Guest Interview – Maree Couanis, Yoga Instructor & Meditation Coach

Maree Couanis

Guest Interview – Maree Couanis, Yoga Instructor & Meditation Coach

Maree CouanisMaree

Yoga Instructor & Meditation Coach

Have you ever met someone who automatically has a positive impact on your life?.. I have had the pleasure of meeting Maree and I can honestly say she is one of those people. From the moment we met, she radiated positivity and today I hope her words will motivate you. With over 20 years experience in yoga and meditation, Maree gives me a better insight into the different styles of yoga, its benefits and advice on getting started.
Sitting in one of Perth’s chic cafés and sipping on a green tea I can see her passion shining through as she begins to talk!


Q: How did you first get into yoga, did you have any reservations about your first class?

I started yoga more than 20 years ago. I wanted a new physical challenge, one that not only worked on my fitness levels but that also improved my flexibility. I was anxious about not being flexible enough compared to others who may be in the class but I then realised that ‘everyone is different and we all start somewhere’. Noone walks into their first yoga practice and can do the perfect downward dog or stand on their head- it takes time. Like anything you need to practice and grow into the exercise. “Yoga is great to practice at any age as it’s always good to feel flexible, free and open. This is why I have been practicing for many years but.. I wont tell you my age!”

Q: What are your main benefits of yoga?
Yoga has many layers and with each layer comes new benefits. The benefits not only lie within the physical challenges you can achieve but strive further into your mental levels and emotional levels within your body. You need to be open within your yoga practice and learn to find it attractive as an exercise as well as a means of relaxation therapy. Yoga benefits people of all ages, through moving into your muscle tissues you deepen and lengthen your muscle capacity, strengthening your muscles and allowing growth for muscular capacity. This is particularly helpful for men as they tend to have tighter muscles than females. Through strengthening your muscles and stretching you become more flexible, allowing freer movement of joints and relieving any muscular tension.
I love yoga as a stress release, when you are on the mat it’s just you and your practice. It’s all about bringing you into the now and present. Being very aware. Through breathing and meditation you learn to let go of the days worries and focus on you for the duration of your practice. This in turn helps to relieve any anxiety you may be feeling and begins to introduce balance back into your life. It’s amazing what effects an hours practice can have on your head space.

 Q: How many times a week do you recommend practicing yoga?
Once a week is good, the hardest part is getting there! Once you start you will begin to love it and from there you can schedule it more regularly into your week.

 Q: What styles of yoga do you practice?
I like to practice a range of styles. Introducing new styles into my classes creates new challenges for my students and.. keeps them from becoming bored!

Vinyasa- this is a freestyle flowing yoga. Your practice becomes a meditation in movement. Through slow movements your meditation coincides with your breathing to leave you feeling relaxed, with open and well stretched muscles.

Iyengar- I started off practicing this style of yoga. This is a great class for beginners as it teaches you the technique of movements and how to hold your postures for longer, allowing you time to grow within the pose.

Ashtanga- This is a very physical yoga style ‘hard core’ in Marees words. I highly recommend this for men and women who love a very strong yoga practice. Ashtanga includes a lot of jumps and push ups. The basic elements are used in Bikram yoga! Bikram yoga is practiced in a heated room

Yoga Nidra- This is a guided meditation. I talk people through their yoga practice, creating a safe space. This involves visualization. This is amazing for the relief of stress and anxiety as well as healing within the body and mind. We use affirmation, (sankalpa) and positive thinking.

Q: Do you recommend yoga practice for pregnant women?

Absolutely! When I was pregnant I was doing head stands, hand stands, while learning breathing technics. my children turned out ok!

There are many more different styles of yoga evolving in the western world today as teachers re-invent their own flavour to yoga. One of the most important things I feel, is to find a teacher that suits you. Once you find that teacher, your whole world will change and your life will radiate I so many ways!!!!

Just notify your instructor that your pregnant and they will guide you through your moves.

Q: Where can we take one of your classes?

I am available to teach privately with small groups or one-on-one classes. Through private teaching we will discuss the history of yoga, benefits of the moves and find the right moves for your body. Groups can be as small or as large as you like. (The perfect way to kickstart a girly day I think!)

I hold public classes each Monday at 7:30pm in Twisting Fish, Claremont, where you can pop in as you please. Do come speak to me before your first class so we can discuss your practice.

Bali Retreat
I am hosting a Bali yoga retreat this July 2014. Starting on the 25th of July for 6 nights and 5 days. We will go to the town of Ubud in Bali. Surrounded by lush vegetation, it is a safe and spiritual place where you really do feel a beautiful energy and positive vibrations in the air.
Trip will include;

2 sessions per day; 1 each morning and 1 meditation each afternoon
Airport Transfer

Costs: 900 dollars for single room

700 dollars for shared room
You will have to look after your own flights to and from Bali.

This is an amazing trip for anyone looking to holiday and receive the wonderful effects of yoga and surround themselves in the beautiful culture of Bali, and I couldn’t recommend a better teacher.

We finish our interview discussing Marees trip to India- she jets off for an Auyvedic retreat in March to broaden her knowledge on yoga and study different styles of meditation and health within the yoga system. I wish I was going with her!

To contact Maree drop her an email:
‘Happiness does not depend on what you have or who you are. It solely relies on what you think’-Buddha-

<3 Lucy x

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