5. Yoga Community

YAA Interview with Mariah Betts

  1. Name: Mariah Betts


  2. DOB: 31 January, 1979

  3. What style of yoga do you teach? Vinyasa – with no boundaries

  4. Where do you teach? The Shala, Cape Town (www.theshala.co.za)

  5. How long have you been practicing yoga? I was a pretty serious athlete throughout my whole life, so I was always tuned into my body, strengthening and stretching it out. A defined yoga practice began in 1998.


  6. How long have you been teaching yoga? Since 2004.

  7. How long have you been a teacher trainer and where do you facilitate/hold the training sessions? At the moment I own and teach at The Shala with Tamsin Sheehy in Cape Town. But I originally started my yoga journey in the States when I was studying in Seattle and Boulder, CO. Eventually the path led me to teach at and manage a studio in Boulder owned by the founding owners of Yoga Life in Dewaterkant. When they decided to move from Boulder back to Cape Town in 2010 they asked me to join them to help open and teach at Yoga Life.

  8. Who have you trained with and where? My first teacher training was in Seattle with Ana Forrest in 2004. I have also completed two Maya Yoga Vinyasa Fusion teacher trainings with Nicki Doane and Eddie Modestini in the lineage of Krishnamacharya on Hawaii and in California. Additionally I regularly attend a number of workshops with local as well as international yoga teachers like Richard Freeman, Dana Flynn, Jasmine Tarkeshi, Shiva Rea, Shannon Paige, Desiree Rumbaugh, Patrick Creelman and Yvonne de Kock. I am a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and have done extensive training with Dr. Michael Winer.


  9. What led you to yoga and at what point did you decide that you wanted to teach? I found yoga immediately after high school and have never looked back. Being a serious athlete I have always been interested in and enjoyed understanding the physical body. As a competitive skier I began to realise that there wasn’t much of a physical or stylistic difference in a person reaching 1st position or 5th position, the difference was in the ability to be fully present and focused in the mind. This led me to pursue yoga as a way to focus my mind, chanel my talent and deal with the pressure of competition. While I was in college and studying a Bsc in Health Psychology I decided I would like to become a teacher to assist others in this process.

  10. What do you love most about teaching and teaching students to become teachers? I love using the creative process of Vinyasa yoga to discover my (ones) own truth.  I love seeing students learning to get to know themselves and their bodies in an intimate way, where I can see the layers being shed to reveal their true light and strength .

  11. Is there a focus in your teaching style? I like people to learn to listen to themselves, to find their own expression and not to get stuck in a dogma.

  12. What do you love most about yoga? The way it makes me feel :)  The simplicity of the ability  to show up on your mat however you are and shift your energy. And having fun of course!


  13. What is the greatest challenge you have overcome with the help of yoga?  Feeling like I am not good enough and my limitations. By simply practicing regularly you come to realise that there are infinite possibilities in life, everything presents the opportunity to evolve and there are no boundaries or limits to what you can become.

  14. What advice do you have for people who have never tried yoga? No time like the present or prerequisites to begin. Anyone can do it to feel better.

  15. Do you have a regular practice? Yes

  16. Any religious affiliations? No. Energy is everything.

  17. What are your other interests? I love rock’n roll, and all creative artistic expression, dancing, being in nature, running, gardening, photography, and being inspired by the light of Africa.

  18. Any thank yous? Everyone and everything…. of course grateful for my family, friends and colleagues, but truly everyone. The greatest teachers are always those people who push your buttons and trigger you off and I am grateful to them. As well as the greatest wisdom, the universe!