Hello, my name is Matt, or Matthew, or sometimes even Mateo, depending on my mood and the environment I’m in 🤣. I teach yoga and meditation here at the Abbey, and it’s been a long, strange, winding journey that led me here. My journey started on a worldly path, studying biology, training to be a scientist, even earning a PhD in molecular biology just before my thirtieth birthday. I did everything I was “supposed” to do, but when I finished graduate school, I felt lost. Life seemed meaningless, empty, purposeless. Fortunately, at this dark time in my life, I found a Teacher and started following a spiritual path for the next ten years, studying tantric Buddhist mysticism, training to be a bodhisattva, even being ordained as a monk. Although meditation turned my life around, eventually I stopped growing on that path, and once again I felt lost. So around the time of my fortieth birthday, I changed course again, and started down a path of Life. Through two years of semi-nomadic wandering, with winters in Costa Rica and summers in northern Wisconsin, I started finding myself, learning who I was underneath all the things I was trying to become, and accepting myself as I am – flaws, imperfections and all.
This last stretch of the journey led me to a yoga teacher training, led by MC Yogi and his wife, Amanda. There, in the loving, safe space they created for the training and surrounded by beautiful, loving souls, I finally learned to Love myself, and I started on a path of Love.
Love healed my wounds, Love gave my life meaning, and Love showed me my purpose – to share this path of Love – Love for ourselves and love for the world and all the people in it.
And then Love led me to the Abbey of the Redwoods, to a place where I could share Love with others.
Following a path of love starts with loving ourselves, with a willingness to honestly see ourselves as we are, and to love ourselves despite all the reasons we tell ourselves we can’t.
In my Embracing Love meetings, we practice heart-centered meditation to feel love in our hearts. We also explore mindful self-examination to identify and integrate the self-created obstacles that prevent us from Loving fully. When we feel Love within our own hearts, then it becomes easy to Love the world.
Another path to love ourselves is through loving our bodies. Yoga is a beautiful practice to connect with our bodies, to nourish and celebrate these miraculous physical vessels we all inhabit. I first started practicing yoga almost a decade ago, when I was living in the San Francisco Bay Area. There was I was blessed to study with a wide variety of different teachers, to learn different styles, techniques, and approaches to yoga, all of which influence my current offerings. The Yoga for Beginners class I teach at the Abbey is intended to help us connect with our bodies and to love ourselves through feeling into our bodies.