What I Believe
MAYA BREUER, E-RYT 200, E-RYT 500
Maya Breuer, E-RYT 500, Vice President of Cross-Cultural Advancement for Yoga Alliance, Co-founder of the Black Yoga Teachers Alliance, and Emeritus Trustee of Kripalu, is creator of the Yoga Retreat for Women of Color™. Maya began studying yoga in 1986 and received her yoga teacher certification from Kripalu in 1992. She deepened her knowledge and understanding of yoga at the Lakulish School in India. Her teaching combines traditional forms with her own indigenous wisdoms, encouraging individuals to use yoga to renew their spirit, change their consciousness, and to act toward healthy living. Maya has offered a Yoga Alliance–registered 200-and 300-hour teacher training and certification courses through the Santosha School of Yoga, which she founded in 2001. As a yoga consultant and educator, Maya served as a member of the Data Safety Monitoring Board for a National Institute of Health (NIH) Study from 2010–2015 and coauthored “Back to Health: Yoga vs. Physical Therapy for Minorities with Chronic Low Back Pain,” a NIH-funded study conducted by Boston Medical Center and published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Celebrated as one of America’s most distinguished black yogis by Black Enterprise, Maya has also been featured in Yoga Journal and on Awakin.org, an online interview program that espouses “Waking up to Wisdom-In Stillness and Community”. She has also written articles about the healing benefits of yoga for the New England Journal, Black
Women’s Health.com, Feministing.com, and Common Ground. In November 2018, Maya was the recipient of the YWCA’s Women of Achievement Award.
After returning from India, and being fully entranced in yoga, I embraced the yogic lifestyle. I had a solid daily yoga practice and I was a successful yoga teacher. My practice of Yoga and meditation was feeding me physically and spiritually, I was conscious of my health and habits, speech, and even the company I kept. My relationship to my body, mind and spirit grew deeper; yet at the same time I was becoming aware of my growing need for meaningful exploration of my life, my work, and my truth.
One day while browsing in my favorite bookstore, I happened upon a book with a curious title, Sisters of the Yam. It was the red cover I noticed first. The cover featured a photograph of a black woman walking away from us. Her strong back sashaying in a loosely fitted white dress, her hair blowing wild and free. I instantly felt a primal connection to this woman. She appeared to be floating, yet solidly grounded there bearing a silver water pitcher in one hand, and a plastic water bottle in the other, a juxtaposition of vessels. And I was moved. She was me and every woman of color attempting to balance life.
Hello, I'm Maya Breuer. I started the practice of yoga 25 years ago seeking answers, seeking health for my body, seeking a deeper connection to myself, seeking knowledge of how to live in concert with nature. The journey to find myself and to answer these questions has not been easy but it has been stimulating, interesting, challenging and life altering. As anyone who practices yoga knows, it is a practice that connects body, mind and spirit. There is a heightened awareness that comes from becoming still, and an insight into self and others that guides and helps one to make wise, mindful choices and to take positive and meaningful steps forward in life - at least this was the effect that the practice of Yoga has had on my life. Today, I have a life that honors who I am --a Black woman, mother, grandmother, friend, artist and yoga activist.
MAYA BREUER - A MODERN DAY YOGINI AND TEACHER