Yoga Changed my Life graphic

Yoga helped Maria Timpanaro navigate the loss of one of her brothers and the stress of her former role as a full-time secondary school teacher. Now, she shares how the ancient practice can help others breathe, be and bloom into a more grounded, serene state

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  • NAME: Maria Belen Timpanaro
  • AGE: 36
  • OCCUPATION: Yoga Teacher & Soul Purpose Coach
  • YOGA YEARS: 10

Why did you start yoga?

Throughout my life I have experienced many challenges. The hardest one was losing one of my brothers in 2014. That was a before-and-after moment and my perception of life radically changed. Yoga became an anchor and a safe space in that dark time. I wish I could say my practice was consistent but at the time I hadn’t yet understood how powerfully healing yoga was for me. However, I was grateful for that soul awakening and the on and off practice I would have for years.

When I started working as a secondary school teacher in 2017, pressure and overwhelm led me to look for ways of navigating stress and so I was reunited with yoga. Being a teacher was rewarding but stressful; yoga held me through it all, even when experiencing anxiety and panic attacks. I committed to deeply reconnecting with yoga to cultivate serenity and live in my integrity and truth. Every day I’d wake up two hours before work so I could do yoga and have a slow, grounding morning routine.

Eventually, I not only decided to become a Soul Purpose Coach but also embarked on my 200-hour yoga teacher training and I never let go of the sacred practice again. I left my school job in 2023 and I’m now a coach and yoga teacher, living in beautiful alignment with my dharma

How has yoga changed your life?

Yoga has radically transformed my life by helping me to intentionally anchor myself in the here and now, to be more in flow, breathing through life’s contractions and expansions.

Yoga has helped me stay grounded even through loss, grief, stress, and helped nurture my body, mind and soul. It has allowed me to experience life’s ebbs and flows with a more mindful approach, and to reset when my monkey mind won’t stop; it’s also invited me to connect to a higher power and to myself, cultivating more ease and intentionality in my life. Yoga has awakened a deep serenity within myself

Best yoga moment?

Sacred savasana when my body feels simultaneously heavy and light; body and soul nourished by the practice — the reassuring feeling of the yoga mat holding me and reminding me it’s okay to let go. With students, when they smile after a class and gratefully share their appreciation for how they feel more grounded than they did before. It feels magical to hold space for their sacred healing.

Favourite yoga haunts?

Anywhere I can truly connect to the peace within, to higher consciousness and to be in unison with the flow of life, letting the sound of my breath guide me; ideally, at home or in nature where birdsong fills the air.

Anything else

I believe yoga can empower us to bloom more fully by inviting us to cultivate moments of stillness and of deep inhalations and exhalations in our lives, on and off the mat. I also feel we need a deeper dialogue between our body and soul — and yoga is a magical vessel to awaken and explore this sacred union.

Find Maria Belen Timpanaro on Instagram @breathebebloom

Om Magazine

First published in November 2009, OM Yoga magazine has become the most popular yoga title in the UK. Available from all major supermarkets, independents and newsstands across the UK. Also available on all digital platforms.