Interview with a middle eastern yogi/refugee

Bassam Kubba

Yoga Teacher, Spiritual Seeker and Refugee

Bassam grew up in Iraq. When the situation there became too dangerous, he and his family moved out of the country. He moved around the middle east, living in various countries illegally for about 7 years, doing various jobs. During that time, he was seeking legal, immigrant status but he was a low priority. At one point he learned that he would have an easier time finding asylum if he acknowledges his homosexuality, because of the threats of violence and potential death in that part of the world. Soon after, he was living in New York City.

When he was introduced to yoga, it looked like a religion to him, which conflicted with his religion of birth. Over time, he decided that the stories of India can be inspirational and they guided his inner search.

Bassam has lived through a lot of personal, internal conflicts with his sexuality, his religion and his profession. Of course, internal conflicts never end, but hopefully the intensity will subside. Now he teaches yoga, aerial yoga and acroyoga.

I hope that you enjoy the third episode of the podcast, Chats from the Mat, yoga inspired conversations with me, Brian Macrae Davis.

How to find Bassam Kubba

You can find him around New York City and at either of the Om Factory locations.

You can follow him on Instagram, @theacroflyer, and on Facebook.

I want to thank one of my personal yoga teacher sponsors, Xero Shoes; the best sandals for running, hiking, barefoot, walking. Xero Shoes make minimalist sandals that stand the tests of time and terrain and they have just released their first minimalist closed shoe. I like them because they pack easily, take up little room and are quite versatile. When I was in Hawaii, they were the only footwear I used; In town, in the rainforest or on the beach, they were perfect.

Thank you, Matt Worley for the introduction to this podcast. Matt is a yoga, SUP yoga and AcroYoga Teacher based in Newcastle in Australia.

Interview with Jean-Jacques Gabriel

Jean-Jacques Gabriel

Artist, Social Activist and Teacher of Color

Warning: this interview contains occasional profanity.

Jean-Jacques Gabriel & Brian Macrae Davis

Jean-Jacques Gabriel is a yoga practitioner of color, an artist and a teacher of many disciplines. He was born in Haiti, grew up in the suburbs of DC and move to Philadelphia in order to go to art school which is where he now resides. He has painted murals in Germany, portraits in London, toured Egypt and visited Uganda. His first yoga experience was a university class and he had a life-changing savasana that set Jean-Jacques on a new path. He began using the practices learned in yoga to help children at a women’s shelter and inmates in the prison system. One day, he was asked to teach a yoga class. Without any yoga teaching experience, he did so.

Jean-Jacques talks about being a ‘black dude with tattoos’ in a predominantly white practice, about finding the ritual in all practices and using rituals to guide any practice, and also addressing the uncomfortable aspects of life instead of ignoring them.

I hope that you enjoy the second episode of the podcast, Chats from the Mat, yoga inspired conversations with me, Brian Macrae Davis.

How to find Jean-Jacques Gabriel

Join Jean-Jacques at the upcoming Black Yoga Teacher’s Conference (not just for teachers) – Black Yoga Teacher’s Conference

If you are interested in getting more information about Jean-Jacques Gabriel, his teaching schedule, instructional videos and more, you can learn more at:

Website: jeanjacquesgabriel.com
Instagram: instagram.com/jeanjacquesgabriel/
Facebook: facebook.com/jeanjacques.gabriel.9

I want to thank one of my personal yoga teacher sponsors, Manduka. Manduka creates clothing, mats and towels of the highest quality. I have been using my mat for about 4 years and it still looks brand new. I recently started wearing their clothing for men and have been really impressed with the quality and fit.

Thank you, Matt Worley for the introduction to this podcast. Matt is a yoga, SUP yoga and AcroYoga Teacher based in Newcastle in Australia.

Interview with Matt Giordano

Matt Giordano

Traveling Yoga Teacher, Handstand Coach and Musician

Matt Giordano & Brian Macrae Davis

Early in his life, Matt Giordano found focus and passion through creative outlets; primarily through art, specifically music. He found peace of mind first in meditation, and then, in the asana practice. Accidentally, he found himself teaching a small group of friends and those events grew until he had full rooms. When he committed to teaching yoga, he immersed himself deeply in that world until he realized how unsustainable it was due to the emotional and spiritual drain of teaching too many classes. In order to make yoga sustainable, he began to teach workshops. He made yoga teaching successful by find a niche that he was very passionate about and by learning the secrets of other successful teachers. I hope that you enjoy the first episode of the podcast, Chats from the Mat, yoga inspired conversations with me, Brian Macrae Davis.

If you are interested in getting more information about Matt Giordano, his teaching schedule, instructional videos and more, you can learn more at:

Website: theyogimatt.com/
Instagram: instagram.com/theyogimatt/
Youtube: youtube.com/user/TheYogiMatt

Books mentioned in the podcast:

Effortless Mastery
by Kenny Werner:

Way of the Peaceful Warrior
by Dan Millman

I want to thank one of my personal yoga teacher sponsors, prAna clothing company. They produce Yoga, Travel & Adventure clothes with a conscience. Prana is one of the few companies that provide support for brand new yoga teachers. It is not the successful yoga teachers that need help and support, it is the ones that are starting their teaching career and struggling to make a living. Prana does just that.

Thank you, Zo Leroux for the introduction. Zo is a traveling teacher based loosely in Quebec, Canada.