Interview: Mariska Gunsing

Whats your story/background?

My background is in the dance music scene where I worked as a DJ and music journalist at DJ broadcastLater, I also worked at a yoga magazine as an editor. They had just started in the same publishing house and asked me if I could help out and I said “is goed :)”. I worked a lot with yoga videos and of course, I tried out what I had to work with. I was in love with the exercises but even more in love with the teachers who became a big inspiration back then. 

Although I did love my job, writing, DJing and going to a lot of events, I had some chronic health issues from all the stress and computer work. So even though I was loving what I did and had to work a lot to get to that position, I had to make the decision to stop and make a change. And you know I really would love to continue writing and DJing when I get older…I’ll be that mom that will rock her DJ gigs. 

So I stopped everything and watched a lot of Disney movies…they do help me a lot…they are sort of my guru when things get too hectic…they gave me a lot of strength. 

Then, I met Noelle Sterk from natural yoga. I wrote my thesis with and on her business and got deeper into yoga. She became my mentor, always believing in me, throwing me into the deep end from time to time giving me the confidence I often didn’t have. She was that kind of person that I could identify with, fun, no bullshit and living it up while at the same time having so much knowledge on yoga to share. I call her my yoga mama :). She also gave me my first gigs to teach at pllek and lichtcentrum schellingwoude and it was and is a lot of fun. 

I did this for 2 years, learning and finding my style, sometimes hating yoga, sometimes loving it…going through the whole process, you know…I made that choice and told myself to stick to it. Having had that big network in the DJ scene opened up my path to teach yoga at music festivals. The first time I taught yoga at a festival was at a big techno festival and it was total chaos. I went and had no clue where to start. They gave me a small spot…and I did not feel it at all…so I went into the main area where they played hard house and techno and put up my mats in the middle of it all. Bit by bit, people were coming to join and in the end more than I had mats for. It was a lot of fun. I’ve never been to a yoga festival, it feels to zweverig. If I teach at festivals, it’s got to be at music festivals. I can relate much more to the people.

It has also been my biggest goal to bring yoga to people who have never done yoga before. I love to break the tension of their fear and open up their horizon. And at music festivals, I can go crazy weird. That’s why I like them so much. 

 

How would you describe yourself?

Totally crazy, in dutch we would say Knetterleip (laughing loudly). I’m actually introvert and extrovert at the same time. I love to party, hang out and make weird jokes. But at the same time, I love to be alone, alone on a festival, on a journey…just on my own. I tend to be generally happy and light. I used to be very naive. Now I’m less naive, I kind of like to be naive. You know…Naive people are always kind people. 

 

How would your friends/students describe you?

They always ask if I’m always this happy, funny and positive as that’s how a lot of people see me. And you know what…80% of the time I am like that…but I also have my down sides. 

 

Any big passion besides yoga?

So much. I wish I had 5 lives so I could do everything I always wanted to do. But for now, I think writing and nature are the things I love most besides yoga. And being with people; the right people, at the right time and the right place. That’s the best for me. 

 

How did you first get on the mat?

My first class was with a friend from high school. I must have been something around 13 and it was real “zweverig”. I didn’t like it at all. Hahaha. Very weird experience. It took me about ten years and my work as an editor for the yoga magazine to get hooked. 

 

What is your favorite yoga pose?

I have few: I’m super lazy when it comes to practicing, so sth like frog pose. Hip openers in general and this is really funny. Sometimes when I do them, I can feel the connective tissue change into a more flexible state…this feeling…it’s so freaking good. It almost goes towards an orgasmic feeling…no joke (laughs loud). 

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Which one do you keep avoiding?

Good question 🙂 savasana. I have such difficulties laying still. I gain so much inspiration doing yoga, that I just want to realize all my ideas and won’t find rest. 

 

Words of wisdom? 

Give me coffee to change the things I can change and give me whiskey to accept the things I cannot change. 

 

Who was/is your most influential teacher and why?

Meghan Currie, because she has such a beautiful story and a super unique style. She would talk in a funny and accessible way that I could connect to perfectly. Also, her big charisma that allowed her to become a worldwide accepted and respected teacher, besides having had a difficult past, inspired me a lot. And her body…oh my god…she is still so hot and so flexible. And most of it all, she is conscious about her body. No strength and flexibility are worth anything without the right consciousness. 

 

Whats your biggest vice you want to get rid of?

Hahaha, I have so many and actually, I don’t want to get rid of them. That’s the funny part about it…and I think, it’s what makes me most human and I like remaining human. I have that thing about social media…everybody showing their best side…it’s often not real…I like real. 

 

Whats your biggest vice you want to keep?

Kind of answered already…the parties I think. I like to party and have fun. 

 

Whats your speciality in yoga?

Slow motion moving. That’s the most important part of my practice. It has its background; All my life I’ve been super slow. All my friends and colleagues saw it as a weakness. Becoming a yoga teacher it became my strength. I’m good at being slow. 

 

Whats your favorite place in this world?

Actually any place where I feel myself, safe and happy. I’m actually not that attached to a place, as long as the mix of people and moment is right. Fusion festival came close to that best place. 

 

When it comes to a no bullshit approach towards yoga, what has been your biggest learning? 

Actually you don’t need anything because you are already there. For a lot of people that is hard to understand. It comes from Zen Buddhism, and I’m really into that.

Example: As I understand it, a lot of people are searching to solve problems or to get to certain goal to be happier. And they think they need things to accomplish this. One of my biggest learnings so far has been that it’s not reaching a certain goal, but about the things that happen along the way and about enjoying the ride…moving with life and allowing your self to remain playful. 

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What would you want to give people starting with yoga on their way?  

Don’t take yourself so f*%#ing serious. It’s all in you. 

 

Whats your favorite song?

Whuuuuh…asking that to a dj…right now on heavy rotation in my playlist is: Autre ne veut – play by play (Jjacques greene remix) 

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