This blog is the second of a collection called, "Moonbeams: Illuminating what happens here" curated by local writer and community member, Kim Thompson and other guest writers. We hope to offer this "column" 1-2 times a month, sharing about what goes on at the studio to inspire you to come check us out for yourself. This week's post is about one of our teachers, Maria Hermann. We hope you enjoy!
Maria Hermann doesn’t just teach a yoga class. Instead, she welcomes people to gather at the sacred space of Moon River, to witness their growth in a communal experience and soak in the colorful drops of wisdom she is honored to share. Moon River, by the way, is a lovely little slice of paradise and Maria proudly extols its virtues.
When I first met Maria I felt safe with her immediately, and from there, things just got better. Her 75-minute class Mindfulness Yoga and Meditation, which is currently taught at 7 pm on Wednesday evenings, is not intended to control the outcomes of each person’s experience. Rather, nature will organically plant a rich and compelling seed, a new tool procured. She is satisfied with being one of many influences in their personal wellness.
Originally, a back injury and resulting chronic pain initiated her into “body trauma” and the much needed practice of healing. She is, therefore, sensitive to what the body needs and what actually, truly works. Yoga and meditation have become her way of life; she is a great role model for successful repair.
Maria’s class isn’t just about one’s physique; although, the body’s health is certainly a vessel worthy of attention. This is also a time for going within, gaining a deeper understanding of our personal self and what it is we are energetically carrying, the way stretching our limbs allows breath to enter, the way holding a pose builds empowerment.
What to expect
Maria likes to create a casual and open atmosphere. It is important to her that people feel relaxed and authentic, without regard for rigid formality. She shared that she “holds space for inner exploration, healing, and transformation in body and spirit. Arrive as you are and discover the gifts of yoga.” There is intentional time to settle and connect before they “breathe together.” It is common to then practice a mix of Yin and Hatha yoga.
Yin encourages the slower movements and longer-held poses which apply moderate stress to the connective tissues of the body and increase circulation. This meditative approach cultivates awareness of inner silence – or the realization of a need to purge all that toxic noise and clutter! Hatha helps balance the strengths and weaknesses of the physical body to enable energy and awareness to flow freely.
Likewise, Maria infuses her knowledge of Vipassana meditation throughout the class, since it also promotes a way of “seeing”, developing clarity of mind. When one is able to allow their thoughts to flow freely, not judging them but gently releasing them, it effectively conditions a calm that helps us master the meditative experience. Maria understands and guides this possibility. There is no unrealistic need to force a blank mind. Thanks for that, Maria.
Maria suggests her class is a time to detox from our electronics, to retreat from draining demands, to manifest what happens when we stop and allow restoration, meaning and a kindred peace.
While it sometimes requires true effort to venture out on a wintery darkened evening, one can benefit greatly from the group encounter awaiting them at Moon River. Maria’s students embrace the nurturing energy of their peers. They learn that vulnerability brings insight and the blessings of communal support. We are people, after all, and people need people.
Now, doesn’t that sound nice?
Written by Kim Thompson
Kim is a mother of three sons, a Stillwater High School English teacher, local columnist, and freelancer for community interests. Kim is a voracious reader and student of metaphysics and ancient tribal spirituality, gardener and foodie, a motorcyclist, and a poet. Her family has resided in Stillwater for six generations. She is passionately invested in community relationships that promote the health of body, mind and soul.