Meet Maria Salvatore, owner and founder of Hot Yogoddess Hot Yoga Studio in White Plains, New York. Maria has been an active member of the yoga community for 15 years, and her studio has been active in the White Plains community since 2012.
Maria is a yoga teacher who understands the importance of working one on one with each student, so each class is limited to no more than 9 women.
In this exclusive interview, Maria talked to me about her yoga journey, and how yoga can help others experience transformation, and growth.
Ysmay: How did you get into yoga and how has yoga transformed your life?
Maria: I began doing yoga as a detox and to lose weight. I got all of that and MORE! Initially, I started with disciplined Bikram yoga. Since then, my practice has evolved incredibly.
It has transformed me mentally as well as physically. Yoga has decreased my anxiety and stress levels tremendously. When I connect with my breath, I am connected with the moment in front of me… so often, I find myself stressing about what just happened and what’s to come. Yoga teaches me to be present in the now.
It also offers one of the most dynamic returns on investment, as it increases strength, flexibility, agility, balance and mental balance, and can assist with recovery from high-intensity training. The benefits of yoga are endless. I am a mother and business owner, so life can get pretty busy.
How long have you been teaching?
I have been in the fitness and yoga industries for 15 years. I have been teaching and practicing yoga for fifteen years. I have also been teaching group fitness for twelve years, and personal training for over ten years.
What styles do you prefer for your personal practice and why?
Lately I have been favoring yin yoga… maintaining poses for five minutes or longer has a dramatic effect on the tight, sore and often inflamed muscles, tissues, fascia and joints. Any vinyasa or hatha flow can move energy, release stuck energy, and create that mental calm that is so necessary in this driven chaotic world we live. The mind can be even more chaotic.
Tell me a bit about Hot Yogoddess. How long have you been open? Why do you teach hot yoga?
We are open 2 years now. We are located in a woman’s only fitness facility. It’s a small, quaint studio, heated by infrared heat which woman acclimate toward very quickly. Being that the studio is small and only can fit only a specific amount of woman, it allows for a more hands on, one on one approach for those just learning yoga. It also allows them to really connect in unity, which is what yoga is all about. The infrared heat allows the muscles to warm so you can go a bit deeper into the postures. It is also a good tool for detoxifying.
You also teach barre, right? How can a barre practice compliment yoga?
Barre practice focuses on sculpting and lengthening muscles. I have created a class combining both practices so that you can get the benefits of both disciplines in one class. We use yoga salutations to warm up, move to our barre exercises for strength and weight loss, and then stretch using yoga and meditation. All while connecting with where we are in that day, with respect to mind and body. Ending in a wonderful savansana to reboot the body. We have just added a new KARMA RIDE class, which is a 30 minutes spin class and 45 minutes yoga class.
What can a new student expect when they decide to work with you?
It’s all perspective. They will get a warm caring guide who will try to help them achieve their goals, whatever their goals are. Each student is their own teacher. I am simply a guide. The point is to find your way to a better healthier you!
What advice do you have for a beginning yoga student?
Begin with an Open mind, open heart and be gentle on yourself, love yourself, and enjoy the journey!