Yogi You Should Know: Noah Maze
Noah MazÃ© is celebrated in the yoga community as one of the most advanced and proficient practitioners and teachers of AnusaraÂ® Yoga. Born into a household of yogis, Noah grew up steeped in the yoga tradition and its practices. In the 1990s, Noah worked as an outdoor educator and wilderness guide, helping people access the transformational power of nature. After a life long study of yoga, Noah began studying with John Friend in 1995 and was awestruck. Not long thereafter, he also became a devoted student of Tantric scholar, Dr. Douglas Brooks. Noah was certified to teach AnusaraÂ® Yoga in 2002. Widely sought out as a teacher's teacher, Noah is one of only twelve individuals worldwide serving on the AnusaraÂ® Yoga Curriculum Committee. He also sits on AnusaraÂ® Yoga's Certification Assessment Committee, and has been invited to teach with John Friend at both of Anusara Yoga's "Grand Gatherings." Noah's therapeutic teaching is informed by years of anatomical study, successful practice with rehabilitating injured students and his experiential knowledge of the body and its innate healing capacity.
You began studying Anusara with John Friend in 1995, what inspired you about Anusara?
My parents were deeply involved in South Asian philosophy and practice before I was born and throughout my childhood (and still are). I met Swami Muktananda when I was five, and grew up deeply influenced by Siddha Yoga Meditation. I started asana practice when I was 14, my first teacher was Richard Freeman (my home town is Boulder, CO). My mom and I used to take his Sunday and Wednesday Level I class together. Asana was a natural synthesis of everything that I loved and was already doing (meditation, philosophy, myth, pranayama) with a full affirmation of embodiment. Before that, my physical and athletic sides were always a bit separate from my 'spiritual' practices. I first took classes with John Friend when I was 19. What inspired me deeply about Anusara Yoga was the system of Universal Principles of Alignment and the emphasis on community. The methodology of Anusara Yoga empowered my poses to feel better (I never knew backbends did not have to hurt), go deeper (whoa, the pose looks like that!), and radically expand my practice. Before Anusara, I felt a ceiling to my practice, that would move slowly only with constant practice. Learning Anusara Yoga lifted that ceiling off of my practice. Through the Anusara community, I have come to know many of the most influential people in my life; people that deeply inspire me, teach me, and anchor me
Traveling is a big part of your practice, where is your favorite place to teach?
I like teaching everywhere. Every type of teaching (classes, workshops, trainings etc), and environment, offers opportunities to help people connect more deeply with themselves and make shifts in their lives. I really don't have a favorite place. As much as I travel around the world, I may not always know what time zone I am in, but in the studio (in the yoga, in the breath), I am always at home. Although I will say that teaching at home (Los Angeles) offers the greatest possibilities to push the envelope of the practice, as much more is possible with students that I work with on a dedicated and consistent basis.
Before you were a teacher you helped people access the transformational power of nature, can you tell us a little bit about that?
Growing up in Boulder provided ample opportunities for me to be outside; in the mountains, in the forest, in the rivers and lakes. I quit team sports in middle school, and started hiking and rock climbing and backpacking with my friends. Nature has always been the easiest environment for me to connect to myself and to a bigger sense of connectivity with Spirit. There is something much more direct, much more raw, about being in the wilderness, that has always been very powerful for me. I pursued this in college, and received a BA in Wilderness Leadership from Prescott College, and spent a few years working for Outward Bound and similar organizations. I have always had a calling to teach and share what is deeply meaningful for me.
I understand you have dogs, can you tell us about them? I hear you are a dog loverâ€¦
We are very big dog lovers. We currently only have four, all rescues. I love the pack dynamics, the unconditional love and loyalty that they teach me. From 9 lbs to 55lbs (dachsipoo, cockapoo, chow chow, and a hound). Sometimes I fantasize about having lots of land somewhere with lots and lots of dogs.
That sounds like a great fantasy, similar to mineâ€¦but with cats. Lastly, what is your star sign? Tell us what it means!
I am a Virgo. My wife is a Virgo. Our daughter is a Virgo. We are all in the same week. I don't really know what it means from an astrological perspective, as truthfully, I don't put too much attention there. One time, for my wife's birthday, I bought her an astrological relationship book for fun. I remember it painting a fairly unhappy picture about Virgo-Virgo relationships, saying something like 'at best, a business relationship.' I threw the book away and took her out for dinner instead.
Interesting, I am a Virgo as well. Thank you for your time Noah!