Husband and wife duo Mathieu and Ashtynne are bringing a new perspective on yoga to Northern Michigan. From classes that feel more like workshops to healing trauma in the body, hear what this Traverse City yoga teaching couple is up to.
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There’s a new yoga guy in Traverse City and he’s causing a buzz. His name is Mathieu Boldron, and if you’ve never tried yoga, he might just be the one to get you on the mat. His wife, Ashtynne Hudecz, is also a yoga teacher, and they recently moved from France to Traverse City to raise their baby daughter, Luna.
“They bring very different trainings to Traverse City because they’ve trained all over the world,” says Kay Epple, co-owner of Dharamsala. (Editor’s Note: Since publication, Mathieu and Ashtynne have begun teaching at ELEV8 Climbing Gym.)
Let’s start with Mathieu.
“Mathieu’s classes are not your typical American yoga with music and flowing pose to pose,” Kay says. “They are almost like a workshop because he breaks things down to strengthen your practice and truly connect. It’s really fresh!”
And that’s exactly how Mathieu describes his approach. “One thing I’ve noticed is that many people are rushed, they just want to move,” he says. “You can enjoy going fast, but you are missing a lot. I teach something a little softer, more restorative. Yoga is something to explore.”
He gives this example: In class, he will tell people to touch their mats like they would someone they love. “It’s a telling moment,” Mathieu says. “How do you touch the face of someone you love? Are you stiff or are you cupping their cheek?”
He holds a hand to his face and smiles. It’s a quick moment of sincerity, then a flash of playfulness. “That makes people stop and think!” he says with a laugh.
There’s something else that Mathieu brings to the mat, which makes his classes different, too: His background is in musical theater. “He’s a performer at heart,” Kay says. “Plus, he’s got such a passion for what yoga can do for people. He’s got a high game—I’ve never seen him not deliver an amazing class.”
Mathieu credits his days of theater to his discovery of yoga. “At the time, I wasn’t getting good roles in theater,” he says. “I was depressed and working a lot of hours, show after show, day after day in small roles.”
He was 21 at the time, and he was performing so much that his body was breaking down. However, not everyone on the set was suffering from the long hours. “I noticed the oldest woman on the set—she was in her 40s—was stronger than all of us. I had to ask her, what are you doing? She told me to go to yoga!”
He laughs as he tells the story: “I didn’t believe her, no way could yoga do that for you. But I went to one class and realized I was wrong. I thought there is no way I could keep doing yoga, it was that intense.”
But he kept going, and that’s where the change happened.
“The studio was full of mirrors and—well—looking at myself, I suddenly saw that I was capable.”
Soon thereafter, Mathieu decided to audition for a musical in Germany, for a bigger part. The only catch? He didn’t speak German. He convinced an ex-girlfriend (“She owed me, haha!” he says.) to record the entire audition for him with inflection so that he could memorize and mimic it word for word.
Photo by Michael Poehlman
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To his surprise, he got the part. And when the producers found out he didn’t actually speak German, they were so impressed, they gave him his choice of parts in several musicals. It was a dream come true: He played the lead in Disney’s Broadway musical “The Lion King” and in “Sister Act,” produced by Whoopi Goldberg.
Meanwhile, though, yoga had taken root in his heart.
He began to focus on his practice, taking trainings from master teachers all over the world. Mathieu taught his first training when a lead trainer broke her leg, and they recruited him to teach instead at the last minute. This sparked Mathieu to quit musical theater and start teaching yoga full-time.
He now co-owns a yoga teaching studio in France and has become a renowned teacher worldwide, having offered trainings in more than 16 countries and counting. He has since landed and started a home in Traverse City with his wife, Ashtynne, whom he met—of course!—at a teacher training.
“I was studying yoga and living in Michigan,” she says. “I had saved up money for three years to go to Thailand and take a yoga teacher training. I met Mathieu, and we had a whirlwind love. Within a week, he asked me to come to Paris with him, and I decided to just go for it!”
Ashtynne grew up in Alma, Michigan, and had several relatives in Traverse City, a place she loved to visit. When they knew their daughter was on the way, the couple decided to move to Michigan to be closer to family.
Ashtynne’s practice is a bit different than her husband’s. She focuses on healing trauma in the body. Because her childhood was filled with trauma and bullying, Ashtynne says she was depressed for many years. “Growing up in the standard Midwest home, I had never been exposed to yoga,” she says. “I didn’t have a lot of tools to regulate my emotions and keep my body healthy. I thought going to the doctor was the only option, which was helpful at the time, but I needed more to lift my spirits.”
Photo by Michael Poehlman
At 21, she read Julia Cameron’s book “Morning Pages” and began journaling. She also incorporated yoga. The combination began to help her heal. “I was initially just using medication to change the chemicals in the brain,” she says. “When I started to learn stream of consciousness writing with the addition of actually moving my body, I started to feel a great sense of release. A relief that medication never invoked.”
From then on, she says, her life purpose became to help others find that same sense of relief and understand the mind-body connection.v
“You don’t have to feel helpless,” Ashtynne says. “Instead, feel hopeful. We have way more control than we know. You carry trauma in your body and you can bring it out. Yoga is very healing.”
Kay agrees, and loves the perspective Ashtynne brings to Dharamsala. “Her classes offer a mental health focus. They are very spiritual and calming and healing. It is amazing what happens so often in class—you’ll find yourself crying and you don’t know why, but it feels really good!”
Dharamsala TC recently opened a second studio at 319 E. Front St. in Traverse City and continues to expand its offerings for all ages and levels.
Kandace Chapple is a freelance writer and founder of the Michigan Girl Bike Club. She can be reached at kandacechapple.com.