Maria Boox is one of the legendary yoga names in Sweden. She was one of the first Scandinavian yoga teachers to open a yoga shala in Scandinavia. She has practiced both with BKS Iyengar, is authorized by Patthabi Jois and is now studying intensely with the O.P Tiwari. Maria was one of the participants in the David Keil and Gretchen Suarez retreat earlier this season, where we got an opportunity to both have a chat with her and make a few videos. Maria will be visiting Purple Valley for the first time in April 2014.
1. What brought you to yoga?
A deep longing for something beyond the materialistic world. A deep longing to get to know who I am. I started to practice both yoga, pranayama and meditation in the beginning of the 80’s. For many years, during longer periods I was living in India, deepening my understanding of yoga. My yoga path took me to all different teachers in the world. The first Master was Mr. Iyengar, in Pune. I stayed at his Pune Institute almost a year. There I got a certification from the great Iyengar to teach yoga. That’s how I started to teach yoga. After some time I met Guruji, Sri K Patthabi Jois: with him I felt like I was coming home, he became my teacher – and he still is. After 15 years of intense yoga studies, I was one of the first teachers in Skandinavia to open up a yoga shala, in Stockholm. At that time yoga was not known to people, and in the beginning we were very few on the mat in the mornings. My very first classes were for free and after some time I had a donation box. But that didn’t work so well so after some time I started to charge for classes.
2.How would you describe your way of teaching, what is specific for it?
For me yoga represents many things, one is to get to know yourself and develop faith within and without yourself. To practice asana gives us a connection with the body and the mind, beyond that, goes pranayama and meditation. The intention of the yoga path is to live in harmony with whatever is. Yoga is a tool in life, and with faith, it can take us beyond our thoughts and help us to break old patterns. The ones that seek for answers to the great mystery of life, will find answers through dedicated practice. As yoga students for life, we can take great inspiration from Patanjalis’ Yoga Sutra 1:14 “First when a correct method is practiced during a longer time, with dedication, without interruption, with an eager and positive attitude, we will have a possibility to succeed”. My teaching is based on love, and to see each student for what they are in this moment. Not to push or force anyone to be what they are not. Everyone is perfect as they are. If fear is in the way to love life fully, I as a teacher can challenge that fear on the mat, as well as guide students in their practice, to go through obstacles safely and with respect. I hope to be able to plant seeds of possibilities for each student, encouragement and suggestions, rather than expectations or directions. Practicing ahimsa – love, compassion and understanding towards ourselves and others and being present with every breath, will lead us towards the vital connection with what is bigger than us, which brings a deeper faith and trust towards ourselves and our lives
3. From where do you get your inspiration today?
Today the big inspiration for me is still – Guruji.
I am hoping to pass on his teaching of ashtanga yoga, the way he would have wanted me to teach. I also get inspired by Sharath and Saraswati. Last year I met Shri OP Tiwari. Tiwarji is 81 years and has dedicated his life to teach pranayama and yoga philosophy. He is a very wise and kind man, always smiling and with time to answer questions. In the meeting with Tiwarji I moved deeper into pranayama, and will go back to him for further studies of the light, of this wonderful yoga path. Below is a short video of Maria about yoga… you can see more of her as well as other teachers on youtube.com/yogagoa