Originally from Topeka, Kansas, Marissa moved to New York City to pursue her BFA in dance at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. It was in the pursuit of her degree that she met and studied yoga under TaraMarie Perri. Drawn to the therapeutic aspects, supportive alignment and focus on mindfulness, Marissa was certified and licensed as a yoga teacher and Mind Body Dancer® teacher with The Perri Institute for Mind and Body, a teaching community dedicated to education and research in the arts and mind-body studies. Marissa’s classes are focused on safe alignment, cultivating sustainable pathways, energetic imagery, anatomical themes and mindful-flow style.
PERRI INSTITUTE LICENSES
mind body dancer, 2015
BFA, NYU Tisch School of the Arts
I’m working on a movement based solo that reckons with our current socio-political state and how it affects marginalized groups.
is there a lesson from your studies that has stayed with you and become part of your personal wisdom?
There are so many lessons that have stayed with me and become part of my personal wisdom! But if I had to choose one that continues to stay relevant in my life is one of the Zen Buddhist Parables that TaraMarie and Maggie handed out to our teacher training class. This parable always reminds me that a shift in perspective can be powerful and that I already have what I truly need within me.
“One day a young Buddhist on his journey home came to the banks of a wide river. Staring hopelessly at the great obstacle in front of him, he pondered for hours just how to cross such a wide barrier. Just as he was about to give up his pursuit to continue his journey he saw a great teacher on the other side of the river. The young Buddhist yells over to the teacher, ‘Oh wise one, can you tell me how to get to the other side of this river?’ The teacher ponders for a moment looks up and down the river and yells back, ‘My son, you are on the other side.’”
what led you to study yoga and mind/body practices?
I was first introduced to yoga through TaraMarie Perri at NYU while I was pursuing my degree in dance. I had her for a 6 week rotation at the end of my first year in school and like many first time yoga students, I was confused. After a few classes I started to catch on. After the rotation ended I started to feel the residual effects of the practice. At first, I was most attracted to the therapeutic aspects of yoga. So often in my youth I was asked to move but never to listen to my body. It was the first time that I had taken a "movement” class and had been asked to sense and feel. It felt indulgent and sacred.
Our entire practice on the mat can be seen as a metaphor for our journey in life. My yoga practice has taught me many things that apply to my life off the mat including patience, contentment, compassion, empathy, trust, risk taking, vulnerability, subtlety, mindfulness, awareness, attention to detail, and the list goes on. What’s wonderful about the yoga practice in comparison to other mind-body centering activities or meditative practices, is that we get to take these ideas and put them into actual physical practice. How can we move into a new asana with compassion for ourselves? How can we take a risk in our yoga practice? Etc.