What inspires me to teach yoga is to share with the community the reach and depth yoga can have in your life day to day. In Hawaii yoga is some-what new, when I came here there were only a few styles Bikram being the most popular. I decided to open a space where all students can in their way find the yoga that speaks to them. One of the biggest compliments I get about Open Space Yoga is that there is so much to offer, we have most styles of yoga, most, not all, and we offer a huge array of workshops including Yoga Nidra, Asana, Ayurveda, Sanskrit, etc...it really feels like a learning center for yoga. So my biggest inspiration is to keep the diversity going and to see the students growth.
2. How has the practice of ParaYoga transformed your life? (tantra)
When I first met Yogarupa in 2002 I believe, I was very curious about yoga beyond asana. I knew, of course there had to be much more to this ancient practice then what I had been exposed to. My first introduction was the Tantra PYMT (ParaYoga Master Training). Whew, that took me for a serious ride and I loved it. Finally!
Since then I've been studying with Yogarupa, along with other teachers like Vamadeva (David Frawley) Yogini Shambhavi, Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, Dharma Widmann (Sanskrit) and more. The teachings of Tantra, Yoga and Ayurveda have transformed me in ways hard to describe, for one thing it makes me a patient and compassionate mother, studio owner, teacher and wife. Through the practice of sadhana, mainly mantra and meditation, I'm able to reach those parts of myself unreachable in any other way. Yogarupa has really taught me the importance of sadhana, without it not much will change.
3. In what way have you seen the principles of ParaYoga help to transform the life of your students? (parampara)
When teaching ParaYoga I very slowly started to implement the teachings. The approach to asana is very digestible once you give them the reason for practicing is such a way, but adding meditation and mantra was a much slower intergration. As students came back continuosuly they trusted me and we started taking more time with these approaches to practice. Over time, you can just see the sweetness, softness come out and the stressed out over worked, over stimulated group of students melted away. Practice for them really became about ritual and not just exercise.
4. What type of practice and/or study is informing your teaching the most right now? (brahmavidya)
What is informing my practice a lot right now is the Tantric teachings of the goddess, or devi. I recently went on a 5 day retreat with David Frawley and Shambhavi in Kauai on Shakti. There were only 18 of us so it really gave us a chance to experience the wisdom of the two teachers and the ability to really dive into the practices. Mantra Sadhana is again where my practice is now and has been for awhile but more...
There gentle approach to asana was really refreshing (especially since I'm 9 months pregnant) and focus on different aspects of the devi was beautiful. (Editor's note - Mary gave birth to a beautiful son in February. Congratulations!)
5. What obstacles have you had to overcome and how has this made you better and brighter as a teacher and in your life? (agni/sri)
So many obstacles! The teachings of Tantra taught in this lineage of Yogarupa have given me the wisdom to see what is real, where I can see that we all are beauty and to have patience with myself and others. Owning a yoga studio can be so challanging, forget the financial part but the part of me as a boss, fellow teachers, friend, all these rolls I have to play and still maintain balance as a wife and soon to be mother of two. I used to have so much time before my son to dedicate to study and practice and now I have time starting at 9pm. It was a huge adjustment but one well worth it. Being a business owner and mother gives me access to more students in the way that they see me being able to do it so why can't they? Again it all comes back to sadhana, sacred space and sacred time, and although its less these days its more powerful.
Read more about Mary.