Martin Scott is a San Francisco-based yoga teacher and Zobha Circle of Grace member who believes in yoga as a lifestyle.
Martin teaches a vinyasa-based yoga practice that focuses on health and wellness for the body and the mind. His attentive teaching style is accessible to students of all levels. Martin’s classes build strength and flexibility and he encourages students to always maintain a sense of humor and lightheartedness while inspiring them to further their practice through dedication.
As a founding board member of Headstand, Martin strongly believes in a sense of community and how important it is to give back. He recently opened a studio in San Francisco, Union Yoga, and donates 100% of the proceeds from his Saturday morning classes to Headstand. For Martin, this is yoga in action, directly sending the fruits of the classes to those who are less fortunate.
Zobha: How did you start your yoga journey?
Martin Scott: I started my yoga journey during a turbulent time – my father died. I had challenging family dynamics, and I lost my job. There was a yoga studio close to my house, and I decided to see what all the fuss was about. I didn’t know what I was looking for until I found it, or rather, yoga and I found each other. The critical time in my life became less critical and things slowly started to fall into place. That was 11 years ago.
Z: Please share with us your journey to becoming a yoga teacher?
MS: Teacher training was amazing. The first time was with Sri Dharma Mittra at his ashram in New York. He says, “If you can really do yoga at the corner of 23rd & 3rd in Manhattan, then you can do yoga anywhere” and he is 100% correct. It was an amazing experience. I thought that I knew myself inside and out, but I quickly discovered how little I knew. That teacher training was a huge leap forward, not only in the development of my practice and my journey towards becoming a teacher, but in learning who I really am. The second round of training was with Stephanie Snyder and Elise Lorimer and that just took me to a whole new level. They helped build my skills and confidence as a teacher and as a yogi. I can’t imagine how it can get any better, but I’m sure it can somewhere down the road!
Z: What is the best piece of Yoga advice you could give to someone?
Beginners: Go to a Yoga 101 class. Learn the basics, take the time to get some knowledge about yoga, lay a solid foundation for a practice, so you will feel comfortable going to a class. So many people just jump in and start going to classes, but miss out on fundamentals which are so important to carry you through the long, long journey of the practice of yoga.
Intermediates: Find the balance between challenging yourself to try more advanced classes while still focusing on refining your basic practice. So many of the “fancy poses” are variations of basic postures, so when you master the basic form of the pose then the more challenging ones become easier.
Advanced: Keep going back to your roots. Sometimes the most challenging class for an advanced practitioner is Yoga 101. As an advanced yogi, I constantly focus on balancing my strength with my flexibility. When we become advanced practitioners, we are able to really get down to the depths of the mind-body connection and work from the inside out. We focus on harnessing our energy, controlling our breath and using advanced techniques to make the asana practice more fluid.
The great thing about my yoga experience is how it has enhanced me as a whole person. The people closest to me who knew me very well before I started on this path have noticed over time how I seem to be happier, more fulfilled and balanced. I know it is the yoga and for me it is a really, really great thing. It has allowed me to do things that make a difference in the lives of others and help those who are less fortunate than me. According to my teachers, it is my duty to do so. To me, it is just what you do.
Z: What’s your favorite Zobha item?
MS: Right now my favorite Zobha item is the Black Essential Zip Jacket. The fit is perfect, the weight is perfect and black goes with everything. It is just lightweight enough to be a great layering piece but heavy enough to keep me warm. The fit, though, is what really makes it. The height of the collar keeps the neck warm acting like a turtleneck sweater and it hangs low enough to cover the waistband of your shorts or pants. I LOVE IT!
You can practice yoga with Martin at his Union Yoga studio in San Francisco.