Marie-Michelle is an aerial yoga teacher. She began artistic gymnastics at the age of 5 and quickly developed elite skills which led her to an extremely successful career in Gymnastics. Marie-Michelle certainy has passion and dedication to her work and this combined with a creative spirit saw her works, in collaboration with co-founder, Geneviève Bérubé develop a new training method combining Aerial Arts with Yoga & Pilates, they named it AIR Yogalates. We are pleased to hear that Marie-Michelle Faber teaches this training method at retreats all over the world, in an effort to widen its practice as a new phenomen.
We, here at GetLost.Yoga, were lucky enough to have a one-on-one catch up with Circuis De Soleil Artist and Co-Founder of Air Yogalates Marie-Michelle Faber.
GL: Describe yourself in a few words.
My name is Marie-Michelle Faber, we call me Maman-Moon and next month I’ll be 38 years old. My home has been in 30 countries and over 200 cities, so I call myself a world citizen instead of a Canadian citizen. I’m a mom of a beautiful daughter (soon to be 3 years old). She is teaching me patience, being organized and unconditional Love. People describe me as punctual, dedicated, loves detail, creative, smiley, energetic and a monkey hahaha! I work for Cirque du Soleil as an artist/soloist, specialized in aerial hoop and singer for the production Amaluna. And I’ve been touring with them all over the world for almost 20 years. I’m always intrigued by natural ways to heal and I keep studying all kinds of things, I’m right now studying the work of Liz Koch and intent to take Anatomy Trains training in 2017.
GL: What makes you smile?
My daughter’s expressions and laugh!
GL: What is your favorite music to find inspiration?
Peter Gabriel, Garth Stevenson, Dr Toast, Loreena Mckennitt, Dead can dance, Bjork, U2, Yoav, Eivør Pálsdóttir, Elsiane, David Darling and Peter Jack Rainbird is just to name a few, because the list is long… I don’t have a specific style of preference, if it moves me and helps me to connect with what I’m doing, then I love it. ♥
GL: How did yoga first become part of your life?
One time, I decided to take a sabbatical from my work with Cirque du Soleil, and I dedicated this time to learn yoga with Guru Senthil Kumar in India. He accepted only 6 students at a time, which was really the best approach to learn and exchange. I studied the traditional Ashtanga Yoga of Patanjali yoga Sutras. Then I continued to learn more on the specific fields; Yin Yoga, prenatal & postnatalyoga respectively with Bernie Clark, Clare Newman and Dre De Gasquet.
GL: How and when did you get the idea to mix yoga and aerial circus?
It started when Genevieve Berubé (co-founder of AIR Yogalates) contacted me and wanted to join forces together to open a studio of Pilates and Yoga. I embraced the idea and this made me thinking that merging our knowledge and experience as specialist in aerials was something worth to look into. Then our journey took a different direction and we started researching, transposing, and trying to be the devil advocate of all things we came up with. We put to test our sequences to friends and family who we thought they could be a great challenge for us and to make sure we were on the right path in creating something for everyone. Then we put it to the test with some workshops and did surveys so we could know what people had to say.
Our 20+ years of experience plus few years of research dedicated in the project, made Air Yogalates be a success in 2012. Now we are giving teacher trainings all over the world.
I strongly believe that we have merged an amazing and unique way to unite the body-mind-spirit connection and be accessible to all.
Our ultimate goal is to teach our teachers to be confident in teaching Air Yogalates to the public. Meaning we go through multiple variations and styles.
We also want our trainees and students to understand that we all have a unique body and that a yoga ‘’pose’’ is also unique to each of us. A “pose” is constantly different and even though it can be in a complete stillness from the outside, it’s constantly moving at all time inside and out. The picture we have in our head of a “pose” plays a major factor in succeeding are true pose and reach the benefits of it.
Now ask yourself; what makes it moves and be different? The breath, the space you create, letting go of fears and blockages, asking yourself what is stopping me? This makes this moment truly ‘being in the moment’ (a type of meditation). I want to make sure our trainees understand that the breath is the key to unlock all blockages and reach deeper layers of energy and consciousness.
Once our trainees start to be comfortable with the material, we often see creativity in action. New variations are often proposed and this is wonderful, this makes me smile again. It shows us how much creativity is something natural to all.
GL: What is your favourite pose in the hammock?
My favourite pose is definitely to be in the hammock with my daughter and simply enjoy rocking.
However, on a different perspective I would have to say Suspended Half Bridge Pose at Knee Height with all its variations is my best. It’s a hip flexor opener “pose” that activates and releases the built up tension from our daily routines. The famous but infamous ‘sitting pose’; we sit to eat, we sit to drive, most will sit at work and we sit to watch a movie… Sitting on a chair, in just few words, is not good for the posture, not good for the Psoas muscle and very bad for the circulation in our body.
GL: Is Air Yogalates TT for everybody? Do people thinking to do TT need any specific background?
All though Air Yogalates is for everyone, teaching Air Yogalates is something else. We do ask that aspiring teachers have a background prior to the training. We ask either a 200H in Yoga or a Pilates training. We also accept people with a aerial circus background and specialist in health (Kinesiologue, massotherapist, osteopathe, etc).
GL: You are teaching an exciting and new form of physical movement. How do you make your method of teaching different as compared to others?
- Transposing yoga poses to make them accessible for all types of body and ages.
- Teaching the foundations of Pilates philosophy and core awareness.
- Targeting acupressure (acu-points) and meridians lines
via a restorative approach.
- Teaching well designed sequences in order to be taught in different styles.
- Research – Creativity – Respect
- We provide a step-by-step, complete instruction guided manual (200 pages) with photos.
- AIR Yogalates is accredited via Yoga Alliance YACEP®
GL: What is your most challenging yoga pose?
Any poses where I need to balance and Lotus – Lotus pose is not easy on my knees and fear can come over me as I move into the ‘’pose’’. So it all depends on my state of mind and how I approach it. Sometimes stepping back is a wiser decision and sometimes I’m open to accepting the challenge.
GL: What’s life like when you’re not in the hammock or in the air?
A mama full time! Haha! I like to draw, paint, play music & dance, and discover new places with my family and making good healthy food for my daughter.
GL: You are still travelling a lot so where do you call home?
My heart, without a doubt, is my home ♥ I have the chance to not have a material home and this is a very interesting way to detach from material things. But one day I will settle down with my family. We want to build a house off-the-grid; eco-concept and a green house. That’s been a project (or a dream) if I can say.
Marie-Michelle Faber Yoga Teacher E-RYT® 200, RPYT®, YACEP®
Co-founder of AIR YOGALATES®
Cirque du Soleil Artist