giselle mari

When a yoga teacher explains the steps to enlightenment with the mantra “ I am of it, I am in it, I’m going to rock it”, you know you’re in for a treat. Giselle Mari and her ‘Hot, hip and holy’ routine delivers a refreshing unique twist on conventional yoga classes in san francisco and beyond. Following the Jivamukti tradition, the Open class composes 5 elements:

shastra (scripture)

bhakti (devotion)

ahimsa (kindness)

nada (music)

dhyana (meditation)


Retorted in church style, a reading from Patanjali 11.1 formally opens the class. Translated from Sanskrit, the meaning behind the three H’s is revealed “ you must be fuelled by the burning (HOT) desire to continuously study the Self, which is only available in the present moment (HIP) and devote yourself wholly (HOLY) to this effort – these are the actions to be taken to attain yoga.”  So it didn’t refer to the temperature, the target market and the meditative elements after all! Even though this also rang true.  The scripture continues throughout as Giselle Mari makes her wisdom available to all in an entertaining and ‘real’ way with statements such as  ‘We’re all here to be better people or to suck less!  


The asanas include some traditional postures amidst some technical flowing Vinyasa sequences complete with her unique spin, but of course, like the :

1. downward walking dog / partner introductions (Thank Goodness there was no shaking of hands involved)
2. handholding in forward lunge
3. moonwalk transitions to Tadasana


Who could not help but smile when Giselle Mari’s grooving offsider indulges participants in a warm-up shoulder massage with an icy hot menthol gel and a warm-down third eye polish with a lavender lotion. How very kind indeed!  


Since when has one been able to shake their bootie in a yoga class? With tunes from Michael Jackson to Bon Jovi to Pearl Jam, dance breaks are combined with water breaks in this fusion class! The musical accompaniment serves as an effective strategy indeed to distract one’s mind whilst holding difficult poses. Not to mention the fun factor as you are encouraged to share dance moves with your neighbour! 


With a prelude of a bridge pose offered up to lost loved ones, flowing tears reflect the ultimate mark of letting go and lead the body perfectly into Savasana. After a well disguised tough workout, participants willingly enjoy Giselle’s carefully worded guided meditation and drift off into inescapable bliss.  

By incorporating her own life wisdom with body confidence, participants in Giselle’s classes are liberated to move and enjoy their body sans judgement and competition. Her empowering dialogue throughout promotes a class of ultimate freedom and letting go with constant reminders that ‘There isn’t just one way to get there’. Encouraging individuals to ‘be in the state of missing nothing’, she taps into any discontent and frees the mind. This approach effectively moves the goalposts of the amount of connection and community that can be cultivated in a 2 hour timeslot. 

If Giselle Mari’s class sounds appealing, and you’re in California, Greece, Japan, Taiwan or South Africa you are urged to check out her website to experience it for yourself. – 


If you’re looking for a yoga inspired holiday in Bali, visit Janelle Maree’s website –

For more info on Bali’s best spots, including STAY | SPA | PLAY |  EAT | SHOP | YOGA – Download THE ULTIMATE BALI GUIDE 2018 for free here:

Read next >> erin fleming

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