Blind introductions are an awkward affair.
Will the conversation flow? Will there be a rapport? Will this woman, so sincerely described as warm and delightful, wonder why I have been imposed upon her?
When I finally meet with Marg my fears are allayed. Once warmed with coffee and chai tea, our conversation flows and Marg’s earlier nervousness melts away. Mine, too.
Our mutual friend, Marissa, is one of the three yogis of Amber Tree and I’m interviewing Marg for the website. Marg is a long-time Amber Tree patron and, evidently, a special one.
Before our meeting, Marissa tells me a little about Marg. It’s been some time since the first conversation but the general sentiment stuck with me. Marg is wonderful. She’s genuine. She has a great story to tell about yoga. Marg is special. There’s that word again.
Marg’s yoga story is one of openness, balance and friendship and is testament to the fact that you can take the unbeaten path at any age. It might just be the best thing you will ever do.
How Marg first came to visit Amber Tree is a story of happy happenstance.
“A friend of mine was unwell and we went to fetch medicine,” she says.
“As we walked to the pharmacy we heard loud noises coming from an empty shop and I went and looked inside.”
It was the opening of Fitness Booth started by Amber Tree’s yogi, Amy. All three Amber Tree owners, Amy, Marissa and Rebecca were there.
“There was a lot of yahooing, laughing, running around in circles and banging on instruments,” she says. This was the unlikely start of a beautiful friendship.
“(From then) once a week I would walk down the street and around the corner for yoga.”
Marg later says that yoga makes you want to know more; it makes you more open to things. I can’t help but wonder how much more open to things you need to be than to hear a great ruckus from an empty shop and not only peer in, but join in, and return, time and time again. It was Marg’s time to take the unbeaten path.
Marg’s work life once consumed the lion’s share of her energy.
Her working career, dominated by her long employment with a bank, saw Marg work punishing hours. She describes life in banking as “very left brained, very driven, very focused,” and it seems a far cry from this relaxed and engaging woman in front of me.
It was through the bank that Marg first encountered yoga.
“The class was organised by the bank and it was held at 6 o’clock (in the evening) so it disrupted the day,” she says.
“I would find myself in savasana with tears rolling down my face, but I wasn’t really crying.” It wasn’t yet Marg’s time to embrace yoga.
Circumstances would have it that six months ago Marg’s position at the bank was made redundant and she found a new role with a “small, great team” and working just three days a week.
This allowed her life to achieve a certain balance and saw yoga play a far greater role – it would become Marg’s vocation. She is currently half way through her yoga instructor training.
As a woman who considers that she has gained so much from yoga, it is no surprise that Marg’s path is now leading her to help others. As a teacher Marg plans to work with people in their 50s and 60s, including those new to yoga.
“I’d really like to focus on people my age and older because we are at a different stage of life,” she says.
“It could bring (the students) real relaxation, lots of happiness and a soul enriching journey.”
As it has for Marg. When she speaks of yoga her happiness is palpable. When she speaks of her friends, she hints at her nourished soul.
Friendship… and India
Throughout Marg’s pursuit of yoga many friendships have flourished. She has made three great friends, all regulars at Amber Tree. And then there is Marissa.
Marg’s fondness for her instructor overwhelms as she delightedly speaks of Marissa’s abilities as a teacher and describes the powerful impact the relationship has had on her. For it was Marissa who turned up one day at the studio with an advertisement for an Indian yoga retreat and persuaded Marg to go. Marg assures me she would not have gone had it been anyone else.
Armed with her camera Marg visited India, opening herself to an intense new experience that sparked great fervour for the home of yoga and its people. So much so that she has since returned with another friend from the studio and through her wonderful photographs, shared at our meeting, she sought to capture a little more of the essence of India.
“(The first time) it was dipping my toe in, it was contained,” she says. The second time Marg ventured further down the unbeaten path and it was even more exhilarating.
Was she apprehensive about India? I ask.
“It’s like the yoga community,” she assures me, “the community will look after you.
“It all sounds a bit dotty but it’s true.
“If you allow it, it will look after you.
“It’s the same with India.”
To Marg, her love for yoga is more than her morning practice as the sun rises. It is more than the familiar walk to Amber Tree. It is more than being open to endless possibilities. It is more than India and it is even more than having wonderful friends.
“It encompasses everything,” she says.
Story by Suzie Drayton. Photography by Marg.