Maria Karastergiou

athens
Greece

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'A magical accord quickened and attuned
to ethereal symphonies the old earthly strings;
it made
The body's means the spirit's acolytes.'
Sri Aurobindo:Savitri, Book I, Canto Iii
Maria is a qualified, experienced yoga teacher practicing in Athens, Greece and travelling across the globe teaching yoga in different retreats, workshops, seminars. She studied Psychology, Philosophy & Education in Canada (Concordia University, Bachelor) as well as in Paris (PhD, Universite Paris VIII, Paris, France). She followed Andree Tabouret Keller’s seminar ‘Anthropologie du Langage’ in the ‘Ecole des Hautes Etudes’, in Paris. Attended a large number of seminars, conferences, workshops, teacher trainings in yoga, personal growth, philosophy of yoga, meditation, pranayama, sanscrit, anatomy of breathing, rebirth, reiki, mandala painting, kirtan, sound healing meditation, vipassana meditation, healing movemnt, dance, throughout the world.
After 15 years in Paris, studying & working there she moved in Athens, Greece to teach yoga and psychology at the University. Along with different approaches in therapy that she came in contact, like Psychoanalysis, Process Work, Psychosynthesis etc she studied Breath work, yoga, meditation, last years she's teaching different styles of yoga, especially hatha, astanga, vinyasa, as well as her own approach Auroyoga. As an Auroyoga teacher Maria emphasizes the coordination of breath work (pranayama) with the postures (asanas) along with the meditation (dhyana) to reach the desired goal.[
She has written three books, two in french : "Montessori et le Probleme d'Inclusion des Classes', 'Post Babel', and the third in Greek, «Ωδη στη Διαφορετικοτητα» (tran. “Ode to Alterity') and she's preparing a new one in english on yoga from a spiritual and evolutionary approach.
Working with children or with adults in various parts of the world for the last 21 years, has enriched her life. Different settings, heterogenous languages, diverse countries, various approaches, many teachers have contributed to the creation of her own teaching approach. An integration of her inner guidance, professional training in yoga, education, philosophy, psychology, personal experience and research in alternative approaches to well-being and various spiritual traditions. 
She’s an enthusiastic spiritual, raw vegan yoga and personal growth teacher as well as a therapist, dedicating herself to ongoing research in these areas, to her inner work, and to exploring better ways to make the synthesis & integrate these things in her work.
Following closely the unique style and experience of each individual, trusting the inherent wisdom in every person and in the process itself each yoga class, seminar or retreat constitutes a creative process.
Maria ever since she was young, has been fascinating by spirituality and intercultural the years she has conducted numerous researches across Europe on intercultural education. She has attended a lot of seminars, courses, conferences, workshops to learn facilitation work for diversity issues.
A lot of people from different countries appreciare her yoga classes, seminars and retreats for her ability to speak Greek, English & French combined with her life experiences in different countries. Experiencing different cultures has been an important part of her life path, since she has been given many opportunities throughout her life to travel and dialogue with people in many places across the globe. Many individuals living in multi-cultural situations have commented that they feel understood because of her direct intercultural experiences. Honoring diversity she enjoys working with people from different linguistic & cultural origins. She feels privileged to accompany the unfolding, of a person’s soul & assist to its evolving.
The journey she has taken as a yoga teacher, a personal growth life coach, a psychologist, a psychopedagogue, a university lecturer, a mother of a french/greek child and now as a leading advocate in Greece for the synthesis of yoga practice and the philosophy of yoga helps bring awareness to our world's current materialisic inclinations.
Her path was and continues to be a long, winding and sometimes a challenging one. It's challenging to let go, to evolve, to be more humble, to lower the Ego, to be less rational and more compassionate, to open the heart, to be more grateful to the gift of life, to connect on a deeper level with the Divine Consciousness. She decided, however, as Socrates suggusted in the ancient times that the more beautiful and more fulfilling path is the more difficult one. Regardless of the difficulty of the path she's determined to learn her erthly lessons not through suffering but through joy! By being present, conscious, willing to change, to transform, to travel, to be more tolerant, open, loving,
As a Greek native her inspiration from yoga originated of her inspiration of the notion of Beauty in Ancient Greece. Because the practice of yoga is an art. This art of right living was practiced in India thousands years ago. Patanjali's Yoga Sutras and Agni Yoga, the yoga of Living Ethics constitute the philosophical foundation of her teaching. From Ancient India to Ancient Greece and then back to modern India throughout the centuries Enlightened Teachers are coming to teach the Truth, which is obviously the same. In the course of centuries a term may lose its original meaning. It's thus necessary to be replaced by a word closer to the current period. 'Updating' the Truth for humanity is so precious and meaningful for us but sometimes dangerous for them. Socrates was poisoned, Plato was sold as a slave, Pythagoras' school was burned
They came from different origins, they were living in different countries, their main concepts were named differently. Paradoxically the ideas behind the names were identical : Truth, Virtue, Divine Love and Beauty, Justice, deep love and connection with the Divine Consiousness, Solemnity, Ethical
The East and the West meet and connect harmoniously in their teachings. Sri Aurobindo, updating the Truth for humanity in his era, occasionnally refers to Plato and Pythagoras to connect the East with the Western world. To show that even Plato's ideas come from the same source, from the Ancient Wisdom.
We hold them dearestly in our hearts for awakening our Consiousness, for enlightening our path, for assisting us to our ascent towards the Divine.

THE DELIGHT OF BREATHING : Ujjayi breath
Breathing is more related with the meditative part of yoga. Ujjayi breathing is used continuously throughout the yoga classes. Ujjayi breathing is a breath technique employed in a variety of Taoist and Yoga practices. It is sometimes called "the ocean breath". Unlike some other forms of pranayama, the ujjayi breath is typically done in association with asana practice.
Ujjayi is a diaphragmatic breath, which first fills the lower belly (activating the first and second chakras), rises to the lower rib cage (the third and fourth chakras), and finally moves into the upper chest and throat (fifth chakra). The technique is very similar to the three-part Tu-Na breathing found in Taoist Qigong practice. Inhalation and exhalation are both done through the nose. "Ujjayi" comes from the Sanskrit prefix "ud" (उद्) added to it and root "ji" (): "ujji" (उज्जि), meaning "to be victorious".[Ujjayi breath means "victorious breath". It's a balancing and calming pranayama technique which increases oxygenation and builds internal body heat, tones the lungs, encourages the free and healthy flow of prana while helping to regulate blood pressure and bringing oxygen to all parts of the lungs."
Harmonizing breathing with movement during the yoga practice heats up the body, cleans and thins the blood, so that it can consequently flow freely. The use of Bandhas: Mula Bandha (Perineum lock) Uddiyana Bandha (Abdominal lock) and Jalandhara Bandha (Chin lock) throughout the practice redirect the flow of prana, from the lower to the more refined upper chakras. The bandhas in conjunction with Ujjayi breathing, can awaken the kundalini power, which is coiled and dormant in the second chakra.
Vinyasa in coordination with breath and Bandhas, enhances blood distribution, and eradicates toxins delivering them out of the body through transpiration. Transforming it into a pure, strong, healthy, aligned, flexible and sacred temple for the evolution of our consciousness.
The use of Drishtis (gaze), towards specific points of the body during the asansas will keep the mind in the present moment. If the mind centers its attention solely on inhalation, exhalation, and drishtis, this concentration will lead the way to Dhyana (meditation). Maria's yoga teaching, in other words, is meditation through movement.

Education
TRAINING in Partner Yoga (2009) with Jamie McMaster
SEMINAR in Ashtanga Yoga (summer 2008) with Manju Jois
SEMINAR in Sivananda Yoga (winter 2008), with Joly in Kerala, India
SEMINAR in Ashtanga Yoga (summer 2006) with Caroline Bourlinguez -
TEACHER TRAINING in Ashtanga Yoga (2005) with Chtistine Karitinos-Ireland
TRAINING in Ashtanga yoga, (2004-2007) with Christine Karitinos-Ireland, in Athens, Greece
TRAINING in Vinyasa Yoga (1998-2001) with Nota Rota, in Athens, Greece
PhD. in Education (1994), Department of Education, University Paris VIII, Paris, France. Mention “Très Honorable”
In Education;, University Paris VIII, Paris, France
, In Child Psychology & Psychopathology, University Paris VIII, Paris, France,
Bachelor in Psychology, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada.

Teaching Experience
Vinyasa Yoga teacher, in Hikkadwe, in Tiranagama (April -Mai 2014)
Vinyasa Yoga Teacher in NIlambe (Mars - April 2014), Nilambe Mediatation Center, Sri Lanka
Vinyasa Yoga Teacer in Pondichery (February 2014), in Sri Aurobindo Ashram
Vinyasa Yoga Teacher in Auroville, (November 2012- Mars 2014) in the International Pavillon
Ashtanga Yoga teacher in 'Yogaessence' affiliate yoga center in Pelion, (2011-2012). Greece
Ashtanga Yoga teacher in 'Yogaessence' affiliate yoga center in Hydra Island, (winter 2009-summer 2010), Greece
Ashtanga Yoga Teacher in Philippines-(retreat summer -2009)
Ashtanga Yoga Teacher in Gigli Islands- (retreat summer 2010)
Yoga teacher :2005- today, Creator & director of the Healing Center “YOGAESSENCE”, in Athens, Greece
Lecturer :2000 – 2001, University of Thrace, Greece. Courses : Developmental Psychology, Social Psychology, Introduction to Psychology
Lecturer :1999 – 2001, University of Rouen, Greece. Courses : Intercultural Psychology, Clinical Psychology, Developmental Pxychology, Research Methods
Lecturer: 1998 - 2000, Pedagogical Institute “Pates”, Athens, Greece, Courses: Developmental Psychology, Educational Psychology
Lecturer: 1990 - 1992, University of Thessaly, Greece. Courses: : Child Psychology, Introductory Psychology, Educational Psychology

Clinical Experience

Child Psychologist (winter 2013-21), with the children of the Association Chu Man Chou of Tibetan refugees of MacLeon Gudge, Dharamsala (volunteer)
Child psychologist (2012-2013) 'New Era School' in Auroville, India, 'The Kindergatten School', Auroville, (volunteer)
Psychotherapist (1998 - 2011), own practice, in Athens, Greece
Psychopedagogue (1998 – 2000), LFH (Lycée Franco/Hellenic) , Athens Greece
Psychopedagogue, (1992 – 1998), Institute Moissons Nouvelles, Paris, France

Publications
'Auroyoga, Roads to Bliss', english edition, (under publication)
“Post Babel”, (in french), Ed. Create Space, 2013
“Ode to Alterity” (in greek), Ed. Create Space, 2012
'Le probleme Piagetien d'inclusion des classes et la pedagogie Montessori', Ed. Grin, 2011
"Enfance, Cultures, Langage(s), Du biculturalisme familial a la psychopedagogie interculturelle", Editions Universitaires de Lille, France (1994)

Articles
'From the West to the East, from Plato to Sri Aurobindo', Ritam 2014, (under publication)
“Enfance, bilinguisme, biculturalisme”, Les Cahiers, Ed. Desmos, Paris, France, (Déc. 2004)
“Entre deux langues : clinique du couple interculturel”, Sphinx, Paris, (June 2001)
“Infancy, Bilingualism, Biculturalism”, Post at the Congress of the European Early Childhood Education Research Association (EECERA), Université De Sorbonne, Paris, France, (Sept. 1996)
“Interculturalism & Identity Problems of the Greek Children Living Abroad”, Seminar of Formation for the Teachers of the Hellenic Schools in France, Maison Ηéllénique in Paris (Jan. 1995)

“Bilinguisme in Early Childhood”, Revue de Linguistique Appliquée, No 10, (1994)
etc
Grants and Fellowships
Scholarship, International Center for Research Grants (), Athens, Greece. A four years award to accomplish post graduate studies in France.

Languages
Fluent in Greek, French and English
Certification for teaching French
Certification for teaching English

Skills and Qualifications
Vipassana meditation
Sound healing meditation
Personal Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy at the Institute de Psychanalyse of the SPP (Societe' Psychanalytique de Paris, (trans. French Pychoanalytic Society)
Bilingual Education Certificate
Intercultural Communication Specialisation
Minor in Sociology, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada,
'L'Anthropologie du Langage', seminar, Ecole des Hauts Etudes, Paris, France, Formation
Reiki formation
Art drama seminar
African dance training
Egyptian dance training
ChiQong Training
Scuba Diving Advanced Diploma
Driving Licence
References
Excellent references available upon request

Maria Karatergiou, PhD is the founder & director of the Yoga Center “Auroyoga”, in Athens, Greeece. The objective of the creation of this healing center is to accompany people to a holistic living through a healthy nutrition, Auroyoga practice, psychotherapy & counselling. Aims to transform individuals' lives from dysfunctional to functional. Aims to self-growth, to assist individuals to evolve, become self-aware, expand their
People who come to our center, through contact with psychotherapists, competent qualified yoga teachers, professional shiatsu, reflexology practitioners, transform & metamorphose their lives. In a high aesthetically setting with well educated, cultivated, professional, compassionate people, our holistic practice integrates all these dimensions into a coherent system with the objective to accompany people from fear to love, from ignorance to knowledge, from solitude to healthy relating, from a rational, materialistic lifestyle to a self conscious, spiritual way of living.

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