I am so excited to be able to feature Noah Maze as this website’s very first Anusara teacher profile! Noah Maze is celebrated in the yoga community as one of the most advanced and proficient practitioners and teachers of Anusara yoga. Widely sought out as a teacher’s teacher, Noah serves on the Anusara Yoga Curriculum Committee and the Anusara Yoga Certification Assessment Committee. His therapeutic teaching is informed by years of anatomical study, successful practice with rehabilitating injured students, and experiential knowledge of the body and its innate healing capacity.
Noah is teaching a workshop in Christchurch, New Zealand this weekend (Sept. 3-5, 2010) called Heros and Heroines: Stories and Practices of Yoga. It promises to be fun, enlightening and enlivening! If you would like to join us for some nourishing yoga play time this weekend, please get in touch with Katie Lane to book in.
How did you get into yoga?
My parents became interested in meditation, eastern philisophies and yoga before I was born. I very much grew up with the yoga practices and mythology and iconography around my house and in our lives. Our family trip every summer was to a meditation ashram, where there were lots of families with kids my age. I started Hatha Yoga (postural yoga) when I was 14, and loved it right away. It combined and integrated the meditative and philosophical aspects with which I was raised, with the full affirmation of embodiment. Prior to this, my athletic side seemed slightly separate from the “spiritual practices” of yoga. I took my first Anusara Yoga class with John Friend when I was 19.
Anusara combines the philisophical traditions with sophisticated bio mechanical principles of alignment with an incredible spectrum of yoga asanas. This combination both satisfies and engages me on every level of body/mind/heart. To teach this style is endlessly creative. There is no script, no fixed sequences– rather an endeavor to combine principles of alignment, with a philosophical visions, with principles of sequencing to achieve/create any number of experiences. An Anusara class could be a rigorous flow sequence, a contemplative and meditative restorative sequence, a detailed focus on bio-mechanics, an empowering and uplifting heart based theme, or a combination of all of this and more.
What was your certification journey like?
My certification journey was pretty straight forward and easy. It was in the early days of Anusara Yoga, back in 2000 & 2001. Now there is much more of a process that has stages, pre-requisites, committees etc. I received almost all of my training directly from John Friend, with some invaluable influence and instruction of handful of very seasoned “senior teachers”, both in Anusara Yoga and in other traditions.
When I finally decided I was ready to film a class for assessment, I just went for it. At the time, I didn’t think the class was passable, as my inner critic was on fire, but when I watched the class after, it was a very solid and authentic class. I sent it in, John Friend watched it himself, and he told me it was one of the best video classes he had seen, and I passed. My intention was, and still is, to uplift, empower and serve everyone who comes to learn and practice this yoga.
Certification for me was never a goal, but a recognition and initiation of that stage of my cultivation as a student and a teacher. That journey has continued with every season of my life.
Which Universal Principle of Alignment and/or Loop challenges you most? How have you worked with that challenge?
Inner Spiral is my challenge, as Outer Spiral is my “super power”. My legs open very easily in externally rotated flextions, but it is much harder for me to Inner spiral my legs and pelvis in a pose like Hanumanasana. How do I work with it…?…practice, practice, practice.
What has your Yoga Inventure revealed about who you are and what you want to do with the rest of your life?
I am happy to be fully participating in the unfolding of my life as my practice. It has been a great journey so far. Marriage and fatherhood (I am traveling with my wife, Tracy, and our two year old daughter, Madeleine) have both enriched and challenged my practice in ever new ways. I will be happy teaching the practices of yoga for decades to come.