I first discovered yoga in 1995, when I took a yoga class through the Charlottesville Parks and Recreation Department. I don’t know why I was led to take a yoga class. I was not certain what yoga was. I felt sure that I would not like it, because I did not like group exercise. I continued to take yoga classes for two years. One hot summer evening, a group of lady friends asked if I wanted to join them for some Margaritas at an outdoor cafe. My response opened my eyes to my commitment to yoga. My answer was simply, “No, sorry I can’t join you. I have my yoga class tonight.” Yoga had become my priority. The discomfort in a group exercise class was replaced by being a solo player on my mat. There, I did not feel the need to compete. I relished the quiet, the juiciness in my hips, the discovery of my breath. Thus, the science of yoga became my path. I sought out more and more yoga. At the same time, yoga studios were beginning to pop up in my town, and I was usually the first one at the door. I started to offer classes in my home to friends and neighbors. In 2001, an Integral Yoga Teacher Training was offered in Charlottesville, and I decided it would be awesome to explore yoga further for myself, but never with the intention to teach. Never! So much for intentions.... Over these 20 years, I have experimented with many styles of yoga. I am most comfortable with a meditative approach to yoga. My classes are casual, friendly, relaxed, filled with tidbits of yoga gems, and always infused with a sense of humor. In the last 10 years, I have focused on Restorative Yoga and Yin Yoga, offering workshops and trainings. I have trained with Judith Lasater and assisted her in workshops. I have also trained with Biff Mithoefer and Bernie Clark. But my real training and experience comes from over a thousand hours in the classroom, where I have been given the opportunity to teach, and where I continue to learn. Outside of Yoga, I like drinking Margaritas at outdoor cafes with my friends. I love the movies, walking, and traveling. In the last several years, I have had the wonderful opportunity to travel to India, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Turkey, Italy, and Guatemala. My favorite travel companion and best friend is David, my husband of 32 years. I have one son who has a big heart and a great spirit. And so does his sweet dog Nordi that does amazing tricks. I have three cats that I simply adore: Jai, Japa, and Johnny Cash. Life is good, and I am grateful. Contact Marla at YogaSparksCville@gmail.com.