Meet: Marisa Van Vuuren

October 9, 2014

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Images: Nicole Leftwick, and Fine Art Photography

Meet Marisa van Vuuren, the founder of Yoga Zanzibar. I was fortunate to meet this lovely lady and spend a week under her wing on the island a few months ago during my travels through East Africa.

As part of the retreat I practiced yoga twice a day, morning and night for 7 days in a very intimate group. I learnt so much more than I had learnt in years of doing yoga in overcrowded classes. It was the one on one attention and little tweaks that helped me become so much more in tune with my body and improve my practice dramatically. Things I loved were; the focus on different types of breath, becoming more aware of the way we position and ground our feet, feeling the alignment in our bodies through wall and partner work and trying out the more challenging poses after seeing Marisa illustrate them for us – proving how far we could go with our practice. Granted that doing yoga in front of  a beautiful sunset every evening helped a little too! Marisa is a beautiful lady with a beautiful soul as you will see from our conversation below – enjoy!

You can read more about Marisa and her yoga retreat packages at www.zanzibaryoga.com

Q&A with Marisa -

Why do you love yoga and why does it make us feel so great?

I think yoga gives us the time and space to reconnect with ourselves. Yoga allows us to live from our “soul center” instead of the ego or mind. The ego is limiting. Our true self is unlimited and full of potential. Yoga helps us to get out of our own way.

Any tips for complete newbies to the yoga game and wanting to give it a try?

Just do it! Just give it a try and do the best you can according to what your body allows you to do at this point in time. You don’t need to be “flexible’‘or strong to do yoga. You just need you – just the way you are.

Tell us something that a lot of people don’t know about yoga?

There are probably a lot of people that don’t know that yoga is much more than just physical postures. It is a scientific technique of arriving in the present moment and allows you to live your life to the full potential, to be the best version of you and allowing acceptance – acceptance of yourself and others.

We keep hearing a lot about ‘mindfulness’ – what is it?

Mindfulness for me means to become aware of our emotions, thoughts, tendencies and habits in the present moment. Through observing without judging, noticing, becoming aware of it – it will lessen or even gradually disappear gradually over time. Don’t beat yourself up about your thoughts, tendencies or habits which are not serving you for the best. Just simply observe, accept and embrace instead of resist. Embrace your dualities – your positive qualities and less positive qualities.

What does having or living with ‘soul’ mean to you?

Living with “feeling.” Living and doing the things that makes you feel alive – that spark which lights the fire within, living with passion, living from the heart!

What are your top tips for living a soulful life?

Bring as much love, laughter, music & dance into your life. Just BE YOU. Don’t overthink. Live with passion. Know that you have to power to create your life and to live your dream. Do what makes you feel alive! Be in the present moment. Know yourself. Connect with nature. Follow your heart. Be real. Take responsibility of what you attract and create in your live. Living from a sense of abundance and not from lack thereof. Accept and love yourself which in return will determine the quality of  your relationship with the people around you.

What is one piece of advice that you’ve never forgotten?

I do love Irene Cara’s 80”s song: What a feeling! “Take your passion and make it happen!” However, I don’t think we should  follow any rigid advice or philosophy in life– just feel and be true to yourself, follow your heart and your gut feeling within. Our gut and heart are our road map in life – it is when we follow these feelings and do the things we love that allow us to be in the right place at the right time – being in flow, being in harmony. Science is even teaching us how to create coherence between the mind and heart and how that brings about balance in the physical body, making us overall happier. Check it out here.

Namaste

x

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