What was your inspiration behind being a yoga teacher?
Mary Ann: I came to yoga with much grief, anxiety and fear during my father's cancer journey and subsequent death. My body had locked up, and I could barely move. The yoga mat was where I was able to let go and heal my body, mind and spirit. This sounds so cliche, but it's the truth. And I thought, if yoga can do this for me, I'd like to learn how to help others heal themselves through yoga. And so my purpose and passion began....
What do you like the most about teaching at YTC?
Mary Ann: The students! Through Kaye's kind and loving nature and her vision for this incredibly beautiful, comprehensive wellness center, she has attracted such a wonderful group of people. I love my students. They are so open to learning and exploring. And they have created such a loving and supportive environment that I feel like each new student can feel it right away.
What are your hobbies?
Mary Ann: Yoga and more yoga! I am a perpetual student of yoga for healing. I love to research and practice functional and therapeutic movements to compliment traditional yoga poses. I'm currently reading up on the effects of yoga and meditation on the brain. I'll soon be attending a training on yoga for traumatic brain injury (TBI) and will teach a class this fall to TBI patients and their caregivers.
I'm also passionate about changing the way our culture views aging and about improving our long-term care facilities for the elderly. If you have any ideas on the subjects, I'd love to hear from you. I am on the State of Alabama Advisory Council on Palliative Care and Quality of Life, the Community Advisory Board for UAB Center for Palliative and Supportive Care, and the Alabama Coalition for Advance Care Planning.
And finally, I love to kayak and travel.
How do you keep up your own personal yoga practice?
Mary Ann: I do a little bit of yoga first thing every morning. I learned long ago that I'm a nicer person if I do this! I get in a longer practice about 3 or 4 times a week.
What other fitness/exercise do you enjoy?
Mary Ann: I regularly walk and lift weights. I like to go hiking when I can. I love a good ol' Zumba class, but it's rare that I can squeeze it in.
What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
Mary Ann: This is certainly no secret, but I retired from teaching 5th grade in 2016. I miss my students and colleagues; however, I do not miss the paper work! I still teach the teachers yoga one afternoon a week, so I'm able to keep the school I dearly love in my life.
While remaining rooted in the heart of yogic teachings, Mary Ann's “accessible to all” classes are a mix of traditional yoga and functional and therapeutic movement practices. She encourages her students to engage in self-study on the mat and guides them towards a foundation of healthy movement. Come to a class with Mary Ann!