Maria May is a ‘frequent flyer’ with Byron Yoga Centre! She completed her Level 1 at Byron Yoga Retreat Centre, her Level 2 as a part time course in Melbourne, where she has also participated in a workshop with John Ogilvie, and she returned to Byron Bay for a retreat just before Christmas.

Describe Byron Yoga Retreat Centre in three words?

Serene, nurturing, beautiful.

Describe John Ogilvie is three words!?

Inspiring, knowledgeable, kind.

A residential training Vs a part time training: what are the pros and cons?

With the residential training I found I could totally immerse myself in learning without any of the usual day to day distractions. It was a really beautiful time and the bond that was built with the other students was so lovely, we all supported each other and there was lots of laughter, good energy, and a few well-earned tears. For some, the time away from home can be a bit hard, especially leaving kids – that can be challenging. The retreat centre or ‘compound’ as us students called it was the perfect environment for learning, it’s a safe space with no judgement, and the centre is beautiful and serene and the food….amazing!

The part time training allows time to absorb the learning with more time to get into the flow of a personal practice, more time to study and practice teaching.  You don’t have to take time out of work or home commitments and can study at your own pace. The part time teachers are as amazing as those that took the residential training and are available online or by phone in between weekends. Taking the course in your own city means that the other students are generally local so it’s great to have the network and support after the course ends.

Tell us about your teaching journey and at what point you decided to join the Level 2?

My main work over many years has been in corporate finance, with my true passion being all things health, fitness, mind and body. I work in a corporate role but gained my certification in various health and fitness modalities over the years and have been teaching fitness, Pilates and Yoga part time purely for the love of it. I completed by Level 1 YTT at BYC last year. I am a believer that we are all forever students, I truly love learning; so for me the natural progression was to continue with Level 2 training.

What made you join a Retreat this time instead of another training such as Yin?

I chose a retreat this time as my work and study means I am always thinking, making decisions and generally always on the go. So I wanted to be somewhere I could just turn up, be me, be nurtured and be looked after with no pressure. I also wanted to reset on my health for the new year, the food at Byron Yoga Retreat Centre is perfect for that and I plan to kick off my detox. I will also get lots of yoga in so my practice will improve. I am sure I will come back to do other teacher training intensive but am focussing on my part time Level 2 training for now.

What’s your favourite pose to teach and why?

At the moment I am absolutely loving Adho Mukha Vrksasana (handstand), for my own practice and also teaching it. I enjoy seeing students who believe they can never do a handstand actually get up, starting with a supported version. It’s quite an imposing posture and often it’s our mind preventing us from kicking those legs up and felling the weight of the body supported over the shoulders and head, once that barrier is broken down it can be such an empowering achievement and the energising feeling afterward is quite addictive.

What are your new year resolutions / intentions for 2018?

This year I lost my way a little with life and work challenges pushing me out of my usual routine, so my focus in 2018 is to get back on track, more fitness, more nourishing food, more yoga. It’s going to be another good year!

If you return to Byron Yoga Retreat Centre in 2018 would it be for the Bridging Course to gain your Certificate IV, another retreat or a specialist training such as Yin, Meditation or Pre and post natal?

It would likely be specialist training, probably Yin training or another retreat, it depends on juggling the timing with other priorities.