By Ellen Zoe Golden
When someone lives their life with inner peace, it shows on their face, in their body and in their actions. Such is the case with Mariel Marmorato, a seasoned Yoga teacher and founder of SER OM SHANTI studio. From her early days in Tamarindo after moving here from Argentina, giving classes in the open-air rancho in what is now the pool of Arco Iris, she moved to her popular studio in what is known as the ABC Real Estate building. Always, Marmorato has made it her personal mission to help others discover their own Being.
After a Hatha Yoga class one evening, we got a chance to experience her wonderful glow.
THE Tamarindo News: How was it growing in Buenos Aires?
Mariel Marmorato: Buenos Aires is a beautiful city. Its architecture is so European, its cultural and gastronomic activity, its nightlife. I grew up in a residential neighborhood of houses and large gardens, with many trees, many parks, little traffic, very quiet. So although I grew up in a very big city, during my childhood and adolescence I was in daily contact with nature, with silence, with life in the open air. That was very important to me. Growing up and starting college, I moved to the center of the city. Theaters, cultural centers, museums, concerts, restaurants and the wonderful nightlife of Buenos Aires. Perfect for that moment of my life.
However, near my 30 years, I decided to return to contact with nature and moved 600 meters from the Bosques de Palermo, the largest park in the city, with circuits for sports, lakes and silent areas where I could enter into contemplation and practice Yoga. Already my heart and my mind was beginning to decide to move away from life in the city.
TTN: Why did you become a teacher, and especially why Mathematics?
MM: My teaching vocation has been an organic and natural process. My first student was a 5-year-old boy whom I helped to read and write. I was only 12 years old! He could not concentrate and learn at school so his mother would bring him to my house to help him. And from that moment, that call to education has not stopped. In high school, when I was a teenager, my teachers offered to help younger students who had difficulty studying in their homework. I accepted and began to guide study groups. The teaching methodology arose naturally. As if I had been born already knowing how to teach. It was a gift from the Universe and it made me happy to give myself to it. I have always felt that teaching was my mission in this life, my Dharma. Assuming my commitment to my vocation, I completed my university studies and graduated as a Senior Teacher of Mathematics.
Why Math? Mathematics was simple and fun for me. I considered Mathematics a powerful tool to develop thinking, reasoning. Teaching mathematics was, for me, more than teaching equations, trigonometry or logarithms. It was to motivate my students, teenagers and university students, to explore their mental capacities and inspire them to develop a sense of freedom, discernment and self-confidence.
TTN: When did you begin to practice yoga?
MM: At a time in my life where I needed to reencounter myself, where I was not very happy and I did not feel centered or have inner peace. Speaking about this with a friend, she asked me: “Have you never thought about practicing Yoga? It is said that Yoga opens the doors to a deep self-knowledge.” And then I decided to experience it.
I approached Yoga as a spiritual search, my inner voice told me that it was time to open my mind and my heart to who I truly was in the depth of my Being. And practice after practice I discovered what has become a true for me: Happiness is born of inner peace, and my inner peace comes from being centered in my essence, in my Being. And honoring that wonderful gift that Yoga has given me and continues to give me, is that seven years after that first experience, I chose as the name for my study of Yoga SER OM SHANTI. For those who are not familiar with Sanskrit, Shanti means Peace. Ser Om Shanti Yoga Studio. The ultimate goal of Yoga is the deep encounter with your own Being. And this encounter manifests itself in deep inner peace. In this state of union, everything is perfect.
TTN: How did you transition from a math teacher to a yoga instructor?
Mainly the transition occurred when coming to Costa Rica. An inner motivation that led me to a change of place in the world that was more in tune with who I was at that moment.
From mathematics to yoga. Both make you free. For example, when I was able to help a student understand math, I could see how he went from frustration, confusion and lack of motivation to clarity, confidence and relief. In Yoga classes, often something similar happens. Sometimes, the practitioner arrives sad, or under stress, or with tension or pain and as the class progresses, his face softens and relaxes, the mind clears and calms down, the heart opens up. It gives me joy to be a channel of energy to collaborate in making that transformation happen.
TNN: What do you get when you practice yoga?
MM: Peace, serenity, self-knowledge, joy, inner wisdom, compassion, acceptance, freedom, health, detachment, conscience, balance, equanimity, presence, courage, clarity, transformation, and surely more than all these gifts that now come to my mind. For me, the practice of Yoga is not limited to the execution of asanas (stable Yoga postures) following conscious breathing. Yoga is my way of life, it is a way of relating to the world and to myself. It is the union of my individual consciousness to the Universal Consciousness.
I quote the words of Ghandi, a spiritual master who I admire: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
TNN: What do you get when teaching yoga?
MM: Love. On the one hand, the love that comes from doing exactly what you know you have come to do in this world. And on the other hand, the love I receive in different ways, from each of my students. Each of them is a gift, a source of inspiration and growth. I feel blessed, grateful and honored.
TNN: Tell me about the expansion of SER OM SHANTI to the new space. How will it be there?
MM: Very soon SER OM SHANTI will open a second Yoga Shala (practice space). It will be very nice, we will have a beautiful view of the beach. I live it as part of a natural growth process. It is the exact moment in which this expansion had to happen. I have taught Yoga in Tamarindo for 17 years. Being SER OM SHANTI, meansthis year, 12 years of being in the heart of Tamarindo, in the Plaza Tamarindo commercial center. The staff of Yoga instructors and assistants is excellent, Tiziana, Lindsay, Fabiola, Gabriela and Evelyn. All with a common goal and a range of differences that enrich us. When I was summoned to be Om, SER OM SHANTI Yoga Studio would take welfare as its central objective, I felt within myself that it was time to expand. The project is very interesting. And we are preparing ourselves with a lot of responsibility and enthusiasm for this new stage.
There will be many new features, new classes, new proposals, new events. I know that our students, those who are always present and giving us support and new students who come, will be happy.
TTN: What other things do you like about Tamarindo?
MM: So many things! I love Tamarindo Bay. And the town and its surroundings. I like to walk Tamarindo. This community. The diversity of cultures. The abundance of smiles and the abundance of talents. I like to observe itsmgrowth and be part of it.
TNN: Have you done some yoga classes of benefit to the community? Why?
MM: Yes, constantly. And we have always had the disinterested support of our community and the tourists. It is part of Karma Yoga. The motivation is to collaborate with the community, with its growth, with noble causes. Give without waiting.
TNN: How do you see your future?
MM: I see myself teaching and practicing Yoga. For the rest, I have no idea. I have my goals although I prefer not to project myself. I live in the present. I let life surprise me.