Where are you originally from? Atlanta, GA — born and raised. In my early 20s, I moved to sunny Phoenix, AZ, and spent the next 8 years exploring, developing my passion for southwestern food (the spicier the better!), and hiking/camping around the desert.
How long have you lived in Chattanooga? I moved back east, settling in Chattanooga in the summer of 2017–the rivers, mountains, and community here made me feel right at home.
Tell us about your childhood: As a child, I loved to explore, read, draw, and dance. I am the oldest of two, seven years apart from my younger sister (she’s awesome). As a daughter of an Irish immigrant, I was Irish dancing from before I was born, according to my mom. I love music and movement and always found myself most at home with something playing on the radio. I grew up listing to the Beatles, Celtic music, and R&B. If anything, I would describe my musical taste as “eclectic” — I love jumping between genres and discovering new music.
Do you have a nickname? Well, funny you should ask. I have, unintentionally, become somewhat a collector of nicknames—my friends and loved ones like to call me MareBear.
When were you introduced to yoga? I was first introduced to yoga in my early 20s as I searched for ways to better manage my own stress and anxiety. Overworked and burned out, yoga helped me to regain my health, hold space for myself, and find balance. It continues to be a refuge for me in good times and bad.
How do yoga and the community play a role in your life? Yoga helps me to find my center, calm my mind, and find balance and strength in my body. Whether it be just 5 minutes of practice, yoga helps to ground me in the present moment. The community around yoga has been such a blessing and has challenged me to grow (in my practice and personally), broaden my perspective, deepen my knowledge around making yoga accessible, and open to all and connect me with diverse people both locally and around the world. As an athlete and runner, yoga helps me with recovery, strength, and flexibility. I find it incredibly rewarding to work with individuals to understand their needs and help give them the tools to live happier and healthier lives.
What pose do you love the most? Honestly, I find that it changes day-to-day. Sometimes it’s reverse warrior or pigeon, other days (honestly, most of them) it is supported child’s pose or wide savasana—both help me to feel ground and simply connect with my breath.
What is your favorite quote? “The great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.