Marie Zarif has got an impressive resume in the corporate world. Her work as an executive has garnered her success and respect among her colleagues. That is why when we recently saw her progress with Yoga, we were both impressed and bewildered; impressed that with her swift progress, and bewildered as to how she could find the time to get so good at it?
As it turns out, Marie started practicing Yoga around a year ago, after going on a Yoga retreat. This retreated included a vegetarian diet, Yoga and lots of meditation. After noticing the effect it had on her mind and body, she started looking for regular Yoga classes and finally settled in Yalla Yoga. She now teaches Air Yoga, besides taking classes herself. The impressive type of Yoga uses hammock mechanism to improve flexibility and strength, especially with its anti-gravity movements which are great for spine decompression and to combat aging. We spoke to her about her experience with the ancient art of Yoga.
“Once you want to change your life, it has to come from the inside”
How does one get over the whole “I don’t have enough time” issue?
It’s a decision. Once you want to change your life, it has to come from the inside. A lot of people come because they need Yoga; it’s not an easy decision. I came because I wanted to feel better about myself and I lost 12 kilos in a year. I would imagine if someone is married with children their lives must be harder than mine, but if they want to they would find time. For me, I finish work and go to my training, keep in mind that I teach Air Yoga as well.
Tell us about Air Yoga. You’ve only done this for a year, how come you’re already teaching?
The challenge with Yoga is to start doing it. If anyone is committed they’ll start seeing effects on their bodies within 3 weeks to a month. When I took the teacher training for Air Yoga I didn’t expect to become one. I took two and lots of my friends at Yalla Yoga were interested that I’d try to teach a class.
Has Yoga helped you perform better at work?
Definitely. The first effect you feel is that you start getting regular sleeping hours. You feel better at work because you can concentrate better, are more productive and more creative. Yoga poses have a lot of inversions, which increase the blood flow to the brain. This makes your mind more alert, responsive and relaxed.
Do you believe any hobby that could take your mind off work would make you feel better and therefore become a better performer?
Definitely yes. Even before Yoga I loved to learn new things and do different activities. It’s good for anyone to do any hobby. Taking your mind in a different direction increases creativity. Any hobby will add to a person even if they don’t do it forever.
Do you still go through times when you feel like you might not be able to do both?
Of course, sometimes it’s too much because I also want some time for myself. Now that I teach and go to training, I don’t cancel my commitment as a teacher, but sometimes I skip classes, which isn’t good.
Can you get so attached to Yoga that you only do that?
I don’t think Yoga will become my full time job, because it’s fulfilling, inspiring and good if you teach others, but it’s good to have a balance. I wouldn’t want to focus on Yoga alone, it wouldn’t be enough; the day is too long and I’m super active.
“One of the things you learn in Yoga is to let go of fear and trust yourself and your body”
What has Yoga taught you that benefited you outside of class?
A lot of things. One of the things you learn in Yoga is to let go of fear and trust yourself and your body. Some positions are scary and you learn to let go of fear.
“It’s a decision. If you want to create that balance, you will”
How do you create balance between work and recreation?
It’s a decision. If you want to create that balance, you will. I always plan a day ahead what I will do. When you have less things to worry about throughout the day, you can accomplish more. If you’re hungry at work and thinking about what you’ll order, it’s extra stress.
Do you believe the health/fitness movement is only a trend, or will it last?
First of all, it’s great that a lot of people are getting into fitness. Second of all, aside from fitness, people started to realize the effect of Yoga and meditation and eating clean. Also, during times of depression and war and negative energy in general, a balance is made in the universe by having positive energy coming from people doing Yoga and meditation and eating healthy.