Maya Fiennes in the Daily Express

Maya Fiennes in the Daily Express

Maya Fiennes on a secret-free-life in the 15 January 2010 issue of the Daily Express.


By Melanie Whitehouse
IF ever a woman is an advert for the life she lives it is Maya Fiennes. Looking a decade younger than her 46 years Maya, married to composer Magnus, brother of actors Ralph and Joseph, is blonde, beautiful and serene.

However, she wasn't always so peaceful. Before Maya discovered a form of yoga called kundalini she admits to being angry and frustrated.

Living in London, where she had moved from Macedonia to study classical music, it was dealing with the day-to-day challenges of life that caused her the most problems. Her life as a classical pianist was stressful and busy and the constant pressure affected her badly.

She says: "I'd often argue with a traffic warden giving me a ticket on my car and I'd get in such a rage. I'd almost get in a fight because I couldn't bear the pleasure I'd see in their faces when they were giving me a ticket.

"Then one day I was on my bike and this traffic warden tried to give me a ticket for riding on the pavement. I'd just started studying yoga and I thought, 'I won't get angry this time, I'll send him love'.

"As soon as I accepted the situation rather than fighting it, he changed the tone of his voice and gave me a warning instead of a ticket. That illustrated to me that my new approach was a better one."

Maya had always been interested in yoga and, over the years, had studied different styles including hatha, ashtanga and bikram to help her conquer her nerves before a performance. Yoga, with its concentration on breathing, helped her circulation. Anxiety would affect the supply of blood to her hands and make her fingers cold, impacting on her playing. However, after a year or so she always became bored.

Then in 1995, around the time she met Magnus, she discovered kundalini. It combines movement, breathing and chanting to energise the body and relax the mind, while strengthening the body's nervous and immune system. Her search was over and she became an instant fan. Maya explains: "There are many types of yoga and they all have the same goal: to establish unity between breath and movement, body and spirit, between you as an individual and the universe. "Practising kundalini yoga can produce powerful and dramatic results very quickly. It lifts your energy levels to new peaks, aligning your whole being until you become more awake, aware and vibrantly healthy. A session leaves you feeling fighting fit, ready and able to tackle everyday challenges with new zest.

"Even if you do one exercise for three minutes, you'll feel some benefit. Do that every day and you'll quickly start to notice real changes."

Kundalini can also help its students lose weight by boosting their circulatory, nervous and digestive systems. She adds: "They're all connected and suddenly they all start working together."

Maya's DVD, Kundalini Yoga To Detox And Destress, has sold more than 40,000 copies and now she's written her first book, Yoga For Real Life, which aims to show how yoga practice and philosophy can effectively be incorporated into everyone's daily routine.

Maya has students all over the world, including celebrities such as model Elle Macpherson, who says: "Doing yoga with Maya is an inspiration. It's energising, sexy and it gives me joy. At the same time it quiets my mind and fills me with peace."

Beauty guru Normandie Keith and spiritual author Deepak Chopra also endorse her work.

Maya recently moved to Los Angeles with Magnus, 44, and their two children Cheyenne, 12, and Shanti, 10.

She says: "I needed to live in a place where the sun shines most of the time, where my girls can walk to school and where we can spend most of our time outside. Los Angeles is the perfect place for that and, what is even better, everyone loves yoga here.

"The kids bring their friends home and say: 'Let's do mum's DVD,' and I find them sitting on the mats doing the positions. Kundalini yoga is for everybody. You can start any time, anywhere. Anyone can do it, you don't have to be able to put your leg on top of your head. All you need is a teacher who has a passion for it."

To order Yoga For Real Life by Maya Fiennes (Atlantic Books, £14.99) with free UK delivery, call 0871 988 8367 (10p/min from BT landlines) with card details, or send a cheque payable to Express Newspapers to: The Express Bookshop, PO Box 200, Falmouth TR11 4WJ or order at To find a teacher go to


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