By Sherri Coner, Contributing Writer
MILFORD – Fifteen years ago, Marsha Mancuso never predicted that cleaning supplies and curiosity would result in her becoming a yoga instructor. “At the time, I had two sons at home,” Mancuso explained. “I needed extra money. So I took a job cleaning businesses in the middle of the night.”
Yoga shows up in part-time job
When a potential new client, Kathy Mann, offered an unusual payment suggestion, Mancuso’s curiosity made her happily nod. “I agreed to clean Kathy’s studio once a month for free yoga lessons and a little money,” she said. Entering the studio that first time, dressed for yoga instead of mopping, was mesmerizing. “I loved being there,” said Mancuso. “I loved learning yoga. I loved the atmosphere. And I loved my teacher.”
Yoga class chases away stress
While perfecting the downward dog pose and the tree pose, Mancuso realized that worries and stress vanished during yoga classes. This devoted wife, mom and employee had a lot on her shoulders. Her youngest child, Mark, was born with Down Syndrome and needed extra attention and guidance. She was also the family glue for husband Paul and their three older children.
Whenever possible, Mancuso squeezed yoga classes into her hectic calendar. It was a positive asset to her life.
Embracing yoga’s health benefits
As the Mancuso children got older and more involved with extracurricular activities, their mom had more time to tie back her hair and don a pair of leggings. “I began to go to yoga classes more and more,” Mancuso recalled. When life got in the way of yoga, she realized changes in herself, and none of them were good. “Around that time, I was in my early 50s,” she said. “When I hadn’t gone to classes for a while, I noticed a change in my posture. I was leaning forward.”
Fate brings a twist
Six years into this payment arrangement for cleaning the studio, Mann offered her loyal student a life-changing opportunity. “Kathy approached me about teacher training,” Mancuso explained.
Mancuso didn’t care how difficult life would likely be while she completed the initial 200 grueling training hours. This yoga-loving warrior juggled a lot of kids and schedules. And she passed yoga training with flying colors. “At the end of the first training, I was just thinking, ‘There is so much more I want to know,’” Mancuso said. Participating in an additional 300-hour training requirement helped quench her curiosity.
A yoga instructor is born
After passionately soaking up all 500 training hours, Mancuso was delighted to teach breathing exercises, various yoga positions and poses. Through it all, she grew even more grateful about the unusual way she discovered one of the oldest physical disciplines. She was also proud of the perseverance required to get there.
New level of yoga benefits mom and son
When a cable TV station came to the small city in 2013, this resourceful woman decided to take yoga to a new level. But this time, she included her son Mark. “Mark has always been interested in photography,” said Mancuso. When she confidently pitched her idea to the cable station producers, the result was her own monthly yoga class on cable, called Marshashana Yoga. Also, Mark was provided with an internship, to learn new skills while acting as his mom’s producer.
“We have done about 53 yoga classes on the cable channel since we started about seven years ago,” she noted.
Like his mom’s love of yoga, it seems that Mark, now 23, has found a niche to enjoy. “I do the lights and the camera,” Mark said proudly. “I’m the director and I love it.”
Mark Mancuso directs his mother, Marsha Mancuso in this yoga session for seniors. Click here for more episodes of Marshashana.