What I Believe
MAYA BREUER, E-RYT 200, E-RYT 500
Celebrated as one of America’s distinguished Black Yogis by Black Enterprise Magazine, Maya Breuer is a preeminent yoga instructor and practitioner, author, community activist and consultant with a career spanning over three decades. She is the president and co-founder of the national Black Yoga Teachers Alliance. She is founder and director of the Santosha School of Yoga, providing the Yoga Alliance approved 200 Hour and 300 Hour Yoga Teacher Training and Certification courses since 2001. Her annual Yoga Retreat for Women of Color ™, has been offered for twenty years at the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, the largest and most established retreat center for yoga, health, and holistic living in North America.
Maya’s mission is to empower individuals through teaching the practice and philosophy of yoga to renew spirit and achieve positive outcomes from healthy living. She draws on a deep knowledge of yogic theory, practices, applications and philosophy studied at the Lakulish School in Khayavorahan, Gujarat Province, India and combines these traditional forms with indigenous methods to offer a unique and soul-full approach to the ancient practice of yoga. Maya also emphasizes yoga as a method to abate and control chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, cancer and depression which are illnesses that disproportionately impact people of color.
She is co-author of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) study: “Back to Health: Yoga vs. Physical Therapy for Minorities with Chronic Low Back Pain,” conducted at the Boston Medical Center and is currently a member of the Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) for the “Veterans Back to Health Study” also conducted at Boston Medical Center. DSMB ( Data Safety Monitoring Board) is a committee of experts responsible for reviewing clinical trial data on an ongoing basis to ensure the safety of study subjects and validity and integrity of the data. She is also a featured yogi in “Will Yoga and Meditation Really Change My Life: Personal Stories from 25 of North Americas Leading Teachers.” by Stephen Cope. Her work has been featured in many publications including: Yoga Journal Magazine, Common Ground, New England Journal, Kripalu's Experience Guide, The Griot. Com ( NUBC on line), Black women's Health .com ,The Philadelphia Enquirer, Feministing.com Upscale Magazine, Heart & Soul Magazine, Pathfinder’s, Ebony Magazine and Essence Magazine.
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