Matt is one of Ohio's most experienced teachers of Yoga and Meditation. He has been teaching Yoga and meditation since 1976, been training Yoga teachers since 1978, and has been certified since 1984. He loves teaching all aspects of traditional eight-limbed Astanga Yoga including meditation, Yoga Nidra, and traditional asana classes. He equally enjoys introducing new students to the joy of Yoga as well as training and certifying new teachers or providing continuing education.
Matt is an E-RYT-500 and is the Director of Yoga Teacher Training at the oldest Yoga School in Ohio, the Spiritual Life Society and Yoga Center of Hudson (www.AUM.org) in Hudson, Ohio, and Chairman of Elevate Akron, the host of one of Ohio's largest and oldest Yoga festivals (www.elevateakron.com). He was a former director/teacher at Free Akron Yoga in Akron, Ohio, and a teacher/sponsor of the Akron Yoga Summit festival. He is a life-long resident of Hudson. He is also a singer-songwriter and leads kirtan on a regular basis. He is a founder of Shantiband and Songs of Universal Peace. For more info on Matt, click here: http://YogaTeacher.org/matt.lerner/index.html.
Matt grew up in Hudson, Ohio, and is a 1974 graduate of Hudson High School. Shortly after Matt moved to Madison, Wisconsin to study Psychology at the University of Wisconsin, a friend gave him the book Be Here Now by Ram Dass. He was intrigued and began practicing Yoga and meditation on his own, following the simple instructions in the book. Matt took his first formal Yoga and meditation classes when he returned to college in the fall of 1975, and he began teaching Hatha Yoga the following year and began teaching meditation and related techniques in 1980.
Matt first met his teacher Swami Rama in 1976, and studied and worked under his guidance at the Himalayan Institute in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, for six months in 1979, and another six months in 1982. He was a member of the Himalayan Institute Teachers Association (HITA) and completed all their Yoga teacher coursework in the 1970s. In 1984, Matt was certified to teach Yoga by Behrmam Guard, aka Yogiraj Behrmaji. Behramji was also a disciple of Swami Rama. Behram had mastered Hatha Yoga in India under the guidance of B.K.S. Iyengar during the 1960s. Behrma received the title "Yogiraj" ("King of Yoga") from Swami Rama when they met in the US.
Matt's teaching style is a blend of the gentle, meditative practice of the Himalayan Institute and the precise alignment of Iyengar style. In addition to having had close personal relationships with and being inspired by Yogiraj Behrmaji and Swami Rama, Matt has also studied closely with most of Swami Rama's other disciples including Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, Swami Veda (aka Dr. Arya), Swami Ajaya, Dr. Ballentine, and Charles Bates (Yogi Achala), as well as teachers from many other lineages and styles, including Kundalini Yoga ATBYB.
While studying at the University of Wisconsin, Matt was appointed president of the Yoga Meditation Society of Madison, an affiliated center of the Himalayan Institute. He led the Yoga Teacher training program there, and the principals that he had learned became the foundation for the formal Yoga teacher training program at the the Spiritual Life Society. Matt moved back to Hudson, Ohio in 1982 and soon began teaching along with Larry Terkel, who had founded the Spiritual Life Society a few years earlier. Matt has a BS in Psychology and MBA in Management, both from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 2019, he retired from his a full-time day job as Executive Vice President at a multi-national packaging company. Since 2008, he traveled to to India and other Asian countries regularly on business, usually logging about 100,000 miles/year. This enabled him multiple opportunities to continue studies at at Swami Rama's ashram and other ashrams and centers.