Matt Penman is a man of many talents. A trained actor and writer; he has a TV show in the pipeline and teaches yoga at Bodyism in Notting Hill and Battersea Yoga. His practice is playful and explorative, and offers students the chance to step back from their everyday lives.
We chat to him about caring for the planet and ourselves, mindfulness and his favourite Frappe Shorts…
What does the lightness of being mean to you?
To me, lightness of being means 'calmness' and to approach everything with an open attitude. Nothing is too great, nothing is too small. To be kind, to be compassionate, to be me.
Once we establish this calmness, we can take on the challenges in our lives without allowing them to affect us negatively.
We go through cycles within our time where things seem to be going well and other times perhaps not so well. Acknowledge whichever cycle you might be in and approach it with the attitude of being able to achieve anything.
What are your favourite ways to be kinder to the planet?
Education. Research industries you contribute to. Know as much as you can about where things come from… food, fashion, everything!
Specifically one small thing you can do today is to save your jars - I never throw a glass jar away. I use them to store home stuff in, to put my packed lunch in, to make candles in, to drink out of, to plant in and whatever else I fancy doing with them. Start saving your glass jars and think outside the box to find different ways of using them.
How do you like to look after yourself?
I practice yoga every day. I also do other forms of exercise, such as pilates, boxing, personal training. Exercise makes me feel good, not only physically but mentally.
I try to eat healthily, but not obsessively.
It's easy to get carried away with being 'healthy', but a lot is to be said for enjoying yourself and going with the flow.
I see my friends regularly; we like eating together and enjoy travelling together. It's important to surround yourself with people that lift you (and vice versa).
What does yoga and mindfulness mean to you?
Yoga and mindfulness is a way of bringing myself back to a place of stillness, essentially.
Mentally I often have lots going on - flitting between yoga teaching and the performance industry - so yoga and meditation is my tool to reel everything in and feel sane again.
Yoga simplistically means to unify and I feel that by channeling this unification of the senses to the breath, I am able to feel stronger and more prepared to take on whatever I might be doing in that moment.
What's your method of teaching?
I teach somewhat informally. I think of the practice as an interactive thing that we do, which changes all the time.
Rigidity isn't part of my teaching. I try to encourage freedom within the practice but with a focus on safe alignment also.
The internal practice I lead with simple questions on how a pose makes you feel, what challenges a pose might raise. By questioning throughout the practice we disengage from distractions and think a little more about what it is we're doing and why.
What is your favourite Starseeds go-to?
Frappe shorts, at the minute. They're really light and comfy! I practice in them, I teach in them, I have swam in them also...
What one tip would you give to help live a lighter life?
Care less about what people think, think less… generally. We over think a lot!
Find Matt at Bodyism, Battersea Yoga and over on Instagram.
Photography by Daniel Taylor.