COUNTRY BOY . BLUE STEEL . CLIFF JUMPER . YOGI
Name: ALBERT MORDUE
Hometown: UXBRIDGE, MIDDLESEX, UK
Current town: LONDON, ENGLAND
Yoga practice style: ASHTANGA, DHARMA MITTRA - but anything goes! Instagram: @albertmordue
What's your story? I'm the youngest of 5 beautiful siblings. I spent most of my youth in North Cornwall, living the quiet country life and enjoying the ocean. I spent a lot of my teenage years in a haze of poor health and internal conflict, I was never very active or sporty, I was very lethargic and had no motivation to get out of bed most days. One day at the beach, a friend of mine asked if I would take a free lesson with his new surf school, to attract some attention and advertise his new venture. Up until then I had never even thought about trying to surf, but after that, I was hooked! Surfing made me realise I loved to be active, and that I enjoyed learning new movement-based skills.
When I was 19, I was scouted by a modelling agency at Bestival, a music festival on the Isle of Wight. Since then, modelling has taken me around the world: I've spent time in lots of amazing cities, having been based in Sydney, Barcelona, Milan and Athens, and have travelled to some stunning shoot locations in the Bahamas, South Africa and Thailand, to name a few. Once I started modelling, I was told by my agent that I should join a gym and start working out, around the same time, I met a fellow model named Robertas on a job in Monaco, he was crazy about exercise and nutrition and we became gym buddies, he taught me so much about exercise, movement and nutrition, and I discovered a real passion for all things health and fitness... I guess I've come a way since being that lethargic teenager!
These days, I'm based in London, where I teach yoga and work with a brilliant team at the Bulgari Hotel, as a personal trainer and swim coach. Most of my modelling work is in Europe, but I still get to travel to some exotic places for shoots from time to time!
What did you want to be growing up? I wanted to be a Marine Biologist; I've always loved everything to do with the ocean.
How would you describe yourself? I would say I'm a life enthusiast (sometimes a little over-enthusiastic). I get great pleasure from simple things! I love food, fitness and music.
How would others describe you? My oldest brother once told me that if you concern yourself with what other people think of you, you'll drive yourself insane! That's proven to be a very useful piece of advice and it's always stuck with me so, maybe it's a cop-out but I'm using that as my answer.
How would your mother describe you? She'd say I'm positive, loyal and kind - but that I can be single-minded and stubborn.
What do you most value in others? Why? Empathy! I believe that we are all born as a blank canvas and we are shaped by the experiences, circumstances and people that cross our paths. This belief allows you to empathise with others’ decisions; I just think “maybe I would do the same if I were in their shoes”. If you truly believe this, you will be able to practice forgiveness no matter what life brings your way and I think that is the key to happiness.
When did you last cry? What was it over? It was whilst listening to Drift Away by Dobie Gray - it always sets me off! It was one of the songs played at my Dad’s funeral. He was crazy about music. He had a brilliant voice, full of emotion, and he was always singing. The power of music always amazes me - how even just the intro of a song can transport you instantly to another mindset, another world.
Is there anything you preach but don't practice? Ahimsa. It’s the first of the Yama's, meaning non-violence - that other beings should not have to suffer for our benefit. On one particular level, this relates to vegetarianism, which is a work in progress for me! I gave up eating meat but I still have fish on occasion.
We've all done a few things we aren't too proud of, care to share one? I messed up my education because I had a problem with authority and hated school as a result. I was a nuisance to my teachers and disrupted the education of others in the process, not my finest hour! I’ve been shown that Karma comes around since then, as I always told my French teacher I didn't want to learn French because I would never need it and now I'm paying for a French tutor so I can speak fluently with my French girlfriend and not feel left out when we regularly visit France!
Favourite meal? Home-made nori seaweed wraps.
Favourite drink? Turmeric Latte from Mojo, in Soho, London.
Favourite book? Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield. I was 13 when I first read it and the concepts in that book left a big impression.
Ok, let's talk about yoga, how'd you get into it? I found my first teacher, Dorita Sheriff, at my local gym. She was such an inspiration. She taught once a week at the gym, and rarely let anything come between me and that class. She literally glows with joy and enthusiasm and I remember thinking to myself, “I want what she's taking!”. Turns out it was Yoga.
What was the biggest challenge when you first started practicing? I had got very comfortable with my gym routine, focusing on the exercises that made me feel strong and skipping my weak areas, then when I started to practice yoga I realised that I could no longer skip my weak areas. In fact, I learnt that they would become the focus of the practice and my ego would have to take a back seat.
Why do you keep coming back? Yoga reminds me of the things in life that really count. It encourages me to embrace change and try not to get attached to material things. In a crazy city like London, it's an everyday necessity that keeps me grounded and open.
What would make you skip practice? The chance of a surf with friends! I'd drop everything. Like yoga, its another form of meditation; medicine for the soul.
Do you teach? What's it like? Teaching gives me such a buzz, sharing something that you are passionate about and seeing people developing their own practice, confidence and enthusiasm through it is an incredibly rewarding process.
Other than yoga what keeps you busy? I spend a lot of time in Cornwall. I have shared ownership of a little boat with my brother and best friend, so when the weather’s good we take it out to go wakeboarding and cliff jumping. It’s the most fun - we’re like big kids!
What advice would you give to someone stepping onto the mat for the first time? Breathe and stay open minded. You will learn so much about yourself and the benefits will come flooding in if you only let them.
Tell us about a time your yoga practice came into play off the mat. Every day I see my practice come into play. We all react to situations based on previous experiences; we have conditioned reactions that feel out of our control. But if we can stop and take a deep breath, we can then respond with clarity, no longer a victim of circumstance. You regain the power to choose your thoughts and your actions, and your decisions can reflect the ideas and goals of your life.
Yoga teaches you to breathe when you experience discomfort, and so enables you to recognise your true self.
What issues/challenges have you experienced being a guy who teaches/practices yoga? Honestly, it's all been positive; I could never have imagined how much of a positive effect yoga has had on my life.
There is still a stereotype that it's a female-dominated discipline, and that it’s practiced by a handful of effeminate men, but I think that's changing and it's now common knowledge that EVERYONE can benefit from yoga in some way, be it stress management, injury rehabilitation, or improved posture and flexibility. In fact, something I hear from guys all the time is, "you do yoga right? Yeah, I really need to start/do more of that".
What does the BOYS OF YOGA project mean to you? The BOY project is expelling the stereotype that yoga is just for girls, dancers or gymnasts, it shows that people from all walks of life benefit from their practice, through real-life examples… and I’m very happy to be one of them!
If you could hang out with any of the other BOYS this weekend who would it be? Michael James Wong. He's a gentleman and a dude! He gets his kicks from helping others and connecting people; he's the real deal. Marcus Veda. His rocket classes are like no other, and his practice is so inspiring! A real yoga Jedi. And Marc Laws II. He's spreading the message of love, and it's a beautiful thing to see!
Whats your favourite pose? Can you cue us into it? That would have to be a handstand! Ready? Place your hands on the floor, jump your feet in the air, turn your world upside down! And now the best bit... BREATHE.
What pose do you hate? Why? Lizard. it just never seems to get easier.
Yoga is... An ancient life coaching tool that works for modern life! Yoga keeps you physically and mentally healthy and opens your heart to endless possibilities.
Your quote or mantra... It will all be alright in the end. And if it's not alright, it's not the end!
Interviewed: January 25th, 2016
Photos by @michaeljameswong and property of BOYS OF YOGA Ltd.