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👋 Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
Hi! My name is Marie Luo. I’m a yogi and an acrobat. I have been teaching movement classes since I was a teenager. Back then, I was teaching some Hip Hop dance groups. But as life goes on, I stopped and went traveling in Central America. There, I spent some time with street artists who taught me how to do acrobatics in the streets.
When I came back to Berlin, acrobatics was not as trendy as today so I started teaching my friends what I knew, and by repeating these few tricks, again and again, I build up my foundation for teaching today.
Acrobatics is playful. It teaches you how to release your inner child (if you have an inner child).
I didn’t know what yoga was for by then. I was 18 and I just started studying and was happy with my life (-I still am happy). But, what I want to say is, that I was not actively searching for something “more”.
My idea of yoga was based on a 30-minute yoga-workout DVD. I tried it a couple of times, and left it aside, concluding that yoga was easy. Because, as a dancer, it was easy to do the postures.
Through acrobatics, I got to know an Ashtanga-Yoga teacher. After my first, let’s call it “real class”, I was sweating like never before. And not because I never did other sports, but because, I am just not sweating normally. So, it felt like this breathing thing in yoga changed the whole game.
In Ashtanga Yoga, you learn a sequence from the teacher and you keep practicing this one sequence for years. Maybe you will learn another sequence or postures from another sequence, but in the end, it’s not about collecting postures.
One beautiful thing about Ashtanga Yoga practice is that it teaches you to do it alone, every day, only with the sound of your breathing.
I presume that by developing a daily two-hour yoga routine, by doing something which draws my focus inside, I started to perceive other sports differently.
This is how my yoga journey has begun, how my motivation for training started to be rather on a mental level than on a physical level.
So nowadays, I am a yoga and acrobatics instructor, teaching regular classes in Berlin and workshops on festivals or retreats. I am doing performances on events, model jobs for yoga clothes and working as a content producer in a yoga startup.
I like my job, I love teaching, especially, taking time for working one by one with a student, but even when you are labeled as a “yoga-teacher”, I always find it important to make time for my own practice.
⏱ Describe a typical day of training
Having a full schedule makes it hard to do all the things I would like to do inside one day.
Right now, I blocked for myself one hour in the morning for yoga and one hour in the evening for other exercises.
I guess one of my secrets is I try to integrate as much movement into my day. Like it does not feel like training but like a relief from sitting and being normal. 🙂
My morning practice is about finding a calm breath, entering a flow state and doing every exercise precisely. As this training is kind of repetitive, there is a high risk of injury. But paying attention to how a posture feels on a certain day, teaches how to prevent injuries.
On some days, I find a variation that my body needs to build up specific muscle groups that might be underdeveloped.
During the day, I have a lot of laptop work to do. If I am at home, I like to sit in a straddle seat or do some handstand breaks. When I teach a yoga class, I enjoy joining in for the strengthening part. As motivation for my students and as a challenge for myself.
In the evening, I might go to an acrobatic training. There it’s time to learn something new and to realize again on which skills I might need to focus on the upcoming weeks.
After coming home, I put on some music, do at least my 100 sit-ups, a handstand routine and some more intense stretching. I chose the mentally simple exercises to be in the afternoon as I can work them through like a robot and just feel great afterwards.
👊 How do you keep going and push harder?
I make myself a training plan and I try to maintain it. Firstly, for me, it’s important to have a fixed time for training on a daily and weekly basis. Making time for training means defining priorities for yourself. When training is my priority, my friends most of the time have to join in.
In general, I am more the person who always has too much on a schedule and still goes to training even when my energy level is really low. So for me, it’s more about not being frustrated, if I feel weak one day and find a way of training from which I benefit, mentally and physically. If I don’t blame myself for being weak one day and still do a little, then I mostly feel good afterward.
As yoga is different from fitness, there is no real need for complete rest days. It’s okay to do one day “only” meditation. For me, it’s not about pushing harder but keep on going, improving and learning.
Some tips for maintaining my training on a regular basis are the following:
- Find a good reason why to train (a reason that supports the way of person you want to be);
- Make sure to get enough sleep and eat the food that feels good for you;
- Make your friends train with you;
- Set yourself goals on a monthly base (or two-week base) and make a realistic training plan;
- If an exercise feels challenging, smile and do it even better and more often.
🏆 How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Today, my training was good, I am feeling good, and my future looks bright. Wow – This must be super annoying to read. I think a proper amount of positiveness can make everybody’s life a little bit lighter.
Right now, I am completely overwhelmed by all the tasks I have to do for my studies and my work. And knowing that life won’t get easier soon and that I already had some workaholic episodes, I am trying to do everything step by step and admitting to myself every day, that things take time.
Things take time and time runs fast. So if training is something you love. Do it now. For me doing Yoga and sports bring me to the present moment. They make me feel alive. And what else do we wish for than feeling.
Training wise I am hoping to maintain my passion for Yoga. To integrate mindfulness practice more and more into my life and keep on moving and learning every day.
🤕 How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
Injuries are part of the game. Some injuries are due to accidents others are due to unbalanced training. In either case, you can only accept them, start figuring out what you might have done wrong in the previous training, and strengthen those muscle groups or specific movement patterns that would have prevented the injury.
It’s not worth ignoring the pain and hurting yourself even more so it’s all about finding exercises that give you the same training effect but don’t hurt.
One example, as many students are complaining, especially in the beginning, about wrist problems I designed some yoga flows, which they can do without using their wrists too much.
For what I do right now, which are too many handstands, push-ups and planks, I find it important to add some pulling to my training. So, Yogis and Acroyogis: Do your pulling, it’s good for you. ☺
I normally hit the seven hours of sleep per day line – on a good day. But my body requires more. I am often inserting some nap times during the day.
🍎 How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
My diet is far from perfect. I know what makes me good. Which is no gluten, less sugar, and cooked vegetables. I think everybody is different when it comes to the needs of his or her body, so one good thing is to try out different dishes, reflect how you feel afterward and read a lot about nutrition.
I like to invest in organic food and as I am a lazy person I choose to spend money on the healthier but often more expensive dishes when being on the road. On good mood days, my diet is good, too. Also, at least for me, there is a strong correlation between having enough rest and not having any cravings.
I am lucky to have friends who share similar food and training preferences. So, it’s all about planning. If I meet friends we meet for training and often we combine it with going out for proper food.
I do have cheat episodes, not only days, which are not planned, but necessary. Some nights I just curl together with my flatmate who is also a circus artist and sport fanatics and we cheat together and watch some movies late into the night.
I love coffee. I know it might not be healthy but life should also be about quality. And drinking coffee is for me a pure life-quality moment. In order to not drink coffee all day long, I cook myself every day big bottles of chai tea, with cinnamon which is just yummy.
Forbidding myself something is hard, but. I guess, by building up new and healthier habits, I can shift my focus towards a healthier direction.
I do take some extra vitamins and minerals, like iron, Vitamin B12 and D, zinc and magnesium. Right now, I am having an organic brand here called, “Salus“.
👍 What has inspired and motivated you?
Friends who have a similar training or a similar yoga practice are helpful when it comes to inner doubts and whenever I need some motivation pushes.
One of the best advice regarding the purpose of training was: “It doesn’t matter” This might sound really shallow but it can’t be interpreted as doing nothing is the solution. It was rather about the freedom of choosing and re-defining your “why you train” always again.
✏️ Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
That’s an admirable wish. Maybe take this crazy advice: Imagine yourself being on an island, only with your family, or animals – doesn’t matter. Would you still wish for the improvement you wish for right now?
If yes, do so. Make a master plan. Define little steps on your way and make your week free to chase your goal.
🤝 Are you taking on clients right now?
Jip, I do. I teach two open classes but my main focus lays in teaching privates and business classes. As I sincerely enjoy working closer and over longer period of time with the same people.
My family and friends are rather interested in the mindfulness aspect of training and yoga than the physical aspect. There are no usual questions.
One assumption I hear a lot from students is the following: “Wow, for this pose you have to be really strong, right?”
And my usual answer is: “Some strength is required, but it’s all technique and training. Train it one week and you will see!”