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Interview: Marinus Muller

October 3, 2011

1.    Name: Marinus Muller

2.    DOB: 23 March 1974

3.    What style of yoga do you teach? Bikram and Ashtanga/Vinyasa

4.    Where do you teach? Cape Town:  Yoga Zone (town), Yoga Spirit (Constantia) and Yo Yoga, (Claremont).

5.    How long have you been practicing yoga? Since 2003

6.    How long have you been teaching yoga? Since 2004

7.    Who have you trained with and where? Sally Flanagan, (Bikram Yoga Jozie, in Illovo), Bikram, (Los Angeles) and  Maria Taylor, (St Francis Bay).

8.    What type of yoga do you teach now? About 2/3 of the time Bikram and 1/3 Ashtanga/Vinyasa.

9.    What lead you to teaching yoga and at what point did you decide that you wanted to teach? I find Bikram yoga very accessible. I was the studio manager at Sally’s studio in Illovo for a year, and while I was there I saw all sorts of different types of people coming to do Bikram yoga, seeing the changes and effect that just a few classes had on people, inspired me to go further and start teaching. I still find the heat a big challenge, but I understand the importance of it and what it brings to the practice. The way the postures have been sequenced are so well thought through and lead to a well-rounded practice. Bikram Yoga is quite masculine, led me towards Asshtanga which in my view is also quite masculine. I have never had the discipline or time to build a proper Ashtanga practice for myself, which in turn led me to teach and explore vinyasa yoga. Vinyassa yoga is less extreme and more creative. I enjoy teaching vinyasa yoga as I can pitch it at a level suitable for the class, with a few challenges to the students, tailoring it to what they need.

10.   What do you love most about teaching? The hardest thing I find with teaching is to not loose the individual and at the same time to not loose the group. So when I feel that the individual is able to work fully to their ability and at the same time together as a group to create a sense of unity and flow, when that occurs, that feeling is very inspiring and uplifting.

11.   What is the greatest challenge you have overcome because of yoga? Starting to teach with only 18 month or so of yoga experience behind me was very daunting. It made me come face to face with personal issues and insecurities of self-acceptance and confidence – being comfortable with my body image in front of a full studio of 60 students or so.

12.   What advice do you have for people who have never tried yoga? Shop around. Especially in CT, there are so many great deals on at many of the studios. Go to different studios, try a number of different styles, try the commercial studios and the more austere studios and look for a connection. When you feel a deep connection in your heart, a connection to a studio, the teacher as well as the students, then you know you are at the right place.

13.   Do you have a regular practice? Yes, half the time I attend Bikram classes, the other half I attend vinyasa classes. I have also recently started a self-practice where I am exploring postures and sequences in my own space. Very often, as vinyasa teachers, we attend a lot of different teacher’s classes and then when we create and plan our own classes we do it with a “copy/paste” mind-set. At the moment I am enjoying my self-practice where I can play with and explore postures and sequences that occur to me naturally and in my own way.

14.   Favourite Asana? Vashistasana variations – they strengthen the oblique’s – which are important when planning on working deeply with backbends, as I am at the moment.

15.   Strongest Asana? Standing Head-to-knee Pose (from the Bikram Series)

16.   Any religious affiliations? No, not now, but I grew up Pentecostal Christian. Now I have a stronger link and am exploring Buddhism and Hindu/Tantric practice.

17.   What are your other interests? Astrology, the sea, hiking and mountaineering, surfing, music and reading.

18.   Any thank yous? Too many to mention, but many thanks to Sally Flanagan who is my greatest inspiration, Fulvio Grandin and Kate Ball.

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