Q&A Interview with Yoga Teacher Trainer Marianne Agerskov

It’s not about the price, but about the journey. Taking an YTT is the ultimate self-care. During this upcoming 200H Vinyasa teacher training, you will certainly find yourself able to teach and guide your own students if this is your dream, but it will also be a personal experience for life, deepening your own practice and understanding of your inner and outer world, no matter the gold, it’s a step for the rest of your life journey.

Marianne Agerskov
By Isabella Magnoni

Isabella: What advice would you give to aspiring yoga teachers interested in the upcoming 200 hour YTT?

Marianne: It’s not about the price, but about the journey. Taking an YTT is the ultimate self-care. During this upcoming 200H Vinyasa teacher training, you will certainly find yourself able to teach and guide your own students if this is your dream, but it will also be a personal experience for life, deepening your own practice and understanding of your inner and outer world, no matter the gold, it’s a step for the rest of your life journey.   

Isabella: How does your work as a yoga teacher complement your work as a practicing physician?

Marianne: I continuously, and more and more, combine my two worlds on a daily basis; as a yoga teacher I draw on my knowledge about human anatomy and physiology, but also my professional experiences with meeting people `where they are´, communicating openly and bravely, embracing and accepting needs and request from every unique student without any agendas. I often have medical questions from students, but a very big part of my professionalism as a doctor is to kindly let students know that I’m there as their yoga teacher, and not as their medical doctor. That said, of course my teachings are equally informed by my personal experiences and my professional knowledge as a medical doctor.

Isabella: What role do you see yoga and contemplative practices like it playing in modern healthcare? 

Marianne: In my doctor-job my ‘yogic-world’ helps me every day. In relation to the patients I see and treat, I use mindfulness and pranayama on a daily basis to help them find a little calm and ease in a very stressful and sometimes painful situation. In relation to my colleagues, my contribution to conversations about stress and burnout, which is very evident in the medical field, in anaesthesia in particular, often centers from my knowledge and experience with yoga, mindfulness and pranayama, and in relation to my-self, my deeply felt experiences and the knowledge I obtained during my teacher training and via continuous self-studies helps and guides me to stay on my path.      

Isabella: What has your experience in the field of healthcare-giving, both as a medical worker and a yoga teacher, taught you about self-care?

Marianne: Self-care is something you choose! But first you need to be aware of the importance. For many years, while I was in medical school, had small children and worked extra jobs, I never took time for myself. I never stopped to listen, never gave any thought as to why I felt alone, sad, anxious, didn’t sleep, had a stomach pain ect. To be quite frank, I thought of this ‘self-care’ as spa-treatments and pedicures for spoiled hausfraus. I saw myself as this kind of power woman that just pushed through, and I was the best, most perfect young mum and doctor you ever saw. In a very strugglesome time of my life, I was forced to stop. To take the time. My body gave up, and my mind too. I went into depression and what is best described as a life-crisis.

Yoga became, somewhat by coincidence, my way to learn the importance of self-care. That self-care is taking the time and to allow space. Taking the time to work with the body and the mind through the breath. To learn self-compassion. Yoga gave me all of these things.

Still, in my job as an anaesthesiologist, I work long and odd hours, I meet patients in the most vulnerable, and sometimes trumatic times of their lives and I’m there for them; as a medical professional, but also as a human being. 

Isabella: What does this look like in your personal practice? 

Marianne: From experience, the feeling of burnout is never more than an arm’s length away. In order to show up for my patients, I need to take care of myself first.

This is why I insist on showing up in my own practice, and not only as a teacher. This is why you will see me on the mat next to you at Yum, and this is why all I teach and share in my own classes is shared from deeply felt experience. This is why self-care is taking.care.yourself!  – and this is why I end all of my classes saying: “I hope for you that you go out into the rest of your day being kind, compassionate and forgiving towards yourself FIRST, so that you can be kind, compassionate and forgiving towards the people you have around you”.      

Isabella: How long have you been working with Kostis in Healthcare Yoga?

Marianne: Kostis was and is MY yoga teacher. He is the teacher I go to for my own practice still, and he taught me all I know about sequencing during my own YTT. I usually say that finding the yoga teacher that resonates with you is like blind-dating. You need to see what’s out there, but it usually doesn’t take more than the first impression to know if the match is right.

Isabella: What is your collaboration like, and why did you decide to partner up? 

Marianne: Kostis’ incomparable skills in creating informed and creative sequences, his hard work and indefatigable will to improve his students physical and mental well being together with his relaitable “no bullshit” attitude immediatly spoke to and inspired me. When I began teaching and founded healthcareYOGA, a collaboration was obvious. We share visions and ideas as well as professionalism in the healthcare sector with Kostis being a nurse trained in traumatology and me being an anaesthesiologist, I guess I just found my match.    

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