EP 4 – Spirit Bird

In this episode, I’m speaking with Marah Arcilla, a yoga practitioner who has been teaching in Hong Kong for over 12 years, about her deep respect for yoga. Although the physical aspect drew her in, she quickly realized yoga had so much more to offer. Marah shares about the emotional and spiritual strength that is birthed through yoga and the community she helps to initiate between her students. We talk about yoga’s evolution over the years and discuss the harmful trend of elevating “performative” yoga using it as a way to prey on vulnerable people. The latter part of the episode features an original fiction narrative written and read by Anjalika Sharma and inspired by Marah’s resilience while facing challenges with her now ex-husband. 

Sprit Bird – A Fictional Story in Print

[01:03] Marah introduction and early career

[09:18] Authenticity of yoga

[18:02] Relationships and resilience

[20:00] Evolution of yoga

[28:21] Yoga therapy instructor training information

[33:26] Spirit Bird – audio fiction story by Anjalika Sharma


Marah first started taking yoga classes when she was an aerialist for Disneyland in Hong Kong.

She was in a harness every day and wanted to be proactive and prevent any serious injuries from doing the same repetitive movements every day.

Marah’s yoga practice focuses on the history, the philosophy, learning the roots, and seeing herself as a practitioner, and a gatekeeper of this tradition.

There is a social media trend for yoga to be more about performance and preying on vulnerable people. Marah focuses on presenting yoga in its purest essence without selling it as a quick fix to people’s problems.

Some view yoga as a way to escape the stresses of life. For Marah, yoga is not an escape. It’s something that arises in you that you have to deal with. It teaches resilience on the mat that then translates to resilience and strength off the mat.

Marah is a yoga practitioner and a hatha yoga teacher of 12 years. She moved to Hong Kong from Manila 16 years ago to work for Disney. The intensity of the city and physical demands of being a professional dancer led her to her yoga practice to seek balance and grounding.

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