Here’s our lovely teacher Mary! She teaches four times a week at East Side. Come on in and catch a class with her Sunday and Monday at 10:30am, Tuesday at 7:30pm, and for all you early risers she hosts a free self practice hour from 6:30-7:30am Wednesday morning. Heck yeah! What a way to start your day!
Thanks for the great responses Mary. I loved hearing more about your story 🙂
When did you first start practicing yoga?
I started practicing around 1999. My first experience with yoga was with a VHS tape… Rodney Yee I think. Soon after that I started attending a studio in Nashville TN and began practicing Ashtanga Yoga.
How has your practice changed since then?
In the beginning` my practice was strict and serious. I think that is exactly what I needed at that time. Currently my practice is an expression of my ability to accept the moment… some moments easier to accept than others. ; ) My body is constantly changing and my mind is something that needs to be tamed! Therefore my practice changes in order to adapt. I love the freedom that comes with accepting change. It is a slow process, but the more I am able to do it the more I enjoy each moment. In the beginning my practice was more about grounding and discipline and now my practice is more about letting go and being in the moment… and trying to smile along the way.
I love the music you play in class! Could you speak about how music can influence (or effect) a flow class such as yours?
There are many opinions about playing music during a yoga practice. I feel there are many reasons to play and to not play music… the outcome should be based on what the teacher is trying to do within his or her class or what the student is needing. For me music allows me to process emotions, memories, thoughts, etc. Sometimes I am in a pose and a certain song comes on, bringing up a memory or feeling. My practice allows me to dive in and address the memory or feeling if needed, either processing it or just allowing it to surface and then letting it go. Sometimes an annoying song begins and I am given the opportunity to practice non-attachment… as I work to not assign judgment to the song or rush to end the song and my annoyance. ; ) There are times, however, when I prefer to practice in silence and direct my focus entirely inward. Therefore, I feel that music (or the lack of music) similarly effects the people in my class. Anything that helps us to dive a little deeper is good in my eyes!
What led you to complete your teacher training and where?
After my first Ashtanga class in Nashville I fell in love with yoga. I began intensive studies in India studying Ashtanga Yoga in 2001 and returned again in 2004. After an accident in 2004, I began to practice other lineages/styles of yoga, such as restorative and gentle hatha. There was a period of time when I couldn’t walk. Therefore I had to quit my job, give up my place in the city and move out into the country… I felt isolated, and maintaining a daily yoga practice gave me the ability to accept my situation and find peace. I became very passionate about the practice and wanted to share. Eventually that led to teaching friends in my home studio. Once I moved to Austin I began teaching in studios and legitimized my teaching by finishing my certification at the Living Yoga Program.
What have you learned about yourself lately?
Recently I have become more aware of my reactions to people and/or situations. I have found that I expect too much from people and that it governs how I react in relationships or simple interactions. I am working at letting go of my expectations and accepting what ever someone or life offers me.
If you could pick one characteristic to shield and serve you through life, what would it be?
Honestly it would be a tie between compassion and maintaining a light heart with a sense of humor. Traveling around the world I have met the most amazing people. The ones that inspired me the most had suffered more than I thought possible. These people were able to show compassion to those that had harmed them and maintained a smile while doing it. They had the ability to laugh and love in the most challenging and heartbreaking situations. I tried to learn from them, and I hope to continue to use those characteristics to serve me…and others, as they did.
What pose do you feel most satisfied in?
That is constantly changing! Lately I feel satisfied ending a practice in padmasana, lotus pose. It grounds me and makes me feel light at the same time.
What do you like about East Side Yoga?
Steven and Elsa are warm, welcoming and authentic. I feel this is the essence of East Side Yoga. I felt it the first time I walked into the studio and I believe that it is passed on to everyone creating the wonderful community that is East Side.