Marianne Simonin is a qualified BWY teacher, massage therapist and artist. She has been teaching for more than 25 years. She follows the path of Shakti sadhana in the lineage of the Das MahaVidiyas and Kali Kaula. Her teaching stems from her profound personal practice in the subject, as well as her many stays in India, especially in the North-East of India such as West Bengal and Assam. She believes that Yoga is a unique and individual journey, and requires a lifetime engagement. Her Yoga classes are creative and empowering, encouraging the students to develop a state of deeper meditative awareness. She believes in the therapeutic aspects of Yoga, and has worked with many students suffering from depression and anxiety. The use of asanas and pranayama form the core of the practice, including bandhas and mudras. She also teaches separately Yoga Nidra, meditation, and Ayurvedic principles.
Marianne gives regularly workshops/talks on different aspects of the Yoga and Ayurveda, as well as organizing yoga retreats in the UK and abroad. She has just completed a full time Masters degree in Ayurvedic Medecine at Middlesex University, and a three months internship at two Ayurvedic Teaching hospitals in India (Karnataka) SDM Hassan and KLE Belgaum.
Biography in her own words...
My first love as a child was music, followed by spirituality and Art. As young as the age of three I often remember sitting at home, motionless, gazing towards the sky or the unknown for a long time while my mother listened to classical music or opera. Sometimes I would also draw or cut figures out of coloured paper while tuning in to my own "divine connections", entering a world that felt more real to me than reality. These moments remain precious in my heart as they became the foundation of my whole approach to life, intuitively knowing that the energy of the Universe is much greater than we can conceive with our limited awareness.
By the age of seven I felt naturally drawn towards poetry and often spoke to myself in poetic language while walking or cycling through the French countryside. Inspired by Nature or by my own emotions I would create simple rhymes and repeat them on my way to school like little mantras.
Around the age of fifteen a friend lent me a book on Yoga, some of the asanas looked intriguing but it was reading about the philosophy that created a greater impact on my mind. I embraced its concepts quite easily because it was reflecting what I always felt and experienced on a personal level. At that time I never imagined that I would become a yoga teacher, I just wanted to be an artist and a traveller, my gypsy soul always drawn to foreign lands. One year later the mother of a very good friend of mine studied to become a yoga teacher, she was always very inspirational to me, and perhaps subconsciously it opened an opportunity at the back of my mind?
Yoga is a path that is often inside you even before you acknowledge it, and it can manifest more strongly at any stage of your life. In my case I felt I could not escape my destiny and followed it almost blindly. Shortly after arriving in London at the age of 18 I saw myself enrolling to yoga classes, which first disappointed me because they were too physical and not spiritual enough. I kept searching for an inspiring teacher and within little time I found myself enrolling for a Yoga teacher training course! I had to do it, I could not even explain to anyone why, especially as my lifestyle at the time was nothing but yogic!! Over a period of 4 years I trained with Velta Snikere-Wilson and qualified with the British Wheel of Yoga.
Later in 1994/6 I came accross Dr Vasant Lad's lectures and mostly Dr Robert Svoboda's teaching. The later became an inspiring force in my spiritual development. It is through Ayurveda that I found the path of Tantra. This path spoke to me more than yoga ever did. I have attended his lectures for more than 10 years and it gave me a lot of insight in the importance of sadhana. Later during my several stays in India I encountered Swami Nardanand and Swami Shivanandji of Varanasi from whom I gained more practical knowledge of worship practices. The greatest teaching came from the few exceptional souls who happened to cross my path in this lifetime and the eternal connection with Nature's energy. Ever since it's been a long journey, a fascinating path that allowed me to grow and yet there were moments when it became a difficult challenge as Yoga seemed to clash with some of my other aspirations. The more I taught and practiced this discipline the more I realised that the benefits will manifest in your life when it is ripe for you, and the sincerity in your heart is more important than the results.
The spiritual path can be a very slow process, what really matters is the work you put into it, your faith and dedication. This duty is expressed in the Bhagavad Gita (one of the fundamental books on Yoga): "... Faith so certain shall never be shaken by heaviest sorrow. To achieve this certainty is to know the real meaning of Yoga. It is the breaking of contact with pain. You must practise this yoga resolutely, without loosing heart". (Chapter VI. Mentor edition).
Yoga, Ayurveda & Tantra have been very close to me throughout my life, they have shaped my destiny time and again, for a single seed can bear many fruits; the more I study and practice the more I realise the infinite dimension of the subjects. My own realisation is that from the One there is the inexorable desire to become many, the creative force manifesting in the Universe in all shapes and forms until it gets re-absorbed into the great void, dissolving back into the state of unlimited infinite consciousness.
There are many paths, all valid and fascinating. In the West, Hatha Yoga is the most well-known and accessible, and like for many other people it was the start of my journey, it has since taken me to a more spiritual path, where every moment of life becomes a sadhana. It is no longer the difficulty to set time aside for my practice, it is the exhilarating challenge to use every aspect of my everyday life as an opportunity to practice and to dedicate what I have learned to my own deities and the people I care for and love.
Jai Jai Maa! Om Namah Shivaya!
- Master in Ayurvedic Medicine at Middlesex University, 2011/2015 - M.CM Ayur (Hons)
- British Wheel of Yoga teacher diploma & Anatomy/physiology 1990
- Massage Training Institute certificate - 1993
- Certificate in Ayurvedic studies. Correspondence course with Dr Robert Svoboda, 1996
- Reiki certification – Level 1 LPG certificate, 1997
- Ayurvedic massage certificate (Atreya Abhyanga) 2005
- Ayurvedic facelift certificate from Ayurveda Pura, 2008
I have practiced yoga since 1980 and started teaching my first class in 1988 at the Central London Polytechnic. For several years onwards I taught people from all background at the following:
- Adult education centres.
- The Core Trust rehabilitation clinic in Central London for people suffering from depression, alcohol & drugs.
- Hospitals and elderly people’s homes.
- HMP Wormwood Scrubs Prison, to male inmates for 4 years. Very interesting experience. Read blog from a ex-inmate here
- The Light House AIDS /HIV sufferers in Ladbroke Grove,& Hammersmith
- GLA (City Hall) and LGA, and in different offices to help with stress related issues.
- The 1st Yoga festival in Egypt as a teacher/lecturer.
- Until now: teaching private classes in London.
- yoga retreats and workshops in the UK and India.
- I have also worked as a massage therapist in different London clinics including the L.C.A.S in Harley St. My clients have included: Sean Connery and his wife, Naomi Campbell and Sadie Frost.
In parallel to my spiritual journey, I am an artist. A selection of my work can be seen on my website