Going with the flow

Jul 1st, 2015

Founder of Noah Mazé Yoga in 2003 and YOGAMAZÉ in Los Angeles, California in 2012, Noah has been recognised as among the most advanced of yoga practitioners and an accomplished teacher of yoga teachers.  He is regarded as one of yoga’s greatest teachers no matter what style of yoga you embrace.

Noah began his regular practice of hatha yoga when he was 14 years old. Noah grew up in Boulder, Colorado, raised with the philosophy and practice of yoga.  Initially, he studied and practised Ashtanga Vinyasa with Richard Freeman.  He studied with Pattabhi Jois, and Senior Iyengar Yoga Teacher, Manouso Manos.  He also became a certified Anusara Yoga teacher in 2002.  Philosophically, Noah studies extensively with Tantric scholar Douglas R Brooks, in the Srividya lineage of Rajanaka Yoga.

Asana talked to Noah about his yoga journey.

Asana_July15bAsana: Did you discover yoga because of your parents?  Did they introduce meditation to you?  Was it hard to practise as a 14-year old?

Noah: My parents were involved in meditation and South Asian philosophy and spiritual practices from the time I was born.  When I found myself in a yoga studio at the age of 14, I felt quite at home with all of it.  It was very affirming and empowering to physical and philosophical and spiritual all integrated together.   

Asana: What attracted you to practise the various lineages such as Ashtanga, Iyengar and Anusara?

Noah: My first hatha yoga teacher was Richard Freeman, in the Ashtanga Vinyasa tradition.  I was, and still am, very interested in all of the languages and styles of yoga.  I practise and study as much as I can across stylistic boundaries.  There are great things to be learned from everyone.   

Asana_July15cAsana: Do you consider that your practice has evolved over the years?  How do you describe your style and practice now?

Noah: My practice has evolved, sure.  I understand the poses and the anatomy and kinesiology of the body WAY MORE than I did in my teens and twenties.  My practice is much more thoughtful and intelligent and potent than it was, even if I need to reach a little deeper to stoke the kind of fire I used to have in my days of practicing the advanced Ashtanga sequences.

Asana: How often do you practise?  How important is the practice to you in order to be teacher of yoga teachers?

Noah: I practise as much as I can.  Every day.  All I need is a 15 minute window of time and I can nourish myself with yoga practice.  My family and travel schedule is very full, so I don’t have regularity of practice time or place, so I let the moments present themselves to me and away I go.  When I’m teaching full days, i usually practise during the lunch break.  I do my contemplative practices every morning; mantra, pranayama, mudra, puja, meditation.  

Asana: How did you found Yogamaze and expand the studios?

Noah: My teaching interests and emphasis naturally evolved in a direction that was unique and different from other things, while incorporating and recognizing a lot of commonalities with other styles.  As a recognition of what I was doing, we decided to create the YOGAMAZÉ brand and studios in 2012.  

Asana_July15dAsana: How effective do you consider the online classes?  Would you prefer to teach in person?

Noah: Online classes are a great subsidy to in-person classes, and is a bridge to help people do self practice at home.  I love it all.  I am able to reach a much broader audience online, and students all over the world take my classes, study with me, and consider me their teacher, whom I have never met.  I think this is brilliant! 

Asana: Your teaching has been described as “magical” and the student’s “practice is transformed forever”.  What are your techniques and insights to create a difference?

Noah: Ha ha, you will have to come to class and see for yourself!  I take a pretty no-nonsense analytical and practical approach to yoga.  I certainly would not describe what I do as “magical,” but I am always looking to make the teachings and methods more potent and resonant with the students.  When technique and knowledge and group energy comes alive, that is the magic.    

Asana: How do you find the yoga practice differ amongst cultures, geographical locations etc?

Noah: It varies, of course.  Some places are more interested in mindfulness, some in hard poses, some in basic poses done well, some in philosophy and esoteric practices and myth.  I love it all, and endeavor to meet the students somewhere in the middle.  

Asana_July15fAsana: What is your typical day when you are not teaching?

Noah: I make breakfast for my kids, ages 6 and 3, take them to school, and go to work, either on my computer at home or in my office at the studio.  I always have a lot to do, creating programming, writing curriculum, reviewing assignment.  My favourite days are when I can be home, be a dad, shop and cook and participate in ordinary life.

Asana: You have a packed calendar of teacher training and workshops.  How do you relax yourself?  Do you have other pastimes?

Noah: Well, I like doing yoga and learning more about all of the yoga arts.  I play with my kids and endeavor to be a consciences husband and partner.  I cycle, hike and try to get caught up on rest. 

Asana: Do you encourage your family and family to practise yoga?  Do they support your career?

Noah: It is definitely a family business.  Tracy, my wife, is the CEO of the company and runs everything.  The kids love to do yoga, love to travel with me, and my 6 year old daughter, Madeleine, is learning to teach yoga.  

Asana: How do your children, Madeleine and Oliver, see you as a yoga teacher?

Noah: I used to be worried that they would resent yoga, because it so frequently takes me away from the, but they love it. They both say they want to be yoga teachers!

Asana_July15eAsana: Did you anticipate yoga would take you where you are today?  What is next for you?

Noah: Part of yoga is going with the flow, following the paths of life where they lead, and navigating the currents along the way.  I can’t say that I anticipated being where I am today, but neither am I surprised by it.  Life is like a complex vinyasa sequence.

Asana: How do you wish to take YOGAMAZE further?

Noah: I wish to keep following the pathways that open up before me.  I want to train skillful and qualified teachers, and watch them take yoga further than I was able to.  I want to take the classes of my students and the teachers yet to come. 

Asana: Having just completed teacher training in Berlin, where is your next stop outside the US?  Is there a location you wish to explore – professionally and personally?

Noah: My next stop is to Hong Kong to see you!!!  It has been a goal and a dream for a long time to come to Hong Kong, and that dream is about to come true.    

Asana: Is there a project / task that you wish to pursue in the near future?

Noah: We are in process of detailing out multiple levels of anatomy curriculum.  Additionally, I am crafting my 300 hour YTT manual.    

Asana_July15It was a delightful experience talking with and finally meeting Noah.  He is personable and shows deep passion in what he does.  Those who took his workshop at the Asia Yoga Conference would agree that his teaching inspires and holds space for students to journey deeper into body, heart, mind, and spirit than they ever could have imagined. 

We did some shots for Noah.  His practice shows focus, strength, and flexibility.

To read the full article please download our Asana Journal App or purchase Issue 151 July 2015

Asana Journal

Leave a Reply

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!