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Qualifications

KEY QUALIFICATIONS

  • 17+ years of yoga experience 9 years of mindfulness experience

  • I've had the honour to study with some of the best teachers, Universities, researchers and medical doctors specialized in their field, which provides unique and high-quality speciations.

  • With a scientific background, I have a deep understanding of yoga anatomy and the human body, mind, and the latest research which will benefit you

  • As a former public speaker, I make the teaching accessible

  • I use my personal journey from high achiever, through a severe illness, and multiple life changes, as well as my long teaching experience from following clients through a variety of challenges - to make my teaching relatable. I meet my students where they are and adapt my teaching voice and approach.

FIELDS OF SPECIALIZATION

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Pain, brain, and nervous system:

​Specific educations and specializations in how to use yoga, mindfulness, nerve flossing, and MFR as tools to deal with:
  • Pain management
  • Headaches, migraines
  • Neurological conditions (for example fibromyalgia, MS, ME, neurosarcoidosis, Parkinson, Alzheimer)
  • Nerve injuries, neuropathy, etc.
  • Autoimmune illness (specialization in how the nervous system and immune system is related)
  • Sleep issues
  • Stress, anxiety, low self-esteem, or to avoid burnout if you are pushing yourself too hard
  • Trauma (specialization with Dr. and trauma expert to teach: first responders, refugees, medical trauma patients and more)
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Mindfulness:

  • 9 years of experience, self-practice, and teaching.

  • Education with top Universities, researchers, and teachers in the field: for example MBSR from the University Hospital of Oslo, and UMass Memorial Centre for Mindfulness, University of Massachusetts Medical School with the team of Jon Kabat-Zinn.
  • Specialization in Mindfulness as a tool to deal with life-changing events, uncertainty, chronic or severe pain or illness, stress or overwhelm.
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Restorative Yoga:
  • Several specializations and additional teacher training in Restorative Yoga wich allow for teaching where you get the best of two worlds - both building on the original way of teaching Restorative, but with updates according to the latest knowledge and research.
  • Examples: specialized teacher training with the Restorative Yoga guru Cyndi Lee to learn the original approach from one of the developers of Restorative Yoga together with and following the line of teaching as Judith Lasater and B.K.S Iyengar. As well as how to implement the newer research on anatomy, the brain, and the nervous system specifically for Restorative Yoga, through Yoga Medicine with medical doctors and Tiffany Cruikshank.

Alignment based technique and safe teaching:

  • Hatha yoga, alignment-based vinyasa techniques 

  • Specialization in and 15 years of experience in working with bodies gives me the ability to spot anatomical differences and teach you how to adapt the practice to your individual anatomy and needs to enhance the benefits of your practice and avoid injuries.

  • Additional specialization in yoga injuries and how to prevent them

Anatomy and help with specific body parts:

​Specific additional orthopedic education in dealing with:

  • Hip (e.g. rehabilitation, arthrosis, hypermobility, SI-joint issues)

  • Shoulder (e.g. injuries, rehabilitation, pain, muscle imbalances)

  • Spine (e.g. injuries, prolapse, rehabilitation, pain, stenosis, scoliosis)

  • Yoga Anatomy

  • Yoga injuries and how to avoid them

  • How to adapt the practice to individual needs.

Breathing:

  • Asthma

  • Techniques to train CO2 tolerance, nostril breathing to move away from mouth breathing, snoring, etc.

  • Breathwork, as a tool to efficiently calm the nervous system, enhance concentration and performance both mentally and physically, and more.

Woman's health:

​Specific, additional teacher education in:

  • Endometriosis, Adenomyosis, PCOS

  • IVF and fertility support

  • Pre- and postnatal yoga

  • I can help you with DS (Diastasis Recti)

  • Mum and baby yoga (how this can enhance the baby's coordination, digestion and brain development)

  • Pelvic floor and core rehabilitation

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Myofacial Release (MFR):

  • Specific, additional teacher education in Myofascial release with Yoga Medicine.

  • There is a lot of new research on the facia (connective tissues in our body), how many nerve endings and pain receptors are found here, as well as how this can help speed up the recovery process after surgery, enhance athletic performance, and more.

Qualifications

Maria is Norwegian yoga, meditation, and mindfulness teacher and entrepreneur – currently living and working in Italy (Milan). She has more than 17 years of experience with yoga, 15 years of Pilates, seven years as a gymnastics teacher, and education in dance (national ballet school in Norway). She has a background as a Biologist, and a Master's Degree in International Environmental Studies, and lived and studied around the world (India, Costa Rica, Australia, California, Bali, Norway, and Italy).

Anatomy and safe teaching:

Extensive studies of anatomy, biomechanics, and the human body beyond her yoga educations give Maria a deep understanding of the physiological and psychological benefits of yoga and meditation (e.g. brain and nerve-, endocrine- and digestive system, organs). She loves to read up on the latest research, and relevant books, etc. in her free time, and brings this knowledge on to her students. She is a thorough alignment-based teacher that is genuinely concerned about safe teaching, and how to adapt the practice to individual differences. This is as a backdrop to any fun-themed classes or deep mindfulness focus, she may offer in her classes.​​ Always safety first!

Mindfulness:

Mindfulness is a big part of Maria’s life, and she loves to include Mindfulness in her yoga classes, in addition to teaching separate meditation and mindfulness classes. She has had a committed personal daily mindfulness practice for seven years and is part of the UMass Mindfulness Community where she participates regularly in events and silent retreats, arranged by the renowned UMass Memorial Centre for Mindfulness, University of Massachusetts Medical School. Maria is also a member of Mindfulness Norway, the association for Mindfulness and Mindfulness teachers in Norway.

Maria has been studying a mindful approach to yoga in her Yoga Teacher Trainings, and workshops, and she additionally holds high-quality certifications in Mindfulness, and MBSR specifically:

  • 120h Mindfulness Course, MBSR, from the Pain clinic at Oslo University Hospital, Norway. (2013-2014)

  • Mindfulness and ethics, the Buddhist roots by Eevi Beck, dharmacarya, and teacher in France, Germany, Denmark, and Norway. (2019)

  • 8week MBSR certification from UMass Memorial Centre for Mindfulness, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Boston, US. (2020)

  • Mindfulness as a tool in dealing with trauma as part of the Mindful Trauma-Informed Teacher Training (20h) through Yoga Medicine with Dr. Ann Bortz (see below). (2021)

  • Mindfulness as a tool in dealing with neurological conditions and challenges (pain, stroke, stress etc), and how to adapt the teaching according to specific challenges, as part of the Internal Medicine 1: Nervous System and Restorative Yoga Teacher Training (55h) through Yoga Medicine (see below) (2021).

Educations and certifications:

  • RYT200: Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT200) with Yoga Alliance, find her teacher profile on Yoga Alliance here.

  • RYT500: Currently enrolled in Yoga Medicine 500h Yoga Teacher Training to become a Therapeutic Specialist, which is a high-quality program that focuses on anatomy, biomechanics, and the latest research in how yoga can be used together with medical treatment for various conditions: everything from how to adapt yoga for athletes, fertility issues, trauma, to how to adapt to chemotherapy. Yoga Medicine is well known for its utmost standards. When she has finished her program she will be certified as a Yoga Medicine teacher. Read more about Yoga Medicine here. (2020- ongoing)

  • Restorative Yoga Teacher Training specialization with the Restorative Yoga guru Cyndi Lee to learn the original approach from one of the developers of Restorative Yoga together with and following the line of teaching as Judith Lasater and B.K.S Iyengar. (2021)

  • Internal Medicine 1: Nervous System and Restorative Yoga Teacher Training (55h) through Yoga Medicine(2021). A course in how to implement the newer research on anatomy, the brain, and nervous system specifically for Restorative Yoga, with Dr. Amy C. Sedgwick MD, FACEP, E-RYT emergency medicine physician affiliated with several hospitals in the US, medical acupuncturist, and yoga teacher. As well as with Dr. Eding Mvilongo, MScE, MD, FRCPC, an anesthesiologist and Clinical Professor from Montreal, and yoga teacher, and Tiffany Cruikshank L.Ac., MAOM, the founder of Yoga Medicine (2021)

  • 200h YTT, Hatha yoga and Vinyasa flow with Charlie Stewart-Brown, IndivYoga (2017)

  • Certified to teach Chair Yoga, IndivYoga (2017)

  • Certified to teach Restorative Yoga, IndivYoga (2017)

  • Certified to teach Pre- and Postnatal yoga. IndivYoga (2017)

  • Certified to teach Kinds Yoga. IndivYoga (2017)

  • Emergency First Responder (FAR) certified. Emergency First Response Primary and Secondary Care (CPR and First Aid) training. (2011)

  • Biologist. Bachelor’s in Biology, University of Oslo, with exchange programs to James Cook University, Australia and Universidad de Costa Rica. (2008-2011)

  • Master of Science in International Environmental Studies. The Norwegian University of Life Sciences, with an exchange program to the University of Rajasthan, India. Thesis on scholarship at the Fridtjof Nansen Institute, theme: the UK Climate Change Act, interviews with top bureaucrats in London. (2011-2014)

Yoga relevant anatomy competence, and further specialization/education - some examples​:

  • Human anatomy and physiology from several subjects at the University level as part of her Biologist degree (2008-2011)

  • Numerous courses in Yoga Anatomy. Some examples:

    • Hips, Shoulders, Spine, Hypermobility etc. with Physiotherapist and Yoga Teacher Celest Pereira (2020)

    • 20h Yoga Anatomy with Tiffany Cruikshank, Yoga Medicine (2021)

    • Common Yoga Injuries and Prevention with Rachel Land, 1000h Yoga Medicine Theraputic Specialist, and author for Yoga International, Glo, and more.

    • Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction, yoga teacher specialization. Tiffany Cruikshank, Yoga Medicine (2022)

    • Recognizing Red Flags in a Therapeutic Yoga Setting, specialization for Yoga Therapy 1-1, with Yoga Medicine (2020)

    • Several other courses through Yoga Medicine

  • Diverse studies of the Neuroscience of Pain and yoga, and also additional studies of Headaches and Migranes, with a variety of specialists such as:

    • from the Pain Clinic at the University Hospital of Oslo, strategies to cope with brain trauma and recovery as well as chronic pain, fatigue etc. (2014)

    • Maria follows the forefront research on this through for instance Headache associations, Migrane research etc. for example from the renowned Standford Pain Research center.

    • Pain Science Yoga Life: The Neuroscience of Pain and A Game of Darts with Marnie Hartman (DPT), the yoga teacher and author of the book on bridging the gap between the neuroscience of pain and the art and science of yoga, Pain Science Yoga Life.

    • Sava Papos & Simone Berzen (BSc, MACP, Pain Physiotherapist) – the founders of Sensing Movement, Katja Bartsch (BSc, BCSI, researcher of Facia), Yoga Medicine (2020). 

    • Pain Science for Yoga Teachers. Marnie Hartman, DPT, RYT, CSCS for Yoga Medicine (2022)

  • Specific specialization in diverse neurological conditions and Yoga:

    • ​Special competence in Sarcoidosis and neurosarcoidosis as this is a condition Maria also lives with.

    • Parkinson, Alzeimer, Multiple Sclerosis, Neuropathy, nerve root disorders, Sciatica, Headache, Occipital Neuralgia, Stroke, Pain etc. as part of the Internal Medicine 1: Nervous System and Restorative Yoga Teacher Training (55h) with Yoga Medicine (see below) (2021)

    • Fibromyalgia – taught by the researcher on Fibromyalgia Monisha Bhanote (MD, FCAP), Yoga Medicine (2020). 

    • Multiple Sclerosis by Cristina Kuhn, Yoga Medicine (2020). 

    • Neuroyoga – workshop on how to adapt Yoga to,- and the benefits of Yoga for people with autoimmune illnesses (ME, MS, fibromyalgia, Parkinson, sarcoidosis) and people living with chronic pain by An-Margit Seelang (founder of Nevroyoga in Norway). (2018)

    • Maria has specific competence in the neuroendocrine system from her Biology studies (2011) and later the following research, and more specifically in-depth competence on Pituitary Adenomas, as this is something Maria also lives with, as well as further specialization through Yoga Medicine in women-related issues connected to this (2020)

  • Yoga for Concussion, teacher training specialization course taught by neuroscientist and concussion researcher and health care provider specialized in helping athletes with concussions + yoga teacher Dr. Daya Grant, through Yoga Medicine. A course on course on concussions and how to integrate yoga during recovery. (2022)

  • Yoga as a tool to navigate Grief. "Working with Grief – Theory & Therapeutic Application of Yoga." Tought by Dr. Diane Malaspina (2022)

  • Yoga as support and help through Cancer - with Doreen L Wiggins (MD, MHL, FACOG, FACS is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Surgery, and Obstetrics and Gynecology at Brown University specializing in breast cancer surgery and cancer survivorship), Yoga Medicine (2020)

  • Your Brain on Yoga: Insights from Neuroimaging, with the neuroscientist Dr. Daya Grant, Yoga Medicine (2020)

  • Neuroscience and biomechanics course: Neurocentric Education for Health and Fitness Professionals, Z-health Performance (2020)

  • Trauma informed teacher trainings, making Maria a Trauma-informed teacher qualified to work with yoga and mindfulness for PTSD:

    • Mindful Trauma-Informed Teacher Training (20h) through Yoga Medicine with Dr. Ann Bortz, an E-RYT-500 teacher and a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice with a specialty in trauma, PTSD and over 25 years of psychotherapy experience. (2021)

    • Introduction to Mindful, Trauma-Informed Yoga Online Course, with Dr. Ann Bortz, Yoga Medicine (2022)

    • Trauma and Post Traumatic Growth (PTG) and Transformation as a Result of Crisis with Diane Malaspina (M.S.Ed., PhD), Yoga Medicine (2020)

    • Mental Health and Wellbeing (55h) teacher training specialization through Yoga Medicine with Dr. Valerie Knopik, Dr. Diane Malaspina and Tiffany Cruikshank L.Ac., MAOM, the founder of Yoga Medicin. A team of licensed psychologists and researchers on mental health, as well as experts in the field of yoga therapy (2022, currently finishing)

  • Courses in the Vagus Nerve, Brain, Amygdala, Stress responses, Anxiety, Depression, Trauma and PTSD, and how Yoga and Yoga Therapy can help with these. Such as:

    • Internal Medicine 1: Nervous System and Restorative Yoga Teacher Training (55h) through Yoga Medicine. A thorough course on the brain and nervous system and the latest research. Teaching how to use Yoga and Mindfulness to deal with specific neurological conditions such as: Parkison, Alzeimers, Neuropathy or nerve damages, Headache, Stroke, Pain etc. In addition to the in-depth study of Restorative Yoga as an essential tool, this course also includes nerve flossing, MFR, and Hatha Yoga as specific tools for specific neurological challenges. Dr. Amy C. Sedgwick MD, FACEP, E-RYT emergency medicine physician affiliated with several hospitals in the US, medical acupuncturist, and yoga teacher. As well as with Dr. Eding Mvilongo, MScE, MD, FRCPC, an anesthesiologist and Clinical Professor from Montreal, and yoga teacher, and Tiffany Cruikshank L.Ac., MAOM, the founder of Yoga Medicine (2021)

    • Course with Dr. Charles Ethan Paccione: "The Vagus Nerve and its Role in Our Well-Being.Workshop with neuroscience researcher Charles Ethan Paccione, M.S., M.A., Ph.D. Candidate in Medicine and Health Sciences at the Department of Pain Management and Research, Oslo University Hospital. Has performed contemplative neuroscience research at the Center for Healthy Minds, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and has developed the Contemplative Therapy for Cancer Care program at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York. Oslo Yoga. (2020);

    • 6h course with Marit Thorsrud, ‘Development of the nervous system and how to strengthen it. ’Technical course about the research on the brain and nerve system (e.g. vagus nerve, amygdala, prefrontal cortex), how it develops through life, and how our childhood, events, and lifestyles affect how it develops, and functions. And how to use this knowledge in yoga therapy; when working with people with trauma, anxiety, ADHD, or chronic stress. Course with yoga teacher trainer &yogatherapist Marit Thorsrud: background from psychology.

  • Woman's Health:

    • 24h Advanced Teacher Training in Woman’s Health and how Yoga can support Endometriosis, PCOS, menstrual pain, irregular periods, IVF, and much more, with Tiffany Cruikshank L.Ac., MAOM is the founder of Yoga Medicine (2020)

    • Several courses in pelvic floor health and rehab by Physiotherapists (2016),

  • Myofascial Release:

    • 55h Advanced Teacher Training in MFR - Myofascial Release with Tiffany Cruikshank L.Ac., MAOM is the founder of Yoga Medicine (2021, finishing)

    • The Thoracolumbar Fascia: A Research-Based Examination of Its Function and Implications in Low Back Pain with researcher on Fascia Katja Bartsch, BSc, BCSI. "We will look at the anatomy of this multi-layered structure and will discuss how we can integrate specific movements into our yoga practice to foster slide and glide between the layers. We will also look at specific research examining the TLF in relation to chronic low back pain and how we can translate these findings into our yoga teaching." Yoga Medicine, (2020)

  • Diverse courses in Adaptable yoga:

    • Adaptable yoga for seniors, wheelchair and more, IndivYoga (2017)

    • Beyond Chair Yoga with Lisa Muehlenbein, Yoga Medicine (2021).

  • Yoga Wheel – 3h workshop – by Igor Coelho at Oslo Yoga, (2019)

  • 6,5h Vinyasa Yoga Sequencing Teacher Training, focus on Twists in-depth course by Pia Maria Kozlowski, Oslo Yoga (2019)

  • Yin Yoga and sound bath workshop – Ina Løvdal, founder of the Yoga Academy (2019)

  • Dance anatomy, from the dance academy (2005-2007)

  • Certified gymnastics instructor; to teach more advanced gymnastics and competition teams (2001, -04,-06). Seven years of gymnastics teacher experience.

Entrepreneur:

  • Maria has her own Yoga business registered in Norway (Maria Waag Yoga) and is a member of the National Yoga Teacher Association there, as well as the association for Mindfulness in Norway, and Mindfulness Teachers. The classes she offers in Norway or online are usually under this company. Org.:921 274 645

  • Maria is the founder and creator of PlayPauseBe, the Yoga teacher behind it that has designed the concept, the games, and the content of this playful yoga sequencing deck to inspire and help in creating fun and safe self-practices at home, and offline. Log off and tune in. PlayPauseBe is a tool that helps you practice yoga mindfully, target specific benefits, and add variety to your practice. The main product is a deck of 72 cards,  with the opportunity to also get the additional expansion deck of 82 cards if you wish to create longer and more complex yoga sequences. In this product, Maria is building on her own personal long experience with self-practice for 15 years, as well as her knowledge from guiding numerous students to notice common challenges, which cues are most helpful and how etc. She is merging her unique background from Biology, Mindfulness, and Yoga, as well as her community building, marketing experience, and her studies of behavioral economics (part of her Msc) and psychology of motivation and more - to create a unique and empowering interactive learning tool and experience! Maria is the author behind all the guidance of the cards so you can feel that Maria as a teacher somehow is there with you during your practice with gentle, specific, fun, and mindful reminders (typical of her teaching style) and of course also the author of the booklet that comes with, and the downloadable ebook that you get access to once you buy the deck. Visit PlayPauseBe to read more about the product.

Life can become our greatest teacher - Why she chose to devote her life to teach Yoga, Meditation, and Mindfulness:

Maria survived a grave illness in 2013. Yoga, meditation, and mindfulness were vital tools for her to fight through years of chemotherapy and very slow recovery, and to learn to live a new life with chronic pain. This life-changing experience not only humbled her and showed her how adaptable yoga can be to any kind of body or challenge. But is also totally changed her way of practicing yoga, and allowing it to be a tool for internal growth. Despite still living with several health challenges and daily pain, she has transformed her way of living and now lives a happier and more connected life. Because of the way yoga and mindfulness helped her, she chose to change her career path and become a yoga teacher. Read more about Maria's story here.

Other Background:

Maria has a past background as e.g. a public speaker, and lots of experience in media work as a media spokesperson for WWF, as well as community building, event organization, and leadership experience. She has an additional pedagogic background as a supply teacher for several years in Elementary Schools, and as an educator for youth's as part of her work with WWF.

Maria is a person that really cares. Not only about her students, but also about justice topics and equality. In her past, she has been working extensively on environmental issues, and also for example studied female empowerment of young girls recovering from sex trafficking in Jaipur, India.

She's also a PADI Rescue Diver and a certified rock climber. For more non-yoga background visit her LinkedIn profile.

Languages:

Norwegian: enables understanding/speaking all Scandinavian languages.

English: fluent both spoken and written.

Italian: learning (A2 certificate from Società Dante Alighieri Scuola di Lingua. Currently B1-B2). Teaching yoga and Mindfulness in Italian (for example for FENDI, the online platform Lemongrass, and more)

French: basic spoken and written.

Teaching experience:

In addition, to collaborate on a regular basis with yoga studios and online platforms, Maria cares about bringing yoga also out of the studios and to people in a variety of settings. She has been teaching at everything from FENDI’s headquarters in Rome (and at their main, yearly hackathon event) to ELLE Magazine in Norway, Wanderlust 108 in Milan, or the Buddhist Temple in Oslo. 

She is mainly teaching Hatha yoga, Vinyasa flow, Hatha flow, Gentle yoga, Restorative yoga, and Mindful yoga. She is used to working with everything from beginners to advanced, and adapt practices to students with autoimmune illnesses, ME, MS, cancer, and anxiety.

She has also been teaching a lot of Pre- and Postnatal yoga (with or without the babies) in the past, but because of a full schedule there are no group classes available at the moment. If you are in this group and want classes with Maria, please contact her for private classes.

She teaches both private and group classes. To read more about the online offerings through Maria Waag Yoga check out this page. For students' reviews click here or visit her Facebook page for more testimonials.

If you have any questions or want to work with Maria, don't hesitate to contact her!

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Some of who Maria has worked with:

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