Maya Fiennes interviewed by Ayse Arman for Hurriyet, Turkey, April 2015
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Hi! I'm Maya Fiennes. I have been practising and teaching kundalini yoga for the past decade and I absolutely believe that it is one of the best things that has happened to me. I am excited to share with you more about my journey, music and what inspires me. I hope you'll find something that helps you feel great, too. My motto is:
"Do what you love
Love what you do
Make your vocation a vacation
Do it with passion and kindness and create your Heaven!"
I was born in Skopje, Macedonia, and trained and performed as a classical pianist. I now live in Los Angeles with my fiancé and two teenage daughters. After discovering and falling in love with yoga, I decided to combine yoga with music to create a unique style of yoga, meditation, and music for modern living. I completed my musical training in England and was soon playing to diverse audiences such as The United Nations Assembly and members of the Royal Family. I also released my debut album, Cross of Silence. My music is a fusion of Yoga mantras and hypnotic electronic sounds. It features guest spots from friends and peers such as Deepak Chopra. I use my original music in classes because I strongly believe that the use of vibration and mantras have a powerful healing effect on us all, especially when used in combination with my yoga.
As a classical pianist, I started yoga to help me relax before concerts and to improve my musical performance. Performing to large crowds can be daunting and I wanted something to ease the pressure. The first type of yoga I tried was Hatha, but as I became more curious about it, I wanted to experience all the different types of yoga. I now realize that it doesn’t matter what your initial reason for starting yoga is, because at some point, something else takes over and you are in it for the ‘right’ reason. Some people start to lose weight, some to gain muscle strength, and some to be part of a new trend, but in the end, it all works out.
Yoga teaches you whatever you need to learn. My search was immediately over when I took my first Kundalini yoga class. At first I was alarmed by the white turbans and the robes, but as soon as my teacher started the class, within a few minutes I start feeling more energized, inspired, weirdly happy, and kind of high! I trained to be a Kundalini Yoga Teacher under Shiv Charan Singh at the Karam Kriya School in London. I have combined traditional Kundalini postures with Qi Gong, Tai Chi and many other disciplines as a tool for deeper transformation.
Initially, I was not going to teach at all, I was just studying Kundalini yoga to get a better understanding of it. One day, my teacher (Shiv Charan Singh) who is also a numerologist, looked at my birth numbers and told me that I was born to be a master of yoga. I laughed so hard, but he was super serious. I didn’t really think about it again until I had to teach my first class as part of my exam in May 2005. I was shocked by how I felt. I absolutely loved it, and to my great surprise, it came very naturally to me. My teacher’s words rang in my ears, “I told you, this is your vocation!" I now realize my favorite thing about teaching is seeing the transformation that happens within people, right in front of my eyes. Within one class, I see how their faces change, become more relaxed, but at the same time energized, inspired, and full of joy. That is the reason I love teaching; making people happy.
It seemed that all the doors opened when I said YES to teaching Yoga because two months after completing my exam, I was invited to teach in the very exotic, luxurious Reethi Rah (The One and Only Resorts) in the Maldives. I took my two young daughters out of school to be home schooled while we lived in paradise for a year, traveling to Mauritius and Mexico while I taught yoga. From then on, I continued to travel and teach in the most amazing places, attend yoga conferences and host workshops and retreats. After teaching in “paradise”, I went back to London and made my first DVD, “Detox and Destress”, which was picked up by Acacia. I then had students all over the world asking for DVDs as they wanted to carry out my teachings. So, I decided to produce DVDs, composed with my own music which made it so much more powerful and people were loving it. Then I had students asking for more music, so I produced CDs of just the music!
I did everything organically, following the demand of my students. It was amazing! I have now made over 20 DVDs, released numerous CDs, and published a book, "Yoga for Real Life", which has been translated into eight languages and sold over 100,000 copies. After discovering my DVDs, the TV channel, Body In Balance, offered me a contract. I am a creative soul, and love to dabble in anything that interests me. I am such a curious person that everything around me inspires me, whether it’s interesting people, nature, lectures, or gong baths! I am always in search of the next experience and trying new things.
In my spare time, I love to go swimming. I love being in the water. Swimming is my meditation. I let go of all my thoughts, and then, still to my surprise, the most inspiring ideas come to me. It’s absolutely fascinating. Apart from swimming, I love to dance, play the piano, compose music, cook, meditate, and spend time with friends. I like to observe myself, and live in the moment. I don't like referring to years as time; it’s all about the now!
So Welcome, Welcome, Welcome… To Maya.
“I have known Maya Fiennes for many, many years. She is an extraordinary human being full of vitality, creativity, and enthusiasm but she’s also one of the best yoga teachers in the world and her specialty is Kundalini Yoga. I have experienced it myself, I have seen others benefit from her, and to be in her presence, and feel her spirit and her energy, and her teaching is an extraordinary experience.”
"Doing yoga with Maya is inspirational, energizing, sexy, and it gives me joy."
“Your DVD is absolutely amazing. The best yoga DVD I have ever done. My first time of doing Kundalini Yoga (mostly I've done Hatha Yoga). It truly is wonderful, I feel so energised & happier, even my eyes look clearer! I love your presentation and your music, singing and chanting. Thank you so much for being such a beautiful and inspiring human being.”
"I have benefited greatly from Maya: my menstrual cycle has normalized, and so has my eating. I no longer have compulsive eating spells... I did "Ong So Hung" for 40 days together with breath of fire, and it has helped me develop self-love and self-approval."
"I can honestly say that you are changing my life for the better. I no longer wake up every morning with lower back pain/stiffness which I've had for years and I am now beginning to plan my actions instead of just reacting. My stress hasn't been this low in years!"
"I have MS, but I can do quite everything, I started yoga a year ago, and I love your DVDs, they give me peace, energy and health."
"You have changed my life forever, thank you from the bottom of my heart and soul! I have suffered from depression for more than 18 years and after one week of doing your classes on the Body and Balance channel I have found myself again. I feel balanced and grounded! I feel true contentment, happiness and elation. The way you teach makes me smile. My friend and I sing your song during our day and immediately I am transported to another place of contentment. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!"
"I began The White Room (How to Detox DVD) in May of this year and within six weeks I had begun to set up my dream business! I then began neglecting my daily yoga routine, was working 24/7 with two small children... and I got very sick with pneumonia and lung collapse at 38yrs old. I have begun The White Room again, and am feeling so refreshed again... Thank you from my soul... Sat Nam."
"Maya, thank you so much for your wonderful and very important work! Your videos are truly changing my life!"
"I just have to thank you today! You are one of the persons that helped me out of misery. I started my yoga journey in 2003 and after a while searched the Internet because my first yoga teacher had spoken warmly about Kundalini Yoga... then I found you. I found the warm up sequence (sitting ones) that suited me quite well then I bought your book Yoga for Real Life!!! I bought it as a Christmas present for myself:-) I practiced every morning before going to work and that was very helpful. I just wanted to thank you."
"Maya, you continue to be so inspirational. I just received my 7-DVD set, and I am so excited about it. Over the summer, I came across the Chakras 1 and 5 on my cable on demand, and alternated them every day. I love Kundalini yoga. I always feel like I am doing a 1:1 session with you. And the effects are long lasting. Thank you for sharing your love of Kundalini yoga with us. I will be forever changed. Thank you for being my inspiration."
"I started kundalini yoga a year ago and my experiences are amazing. I'm a single mom and I was full of fears. But since the 1st day of practicing your DVDs I knew that everything is going to be alright. Yoga brought me back to life. Now I'm clear - no depression, no fears which seem to big to handle - there is this inner peace instead which I've never felt before. I practiced yoga before, but it was you - your trustworthy and lovely kind to do yoga - that made me keep trying it. You've showed me the skills of yoga without standing in between (me and yoga). Thank you for being the yoga teacher that you are. Thank you Maya!!!"
"I used to drink, be depressed and sad, did not know what to do in my life. Due to your Kundalini yoga, I feel much much much better and I intend to continue on this. I LOVE YOU Maya."
"Hi Maya! I am completely addicted to your Yoga videos. Kundalini is absolutely amazing. Thank you so much for you videos. I really do love them. They make me fee more centered than hours of meditation. Namaste."
"I just wanna thank Miss Maya Fiennes and Kundalini Yoga for making HUGE difference in my life. I have been doing the yoga for 3 blissful years and couldn't imagine my life without it now. I've never felt healthier or happier right now all due to these little miracles that keep happening to me, and I love it!! I still have this dream to bring Kundalini Yoga to my home town..I wanna bring your teaching to people who are thriving to live and simply breathe, just like I did. 'Yoga For Real Life' is all I'm about."