Maura Utley is a Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT500, Y.A.C.E.P.) with Yoga Alliance, and a certified fitness professional with over thirty-nine years experience teaching a variety of group fitness classes throughout the East Coast. Through the process of completing her first teacher training at Inlet Yoga in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, she found her passion and is now on staff, teaching yoga teachers. Maura completed her 500+ hour training with the Hard and the Soft Yoga Institute under the supervision of its founder, Beryl Bender Birch. Maura has also studied “Yoga Medicine” with Tiffany Cruikshank, and “Yoga Anatomy” with Leslie Kaminoff.
“I initially became interested in Yoga as a way to prevent injuries, and become more fit. After many years of teaching step classes and training with weights, I started experiencing issues with my back and knees. Through the teacher training process, I learned there were infinite benefits to doing Yoga. I completely fell in love with the practice.
Through Yoga, I became aware of the importance of keeping connective tissue healthy through a consistent Yoga practice, and I simply just started feeling better. Since a regular Yoga practice improves one’s musculoskeletal structure, and reduces the likelihood for injury, I was able to correct my own postural misalignment, reduce pain, increase my flexibility and reduce the need for chiropractic visits. Yoga is now a way of life.
Yoga’s emphasis on controlled breathing strengthens the respiratory system and engages the parasympathetic nervous system to help reduce negative stress and tension throughout the body. However, what I wasn’t prepared for was the metaphysical, personal and spiritual growth that happens simultaneously as one’s practice deepens.”
“Yoga totally changed my life – and my family’s life – for the better, and I am deeply grateful for the experience. To this day what I find most inspiring is watching others around me experience the same transformation regardless of age, fitness level, affliction or physical ability. This transformation is unlike anything I have ever experienced through a traditional exercise class.
Life just got better.”
In addition to Maura’s experience teaching group fitness classes and Yoga, while working as vice president of product design for a global candle and home accents company, she created Everybody’s Ayurveda – A lifestyle candle and home décor collection based on the holistic healing philosophies of Ayurveda. The collection was designed to inspire health and wellness through every day home products. “By creating the collection, I hoped to inspire others to learn more about Yoga as a way to improve the quality of their lives.”
“Whether I’m using my creativity at the bank, or teaching Yoga, I am so blessed to be doing things I love to do. Although I tend to take an anatomical focus when teaching, it’s important to get out of your head and just feel the pose, and enjoy the moment.”
My goal is to not only explain how to do a pose safely, but to share why the pose is beneficial and help students feel the pose so they have a great experience in class.
Having a deeper understanding of the benefits will keep practitioners motivated, but it’s feeling great that keeps people coming back. I am humbled to be carrying on the tradition of Yoga, and feel so grateful [both on and off the mat].