Marianna Malliaroudaki ( मारियाना मल्लियाराउदाकी )
I was born in Athens, Greece, and grew in the shadows of my mother who had been following a spiritual path as far as my memory recollects. Since I myself was born in an ancient civilisation I always had this inclination to experience other ancient civilisations. I studied nutrition at ATEI Thessaloniki and wanted to travel the world, this presented me with a wonderful opportunity, as I could begin exploring the world, but I chose India to begin with. It was an out of this world experience while I was travelling the length and breadth of this magical country which people call India. Like most foreign travellers, I was backpacking from one destination to other while trying to soak in as much as what my brain and senses could withhold. At this time it was an absolute divine sensation to see so much spirituality all around me, particularly yoga. There was a very specific instance while travelling during the foothill Himalayas in the town of Rishikesh (popularly known as the world yoga capital) I happened to be informed about the international yoga festival. This was a remarkable day in my life; I had never encountered such a blissful feeling in my life and went on to stay there for the entire duration of the festival soaking in as much as I possibly could. Believe it or not those 3 days of yoga literally transformed me.
Upon my return to Athens I found a job as a nutritionist and also a yoga teacher under whom I would go on to practice for another 4 years. Further down the road I took a teacher training course in yoga just to enhance my own yoga practice and continued to be a nutritionist. There were times when my job as a nutritionist could not give me satisfaction, at that time it was always yoga which gave me balance and kept me centred while trying to understand the higher truth of our existence. At this point as I would like to say destiny decided my future for me, I was constantly unsatisfied with my current professional job as nutritionist in a hospital and nothing could give me satisfaction except yoga. I believe yoga can lead us to the highest embodiment of truth and anyone can access this through their practice. The biggest realisation was that if yoga could do such amazing wonders for me, there were no reasons this wouldn’t do the trick for others. I decided to take my first big leap and pass the message and soul of yoga as it had been passed to me. Everything seemingly fell into place, at first I would give individual classes, go to centres to teach and eventually I started teaching from my yoga shala. I came to understand later from an Indian guru ji that it was not me who chose yoga but the path of yoga had chosen me. I’m grateful to India and Indians for having kept this ancient knowledge alive even today, which heals people on the level of the body, mind and the soul. To practice yoga has been the best decision and the most amazing journey of my life. I continue to teach with my full dedication and devotion towards yoga and my students but even more importantly I continue to learn and shall remain a student always myself.
Om Namah Shivay