Marije E. Paternotte: E-RYT 500 Yoga Teacher

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Marije E. Paternotte (E-RYT 500) was born and raised in Amsterdam where she studied law and worked as a corporate lawyer. After joining a yoga retreat in Bali life led her to the United States where she took her first of many yoga teacher training. She currently lives in a small beach town in New Jersey with her husband, and teaches yoga and meditation locally as well as workshops, retreats and teacher trainings around the world. Marije is a guest teacher at the renowned Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Massachusetts.

What do I do best?

I am very observant and precise. In my offerings (whether that is a public class, a private session, a workshop, retreat or teacher training) this is reflected in the details. Everything I do has a reason, from the music I play (or not play) and the sequence of postures I teach, to my choice of words and order in which I present teaching material. Nothing is random. This may sound like I am rigid, yet the opposite is true. I do like to be prepared and know what I’m doing; yet I also “listen” to the moment. Students often say to me after class: ”How did you know I needed this today?” I have an inherent ability to feel what people need, and I am able to translate that into appropriate action.

On a personal level I believe I am really good friend. I am loyal, I remember (almost) everything, and I am a good listener.

What makes me the best version of myself?

The other day, my husband said to me: “You have this innate desire to learn and understand.” I love to learn new things. I am constantly aware that there is always more to know. The reason I took my first yoga teacher training was simply because I wanted to understand how yoga works, not because I wanted to teach. Since then I have taken many trainings, I continue to read and study, and go on silent meditation retreats regularly. This keeps my teaching fresh and up-to-date. I want to keep improving myself, personally and as a teacher.

What are my aspirations?

My personal aspiration is to experience true inner peace, all day every day.

For my business, my aspiration is to reach and teach as many people as possible, as I believe I have something to offer that is unique. I aspire to offer people the experience of true inner peace.

My Biggest Success?

I think I am fortunate to say I have had many successes in my life. One of the successes I am most proud of is the 75-hour Yin Yoga Teacher Training that I have created. In this training I have gathered everything that I’ve learned – and find relevant – from multiple teachers, so it really is a reflection of my own experience and practice. Students not only learn postures, but also a solid teaching methodology, and are guided to establish a grounded meditation practice. I had a vision to offer this training in Thailand, besides at home in the US. Despite the fact that people discouraged me from pursuing this, warning me that it would be hard to get enough students, I did it anyway. It was such a success that I will offer another training in Thailand this year.

My Most Challenging Moment?

When I was 13 I started at the ballet academy in Amsterdam to be trained to become a professional ballet dancer. Most girls in my ballet class got their general education at the 4-year high school program, whereas I was in the 6-year program that would allow me to go to university. Since this 6-year program was pretty demanding, and I spent most afternoons dancing instead of making homework, by the time I was 17 I couldn’t keep up. My teachers gave me the choice: either quit ballet academy, or graduate from the 4-year high school program. Since it had been my dream to become a professional ballerina since I was 9, this was a really hard decision. I also knew that the life of a ballet dancer is hard, and that my physique wasn’t ideal (meaning that I would probably not be contracted at a top ballet company). I reasoned that if I finished the 6-year high school program I could at least go to university and find a different career. So that is what I did. I ended up going to Law School and became a corporate lawyer. If I hadn’t done that, I may not have become a yoga teacher (and that’s another long story!)….

My Motto?

“Everything is on its way to becoming its opposite.” – Lao Tzu

This one sentence sums up life. Nothing will stay the same: the natural flow of things is change. When I find myself clinging to a moment, a person, or a thing, I remind myself that nothing lasts forever and that I should enjoy it right now. Who knows how it will be tomorrow? With this in mind I came up with the slogan for my business: Movement. Balance. Stillness. We all need to move, yet when we move too much we become ungrounded. We all need stillness to reframe and calm our mind and body. Too much of that will lead to stagnation and lethargy, however. We need balance. We need the Yin and the Yang. I offer Yoga both as movement and stillness, healing sessions for balance, and Mindfulness meditation to practice stillness.

My Favorite People/Role Models?

My mom is one of the wisest people I know. Whenever I felt troubled as a kid, she would ask: “Would you like insight or comfort?” I still strongly value her opinion, and she has a great ability to help me see things from a different perspective.

I am immensely grateful for everything I have learned from my teachers, especially Sarah and Ty Powers, and Jonathan Foust. Jonathan taught me how to meditate. Sarah and Ty helped me to refine my meditation practice, and to cultivate a level of self-observation and compassion that has greatly improved my mental well-being and elevated my teaching skills. In a challenging situation, I often ask myself: “What would Sarah and Ty do?”

My Favorite Places?

The most magical place I’ve ever been (and – believe me – I’ve traveled the world) is the Lofoten islands in northern Norway. The landscape and nature is so pure and raw, and – literally – awe inspiring. The energy is very unique. I can best describe it as an arctic version of Hawaii.

Bali is also very special for me, because the most dramatic changes in my life were initiated there. It is where my path as a yoga teacher started, and where I met my husband.

My Favorite Products/Objects?

-    I couldn’t live without my tongue scraper. I use it absolutely every morning. Seeing the gunk that comes off, I don’t understand why anyone would not use it!

-    My golden Manduka yoga mat. It is too heavy to travel with, but it is part of my sanctuary when I’m home. A lot of self-care happens on that mat!

-    I’m also somewhat addicted to Burt’s Bees lip wax in peppermint. It is the right amount of creamy without being sticky, and it has a wonderful flavor that (almost) feels like I just brushed my teeth. (Mmm… I see a theme here! LOL)

My Current Passions?

I love cooking. I am currently trying all kinds of recipes from the NY Times Cooking website. I have many cookbooks that I mostly use for inspiration, and then I make my own interpretation of the dish. I love eggs too much to go vegan, but I don’t eat any red meat, or chicken that isn’t organic.

I love taking PureBarre and Pure Empower classes. I prefer to not use my yoga practice as a workout, yet I think it is good to add something more aerobic to my exercise routine. When I take these classes I feel strong and grounded.