Maryanne has one of those smiles and one of those giggles that make you instantly fall in love with her energy. Practising and teaching yoga is quite clearly her dharma – she radiates joy.
Her blog Organically Wealthy has become an ode to her yoga-centric life: a life rich in gratitude, connectedness, authenticity and love.
PRAVAYAMA spent the afternoon getting to know this inspiring yogi. Here, Maryanne shares all the little things that light her up, how she finds energy for each class she teaches, and how her greatest life lessons have come from time on the mat.
Loves and Rituals
Swimming in the ocean and a little morning sunshine lights me up. Going to a farmers’ market and stocking up on fresh local produce makes me smile from ear to ear. I LOVE rituals such as making tea and a couple of yin poses first thing in the morning before Vedic meditation. I also find preparing my own healthy meals a very grounding ritual.
I’m addicted to massage and have 1-2 per month but would do so everyday if budget allowed. I use Essential oils in ritualistic ways, I apply a couple of drops of Doterra’s ‘On Guard’ to the soles of my feet before teaching. I love the dosha balancing body oils from The Broad Place for self massage and I’m obsessed with organic skincare like Mukti cleanser and moisturiser, and for makeup I love Inika foundation.
Sydney Yogi Lifestyle
My current favourite cafés in Sydney are Orchard St (for green juices and organic coffee), Henley’s Wholefoods (salads & Mayde tea), Lox Stock & Barrell (their house made nut mylk chai is the best and the bowlarama is so satisfying for breakfast).
I’ve recently bought tights from ‘We are Handsome’ and ‘Secret Yogi’ which I love because they are made in Australia and have great prints. Fivemore Active is a great Sydney based retailer of unique small brands you can’t find anywhere else in Australia that are also concerned about their environmental impact.
Stepping Into The Teacher
The irony of yoga teaching is that sometimes we run around like crazy teaching 5-6 classes a day across different studios. So holding a calm and grounded space for others can be tricky when we feel exhausted.
It can feel that way in the minutes leading up to class but I find that once I take the seat of teacher and open up the space of practice I’m so present that I renew my energy through the students willingness to learn and move. It may sound simple but when I use students names in class and direct personal suggestions I feel more of service and supportive – that’s a very rewarding feeling.
“It may sound simple, but when I use students names in class and direct personal suggestions I feel more of service – that’s a very rewarding feeling.”
Getting Inspired to Teach
I love to explore a theme, often based on one of the chakras, or ayurveda or ancient philosophy. I try to include just enough challenge to keep students engaged but I give plenty of space too. My vinyasa is a slow flow as that’s how I practice.
I’d like to say I include some light humour but I can’t confirm from my own perspective that I’m actually funny – you’d have to ask some of my students!
I also love teaching yin as it’s more of a subtle and mindful practice and is so necessary in most peoples lives. One of my students said to me he finds yin so hard and wouldn’t stay in the poses except that with my language he feels like I’m holding his hand through it.
At the end of the day it’s the students that make you a teacher, when I stopped worrying about what they thought of me and started really looking at them and working with what’s in front of me, my teaching became far more enjoyable and more effective.
Working Through Challenging Postures
Navasana (boat pose) is a famous breath holder – it’s great time for a joke or a smile! Arm balances (crow, chatarunga, handstand) can get pretty serious too, I know in myself I can lose the softness or joy of my practice because of the mind placing expectations on how a pose should look or go. They tend to generate fear of falling on your face. Les Leventhal says “splat is the sound of courage”.
I am so challenged by arm balances; handstand, crow, peacock, mostly for the fear factor of falling on my face (which I’ve definitely done before!). Every so often I teach these poses even though I’ve by no means perfected them and I’m always amazed at how much I improve over a week because I’m practising and demonstrating them everyday, sometimes several times a day.
Honouring Her Own Teachers
I admire all of my teachers, for different reasons. Idit Hefer Tamir for encouraging me to teach. I hadn’t planned on being a full-time yoga teacher when I enrolled in her 200hr course. Idit gave me confidence and a love of teaching.
Sarah Powers is a vessel of wisdom – she really shares from an authentic place of experience the ancient teachings pour forth from this incredible woman, Sarah taught me simplicity.
Tara Judelle deepened my awareness of the inner body, its systems and our potential for awakening through it. Tara’s language moves you further into the experience of your body rather than just the idea of it.
The ‘Real’ Yoga
For me the real yoga happens the minute I step off the mat, the asana can be fairly easy in comparison to the yoga of daily life. Presence is what we are asked to practice and that requires conscious awareness of our actions, words, and even our thoughts. I nearly had the mantra ‘make the connection’ tattooed on me at one stage so passionate was I to always be aware of our effect on everything.
Ahimsa (non-violence) is the first invitation of yogic philosophy hence I’m vegan and do my best not to denounce or inflict suffering on any being. I’m always mindful of what and how much I consume, I used to have a fashion label and ethical production was very important to me so I still seek out brands with a similar ethos, I really believe we vote with our dollar so whatever we buy is supporting the production methods of that product.