'We are all one'

Maria Del Gaudio Geronazzo (right) and Rosa Briant at Midway Beach.
Picture by Liam Clayton

Rosa Briant talks to Maria Del Gaudio Geronazzo about her journey to become a yoga practitioner and reiki therapist . . .

In an era of trendy yoga styles, expensive work-out clothes and generally commercialised spirituality, meeting a reiki therapist and yoga practitioner like Maria is a rarity. As she opened the door to invite me into her home, I felt an undeniable sense of empathy, calmness, welcoming and open-hearted acceptance. It is this same feeling that Maria imparts to all the men, women and children who attend her yoga classes or reiki healing sessions.

Brazilian-born yoga and reiki practitioner, Maria Del Gaudio Geronazzo, along with husband Fabio Geronazzo, a pilates instructor, brought an abundance of knowledge and experience with them here to New Zealand when they arrived in 2003.

Since then, they have travelled around teaching and practising before finally choosing Gisborne as the place to settle.
In the 1990s, Maria lived a corporate lifestyle in Brazil, working in a bank.

“Practising yoga gave me life,” she said recountin her first-ever class where she understood the Sanskrit mantras as though she had learned them before, in a past life.

She knew in that moment she had stepped one foot onto the road which would lead her through the rest of her life.

However, for many years, she maintained the corporate lifestyle to support herself while studying, practising and learning as much as she could about yoga.

“It took me a while to feel ready to teach,” she said.

“To me it was clear that teaching would be a great responsibility, and so I kept ‘eating’ all the books, and doing all the courses I could to make sure I wasn’t going to teach something that could be a creation of my own ego. I always wanted to be true to the philosophy.”

“When I am there, I am there only as a channel. I feel teaching is a mission, almost like a karma. It has nothing to do with becoming famous or a ‘guru’.”

These days, when every second person you meet is a yoga teacher with an Instagram page and a constant need for more ‘followers’, more ‘likes’, more validation and recognition in the pursuit of social media fame, Maria was a breath of fresh air.

Adding elements of distraction into the practice of yoga is actually the opposite of what yoga is, moving further and further away from what is real.

“I aim for an authentic practice,” she said.

“It is not a fitness class. We don’t need goats or any other trend in this time. In my humble experience, a yoga practice done properly allows us to feel that the ‘ego voice’ quietens and the mind fluctuates less — those are the moments when it is possible to feel the bliss, the magic. We are nothing but also everything at the same time.”

Maria also explained how her journey began.

“Reiki is the universal healing energy and that is how I reconnect and protect myself. It is sacred work to me. Like yoga,” she said.

“I became qualified in 2009 after having received it once a week, for years. I had to heal myself from what was happening in my life at that moment, and after that I felt ready to learn again and offer the service of being a channel.”

In receiving reiki from Maria she asks only for a koha in return.

“I always knew I would never make a lot of money, and I knew it would not be an ‘easy’ path in life, but I didn’t really care.

I knew I wanted to do something fulfilling, on a deeper level than materialistic gain,” she said.
“Working with yoga and reiki is almost like living as an artist. It’s a spiritual path, so it has to be real, and real sometimes can be hard.

“I see energy, pure energy. I see the spirit,” said Maria.

“We are all one.”

Rosa Briant talks to Maria Del Gaudio Geronazzo about her journey to become a yoga practitioner and reiki therapist . . .

In an era of trendy yoga styles, expensive work-out clothes and generally commercialised spirituality, meeting a reiki therapist and yoga practitioner like Maria is a rarity. As she opened the door to invite me into her home, I felt an undeniable sense of empathy, calmness, welcoming and open-hearted acceptance. It is this same feeling that Maria imparts to all the men, women and children who attend her yoga classes or reiki healing sessions.

Brazilian-born yoga and reiki practitioner, Maria Del Gaudio Geronazzo, along with husband Fabio Geronazzo, a pilates instructor, brought an abundance of knowledge and experience with them here to New Zealand when they arrived in 2003.

Since then, they have travelled around teaching and practising before finally choosing Gisborne as the place to settle.
In the 1990s, Maria lived a corporate lifestyle in Brazil, working in a bank.

“Practising yoga gave me life,” she said recountin her first-ever class where she understood the Sanskrit mantras as though she had learned them before, in a past life.

She knew in that moment she had stepped one foot onto the road which would lead her through the rest of her life.

However, for many years, she maintained the corporate lifestyle to support herself while studying, practising and learning as much as she could about yoga.

“It took me a while to feel ready to teach,” she said.

“To me it was clear that teaching would be a great responsibility, and so I kept ‘eating’ all the books, and doing all the courses I could to make sure I wasn’t going to teach something that could be a creation of my own ego. I always wanted to be true to the philosophy.”

“When I am there, I am there only as a channel. I feel teaching is a mission, almost like a karma. It has nothing to do with becoming famous or a ‘guru’.”

These days, when every second person you meet is a yoga teacher with an Instagram page and a constant need for more ‘followers’, more ‘likes’, more validation and recognition in the pursuit of social media fame, Maria was a breath of fresh air.

Adding elements of distraction into the practice of yoga is actually the opposite of what yoga is, moving further and further away from what is real.

“I aim for an authentic practice,” she said.

“It is not a fitness class. We don’t need goats or any other trend in this time. In my humble experience, a yoga practice done properly allows us to feel that the ‘ego voice’ quietens and the mind fluctuates less — those are the moments when it is possible to feel the bliss, the magic. We are nothing but also everything at the same time.”

Maria also explained how her journey began.

“Reiki is the universal healing energy and that is how I reconnect and protect myself. It is sacred work to me. Like yoga,” she said.

“I became qualified in 2009 after having received it once a week, for years. I had to heal myself from what was happening in my life at that moment, and after that I felt ready to learn again and offer the service of being a channel.”

In receiving reiki from Maria she asks only for a koha in return.

“I always knew I would never make a lot of money, and I knew it would not be an ‘easy’ path in life, but I didn’t really care.

I knew I wanted to do something fulfilling, on a deeper level than materialistic gain,” she said.
“Working with yoga and reiki is almost like living as an artist. It’s a spiritual path, so it has to be real, and real sometimes can be hard.

“I see energy, pure energy. I see the spirit,” said Maria.

“We are all one.”

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