In the Zen with Matty Espino
What's the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
The first thing I do when I get out of bed is lightly heat some sesame or coconut oil over running hot water and then swish a tiny amount in my mouth for a few minutes. This might sound a bit weird, but it’s called oil pulling, which is an Ayurvedic (think sister science to yoga) technique for keeping our teeth healthy and strong, while also being a natural whitener.
What's the last thing you do before you go to bed?
Double-check all my alarms are set. I’m generally an early riser and like to start my morning nice and early (like really early), but I’m paranoid I might oversleep one day.
When did you first get into yoga?
I really got into yoga when I moved to New York after 3 years living abroad in Korea. With the stress of grad school, adjusting to NYC, and the usual curveballs of life, I was in a deep rut both physically and emotionally. My roommate started taking classes in the city and invited me to take a class with her. At first, I was apprehensive because I couldn’t help but think of my first experience with yoga, which took place abroad in a gym, in another language, and was embarrassing to say the least.
Eventually, I decided to bite the bullet and go with my roomie and it was that yoga class that forever changed my life. I’m not sure what it was, but this time it was different - maybe it was the movements, maybe it was the comfort of the teacher, maybe it was finally being able to let go of all my baggage that kept holding me back – but I felt really good about myself and I just kept coming back.
How'd you hear about 305?
I first heard about 305 on Instagram. A friend of mine had taken a cardio class and, of course, posted a selfie with that amazing bathroom lighting. Shortly after that, I started seeing things pop up here and there from other friends who were taking classes and other social media/news outlet posts. I remember browsing the website too and thinking, “Wow, this place is a PARTY!” and that I need to get there, stat.
Yoga is all about being mindful and present. How do you stay calm and present when things seem to be out of your control?
B-R-E-A-T-H-E! Simply breathing is such a balancing practice for the mind and body. We all do it so why not use it to our advantage? When things are especially feeling out of control, I particularly like to do “sama vritti” or equal part breathing. You just lengthen your inhales and exhales to match each other. I like it because it brings me back into the moment, calms me down, and refocuses my mind so that I can get back on track to whatever it is that I’m doing.
So forreals, can you wear yoga pants 24/7?
Want to know a deep dark yogi secret? I only recently got into yoga pants a few months ago! And the verdict: OMG YES YES YES 24/7! I really hope more men get into the bandwagon of wearing them because, seriously, amazing!
How do you get "in the zone" before teaching a class?
I like to meet my students before teaching. It helps break down that wall of pre-teaching jitters and allows me to connect with my students a bit more. Getting to know my students makes teaching any class a much more personal experience for me.
What's your favorite party pose when you practice yoga?
I love playing around with arm balances. Right now, I’m working on Eka Pada Galavasana aka Flying Pigeon Pose. It’s a challenging deep deep deeeeeep outer hip opener that requires a lot of strength, focus, and a lot of pelvic floor lifting.
Top 3 guiltiest pleasures?
Marathoning the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills/New York City, a glass of dry white wine, and jamming out to Britney.