Matthew Tift, Ph.D., RYT

Headshot of Matthew Tift

Hi, I'm Matthew (he/him)! I'm a yoga and meditation teacher at Spirit of the Lake and a lead engineer at Lullabot. I facilitate meditation groups in prisons, host the Pretty Good Meditation podcast, and teach weekly yoga classes. My yoga classes are designed to empower people to realize their full potential through the physical postures of yoga, meditation, and music.

My journey started with music. I started playing violin at age 5 and spent much of my childhood playing in orchestras, singing in choirs, and performing in musicals. I earned a PhD in musicology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2007 and taught at the University of Iowa. However, I could not find a way to support my family as a musicology professor and raise my children near their grandparents.

I turned my fascination with technology into a career when I learned how to build websites and write code. During an 8-year tenure at Wisconsin Public Radio, I became a strong advocate for free software, and sharing code among public media organizations, universities, and nonprofits. In 2014 I started working at Lullabot, an employee-owned, fully-distributed, human-focused, web development agency. In 2015 I started a podcast about free software called Hacking Culture. I have been an active member of the free software community Drupal since 2010, and I regularly speak at technology conferences.

After many years of dabbling with yoga and meditation, I started a daily practice in 2012 and I have been a dedicated student of yoga every since. Following about five years of attending yoga classes at Spirit of the Lake and meditation retreats around the world, in 2017 I was invited to help facilitate a Buddhist meditation group in my local prison system. Then in 2019 I started the 200-hour yoga teacher training, in the Kripalu lineage, at Spirit of the Lake. By 2020 I was a registered yoga teacher (RYT-200) teaching yoga and meditation classes at Spirit of the Lake. In 2021 I was accepted into the advanced-level teacher training (RYT 500) at the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health (Stockbridge, Massachusetts), the largest yoga retreat center in North America.

This site contains my thoughts about a wide variety of subjects, such as yoga, meditation, music, Drupal, free software, live coding, and public media. It also contains a list of my teachers, the technology I use, and my list of "tricks" for getting things done. You can find many more details about my history in my CV, including a list of my publications and conference talks.

I live near Minneapolis, Minnesota on Dakota land ceded in the Treaties of 1837 and 1851. Mni Sota Makoce (Minnesota) is the homeland of the Dakota people who have lived here for thousands of years and continue to reside in this state.

I enjoy yoga, meditation, cycling, and playing string quartets with my wife (viola) and two children (cello and violin).