‘I don't need to protect myself from what I think my limitations are.’

Mary Emfinger is a Yoga Teacher based in Texas.

Mary Emfinger is a Yoga Teacher based in Texas.

1. What style of yoga do you teach?

I teach a smattering of styles. My first love was Yin Yoga and that has allowed to branch out into also teaching classes like Gentle Yoga, Slow Flow, Hot Power Fusion, and Restorative (yep, it's different than Yin).  

2. What is your intention behind teaching?

Keep learning from every-yogi. I want to go into each class with an open mind and the ability to change the sequence I have developed specifically for the yogis that showed up to practice that day. Bodies, in all of their strength and in all of their limitation, should be honored and respected. Therefore, my class should be for the people who show up as opposed to whatever it was that I thought I should teach at that day and time.  

3. Who are your mentors in yoga? 

Rebekah Rivera, every teacher of every yoga class I've ever taken and each yogi I have ever had the honor of teaching. 

4. What have they taught you? 

How do I even begin? Firstly, to be myself. When I am teaching, do not change who I am - and I'm committed to holding fast to that. Although I look up to many yoga teachers, it does not benefit any of us for me to strive to become them. People who gravitate to the classes I teach will be different than the people who gravitate to my teachers, and that is a wonderful thought. 

They have all taught me the importance of language, how to teach to each different yogi, how to honor the strength in every human body. How to laugh during class. How to play.

5. Please mention a book that you have read about yoga that has had a positive impact on you? 

Inner Engineering: A Yogi's Guide to Joy by Sadhguru gave me practical ways and often funny anecdotes to practice yoga in the everyday moments. 

6. What lesson are you currently learning in your Asana practice? 

I don't need to protect myself from what I think my limitations are.  

7. How often do you practice? 

I practice a few times a week. I have a very physical lifestyle, I also run, swim, bike and weight train on a regular basis to keep my fitness levels high enough for distance marathon and triathlon races, so asana practice is often my "guilty pleasure" - my coach only approves one yoga class every week or so, so please don't tell her!

8. How do you implement the other 7 limbs of yoga into your life other than Asana? 

Yama - Integrity is one of my core values. I feel strongly about doing what I say I am going to do. I keep a vegetarian diet, I believe in positive self-affirmation (something I've been practicing during running),  I believe in Asteya not only of belongings but also of thoughts, time, etc. 

Niyama - Self-discipline comes out of me in the ongoing journey of contentment. I honor how I feel, trying to never judging any emotion according to how society has classified it (ie happy, angry, sad, etc) as either good or bad. 

Pranayama - I love practicing and teaching these before or after asana. Square breathing and alternate nostril breathing are the ones I gravitate to most often.

Pratyahara - Do you ever stop for a few minutes and send your thoughts inside your own body? You can feel things moving around - maybe it's energy, or blood, or food digesting... it's pretty rad. Sometimes just placing my hands on myself helps me with this.

Dharana - This one is hard for me. Usually chanting is the best way for me to keep concentration on one thing and let go of my mind chatter. Still working on it to be honest.

Dhyana - I believe a person can meditate anywhere, anyway, any place they want to. It's different for everyone - I'm not usually the sit and meditate in silence kind of gal, although I can get there after an asana practice. If you meditate walking, running, sewing, riding a horse, playing dodgeball I'd have probably sit at that lunch table in high school.

Samadhi - This is a destination and the journey is my life.  

9. Why is being present so important to you? 

If I can stay in the moment, I can avoid feelings of disappointment or depression. Staying in my body and in the moment allows me to spend more time in contentment.  

10. How can we keep up with you on social media? What is your IG handle and/ FB name?

Please follow me on instagram @marekinss and join my mailing list at maryemfinger.com