, it was. At colleges, gyms, and independent studios, Vega continued the freelance lifestyle. But, he said, you can only do that for so long.

“You’re not in control,” he said, ironically, about an activity that is all about discipline. “I’d have ideas about what a studio should be doing, and the other studios I’d work at would say ‘that’s great,’ but then would never do anything with those ideas.” Perhaps as a result of all those years of freelancing, Vega knew that he was, essentially, his own boss all the while.

“That’s the only option,” he said, “and the best possible option.”

In addition to starting the first yoga studio in Holyoke, Vega proudly joined the ranks of political leadership in his hometown this past year. And with his role on the mat, so to speak, he has big hopes for the city. “Holyoke is the kind of place where you can be active in the community, see a difference, and make change happen,” he said.

“There are a lot of people talking about revitalization of urban centers,” he continued, “but who is actually doing it?”

Vega Yoga, for one. His hopes in the coming years are to solidify his role in the business community, becoming an employer offering benefits and full-time work for his future staff, which at present consists solely of him and his wife, Debra.

“Before I ran for office, I saw that Holyoke is dealing with the same issues that they have been dealing with for the past 20 years,” he said. “I think that there is a lot of new momentum and new energy to push the city forward.”

—Dan Chase