I've been teaching yoga for over twenty years. When I started it wasn't like it is now, people thought I was crazy when I told them what I did for a living. As the stories in my book Close to Om
describe, I discovered yoga at my gym during a turbulent time in my self-esteem. Eating and exercise disorders kept me spinning (literally in spin classes, step classes, anything punishing I could find to do too much of) and I didn't feel my Val-you
(a term also from my book).
Yoga gave me a way to embody the changes that needed to happen like patience and self-acceptance-- yoga philosophy gave me something to chew on instead of things I'd regret later. I wanted to extend to others what had been (and still is) so profoundly helpful to me. Yoga means connection - to ourselves, to one another and to everything around us.
How has yoga shaped your life for the better?
How hasn't it? :) It has helped me make peace with myself. It has also become a way for me to stretch out into the world through retreats, with a global community on my platform at andreamarcum.com
and with a more expansive outlook overall.
What are some of the transformations you have witnessed in your clients lives since they started doing yoga daily?
One of the favorite things about my "job" is that I hear people's stories and how yoga has been a cornerstone for them on their journey. I've prepared people for the Oscars, athletes for competition, executives for new and important projects and everything in between. What we all have in common is the need to feel supported, to feel like we can make a mistake and learn from it instead of being fired or shamed for it. We practice that on our mat and ultimately apply the same ability to stay present, curious and mindful within a pose to our lives, transforming the myth of perfection into honest and ongoing progress.
Share with us, your favorite yoga poses and why?
Handstand is a metaphor for kicking up into the unknown in life too. It's the journey and not the destination. If we allow ourselves to deconstruct our handstand into manageable bits -- an L pose against the wall for example-- we get familiar with being upside down. Eventually you can use this skill with any project, challenge or relationship in your life that makes you feel a little bit upside down. When you do, upside down will start to feel right side up.
Fancy poses are fine, but an ongoing relationship with deceptively simple postures is fascinating. They are a palpable reveal of who we really are body and mind. Returning to these poses day after day, season after season deepens your relationship with yourself. Your warrior on your mat is both a mirror and a metaphor for you as a warrior out in the world.