Emily Moorefield Mariola started her yoga practice after the birth of her second son. She had previously been a long-distance runner and was searching for a way to feel better in her body after pregnancy.

“For several years, I practiced Power Yoga in addition to my running, but I soon found the benefits of yoga far outweighed the benefits of pounding out the miles,” said Mariola. “Quickly I knew I was going to make a massive shift in the way I thought about movement, and fitness in general. The mind-body connection and the invitation to listen intuitively to my body felt liberating.”

Mariola credits a teacher for changing her way of thinking, inspiring her to ultimately become an instructor rather than just a student.

“Rhiannon Fink wove stories and mantras into her classes, and her creative flows were so effortless,” said Mariola. “She was the first teacher I had who stepped off her mat and walked around the room. I felt like she really saw her students.”

While Mariola had amazing mentors guiding her through her teacher training practice, she knew to be an exceptional teacher she needed to continually be educating herself. She explained she spent a lot of time on YouTube, watching videos and picking up tips from everyone she could.

“Our town is a relatively small town and I knew I needed to learn even more to become the teacher I wanted to be,” said Mariola. “Karen and Shawn Conely of Amazing Yoga in Pittsburg were early mentors for me as well, and I still offer verbal cues and assists I learned from them. Interestingly enough, the other students in my teacher training course have been my greatest teachers. I am in touch with many of them to this day. We are all still on this journey together and they are my greatest resource. I am a sum of all the people I have learned from.”

In terms of Mariola’s future within the industry, she is currently finding happiness in the stillness of being exactly where she is. She plans on growing at her studio currently and becoming a mentor for her students comparable to the mentors she credits to her growth.

“I truly believe there is room for all of us,” said Mariola. “I think teachers who teach one or two days a week, while juggling jobs and kids, are as important as famous traveling teachers. Teachers who consistently and reliably hold space for students day after day have the most potential to offer the power of this practice. We get to offer yoga as a tool to navigate life and there is so much beauty in that.”