Interview with Marie Belle

Yoga is the understanding that there is no separation. As a practice, I use movement, asana, meditation, and breath to step into that current of just knowing, being, and allowing any transformation to take place as it needs.

Describe your personality in three words.

Chill. Driven. Receptive

Where are you from and/or where do you live? 

I am from Puerto Rico, currently living in DC

How long have you been practicing yoga and why did you start practicing yoga?

I started practicing yoga in 2007 right after the shootings at Virginia Tech. I started as a way to mindfully move into my body and begin to trust and come back to life.

What is yoga to you?

Yoga is the understanding that there is no separation. As a practice, I use movement, asana, meditation, and breath to step into that current of just knowing, being, and allowing any transformation to take place as it needs.

How did you feel after your first yoga class and how do you want students to feel after they practice with you?

I felt super tall and light and like I just achieved something within myself. I wanted to return as soon as possible. I would love my students to feel more centered, empowered, and alive.

What impact has yoga had on your life? Who were you before you started practicing and how have you changed, evolved and transformed?

Yoga has completely transformed my life, my movements, my profession, thought patterns, relationship dialogues, everything really. I was very much a scripted person before yoga; I wanted to always be seen a particular way and I followed cultural norms to the best of my abilities. I fulfilled all my expectations with school and profession (I received a Ph.D. in Psychology and Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies), and still felt empty. Once I found yoga, I slowly started integrating all aspects of myself: the athlete, the teacher, the artist, the hermit, the seeker. I feel more integrated and complete without any cultural scripts.

Why did you decide to start teaching yoga and what makes a good yoga teacher?

I started teaching donation only classes as a side gig to raise money for a non-profit. At the time I was training to Bike Across The US for MS, and wanted to support their mission. Gradually I got asked to teach more and more classes and I just kept saying yes.  A good yoga teacher is one who practices, spends time alone daily, checking in with her/him self, body, system, deepest wisdom. One who is receptive, kind, and clear.

What style of yoga do you practice and what makes that style most effective? Do you have a teacher in your style of yoga?

I practice Ashtanga mostly, Dharma every now and then, and my version of Yin and Restorative. I don’t think one is most effective for everyone, but for me, Ashtanga works. It demands more and more of me all while showing me all my potentials and all the ways I limit and sabotage myself. It’s a super powerful and transformative practice; very demanding, unforgiving, and inspiring all at once. It has helped calm and regulate my nervous system in ways no other practice has. I also love Dharma Yoga, I see it as a perfect complement to Ashtanga’s straight lines and structure. Dharma yoga invites me to be more devotional, less rigid, calmer, and receptive; more curvilinear. I love and practice Ashtanga Yoga with Tim Feldmann, Faith Scimecca, and David Robson. I practice Dharma Yoga with Dharma Mittra.

What has been your biggest struggle and your biggest milestone in the practice?  

Injury and dogma.

What is yoga favorite yoga pose and why? And what’s your least favorite yoga pose and why?

I like any hip opener and back bends. They’re just so crucial in helping me remain spacious and grounded and receptive.  My least favorite yoga pose: I can’t think of one. 

What has been the most inspirational moment you’ve experienced as a yoga student?

Healing from injury, healing from heartbreak, learning to accept myself, and love my body.

And how about as a teacher?

Seeing my students move beyond limitations just from a simple comment or them learning how to do something they never thought possible.

Why do you practice? Why do you teach?

I practice because it calls me. I love the practice. I don’t have particular goals, I just really love being in silence with my breath and body, observing how I calibrate and change; understanding the microcosm gives me some insight into the macrocosm.  I teach because I love it. I teach from where I practice. Practice has taught me self-referral, self reliance, self respect. All of these can be cultivated, refined, and practiced daily.

What’s your favorite yoga quote or mantra?

My favorite yoga quote is from the Yoga Sutras 1:14.  In order for your practice to be grounded and of the earth, it must be done consistently, for a long period of time, with devotion.

Do you have any recommended yoga reading?

I like anything by Dharma Mittra, Mooji, Jack Kornfield, Anodea Judith, Caroline Myss, Tara Brach.

What is your dharma, your life mission?

To live and share in the experience of realizing who we are in whatever form it takes- for me it’s in the form of practice and teaching. Living and sharing the process of realization via the practice through teaching.

What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out on their yoga journey?

Enjoy it. Learn as much as you can. Trust yourself. Be receptive.

Are there any current projects you’re working on that you can tell us about?

I have developed my own school, Roots Love Yoga, as a way to share more deeply with students. I offer 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training, 300 Hour Yoga Teacher Training, Yoga Workshops, Retreats, Classes, Online Coaching and Mentorships.

Aside from your fantastic course on Omstars, do you have a favorite class that you’d like to share?

I like all of the Yin classes by Anamargret Sanchez.

By Marie Belle Perez Rivera

Practice with Marie Belle on Omstars

I am grounded in a daily Mysore and Dharma yoga practice. I also love and train hand balancing, rock climbing, and dance; all of it is intuitive movement. It’s all love. I am happy to offer yoga classes, movement retreats, workshops, and intensives in the United States, Bali, Costa Rica, Mexico, India, Europe, and the Caribbean. My life calling and practice has led me to travel the world and immerse myself fully in yoga and meditation through villages in India, Indonesia, Portugal, the crisp blue Caribbean waters, and the heart of Miami Beach. With extensive training as a Psychologist in Social Emotional Development (Ph.D.), Women’s Studies (Graduate Certificate), Reiki, Magnified Healing, and Oneness Awakening, my classes utilize a keen awareness of the intellectual, emotional, and energetic body to empower those who practice consistently, for a long period of time, with devotion. I offer universal intimacy, full of love, honor, and a sweet mix of playfulness, integrity, and discipline. To connect with me, make sure to follow my ongoing journeys via Instagram and Facebook.