Thank you for visiting this page!
My hope is after reading it you will have garnered a little bit of who I am before meeting and connecting with me through the practice (in person or online). My dedication to my own yoga sadhana, devotion to family and community, and passion for sharing the healing benefits of Ashtanga Yoga have all played an equally important role in what has led me to return to Vancouver Island and build a traditional Ashtanga Yoga Shala in the beautiful city of Victoria.
I was born in the Philippines and immigrated to Canada at a young age. I was raised in Comox and then moved to and lived in Vancouver for nearly 20 years. Vancouver was my homebase during university, time spent abroad, and almost a decade at Ashtanga Yoga Vancouver. I studied Food, Nutrition and Health at the University of British Columbia and also balanced that time training for Ironman Canada Triathlons. I always felt a strong pull towards movement and the healing quality it had for mental health. My first early meditation experiences was actually not on a yoga mat or meditation pillow but happened mostly in my running shoes during Sunday long run workouts. I recall falling in love to the rhythm and sound of the breath and learning just how powerful of a muscle the mind really is.
The breath (affectionately referred to as free breathing with sound) in Ashtanga Yoga is what influenced my choice to take it up as a daily asana practice. The metronome of movements linked with breath came to form an invisible anchor for me during periods of challenges, triumphs and transitions. To this day, my yoga practice serves as a reflection of my own patterns, reactions and attachments. Dedicating time on my yoga mat always gave me a feeling of home, no matter what part of the world I was in, and always made me feel resourced. I practiced in bus stations, rainforest valleys, beachside rooftops, airports and even on a plane once! For me, all those practices was really the planting of seeds for where I was heading to and where I genuinely feel I am now.
I am inspired by my family, time in nature with my puppy, and all the profound relationships and connections I have had because of the Ashtanga practice.
During my time at Ashtanga Yoga Vancouver I had the privilege of learning, sharing knowledge, building community, and contributing to the greater good through yoga. I feel my teaching approach draws from my time studying in Mysore, India at KPJAYI / Sharath Yoga Center and under the mentorship of incredible female Ashtanga senior-level teachers (Fiona Stang. Tanya Salas, and Sharmila Desai). I received the blessing to teach Ashtanga Yoga from Sharath Jois in 2016 and from then on I have devoted to sharing the tradition and evolution of the practice to those seeking a spiritual and healing practice.
My teaching approach comes from both patience and compassion. You can often hear me say: things take time. I often do more listening and observing, and in doing so I feel helps facilitate holding a focused practice space, virtually online or in person. I am deeply curious and fascinated by the power of self-healers, both mentally and physically. I have had the privilege of working with new moms and expecting mothers. I provide encouragement, support and guidance to both novice and seasoned yoga practitioners.
I am the primary teacher at the yoga Shala and being so allows me the time to connect with each yoga practitioner in an unhurried way. I am devoted to sharing the healing and therapeutic benefits of the practice, cultivating community, and encouraging diversity within the broader yoga community. I consider myself first and foremost: a student, nature enthusiast, and devoted householder; and secondary: a teacher, a terrible baker, and a coffee fanatic.
I look forward to meeting you soon!
Over the last four years, I have been blessed to have Maria's warm and careful guidance as I have deepened my understanding of Ashtanga yoga. Under Maria's wise tutelage, I have discovered not only the physical aspects of the asanas, but more importantly, the deeper levels of the spiritual practice which I have found to be healing on many levels. Over the years, I have learned again and again that the practice can be a source of strength, humility and equanimity.
Ashtanga Yoga is challenging, and Maria makes you work. Her guidance comes with a lot of knowledge, encouragement, and humour. She has guided me to many "aha" moments in my practice. Moments that, in light of the hard work, have been truly rewarding. Thank you Maria.
It is difficult to describe how meaningful it is to have Maria as a teacher. What is it exactly about her - is it her strong presence? Her sense of humour? Her contagious smile, the twinkle in her eye? That particular way she says ‘Nosetip gaze’ that instantly refocuses every practitioner in the room? Maria has a warmth, grace, humility and presence that is so rare in a person. She will push you, but always with love. Her commitment to me and my personal practice empowered me to stop hiding in the corner and blossom as a practitioner. Her guidance is delivered with such care and unconditional love that you cannot help but allow yourself to surrender to the practice and Maria’s steady, encouraging voice. If you have the opportunity to study with Maria, please do - you will never regret it.
To all the souls who are looking for higher knowledge... Maria and I crossed path five 5 years ago when she became my yoga teacher. Since then, she has keeps inspiring me on the mat and off the mat in every day life. I assisted her in the Shala (Ashtanga Yoga Vancouver) and that experience for me was very precious. If you would like to give yourself a gift of presence then Maria's Shala, Ashtanga Yoga Vancouver Island, is the place for you.
Maria is not only a wonderful teacher but she's an even better person. Maria has been instrumental in my own personal practice throughout the three years that I've known her and I'm quite certain that her other previous students would say much the same. I witnessed her, day after day, put such dedication and energy into her practice, her work and into those she was teaching and guiding. A teacher so special, like Maria, can only achieve such admiration from her students due to her empathetic nature. Maria is so generous and natural everybody feels it instantly. She helped me in so many ways over the years; I was struck by a car and my body was in considerable pain. It was Maria that reached out to me to return to my Yoga practice and it was Maria who was such an important factor in helping me begin my healing process. Maria takes it upon herself to know each and every one of her students in a very detailed manner. She has considerable knowledge on how to treat injuries through modifications. It was Maria who also encouraged me to begin my own teaching journey. Maria has a beautiful calmness in her voice and as a result, her chanting class allows others to easily feel that calm and the same can easily be said of her led class. Her dedication and care for her students, coupled with a very warm presence, results in very focused students during her Mysore classes. Whether you're new to Ashtanga or already have experience, you will certainly find that Maria can and will help you further progress your practice and do so in a way that you'll feel so very cared for. I know that is what Maria has done for me and for my own personal practice.
Maria invests a lot in your personal practise. She creates the relationship dynamic with a student that'll encourage one to take up a daily practise. I feel Maria's keen sense of awareness is her biggest asset, and remembering every student's detail and fostering their individual practise is something she excels as a teacher. The relationship she cultivates with the student, her sense of loyalty to the tradition of Ashtanga Vinyasa system, is something I'll always remember and miss.
I think of Maria as my natural teacher. Even after years of practice, when I studied with Maria my practice blossomed in new ways, with her adjustments and advice, and the example of her own practice. Thank you Maria for you steadfastness, attention,
knowledge and kindness.
It is hard to describe how Maria has helped me out, as a Korean girl who was new to Canada and to living abroad. Maria not only encouraged me but she was always there for me at the Shala (Ashtanga Yoga Vancouver). Her students always feel that she is there for them too. I learned from her how meaningful it can be to be part of a community and how the journey with the practice can inspire your own life.
Desde que me mude a Vancouver, hace dos años, continué mi práctica de Ashtanga Yoga con María. Siento que hubo un cambio positivo en mi practica. Tome consciencia que el yoga comprende mucho más que lo que aprendemos dentro de la clase. Hay una conexión intrínseca entre la manera que practicamos y como vivimos nuestra vida. El gran desafío es integrar el yoga con nuestro día a día. María me ayudo a escuchar y respetar mi cuerpo. Es una gran maestra, que se involucra con los alumnos desde su corazón. Sabe conectarse y resolver con amor y dedicación las necesidades de cada uno. Es una profesora con gran conocimiento y experiencia. Estoy feliz y agradecida de tener la oportunidad de practicar Yoga con María.
To me, Maria embodies dedication---dedication to the practice, to her students, and to her role as a teacher. She will fully support your journey of cultivating your practice through all its many seasons. You will appreciate her guiding hand and constant encouragement!
The things I learned from Maria are:
- My inner strength when I was weak
- The importance of a challenge when I faced fear
- Taking one step at at a time with breath when things are uncertain
- Being kind when I was being too hard on myself
- Unconditional love, even when I am still learning to fully love myself
- Hearing the breath in every moment, in postures, or in any situation in life
- Stillness in breath and stillness in the heart
I have been practicing under the guidance of Maria for around 4 years. Her dedication to me as a student has always been unwavering and encouraging. Through injuries and sometimes sparse attendance she has adapted the practice to me, teaching me the importance of accepting yourself as you are. I am forever grateful that I found Maria and get to call her my teacher. Life and practice would not be the same without her.