Yoga and Lifestyle Coach
La Jolla, California
Tell us about yourself, your story, where you are from, practice, etc.
I specialize in helping my clients relieve their joint pain, sleep better, lose weight, and have more energy, so they can get back to doing the things they love.
Born and raised in NYC, I’ve taught thousands of students over the past 18 years, through private sessions, workshops, classes, online programs and international retreats, In 2016, I fulfilled a lifelong dream to live near the ocean, and moved from NYC to La Jolla, California, where I enjoy walks on the beach with Dempsey, my Golden Retriever.
A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, I’ve achieved E-RYT 500, which is the highest level of certification from the Yoga Alliance.
How and why did you start yoga?
After a decade of working in a stressful corporate environment in NYC, I was a mess. I began seeing a holistic practitioner for the many physical (back and neck pain, digestive issues,and frequent colds/allergies) and emotional (depression and anxiety) issues I was dealing with. She suggested that I try yoga to reduce my stress, and my gym offered classes.
Once on the mat, the teacher started us on our backs, watching our breathing. My heart began racing and I was uncomfortable in every way. I just couldn’t stand it, so after just five minutes, I ran out of the room as fast as I could! It was impossible for me to simply BE without DOING anything. I went back to my distracted life and gym routine, climbing the stair master, riding a stationary bike or running on a treadmill. I was also listening to my Walkman, watching TV and reading a magazine or newspaper, ALL at the same time.
It was another year before I went back to yoga. This time, the class was held at the teacher’s apartment, and before long the class size grew, and we moved to space in a church. Although physically, yoga was incredibly hard, I always felt great afterwards. I stuck with it, watched my breath, and increased my awareness. Over time, yoga transformed my life.
Twenty three years later, yoga, meditation and the wellness branch of yoga, Ayurveda, are an integral part of my being. The way I live in the world has changed, and I’m healthier than ever. I am grateful to all of my teachers who’ve guided me along the way.
Who was your great mentor/teacher?
There have been many influential teachers in my life. Amy Ippoliti was an incredible mentor for me as I developed as a teacher. I took many of her teacher trainings, and also assisted her workshops. Amy was also the first teacher with whom I took a retreat. The last three years I lived in NYC (2012-2015) I studied Katonah Yoga closely with Abbie Galvin and Nevine Michaan, and my own teaching has been profoundly influenced by the material and the method.
Tell us your practice style and how did you choose your yoga method?
It has changed over the years. I began with a vinyasa style practice, but didn’t have the flexibility or strength for the repetitive movements. I didn’t listen to my body and developed numerous injuries. It never occurred to me to stop yoga, so I was drawn to alignment based yoga and its therapeutic applications. Learning about anatomy and alignment techniques helped to heal my injuries, and I continued along that path for many years. Now I practice a variety of yoga styles, returning to vinyasa (and modifying when necessary) as well as yin yoga, kundalini yoga and restorative yoga.
What obstacles has yoga helped you overcome?
Yoga helped me move through periods of depression and anxiety, which I’ve experienced since I was a teenager. Practicing helped me move through fear of leaving my life in NYC to live in Southern California. Yoga has helped me slow down and appreciate life more fully and to offer gratitude each day.
What is your mind set when you step onto the mat?
It depends. Sometimes my mind set is positive and I have a clear intention. Other times I feel distracted and ungrounded. I always feel better after practicing, even if just for a few minutes.
When did you understand you wanted to be a yoga teacher?
After over a decade working in the stressful environment of the NYC corporate world, I had a forced hiatus when I lost my job. Finally, I had time to take more yoga. My health and my whole life began to shift for the better, and I couldn’t imagine going back to a work environment in which I was so unhappy and unhealthy. I felt such gratitude for yoga, the community, and my teachers that I wanted to become a teacher myself.
What is the most rewarding part of being a yoga teacher?
Seeing the positive transformation that takes place through the practices. Students make changes in how they live their lives as they become more aware and insightful on the mat.
Why is yoga so important for the times we’re living in?
More than ever, we are stressed out, our minds are distracted and we have shorter attention spans. Taking a yoga class, or even pausing for a few breaths, reminds us that we are human beings, not human doings. If you’ve tried yoga and meditation and stopped, consider a different style or another teacher. People often say to me “I can’t do yoga because I’m not flexible, or I have an injury”. To that I say, if you can breathe, you can do yoga.
How important is living a healthy lifestyle (clean eating/eating healthy for example) important to the yogi lifestyle?
It’s essential! There is an entire lifestyle branch of yoga, its sister science Ayurveda, which means knowledge of life, and is a roadmap how to live in a body. Without practicing the habits of daily and seasonal living, we are missing an imperative part of yoga! Once I incorporated Ayurvedic principles, my yoga practice shifted tremendously. My clients and students have experienced positive shifts in their health and well being as I began to incorporate Ayurveda into my teaching. The benefits importantly are also a deeper experience of the physical yoga practice.
Any natural ingredients and/or vitamins (example: Chlorophyll, Vitamin b12) that you recommend? And why?
Ayurveda teaches that we are individuals with different needs, so it depends. That said, for just about everyone, Triphala, which is three herbs, is great for keeping digestion moving, especially while travelling. To support the immune system in winter, make a paste of raw honey and powdered turmeric with a bit of ginger and black pepper. Have a ½ teaspoon every day.
How important is hydrating/drinking water to the yoga lifestyle/your practice?
Extremely important! Our bodies our about two thirds water. It’s essential for every area of our body and mind that we hydrate for the optimal function of our digestion, immune system and more.
Your favorite quote?
You don’t know what you don’t know.
Where we can we find you? Instagram, website, etc
Anything else you want to share?
Learn wellness tips and yoga poses to relieve pain on my website. You’ll also find opportunities for retreats plus personalized yoga and lifestyle coaching on my website https://www.marjorienass.com/