Maria Therese — yoga teacher

Mind, body, spirit — yoga is a holistic experience for many. But did one element or another first draw you to the practice? That is, were you seeking to settle your mind? Have greater physical flexibility? Explore your true, spiritual nature?

I don’t remember why, but I was fascinated by yoga long before I stepped onto the mat for the first time — in the end, I did it to find peace within and lower my stress and anxiety levels

How about now: does yoga feed your mind or your body or your spirit more, or are those elements more in balance than when you started?

they are all more in balance now — I’m learning about who I am at my core and in my heart — that’s the most important thing for me

How long have you been practicing yoga, and how frequently do you practice now?

I started practicing about 7 years ago — now I do it every morning — it’s such a beautiful way to wake up my body and mind

How long did you practice yoga before you started teaching it?

just 1-1/2 years — that voice inside me told me that I should go for it – so I did!

Do you have a preferred yoga style?

I switch between vinyasa and yin — they complete each other perfectly

When you first took up yoga, what came easiest and what was more challenging?

I’ve never been flexible (I could barely reach down to my knees when I started) — so the biggest challenge for me was to accept that I would never be the most flexible person in the room

From your experience as a teacher, can you generalize about what comes easiest for beginners and what is more challenging?

this is a tough one — I think the biggest challenges for beginners is the mind – especially when it comes to not comparing yourself with others — the easiest might actually be the physical aspect – managing and getting used to the poses

What have been the greatest benefits of yoga for you?

it’s definitely the spiritual aspect — yoga has taught (and still is teaching) me who I am and what my purpose in life is — this has led to less anxiety and stress, and more self love and acceptance

Apart from yoga, do you practice other techniques of mindfulness or meditation?

meditation and hiking — I’m born and raised in the north of Norway, so I’ve grown up being out in nature — it’s my other passion in life besides yoga

Do you regularly do other forms of exercise?

I run and do strength training twice a week

Outside of a yoga session, do you ever just strike a pose and stretch? If so, which pose(s) and where?

oh yes! — I love stretching while watching TV — tree pose is also something I do quite often when I talk to people without even recognizing it myself

You have a choice: lead a yoga class (1) outdoors on a beautiful day, overlooking the ocean, or (2) in a well-designed, very comfortable minimalist indoor space. Which do you pick?

outdoors — no question about it!

—interview © Marshal Zeringue