Mario Austin is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT-200) with the Yoga Alliance. He received his teaching certification through YogaWorks, and his teaching style is a combination of Ashtanga, Iyengar and Viniyoga. Mario encourages each of his students to embrace their yoga journey and honor the self. During his classes, you're guaranteed to hear a blend of all music genre's including Top 40 and themed playlists!
Yogi On The Mat
Favorite Album: CrazySexyCool – TLC
How do you incorporate your practice & passion for yoga in your everyday life?
I educate others on the many elements of yoga whenever I can. I truly enjoy sharing my yoga history and explaining that yoga provides various benefits for all people.
What made you start practicing yoga?
After I had finished my undergraduate degree at Morehouse College, I relocated back to the metropolitan area and got a job at VIDA Fitness. During my front desk shifts, I would have great conversations with two of our top yoga instructors. They each would invite me to class, and I built enough courage to give yoga a try. I’ll never forget my very first yoga class, and it was highly memorable as most first-time events. From that moment on, I became hooked on my new-found passion.
What brought you to Yoga?
The main thing that brought me to yoga was the chance to build more flexibility. I’ve always had an interest in anatomy and how the body works. Yoga was something to help me better understand the complexities of flexibility with various body types.
What anchors your practice? Do you set an intention for yourself before you practice?
The chance to take unique journeys with each yoga session anchors my practice. With each practice, I set an intention. Sometimes it can be a dedication to a special someone or maybe a new energy I wish to cultivate.
Tell me about your practice
My yoga practice is Ashtanga based, and my teaching style is a combination of various yoga styles such as Ashtanga, Iyengar, and Viniyoga. Yoga impacts my life on and off the mat because it always reminds me the importance of patience. All of us needs patience at some point, and yoga is my constant reminder.
THE CHALLENGES/ IMPACT
What challenges have you faced while practicing Yoga?
Challenges I have faced while practicing yoga are hip-openers and meditation. In some cases, men have difficulty with certain hip opening asanas, and sometimes it can be discouraging during practices. Also, meditation was something I initially struggled too. I let so many distractions and obstacles affect the special time that I should have allowed for myself.
The most transformative aspect of your journey?
The most transformative aspect of my journey was becoming a Registered Yoga Instructor (RYT-200). When I accomplished my Yoga Teacher Certification, this goal was one of the many highlights of my yoga journey. It made me appreciate my humble beginnings as a new yogi to stepping into the role of a teacher to others.
How does your practice impact or influence those around you?
My practice has influenced those around me and fellow yogis online. For years, I’ve had loved ones, and even strangers share their love and support for my yoga practice. Also, the online yoga community has also been very supportive of my journey too. Sharing my journey with the world has filled positive vibes with those around me, and in most cases, my practice had provided hope and daily inspiration.
What are some things yoga has taught you about yourself/others?
Yoga has taught me to be more humble to myself and others, and it has also taught me to trust the process.
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR PRACTICE
How does Yoga make you feel? – while practicing, after, and generally
Yoga always instills hope in me each time I practice.
A quote or phrase resonates with you and your practice
“Practice and all is coming.” – K. Pattabhi Jois
Advice you have for new yogis & long time practitioners (can be two different pieces of information)
Please start your practice with a Yoga Basics/Foundational Alignment yoga class. These valuable elements from the beginner level are essential to the yoga journey that lies ahead.
Long Time Practitioners – Keep going! Never stop your yoga practice. Always remember, there is someone that appreciates your practice and dedication when you least expect it.
How can someone alleviate hesitation to yoga?
The hardest part is not to try a yoga class. You’ll never know about yoga unless you experience first-hand. Start out at the beginner level, and if it makes your more comfortable, bring a friend along the way. Yogis need partners too!
How does yoga influence your specific mental health? Overall Wellness?
Yoga helps target the mind, body, and spirit to increase overall wellness. Yoga heightened my attention to mental health because there are so many things that trigger stress. Yoga gives me the constant reminder to take a deep breath and not worry about things I have no control over.
What benefits have you found in yoga?
My top three benefits I have found in yoga are patience, mindfulness, and flexibility.
THOUGHTS OFF THE MAT
Discuss Black Yogi Stigmas
Not enough people of color practice yoga.
There have been multiple occasions where as the student/teacher, there isn’t enough diversity amongst students. I’m a strong believer that yoga is for everyone and it does not have a color. I use my journey to inspire everyone to get on the mat regardless of their ethnicity.
Discuss Yoga & Black Mental Health & Wellness
In some cases, I feel mental health is overlooked in the Black community. In my opinion, yoga can help heal this significant gap affecting Black communities throughout the country. Whether it’s teaching classes in predominantly Black schools or offering community classes, these initial steps can address mental health disparities the community faces.
How do you feel about the representation of black yogis?
I feel that Black yogis in the yoga community have a positive representation. We each have wonderful and unique styles that display strength, integrity, and admiration. I feel we owe it to ourselves to continue to set positive examples to future yogis, Black or otherwise.
How does/has your hair affect your practice?
Fortunately, my hair remains short, and I don’t have to worry about long hair getting in the way
Favorite/ most challenging pose
Svarga Dvidasana (Bird of Paradise) Bird of Paradise is my all-time favorite pose. It’s just a beautiful asana to see, and I feel that it’s even cooler when men show this pose.
Tell a story/experience about something that’s happened good, bad, awkward, etc. while you have been practicing yoga.
My very first Power Yoga class still makes me laugh till this day. Early in my yoga journey, I thought it was a great idea to take my first advanced yoga class directly after my first yoga class. Long story short, Power Yoga didn’t end so well, and I struggled without extensive foundational learning. Savasana never felt so good!
Clothes – Wear whatever makes you comfortable. I strongly recommend clothing with moisture wicking material.
Accessories/Props – Invest in items such as a yoga block and yoga strap. These items are reasonably priced and are very helpful with any yoga level.
Keep In Touch
Follow Mario @MrMarioAustin on instagram, snapchat, and facebook to stay up to date about his teaching schedule and his yogic life!