Giselle Mari’s Wisdom on Letting Go and Accepting Change

Longtime yoga teacher and December cover model Giselle Mari is no stranger to change. While many of us might resist the unknown and cling to the past, she’s accepting change with a refreshing passion and inspiring lightheartedness. I have a lot to learn from her!

Carin Gorrell: How has your home practice morphed over the years?
Giselle Mari: At first, I would only practice asana, and it was more rigorous and faster paced than what I do now. Over time, I realized asana isn’t a race—it’s a practice of being in the moment, breath by breath. Now, I go with the flow of what’s on my plate and how I’m feeling. Some days it’s asana, others it’s meditation, and sometimes it’s HIIT (high-intensity interval training).

CG: Early menopause runs in your family, and you just went through it. 
How did it impact your practice?
GM: In addition to hot flashes and brain fog, I had dual frozen shoulders. I went from being able to do most asanas with relative ease to not being able to brush my hair without excruciating pain. My spiritual practice kept me from worrying, though: I knew it wasn’t forever. 
Now, I have a greater appreciation 
for the power of the body and mind when we just let go and allow.

See also The Art of Teaching Yoga: The Importance of Networking

CG: You’re an advanced certified Jivamukti Yoga teacher. News of
 a sexual-harassment lawsuit against 
a senior Jivamukti teacher broke in 
April. What has your reaction been?
GM: Sadly, sexual harassment lawsuits aren’t uncommon. However, I think they’re opportunities for us to pause 
as a yoga community and see where we can put best practices around power dynamics in place within teacher trainings and mentorship programs. It’s important to create a healthy dialogue around these issues, or we’ll be doomed to repeat them.

CG: What’s your favorite pose and why?
GM: Asanas are like chips and salsa: I can’t have just one. I love any inversion and any side stretch, and though my shoulders have kept me from Urdhva Dhanurasana (Wheel Pose), it’s a fave. These asanas change my perspective and make me feel enlivened in my body.

CG: Do you have a mantra or words of wisdom that you live by?
GM: I have many, but here’s a quote from Thomas J. Watson, founder of IBM, that I’m really digging lately: “Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure.”

Catch Giselle at Yoga Journal LIVE! San Francisco, January 13–16. I highly recommend The Art of Teaching Yoga, a skills development program for teachers.