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Maria Di Camillo, Director of the Yoga Program at the Hockessin Athletic Club

Jan 05, 2015 06:24PM ● Published by Kerigan Butt

(Editor's note: This article first appeared in our Winter 2013 edition.)

As the new director of the Yoga program at the Hockessin Athletic Club, Maria Di Camillo has already infused the program with her energy, enthusiasm and innovation. We recently caught up with Maria to discuss her approach to Yoga, how it's taught at the HAC, her goal to someday combine Yoga with food, and her imagined future dinner with a rock star.  

Q: Since becoming the Director of the Yoga Program at the HAC earlier this year, what imprints of your teaching have influenced the direction of the program?
A: My vision is to encourage and inspire my students to discover and develop their own, creative, authentic, and joyful exploration of Yoga while cultivating a sense of community. We already have very fitness minded people at HAC, and the staff at HAC are all huge supporters of Yoga. My goal is to educate and share my passion of Yoga. I want to empower students to gain a deeper understanding of Self, to integrate breathing and movement and to grow in strength, flexibility and balance. Also, Yoga at HAC is open to everyone.

Q: Although the popularity of Yoga has increased dramatically in the United States in the last decade or so, there is still the perception that its practice is confined to a relatively small cross-section of our population. Too many people think it's an unreachable form of exercise. How do you dispel that myth in your program?
A: I encourage them to come in and try their first class for free. People are under the perception that they are "not flexible" or they "can't touch their toes" so they can't do Yoga. It's not true. I often tell people that we all ride a different wave and there is a style of Yoga for everyone.

Q: Everyone finds Yoga in their own different way. What was your life like before you began to practice it, and what led you to your practice?
A: I was 29 years old, and was looking for a positive change in my own personal growth. A dear friend said I needed Yoga and she was right. She took me to my first class in the Philly area, and I knew at that moment that this would be a life long journey for of me. Yoga has brought so much happiness into my life and has allowed my to follow my own dreams and listen to my own authentic voice.

Q: For the person who is considering the idea of attempting Yoga, what advice do you have for them?

A: Just Do It! Yoga promotes positive transformation and the natural connection between mind, body, and spirit that no other work out does.

Q: What do you provide in our programs that, in your eyes, sets your program apart from other Yoga classes, centers and philosophies? How are you unique?
A: We have an eclectic and unique group of fantastic teachers who come from different schools of teaching and practice different styles of Yoga. We are passionate about all styles of Yoga and encourage our students to find their own unique niche. We offer we offer special classes and workshops, such as Yoga and Reiki, nutritional lectures, Yoga fests and Yoga for cancer survivors. I also have a very vast eclectic style of music on my play lists that the students of all generations enjoy. We encourage lots of joy, freedom and fun!

Q: What is your favorite spot in either Hockessin or Greenville?
A: Lately, it has been my backyard in Hockessin.  We have an outside pizza oven that I assisted my boyfriend in making. I love making authentic Neapolitan style pizzas with my family. My dream is to have yoga/pizza making retreats.  The ingredients are always simple, healthy, and fresh! I love Yoga and food so much, and would love to someday incorporate them together.

Q: What persons, living or not, would you invite to your dinner party?
A: I love having dinner with my family at home, with my parents, my grandmother and my brother's family, whenever I can. I would love to have my dad's mother, who is deceased, with us. She always entertained and instilled high values in me to set a nice table, and to serve with my best dinner ware and stem ware. She, along with my parents, taught me the importance of preparing meals and sharing them with your family, friends and loved ones. I am a also huge fan of Richie Sambora (guitarist for Jon Bon Jovi), and would love to have him over for a pasta dinner.

Q: What food is always in your refrigerator?
A: I love fresh greens, like spinach, kale, broccoli rabe, etc.


Richard L. Gaw


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