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Tucson man finishes 365-day yoga challenge with surprise proposal

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Tucson man finishes 365-day yoga challenge with surprise proposal

By Rikki Mitchell. CREATED Aug 3, 2014

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - To understand the significance of a single moment in Reid Park Thursday, we first have to take you back 20 years in the lives of Matt Loethen and Toni Elwell.

"I thought she was beautiful but one of my buddies really liked her and, guy code. I couldn't ask her out," said Loethen. "I had to wait 20 years."

The couple recently reconnected and started dating and that's when Elwell suggested something kind of crazy.

"She told me about this contest that a lot of other people in yoga were doing and it was a handstand every day for a year," said Loethen.

Needless to say, he accepted Toni's challenge and so began a year-long journey that ended just three days ago when Matt planned a surprise for his 365th handstand.

"I thought, 'why I am doing this, what's my motivation?'" said Loethen. "And it was for Toni and I wanted to show her that I could commit."

So he got a few of her friends together, and completed his 365th handstand while her friends held signs behind him with the numbers 3, 6 and 5. Then the signs flipped to read "Marry me Toni."

"It felt like I was walking into a dream to go into his arms," said Elwell. "And then he got down on one knee and had the ring."

Now Elwell is on day 12 of her own handstand challenge, and they're thinking about getting married on her 365th day.

"I challenged him in kind of a jest and he was being macho and saying he could do it," she said. "So much has happened in a year and he's done it now and now we're getting married. It's just been the best journey."


Loethen started a kickstarter campaign called "Heels over Head n Love" to turn his handstand challenge journey into a coffee table book. He photographed each handstand and wants to share his photos to inspire others. For more information about his kickstarter, click here.

Rikki Mitchell

Rikki Mitchell

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Rikki Mitchell is a proud University of Arizona grad and joined the KGUN9 team after graduation. Rikki reports for the evening newscasts.