This is the ninth in our ongoing series celebrating our happy customers. This week we’re profiling Maria Markman, a yogi and pastor-in-training from Minnesota and now living in southern California (not far from our daughter-designer Hannah, actually).
A lot of non-yoga people assume that yogis are Buddhists or atheists, but Maria is proof positive that yoga and godliness not only aren't contradictory, but are in many ways complementary. Yoga, like prayer, is a form of meditation, a way of communing with your body, communing with those around you, communing with your surroundings, and simultaneously focusing both inward and outward.
For many, yoga is no less a religious experience than Sunday morning church, and yogis come from all faiths — Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and yes, even Buddhist!
QTell us a little bit about yourself…
AI’m in grad school, studying to be a pastor in the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church of America). Currently I am living in southern California, thousands of miles from my friends and family on a year-long internship. I am loving full-time ministry, but it is also really hard. It’s easy to get wrapped and I feel the need to remind myself to listen, not to just the ‘noise’ of the world but really listen: listen with the heart, listen to myself, listen to others, and listen to God.
QWhat kind of asanas do you practice?
AI spend my mornings waking up with some sort of flow.
QHow long have you been a yogi?
AI started being curious about 8 years ago and have slowly found my way to a daily practice.
QWhat role does yoga play in your life?
AYoga empowers and fuels my days, it helps me trust myself and find strength in and out.
QDo you have a favorite pose?
AI love a good plank, especially if I have had a particularly warm practice , one filled with heat and a small drop of sweat runs down my nose and onto my “washable” mat! I also love forward fold, I could just hang out there all morning and then the rush of the whole body when you return to mountain is MAGIC!
QHave you ever had a “yoga moment”, something that happened during practice that you didn’t expect? That made you laugh, brought you joy, made you cry?
AI am a very emotional person, so it only makes sense that would follow me onto my mat. I think the thing that continually shocks me is the strength I am gaining in my practice, not just outer strength but inner strength, a resilience and trust of my own self.
QIs there a pose that used to be a “pillar pose” — one that you were working toward — that is now accessible to you?
AI still working on a head stand. This would be really cool to achieve. And when I first started to try, I was surprised at how close I could get. I am not there and I am also trying to have patience with myself.
QWhen you placed your order with Big Raven Yoga, what made you choose Say Goodnight, Gracie?
A I had many I was choosing from, because all BRY designs are soooooo wonderful. But at the end of the day it was that Gracie was listening and that is one of the cornerstones of my professional life and something that I need to remember daily.
QDo you have your eyes fixed on any other Big Raven designs? If so, which one(s) and why?
AI am inspired by the Compassion Collection. What you are doing there is really important! And I love Early Morning Lullaby, Daydream, and Rose Gold Pathway!
QDo people ask you about your mat?
AYes! All the time!
Thank you SO much, Maria — I really appreciate you taking a few minutes to talk to us!
Maria owns Say Goodnight, Gracie.