February 3 , 2016 / 6 minutes, 44 seconds

Meet Maria! She’s a “Rise and Shine” Yoga Teacher

Author: Annette K. Scott

th-7 I am thrilled to introduce myself to you.  My Rise and Shine, 7am morning class, on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Kodwari Studios will get us moving and ready for whatever our day will bring us.  The class is a vinyasa style flow where we will slowly link postures to build an invigorating practice.  Don’t worry, we start with some slow and gentle stretching, giving our bodies ample time to wake up.  And the class is geared towards all levels.  Our practice will leave your body open and your mind alert and focused for your day.  

Before we go much further I want to share with you how I came to yoga in the first place.


My mom taught yoga in the 70s and 80s at the local YMCA.  I used to go with her to class, and as a small child I thought – BORING!  As I got older, I was always involved in sports – softball, basketball, track and cross-country. While in law school, I started training for marathons, and did several while I was in school and for a few years after.  My body, in my early 20s, could easily run long distances without any stretching and I was fortunate to not suffer any injuries.  

In 2006 I had an opportunity to change jobs and with that change came a move to Tampa.  Upon arriving, I started marathon training again, for a race in February of 2007.  My new job, however, was a lot more sedentary, and I sat at my desk for hours and hours.  My training regimen hadn’t changed though; I was still running long distances without any preparation or post workout stretches, and as can be expected, a dreaded back injury presented itself that December.  

January 1, 2007, I was miserable.  I remember that it was pouring rain that day, and I was in so much pain, even just sitting in a car.  I just knew I had to do something.  Finally, at 28 years old, I took my mom’s longstanding and ever-patient advice, and that night I started doing yoga at home.  Following a 30-minute TV program called Namaste Yoga.


I was shocked by my initial lack of flexibility – after all I had been a lifelong athlete. And at first, doing yoga made me feel foolish.  Yet, there was something about the calming voices, the slow and gentle movement, and the beautiful setting of the show that kept me coming back.  Within a few weeks, I was feeling better, and I noticed improvements in my flexibility.  More importantly, I found myself drawn to the mental feelings of peace and clarity after my practice.  It’s worth sharing with you that the change of job that brought me to Florida was the opportunity to represent people on Florida’s death row.  My days were filled with reading about broken people, most of whom had suffered unimaginable horrors and most of whom had also committed horrific crimes.  They are, however still human beings, who, in my sensibility, deserved a voice and an advocate.  It seemed that my yoga was evolving alongside my compassion for others. The two fed each other perfectly.    

I took my first yoga class at a studio in April of 2007.  Honestly, I was nervous going into the studio for the first time.  All of my past athletic activity was competitive in nature.  I was used striving to be the “best.”  It was hard to shake that feeling of comparing myself to others in the room.  Slowly, yet surely, I came to focus on myself and my body and how it felt, and not what other people were doing or worrying about what it’s “supposed to look like.”


Fast forward nearly 10 years now, and I can’t imagine my life without yoga.  It has become my go-to activity for stress relief.  Rough day at work?  Get on my mat.  Family driving me crazy?  Get on my mat.  Feel like a blob after too much indulgence over the holiday? Get on my mat. It’s the only space that’s just mine.  It’s the only space where I can’t be disturbed by emails, calls, or texts. 

I’m so excited to begin this journey of teaching and sharing my passion with others and it’s my hope that by starting your day with me, you’ll leave your mat and go out in the world more vital and perhaps just a little bit softer and kinder.  And that’s how we make the world a better place…one yogi at a time.  



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