Everyone’s yoga is unique to them. Each student brings with them a lifetime of experiences. Your progress towards meeting your goals will vary. Adaptability, consistency of a home practice (a 15- 30 minute practice every morning to a few times a week or little bits you bring to your whole day), and questions to help clarify the work we do, etc. will support the process. Below are a few testimonials from both private clients and attendees of group classes – and some are both.
—thanks for reading, Marina
B.E., dog mom, wife, sister, friend, traveler, nurse- 2018
The first yoga class I ever took was with Marina, sixteen years ago. I have been a student of both ever since. To enter a class led by Marina is to be welcomed with warmth, non-judgment, calm and positivity. She provided an ideal introduction to the practice for a beginner, and remains an intuitive, curious, supportive guide to the advanced practitioner. I have gained more benefits from yoga than I can list here. An emotional center, a familiar place of inner peace and stillness, a healthy and flexible spine, better sleep, an open heart and mind …Whether I’m attending class weekly, or reappearing after a long hiatus, I am always welcomed with a sense of inclusion that makes me feel that just showing up is the most important thing.
S.B., active Montanan, wife, mother, account executive, 2018
When was referred to Marina I was skeptical. I was in pain and had been for the prior 6 months following a car accident. I had nerve and back pain. I hadn’t’ been sleeping and was cranky, impatient and at my wit’s end. I had done physical therapy for the past 6 months with some but little improvement. The first time we met I warned her that the last time I had felt well, I did a group yoga class at a gym and it put me right back to where I had started, in pain, flared up and back to square one. But after spending just minutes with Marina I was comfortable. During the sessions I learned that “this yoga” was less about yoga as I knew it–uncomfortable stretches, balance and poses that I wasn’t able to achieve and was all about making me comfortable in my daily life. I learned movements and positions sometimes with support (using towels, blankets and props) that allowed me to sleep, to drive with less pain and to have brief moments of relief.
Each night I would roll up towels or blankets and lay in a position Marina had taught me during restorative sessions, so I had no pain… after all day of being in pain….It was HEAVEN!!!!
Each day I was able to have a little more relief, less pain, more strength and flexibility and I was able to improve.
Now almost a year and a half post-accident and treatment I’m nearly 100% and am working on getting back to being me. I was able to run 3 miles yesterday and know that if I hadn’t met Marina and her team I wouldn’t be where I am today. ”
R.D., 53, avid outdoorsmen, martial arts enthusiast, 2018
My body has been through the ringer over the years – including a broken back and ribs, whiplash and numerous other skeletal injuries due to my lifestyle. Nonetheless, at 53-years of age I stay as active as I can – including for the last two years practicing a rigorous workout via Jujitsu 3-4 days per week. Anyway, for the last 8 months or so, I suffered from chronic, daily upper back pain. After numerous chiropractor visits, bottles of Ibuprofen and more professional massages than I could count, I knew I had to do something different. I was sleep deprived and you could say desperate. I wrote Marina and she suggested we meet for a private session prior to attending a group class. I described my symptoms and with cautious optimism, Marina thought she could help. Marina’s approach was gentle, effective and comfortable. She helped me understand posture and to be aware of very subtle positions of my hips and spine (especially when sitting at my desk). After two sessions I started to feel some relief – Marina cautioned me this could take time. After 5 sessions my pain was completely gone!!! This was like a miracle to me, as I had 8 months of regular pain! I now try to attend Marina’s class at The Yoga Fitness Center 1 to 2 times a week and stay mindful of hips and spine position. I would (and have) recommended Marina’s class to anyone with chronic pain. She is very knowledgeable, patient and interlaces easy humor into her classes, which makes the classes even more enjoyable. As a martial artist, I sometimes reference skill level by belt color. I consider Martina to be a “Black Belt/Master” of Yoga.
J.N., 50’s, dad, musician, creative type, hunter, 2008
I’ve never taken a yoga class from any other instructor than Marina. That’s because I quite frankly can’t imagine a better yoga instructor. Her intuition is uncanny — she has a way of saying things to the entire class that seem to pinpoint exactly at how I can better understand and adjust my own body’s reactions to the various poses. She also has a knack for molding each session to the particular needs and experience of the group in the room, and for keeping the mood light and positive.”
update 2016 I feel like you had such a profound impact on my health and well-being in the last year+. I also learned a lot about seeking out places of balance. I feel like that has positively influenced me in an ongoing way. And as much as anything, the simple act of effort on your part made me feel like someone gave a shit about my well-being in a time when that wasn’t always a sense I had about the universe. ”
W.R., 70’s, active gardener, semi-retired, lover of life ,2015
First of all, I must say what a godsend Marina has been to my life. Thanks to her, I can lead a normal life again after experiencing a severe back injury last summer. I had been digging rocks out of an irrigation ditch when my back just gave way and I fell. I went to the doctor who ordered physical therapy, and they did a good job of increasing my “core” strength, but I was still very immobile and in a lot of pain. My massage therapist recommended yoga with Marina, and so I showed up at her door walking like a robot, not able to sit or stand for 30 minutes at a time, not being able to ride my tractor or car if I went over a bump because my back would spasm and grab and basically, I was miserable. Well, I was skeptical because all I knew about Yoga was how to “connect with your inner self” and such. I knew what my inner self was feeling – I was HURTING!! She was extremely patient with me and after the very first visit I could actually feel some relief. She had taught me how to control the back spasms and relax the muscles no matter where I was or with what situation I was dealing. Well, each visit was an improvement in my back pain. She taught me how to relax and strengthen the muscles so that when I would injure them again by performing some task, I could get right back to baseline the next day. About 3 months after I started, I had a setback. My 90-year-old mother moved in with me and I was having to lift her at least 3 times a day. My back started acting up again. I shared this with Marina and, as usual, she had an answer for this as well. She showed me how to relax the specific neck and shoulder muscles so my lower back muscles could work correctly. I am now back to baseline, riding a tractor, walking at least 1/4 of a mile, cleaning, sitting for longer than 30 minutes and so on and so on. If I hadn’t met Marina, I would most likely have been in a wheelchair by now. I could go on forever regarding all the help she has given me and I would highly recommend her to anyone who has back problems.
Update 2017: W.R. Has come in for tune ups and she’s more active and continues to be living with less pain.
C.I., 50 something Eagle Scout, adventurer, 2015 The therapeutic yoga sessions helped relieve me of chronic pain. Marina’s yoga poses relieved muscles in spasm by deep relaxation. Her evaluation of my spine and posture was something that I could take to the workplace, vehicle, and yoga classes. Marina’s therapeutic yoga played a critical role in my path to an active life style. I also appreciated her follow-up by giving a review of the and session poses to take home.
J.C., avid hiker, flight attendant,2015
Marina’s long experience with many yoga disciplines shows in her ability to see and evaluate even the smallest of body movements. She understands the power of sound and the power of words and she chooses them carefully to describe how to move and what to move. She quickly intuited and evaluated my understanding of the movement. If I didn’t quite get it, she agilely re-worded her description to help me move my body correctly. She modified movements to suit my physical ability and progressions. She draws cute diagrams of the key reminders of movements to take away for home practice. She is positive, natural and bright. I always felt calmly re-energized and strengthened after each wonderful session with the lovely Marina.
K.M., 44, single mom, hard worker, returned to hiking, 2015
Yoga with Marina has helped me get my life back. I tried everything before and after 4 back back surgeries. Working with Marina helped me be patient and listen to my body and to be mindful of the imbalances and balance in my back.
K.L., 50, fellow yogi, active mother, wife, educator, life-coach, 2008
I have been taking yoga classes for over 20 years from various instructors and I think Marina is one of the most competent and lovely teachers out there. She is so knowledgeable, her sequences flow and feel wonderful, and her dialogue about each posture is nurturing and easy to connect with.
One of the things i most appreciate is how much trust she has in her students and how she helps you listen to your own body and heart. I highly recommend Marina as a yoga instructor…she is truly a gem.”
Sara McClure Cox,BSN, CPN- 2019
I am a pediatric nurse who worked the inpatient floor for 15 years. I have on low lumbar herniated disc that my doctors said shouldn’t necessarily be causing pain. They helpfully offered spine injections which work for many but didn’t work for me… I left my job.
I went to physical therapy. I utilized dry-needling and acupuncture. Both worked in the moment, but my pain would quickly return. I tried three different PTs with varying philosophies, but my personal pattern would be the same. Do scripted treatment exercises, try to resume workout routine (of any kind), be hurt, back on couch…I was nervous to go see Marina because she was a friend and honestly I didn’t think she would be able to help me either and, my oh my, wouldn’t that be uncomfortable.
I went anyway. I went because I woke up on my 45th birthday realizing I had been in pain since my 40th birthday and I wanted to be better and was out of options.
What I realized working with Marina is that I didn’t know HOW to move. I didn’t know how to breathe… And, I never saw how much this mattered until I started to go see my friend. My personality is to just “push”. Push hard. Be strong. Suck it up. These are valuable traits, until they aren’t. We all have coping mechanisms of the physical and emotional nature. They work. They help you survive. Until they no longer work. I know now I had let stress and my neglect of my body’s messages regarding this stress manifest into chronic pain. I had allowed it to make real changes (not the good kind) to the muscles and tendons in my body.
Marina assessed my physical orientation in a very clinical way. She help me work into moving my lower back again and more importantly helped me change my hip flexors which I now believe were causing my pain all along. Not the disc in my back, but how I had been carrying stress and moving too fast without caring for myself for a very long time.
You guessed it. While I am not pain-free, I am pretty damn close. I notice pains and have tools to fix them. I use these tools throughout the day along with a personal set of poses/exercises/stretches…. call it what you will.
If I do this work (30ish minutes), then I feel great. If I do not do this work, I hurt. It is pretty remarkable. It is easy, simple math. I do the work.
Less red wine, no prescriptions, no medical doctor, no injections. After 5 years, I am at last better.
I am better because I took a leap of faith and engaged in therapeutic yoga with Marina Zaleski. If any of my words strike a chord inside you, I encourage you to do the same.