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 with my teacher and others to deepen my practice, and I continue my in-depth study of yoga philosophy and practices, anatomy, and bio-mechanics for myself and to keep my teaching based on the best and most current information. I love many movement practices and sports, and have studied Eastern Philosophies, Psychology, Shamanism, Ayurveda, Music, and the natural healing techniques of different cultures. 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.

In 2017 I also began to mentor a group of local yoga teachers in the area, which we call the Teacher’s Tribe. I began this out of both selfish and altruistic reasons.  Selfish, because I sometimes crave having more feedback on my own teaching from someone who is a yoga teacher, and don’t get that opportunity often.  As I tell my YTT students — once you leave your teacher training, you will rarely get honest feedback.  Most of the time your yoga students will tell you what is nice and sweet, yet may not want to offend you or even have the knowledge to truly talk to you about your sequencing, adjusting, wording, timing, ability to adapt, etc., like a skilled teacher or mentor can.  And do it in a way that is helpful  — with the right blend of love and caring support so that it does not feel overwhelming, nor so positive that you have nothing to work on.

So I began the Teacher’s Tribe, open to any of the local teachers (and those who are not local are always welcome to pop in).  Some of the teachers have asked me to provide ongoing mentoring, which I glad to do. It became an easy transition to providing mentoring to other teachers away from the area 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 find that many teachers who come to me recognize that one or even two teacher trainings can still leave big “gaps”in the information and ongoing practice of being a good yoga instructor.  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 our modern bodies that sit much more than past generations. 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 also use other Hatha techniques to take you to deeper layers of your being.  I also teach some of the breathwork, or pranayama, and depending on who is present, will often include some meditation.

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.