Bess Matlock was introduced to yoga in high school, fell in love in college and took it public when she started teaching in 2011. The transformative power of meditation, pranayama, asana and compassionate inquiry continues to amaze her. Bess is passionate about making yoga accessible, and believes there is freedom through service. She’s had the opportunity to teach yoga to all ages along the East Coast in studios, gyms and even in the woods at an adolescent therapy program.
Certifications include 500 hour training with Kripalu teachers Grace Jull and Jovinna Chan and 200 Hour Kripalu training. Bess has pursued additional scholarship in Ayurveda and integrative medicine. She’s a senior medical student and will receive her M.D. May 2019.
Where are you from? Atlanta
How long have you lived in Athens? Since 2015
What’s your passion? Medicine! Healing! Woods!
Favorite book? “Deathless” by C. Valente
Favorite movie? Lion King
Favorite restaurant? Big City Bread
When did you start practicing yoga and why?
I started practicing yoga in high school around 2006 out of curiosity when a geometry teacher offered free classes. I also tried after-school belly dancing during this time.
What’s your favorite yoga style?
I have sampled the buffet of various yoga lineages and learned a lot from the teachers I’ve had the opportunity to study with. That being said, Kripalu Yoga is my favorite and the style of yoga in which I trained. Kripalu yoga places an emphasis on cultivating compassion, on alignment concepts (rather than rules) and using the technology of yoga live one’s most skillful life. A key practice is mediation in motion—allowing prana to direct creative asana and mudra flow.
How long have you taught yoga? What inspired you to teach?
I started teaching in June 2011 at my college. I was doing my senior research over the summer and I felt moved to share what I was learning from my daily practice. At that time in my life I had a seriously dedicated asana practice (1 to 1.5 hours daily in my dorm room, mostly alone) and I had been trying on different recommended yogic practices (chanting, tongue scraping, etc.). I was so crazy in love with my practice that I wanted to share with my peers.
What’s your advice to someone who is new to yoga?
Keep showing up! That’s 98% of the whole practice, showing up to this moment and breathing.
What is your favorite pose?
I get after that savasana.
What’s your favorite class to teach at M3? Favorite to take?
M360 all around.
What do you enjoy most about M3?
Nick is a fabulous human being, and I think having him at the helm infuses the whole studio with radical acceptance. There’s an ethos of meeting people where they are, welcoming diversity and offering a whole lot of options to make yoga accessible to wherever one might be in their practice. And, I think the Tree Room studio is the prettiest yoga space in Georgia.