Maria Kokinasidis has thousands of hours of teaching under her belt. She started practicing Yoga 18 years ago on her living room floor with old videotapes and books by Judith Laster. When she finally joined a local Hot Yoga studio in 2008, there was no going back; she was hooked.
As cofounder of Yoga BEAR, Maria is very passionate about what she has learned in her many years as a yogi. Her main goal is to make Yoga accessible to all, both in and out of the studio’s heated rooms. She hopes you’ll join a growing group of likeminded people trying to build a beneficial community for all.
As a firm believer in the power of continually learning and challenging oneself, Maria has a long and ongoing history of participation in Yoga trainings, related workshops, community events and much more.
Her certifications include: a 40-hour Yin training with Albert Belshak Bissada; a 30-hour Pre-Post Natal training in Ottawa; a 500-hour Hatha/Moksha Yoga training with head teachers Ted Grand and Jessica Robertson in 2013; and a 100-hour Power Yoga Training in Menla, New York with Baron Baptiste in 2014, among others.
Workshops she has completed include: The History and Philosophy of Yoga with Matthew Remski, Functional Anatomy of Prana with Dr. Pierre Laurier Desjardins, Functional Anatomy of Asana with Dina Tsouluhas, Buddhist and Mindfulness Yoga with Frank Jude, and many others over the years, with great teachers like Seane Corn, Bram Levinson, Karen Gozlan and Audi Gozlan.
Maria also completed a 2-week intensive Reiki level 1 and 2 training with Master Yolanda Fernandez Catoni, enriching her holistic practice even more. She is a strong advocate of meditation and its daily benefits.
When Maria decided she wanted to start Yoga BEAR, it took about a year and a half before the studio doors finally opened. In this time, she worked hard to acquire grants from both the City Of Cote Saint Luc and Femmesor (a private organization that promotes woman entrepreneurs). She also oversaw the extensive 8-month construction of the beautiful, heated studio, from start to finish. Since then, she has assisted 2 other studios with their networking, negotiating, and construction processes. Maria’s business background in sales and negotiations helps too; she co-owned a transport and broker company for over 10 years.
Originally from Cote Saint-Luc, she is committed to giving back to the community where she grew up. Yoga BEAR is one of her many gifts to her neighbourhood. She has also volunteered her time, providing Yoga free of charge at a local mental health clinic.
Outside of the Yogic realm, Maria can be found recharging her energy out in nature, or in her backyard, toiling away in her garden. During the winter months, she is almost certainly on her snowboard, lovingly caressing the slopes. On top of all this, she is a single mother of 2 awesome kids—Steve and Marie-Helene. She’s still hasn’t convinced them to practice Yoga with her, but there is always hope.