PHOTO: Eddie Beiler
Seven years ago, while working out at a local gym, I was stopped by a woman who noticed my Taravella High School water bottle. After telling me she went to High School at Taravella, she asked if I would come to a yoga class that she teaches on Monday nights at the gym. I told her I would think about it, I had never practiced yoga and did not know the first thing about it. The next Monday I showed up to Mary Ann’s class, a little nervous and not knowing what to expect. She came up to me and said, “Just do whatever you can, if you’re breathing, your doing yoga.” From that day I was hooked. It was not just the yoga, it was MaryAnn’s presence, her aura, her voice, her soul. I went from going to only Monday classes to both Monday and Saturday classes and my practice started to grow. Mary Ann would come to do adjustments and tell me she can see my body beginning to shift. I began to take what MaryAnn would say during our practice and apply it to real life situations.
I have had the pleasure of experiencing Mary Ann’s incredible vinyasa for over six years. Throughout that time I came to the yoga mat as an absolute beginner and stayed throughout my pregnancy, post partum, and while rehabilitating injuries. Mary Ann ensures that each time on the mat is about honoring our own body’s and our own experiences. She always offers modifications and each class is as gentle or hardcore as you make it. Mary Ann makes each class feel like a mental vacation and it’s why she has so many regulars who will stick by her side for many more years to come!!!
Mary Ann is a genuine, thoughtful, and knowledgeable teacher whose guidance has brightened my path both on and off the mat.
Her group and individual instruction possess a flowing progression that guides her students on a physical and spiritual journey. She weaves in corrections mindfully in a way that focuses her students’ attention on their foundation and stance. One can expect class with Mary Ann to start with a spiritual component or yoga mantra which encourages her students to reflect.
The most meaningful mantras Mary Ann taught me were Santosha and Satya. Santosha embraces the notion of accepting where and who we are in the present. Originally the concept was difficult to grasp because society tells us to work harder. My years as a dancer had taught me that no pose, movement, or position is ever perfect and can always be improved. Mary Ann taught me that Santosha it isn’t about being perfect… it is to accept yourself AS IS, imperfections and all. As I continue to embrace my yoga studies, I realize its lessons apply more and more into my life outside of the studio. Our second mantra and theme is Satya, the promise to speak truth. Mary Ann has a beautiful way of imparting wisdom while remaining humble. Her teaching style is to speak her Satya, her purest and most genuine truth.
Since I began taking Mary Ann’s Monday night Vinyasa class my life has transformed in ways I never imagined. I’ve been physically active for years, in which I have played numerous sports growing up and began weight lifting at the age of 16. While I may have been active, my flexibility and core strength always struggled. Through just six months of yoga I have improved in every facet of my life. My dexterity has drastically improved as a result of the practice and Mary Ann’s guidance has exhilarated my growth. I am blessed to have met Mary Ann. Her teaching style is one of gratitude and acceptance. She encourages the use of props and modifications that allow her students to organically grow into the position.
At first, I only took Mary Ann’s 90-minute Vinyasa class. Now I practice six to nine hours a week and meet with Mary Ann once a week before class to further my practice. I am blessed. Mary Ann’s ability to pinpoint and correct my faults in poses has helped me on and off the mat. She provided me with exercises I could perform at home in order to increase the activity in my hips, one of my many areas in which I hold a lot of tension in. Yoga has transformed my everyday life and I have Mary Ann to thank for that.
I had the privilege of working with Mary Ann one-on-one to deepen my yoga practice as well as work on alignment and pranayama. I have incredibly tight shoulders and felt this was always a hinderance in my yoga practice. Mary Ann completely changed my outlook of getting on the mat. Her guidance and knowledge of modifying the poses for your body as well as incorporating the breath into each pose has brought my practice to a whole new level. I always felt you weren’t “good” if you used props or modifications. Checking my ego at the door and becoming best friends with yoga blocks, straps, and bolsters has opened my shoulders beyond where I ever thought possible. Prior to our sessions I was actually practicing yoga and putting more stress on my shoulders instead of alleviating the stress which is one of the reasons we all do yoga! The journey of yoga is personal so your practice should be too. Mary Ann taught me that and so much more. I truly now feel the mind body connection thanks to Mary Ann’s guidance. I am forever grateful!