REBEL ROCKSTAR. KOMBUCHA DRINKER. PEACEFUL WARRIOR. YOGI.
Name: Matt Giordano
What city/country are you reppin’? Goshen Connecticut, USA
What do most people think about your hometown/country? No one knows where connecticut is, even in most parts of the U.S. As a result most people just get lost in their head, trying to think where CT is when they hear about it, rather than thinking about what it's like.
What are you most proud of about your country? Most proud of the beautiful landscape that most people outside of the country don't know about. The U.S is often thought of as the cities like NYC, and LA, but it's less common to think about beauty of the land. Now that I have toured the U.S quite a bit as a Yoga teacher I have seen a side of the country that I never knew existed...and I have lived here for all my life.
What is your story? As a kid I wanted to be an actor, but reading was never my strength. Reading out loud for auditions was so embarrassing that I avoided the whole process. Stage fright was also a limiting factor. Still I knew self expression was important to me, and in my late high school years I fell in love with Music and Art. I went on to study Music in College, and toured Nationally in a band called Stealing Jane for 8 years. We had some success but the challenges of working as a team with a total of 8 dudes, lacking in maturity, life experience and communication skills all while while making big life decisions eventually fell apart. We did our best and learned a lot together, but the unsteadiness (to say the least) of that lifestyle lead me into a depression. Throughout my final years in the band I started a meditation, and self inquiry practice which eventually led me to a book: Wisdom of The Peaceful Warrior, which lead me to Yoga. At first I felt like I was becoming bi-polar, Yoga brought me to amazing emotional heights, while band life continued to drag me down. The daily contrast of Yoga during the day, and band life at night eventually gave me clarity around what I truly wanted. I admit, life made the decision for me, and I am so glad it did. I am a very loyal person so leaving the band would have been hard for me. Through a matter of circumstances the band took a “temporary break” which was my opportunity out. Despite the emotional challenge of that is natural after leaving 8 years of blood, sweat and tears, I was stoked to leave the band and begin my adventure as a yoga teacher. The rest of the story is all pretty normal - basically I was homeless and starving for a while and then way too busy running around NYC for years on end, and now I travel internationally as a yoga teacher and live in the country with my lovely lady Rebecca, and our little farm. Typical.
How would you describe yourself? Mysterious, Loving, Fascinating and Passionate. Mysterious and fascinating because I am ever changing, and often in deep contemplation. My mind is an interesting scientific yet spiritual adventure, and even am surprised by it sometimes. Sometimes I am super serious, and other times I am incredibly goofy. I can be completely present and totally lost in my creative head at any given moment - I admit it's fun up there. Loving because I care so deeply for those I connect with. I would attribute a large part of my success as a teacher to the intense passion that comes through my body when I open up and share with people. While I spend a lot of time up in my head, I am happy to say I am not focused on Self Doubt, and defeating thoughts, I am simply on an adventure. The adventure might be about the body, mind, nature, life in general, building things, or whatever is in front of me. Thanks to Yoga and Meditation, My passion for life is what fuels my thoughts and my ability to express that passion freely through my words, body, and writing.
How would your mother describe you? Inspiring, adventurous, brave, capable of anything. Because she is my mother and she put all her effort into trying to build those qualities in me.
What did you want to be growing up? answered this above, but I wanted to be an actor...but also a hockey player, and basketball player.
What do characteristic do you value most in others? Currently, peopl who are organized. I am truly inspired by this quality in others because it is something I am really working toward in my own life. Not just organized in the “keeps things filed in the cabinet sense” but also the “they have their sh*t together sense”. I love to see people who have a plan and roll it out in a timely manner, this has never been my strength as a creative freedom seeker.
When did you last cry? What was it about? On my way home from London in July 2017. I was watching the movie “Logan” - yes the X-men movie, and I pretty much cried the entire time. I guess I am a sucker for the tough guy who turns into a softy kind of thing, and this was because of his daughter. I mean really it was a lot of tears.
Is there anything you preach but don’t practice, or practice but don’t preach? Well I don't know if I preach it but I certainly teach and display asana practice as my brand. There were many years where I practiced 4 times a day, and studied the practice like a madman. My physical practice is now mostly made up of micro-movements based on keeping my body feeling good. I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone starting out because minimal practice only maintains what is, it will not deepen your body awareness. Consistency is key to diving into any unknown.
I practice seated meditation quite often, and while I preach it I don’t teach it all that often, except during intensives like a retreat or training.
We’ve all done a few things we’re not proud of? Just one? I was fired from a big clothing company for stealing...but that wasn’t the only time it happened. I went through a rebellious phase where I stole just to see if I could - money, posters, clothes, cd’s and so on. To say I am not proud is an understatement.
Let’s play favourites?
Breakfast lunch or dinner? Breakfast
Favorite book? Wisdom of The Peaceful Warrior
Sport/activity to play? Ice Hockey
Sport/activity to watch? Ice Hockey
Favourite place you’ve been too? Costa Rica
Favourite drink? Kombucha
Favourite drink at the bar? Cabernet Sauvignon
Tea or Coffee? Espresso
Boxers or briefs? Briefs
Dad’s son or Momma’s boy? Dad’s Son
Heartbreaker or hopeless romantic? Heartbreaker
Favourite Song? #41 Dave Mathews Band
Favourite Movie? Karate Kid
Best dance Move? The Michael Jackson kick and crotch grab
OK, Let’s talk about Yoga
What does a male yogi look like? A human with a penis
What are the biggest stereotypes about guys who do yoga? Weird
What was the biggest challenge when you started the practice? There were very few yoga studios where I lived.
Why do you keep coming back? To Help others experience their own potential
What was the biggest challenge when you started teaching? I wasn't certified for the first year, but my career picked up fast. I didn't have the time to do a teacher training because I was still committed to being in the band, and I didn't have the money for one either because...I was in a band for the past 8 years.
What is your best advice for a guy who wants to try yoga for the first time? Most guys face their own inner critic, self doubt and judgement when thinking about going to the practice for the first time. my advice is to muster up the courage by focusing on how you want to feel rather than what you think you will look like. Like anything, you can’t just be good at it without working at it. You wont be flexible after one practice, but you will gain flexibility rapidly if you keep coming back. You wont be able to do a handstand the first time, but you will be able to do it with repetition, training and dedication. You will not know what you are doing the first time, but you will soon enough. Just set your insecurities, and goals aside for a moment so that you can get started, and once you start you will realize how great you feel, and when you learn to focus on that you everything else will be easy.
Tell us a story when your Yoga practice came into play off the mat? I just purchased my Kombucha, and I was on my way to teach class when I got stopped by someone outside of the supermarket. This was Typical in NYC, and most of the time you have to ignore it or you will be late for something or someone. But this time I knew I had 5 minutes to spare. She asked if I would sponsor a child. I told her I would, but I wouldn't give her my credit card because that's not smart. I agreed to take a pamphlet and donate when I got home. I followed through with that donation and still support a child monthly, and have watched him grow up in the postcards he has sent me over the past 4 years. One day I plan to meet him in person.
What does the next 5 years of yoga look like for you? Development of the community of leaders that I recently started called Chromatic Yoga. After leading my first Chromatic Training in 2017, I am working with the first graduating class on the expansion of the community. Our focus is not on creating a branded style but rather an umbrella of highly studied teachers who are committed to delivering a practice that is both effective and authentic. Rather than restricting what each teacher offers, I have created a structure that helps teachers transmit wisdom and knowledge in a powerful and exciting way. The next five years will be about sharing this with the world in my travels, and helping Chromatic Teachers find their authentic power.
Things seem to be changing, what does the future of yoga look like in the western world? I have no idea to be honest but I have faith that Yoga will hold its own in the ever changing environment of mankind.
Other than yoga, what else keeps you busy? @Our.Little.Farm - My soon to be wife (likely wife by the time you read this) and I have a small farm in North West CT where we enjoy time with our Goats, Alpacas, Chickens, and our little dog @gurutito - yes we have many instagram accounts. I love creating so our home is a place for me to build a lifestyle that we both love. I am constantly learning new things like woodworking, plumbing, building, mechanics, electrical and everything else that goes along with having a little farm.
In your own words, what is BOYS OF YOGA? A collective group of homies that seek to support each other.
And what does the project mean to you? Support and love
What does it mean in your city/country? Dudes who practice Yoga for the purpose of loving life
Why do you want to share your story? To show others that yoga is a practice, and a journey not an end destination.
If you could spend time with hanging out, practice and chillin’ with some of the other BOYS, who would it be, and why?
Duncan Peak Ive connected with him a couple of times in my travels and loved his fun, welcoming energy. He seems to be a guy who genuinely cares about the people he’s with and I felt that right away.
Marc Hatvani I relate to his intense focus and drive, I am quite similar to him when it comes to having a vision and relentlessly moving toward it even if it means sacrificing other parts of my life.
Adam Husler: Met him for a moment, and he was a sweetheart, I like surrounding myself with kind hearted people like him.
Someone I haven't met that I am curious about, Jason Anderson from Atlanta -Pro Basket Ball player. The topic of race is prominent in the U.S right now and there is a wacked out revival off CWP (Crazy White People). As a result I have been drawn to “Black Culture”. Jason left his story to Pro Basketball Player turned Yogi, so I am curious to lean more about this dude. Also I dig his writing style and his look in photos.
What is your go to yoga pose? Pigeon - hockey players are, and have tight asses...still a hockey player.
What pose do you f*cking hate? The fake “look i'm doing a handstand in a thong against a palm tree on a beautiful island. “ I just dislike it because it is aesthetically beautiful and my judgement is that most people are doing it for the photo not because they feel good in it...I tried it once, I don't look sexy, and my white thighs and ass don't look great in the thong, and I feel like my wrists are in pain from the hyper extension caused by the sand, and my back is unhappy because of the awkward angle of the spine, and the tree is pissed off that my ass is on it. I think I need to go meditate on this topic. BTW my Fiance (soon to be wife) enjoys this pose and I am still very much in love with her ;-)
Yoga is….. Practice, Discipline, Freedom, Paradox Life, Love, limitless, Nature.
What is your favourite quote, or personal mantra? Matt: How do you want to feel Matt?
Finally, tell us a joke, try to be funny, go on. Now THAT is funny!
I would honestly have to do a google search for a joke, and that would be lame. I am more of the laugh at me rather than laugh with me kind of character. But don't laugh at me that will make me insecure. So I guess don’t laugh in my presence...oh wow, this has been revelatory.
Interviewed: July, 2017
Photos by @michaeljameswong and property of BOYS OF YOGA LLC