About Mary Byerly

Yoga Instructor and Teacher Trainer

About Mary 

Mary Byerly headshot

I began practicing yoga around 1990, and began teaching yoga in 2002. Its hard for me to define exactly when I began practicing yoga, as I always have done some type of stretching and strength training since my high school days.  I have studied with master teachers from the Iyengar and Tantra/Hatha lineages. My primary asana teacher was Lillah Schwartz, of Asheville, North Carolina, and I have studied meditation with teachers in the Trika and SriVidya lineages of Tantra. I continue to study to deepen my practice and to keep my teaching based on the best and most current information and exercise science.  My areas of deep dive are yoga philosophy and history, anatomy, and bio-mechanics. I love many movement practices and sports, and have studied Eastern Philosophies, Psychology, Shamanism, Ayurveda, Music, and the natural healing techniques of different cultures. 

I also am a global citizen who is extremely interested in contributing to a just and equitable world for ALL people.  Within this, I firmly believe in yoga as a practice of social justice.  I care for this earth and do my best to leave a small footprint, hoping that we can all wake up to the need to take care of this planet that feeds and sustains us.  I recognize the privilege I have been afforded, and hope that I can continue to find ways to lift up and amplify all those who have been marginalized.  Don’t be surprised to read about things like Black Lives Matter and climate change in my writings, nor to hear about it in my teachings — it’s all yoga to me, and part of how I continue to live my yoga.   All of this influences who I am and how I teach.

When I moved to Panacea de la Montaña, I began teaching daily yoga classes to a wide variety of students. Some people were brand new to yoga, some were experienced practitioners, some were teachers themselves, coming on a yoga holiday. As I often had all these folks together in one class, I got a lot of practice in teaching to a really mixed class, to try out different variations of postures, and to learn how every body is different. I soon realized how fortunate it was to consistently have small classes, so that I could individualize my instruction.

I found through the years many students who had already attended yoga teacher trainings were commenting on how much more they learned in my classes, and started asking me to offer teacher trainings.  I began teaching 200 hour trainings in 2015.  Since then, I have offered at least one of these trainings per year at Panacea de la Montana, my home base in Costa Rica.  Although it is the hardest and longest days that I have, YTTs are also my very favorite thing that I do.  Seeing personal growth in each student is awesome, and fills my soul!  

I also began mentoring yoga teachers in 2017.  I had a lot of yoga teachers come to my classes and realize that there were some big gaps in their knowledge, or felt as though they wanted to go farther in areas like sequencing, adjusting, wording, timing, ability to adapt, bringing more yoga philosophy into their classes, or even learning the functional anatomy that can make a big difference of whether you help or hurt someone. 

I now mentor through Zoom, or in face to face meetings as I travel.  A number of my yoga teacher friends will have me come to their local area to give workshops, as well as getting in some coaching time as well.  As quality in what I do is my passion, I love to coach and mentor other yoga teachers in the skills of being a teacher in general, and in the art and science of yoga in particular.  I know that I was born to be a teacher, and that I am good at teaching teachers how to be the best that they can be.  I want there to be a good teacher accessible to everyone in the world, and this is part of how I contribute to that.

What style of yoga do you teach? 

I call what I teach Hatha, with a strong influence of its Tantrik roots.  I love how the physical postures, or asanas, can be valuable for bringing us into awareness of the uniqueness of our physical body. Yet that is not all that yoga is to me. I develop all of my classes with the aim of taking you on a inward journey, so while we will do asanas, I will use other Hatha techniques to take you to deeper layers of your being.  I also teach some of the breathwork, or pranayama, and I’ll often include some meditation in my yoga classes.  I am passionate about helping each student find the way to use yoga to be healthy in body, mind, and spirit throughout their life, and in this time, tools for finding peace and calm are so important to include in each class!

I incorporate what I know and continue to study from many movement modailites to bring about what can best serve each student at any given moment.  Emphasizing each person’s uniqueness and a balance of strength with flexibility, I encourage each student to breathe deeply and to connect with their inner teacher, to open up to the wisdom and peace of the heart.  This practice is about remembering who you are and what you are here to do, and I am simply a guide to point you to what may be the best path for you–because each one of you in the room have a different unique physical makeup, emotional and psychological constitution, and come from a different set of values and reasons why you come to that class.  While it is much easier to just teach one way to everyone, I can no longer do that.  We may take a different path for each person in the room, because I care deeply that what we do helps you connect with yourself.

I am definitely not a “one size fits all kind of teacher”!  I want to see you change in positive ways as a result of your practice, and I want to teach you how to do this yourself. That’s why I teach yoga rather than anything else.  If you don’t want that, then I can suggest other ways to get fit, or move your body.  However, if you want to feel that connection of your body, mind, and soul, come on down. This is the place for you.