*Note: This post was originally published on the old Feel Good Daily in November of 2013.
Perhaps it’s that time in our life (my Facebook timeline being a steady line-up of baby photos) but many of our metaphors around here tend to relate to parenting. Our go-to metaphor when explaining the work involved in KOOSHOO is that it is essentially our first child. After all, our life seems to be a continuum of sleepless nights, occasional messes that need cleaning up, a whole lot of learning on the fly and a deep sense of pride and joy that we wouldn’t trade for the world.
To that effect, our little KOOSHOO baby will be turning 1 this Saturday, a milestone in any life. As is true with a real baby, this is the time that we feel finally ready to take our first real steps, hence the unveiling of our new, much-improved website and the “Feeling Good is KOOSHOO” video that encapsulates what we’re all about.
If the website and video were our first two steps, then the launch of a Kindred Spirit program is the third. And with that in mind, it’s with tremendous pride that we would like to introduce you to KOOSHOO’s first Kindred Spirit: our dear friend and yoga teacher extraordinaire Maria Filippone.
Mad Love for Maria
This is a big statement, but I believe it to be true: if not for Maria Filippone KOOSHOO would not exist as it does today.
Over a decade ago, long before most had ever heard the word “savasana”, Rachel’s wonderfully proactive mom found a yoga teacher in their Victoria, BC, community offering classes out of a home studio. On something of a whim, she enlisted her then 8-year old son Daniel (the youngest of her 4 children, Rachel being the eldest) and a number of his friends in yoga classes.
That teacher ended up being Maria and all-too-perfectly her home was literally just over the fence from Rachel’s family home.
An immediate friendship was formed between Laurie, Rachel’s mom, and Maria and before long, every member from Rachel’s family, myself included, found ourselves in her little home studio for a class or two.
Maria is a woman who exudes beauty, grace, strength and joy in everything she does. It’s little wonder that her passion for yoga and a yogic way of life rubbed off on all of us over the years. Today, a decade later, the flame of passion for yoga lit by Maria continues to burn bright in our family. From those early origins as a bunch of newbies to yoga, 5 of us from the family have gone on to become teachers, Rachel and I included, and each of our respective stories can be traced straight back to Maria.
So yes, without Maria, who knows if a company born of a want to do good in the world by making beautiful, consciously-made clothing and accessories that can be worn both on and off the mat would even exist.
No doubt our family’s story is but one of countless others that can trace their passion for yoga and movement back to Maria.
In her 20+ years as yoga and pilates instructor, as well as Thai masseuse, she has shared her love for movement with thousands of people throughout the world, leading workshops internationally and teaching at events like Wanderlust. Along that journey she’s acted as private yoga teacher to Sting as well as actor and activist Alicia Silverstone.
Here’s a lovely quote from Alicia Siliverstone that beautifully sums our experience with Maria:
“Maria is a very special person w/ such a calm, caring, nurturing energy. You couldn't find a better teacher than Maria. If I lived near her, I would take every class she offers."
Question & Answer with Maria
As KOOSHOO Kindred Spirit watch for Maria to appear in photoshoots to come, as well as spreading the love about a ‘feeling good’ lifestyle wherever she goes.
To help you in getting to know how Maria came to be the beautiful and empowering teacher that she is today we asked her a few questions...
Q. What first brought you to yoga?
A. My family. Watching my Grandma, when I was 9 years old, practice yoga postures with a Karen Zeebrof book. Later, in my 20's my oldest brother, Joey took me to a class at our local community centre.
Q. What keeps you coming back to your mat?
A. Yoga makes me kooshoo..." feel good " - physically, mentally & emotionally. Coming back to my mat on a regular basis helps to cultivate equanimity in my life. Life runs more smoothly when I maintain a consistent discipline than when I don't.
Q. Are there any aspects of yoga that you're particularly fascinated by right now?
A. Yes! The power, pleasure & deliciousness of chanting.
Q. If there was one single posture that's brought you the most transformation or growth what would that be?
A. May I say 2 postures!?! Ustrasana - Camel & Shavasana….where in the experience of both postures earlier on in my practice on separate occasions, I felt major transformation in body & mind.
Q. Advice to someone new to yoga?
A. Remain curious and open. " When the student is ready, the teacher appears …" so when beginning the practice of yoga, stay open to finding the ' right , ' teacher and style of yoga and then, commit to sticking with it for awhile. Remembering that yoga is just like learning a new language - just as one would not expect to learn a new language in 3 lessons, embarking on one's yogic journey requires patience and kindness towards one's Self.
Q. As you know, kooshoo means feeling good. Aside from you personal practice, what makes you feel kooshoo?
A. Preparing, sharing & eating organic, locally sourced food - being in a state of love & appreciation -being in nature -being in love - loving - being loved - snuggling - spending time with animals - sliding into my bed w/ fresh clean sheets - being a mom - hot bath/shower - nurturing/cultivating healthy friendships/relationships/habits & letting go of toxic ones - teaching yoga/Pilates ..serving others - being inspired/empowered by others - inspiring/empowering others - forgiving myself - forgiving others - WEARING & SHARING MY LOVE OF KOOSHOO!
Q. What kind of music gets you most into your practice?
A. As a lover of all kinds of music it depends on my mood/environment & varies from day to day - some of the faves that uplift & inspire ….Krishna Das, Deva Premal, Jai Uttal, DJ Drez, Sade, Kruder & Dorfmeister, Indie Arie, Nightmares on Wax, Thievery Corporation, Zero 7, Tosca and, of course…. MJ.
Q. Any fun things you want to share with the kooshoo community?
A. I want to share w/ the world my love & appreciation of KOOSHOO. It's integrity, authenticity, generosity & beauty is woven into each piece that is created. As far as upcoming workshops that I am involved, please check out her updated teaching schedule. Additional events & updates coming soon….thank you.