Marta is an experienced Yoga teacher and professional choreographer, teaching at some of the most established yoga studios in London. Her warm and uplifting style is the perfect answer to lift the spirits during a a morning practice.
We had a brief chat with Marta and asked her some questions on her yoga journey.
Q. When did your Yoga journey begin and what benefits has it brought you professionally (as a dancer) and personally?
I discovered Ashtanga Yoga in 2011, while working as a dancer with Scottish Dance Theatre in Scotland.
Some of the senior dancers were practicing every day before our morning company class, and as a very keen and eager young dancer I of course joined in, even though I didn't really know what to expect or what to do.
Ashtanga is a very powerful practice and at the time I was hooked on the physical benefits I was receiving. As the years went by, thanks to my main teacher, Rosina Bonsu, I discovered ashtanga was becoming a way of living, a discipline of self, a grounding and ever developing practice, a sense of community, curiosity and discovery that gave me so much more than just physical strength and flexibility.
My years at the Glasgow Shala with Rosina shaped me into the dancer, yoga teacher/practitioner and person I am today.
As I moved away from my early strict ashtanga days into a a more flexible stylistic approach to the practice, those feelings remain the reason I come to the mat on a daily basis, to find body and mind centering, to keep grounded and focussed, to work on my physical body without getting too attached to specific outcomes, to listen in, on a constant quest to shut down all the external noises of expectations and judgement.
Q. What memorable time can you think of when practicing Yoga?
There are so many!!! From the small self achievements that come with commitment and constant practice, to the shavasana feeling of complete release, peace and wholeness after a good class, to my very first class as a yoga teacher.
Every time I teach my heart swells, when I see my students' faces and expressions changed after a class, when I receive their thank yous, messages of gratitude and support. This is all really invaluable and I couldn't be more grateful.
Q. As a teacher who has a greater knowledge to when you first started Yoga what would you as a teacher like to have told yourself when first starting out?
I was definitely a goal getter in my practice, competitive with myself, impatient....
I came across injuries from practicing too hard, constantly pushing over my physical edge, leaning into my flexibility and hyperextension without learning to control, contain and strengthen first.
Thankfully my teachers spotted the "dancer approach to yoga' soon enough to make me understand that less is more, in yoga as well as in life!
In my teaching I always focus on correct posture and alignment, gaining better control over our bodies by practicing mindfully, yet strongly. In the long run this will prevent unnecessary injuries allowing us to gain greater self awareness as an overall result. The collaboration with Yogaline and their amazing tailored aligned mats was a match made in haven!
Q. What was the last golden nugget of information you learnt?
I recently completed another Yoga Teacher Training in Thailand, this time in Yin Yoga and Chinese Medicine.
The meridian system in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) is a truly fascinating concept to understand the channels through which our energy flows, to address potential imbalances in our bodily functions and for emotional healing.
I now have access to more varied information and inputs for theming and structuring my classes.
Q. Beyond Yoga, what other things do you do to nourish your body and mind?
I love running, I find it incredibly meditative and recharging. I used to struggle massively with my breathing, but I believe pranayama and breath awareness practices combined to yoga have made a huge difference in the past few years and I can now finally really enjoy running!
If I don't run, I walk... I could walk everywhere, no matter how long it takes, maybe not in the rain, but pretty much in every other weather! If I am not running, or walking, or practicing yoga, I'm usually dancing...which is also what I do for a living, but it never feels like a job.
Dancing is the time for me to express my creativity fully and to embody all the different marta(s) within me.
Like Mary Oliver says in the poem 'Wild Geese': " You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves".