January 13, 2011

The Rhythm of the Maui Yoga Path

South Maui Instructor Exudes the Groove to Move You
By Trisha Smith, South Maui Weekly

Whether on the surface or deep within her soul, a gamut of lessons and experiences has shaped the extraordinary journey of Deni Roman of the Maui Yoga Path. A natural leader in athletics and communication, this longtime holistic student embodies a rhythmic flow of life, which allows her to connect on many levels. After more than 30 years of practicing yoga and dedicating herself to teaching body, mind and spirit cultivation, Deni exudes the groove to “move” you, whether physically, mentally or spiritually.
A former Fortune 500 ergonomics company consultant, this certified Iyengar teacher travels frequently, making yearly treks to India to enhance her own practice. (She returned just recently from Pune.) Her guru is the highly respected Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar, who has appeared on Time Magazine’s most influential people in the world lists. Yet no matter where the gentle winds blow, Deni finds most comfort within the sanctuary of the Maui Yoga Path. The “auspicious space,” she said, was “too perfect to pass up.”Since Deni “planted the seed for” her studio in 2001, the modest room has grown into a warm environment described as “a place to come home to relax, rejuvenate and discover your true self.”“Maui is one of the world’s chakras, and our space flows right along the line between Haleakala and the ocean,” she said. “Wonderful, natural vibes here.”Students—usually a mix of visitors and residents of all ages, beliefs and skill levels—settle into the comfortable, low-light studio adorned with eclectic art, Sanskrit tapestry, tie-dye and spiritual messages. Senses come alive with plumeria breezes that waft through the open doors as the waves crash upon Keawakapu Beach. The vibrant energy is undeniable—heavenly, in fact—excluding the curious pedestrians who frequent the studio’s entrance. Among other healing arts, Maui Yoga Path celebrates Iyengar’s method, a form of Hatha (or the physical practice of yoga) based on giving eminence to the body’s physical alignment in its poses, paying close attention to spinal health and breathing.
As “balancing the body will then, in reflection, balance the mind,” Deni compels students to hold the positions correctly. She’s tough, but kind in her demeanor, supplying props and encouragement to those not yet comfortable with yoga. Deni also emphasizes the sadhana of yoga, the spiritual practice that unionizes body, mind, and spirit. For her own practice, Deni incorporates meditation, strength training/movement and yoga, and “lives yoga all the time, throughout the day.” “Each time you walk in here, it’s a chance for renewal,” she said.Using her holistic health expertise, Deni integrates the importance of diet, sleep and exercise with the yogic philosophy to create fun and physical classes called Yoga Core Conditioning. This “smorgasbord of yoga” is a series of movements she’s combined from nearly 35 years of practice, including dance positions that “get you moving in a celebration.”

Deni’s 27-year-old daughter, Evan, joined her along this divine path, calling her a “chip off the old block, but different.” “Evan’s wise for her age—she’s my teacher, my friend, my soulmate,” said Deni. “You see, pain is your guru. Once Evan was able to deepen her practice, yoga has been there with her.” Evan has taught yoga for eight years as a “preventative means to participate in all activities of life.” She also sings in Los Angeles band Plum, returning to Maui when her mother is away. Deni never pushed yoga onto Evan, allowing her own desire to build and instilling a deep trust to follow her own instincts. Evan said as a teacher, her mother lets you taste the calmness, clarity, and confidence that comes from yoga, but explained the real work has to be done by the student.

Deni graciously guides students with commentary and studio props, if needed. As students become aware of their “present condition,” she challenges them to release pent-up pollutants and move forward onto a path of healing. Deni’s enthusiasm for life is contagious. She’s open for any toxic challenge. “That trembling is your ego… let it go,” said Deni. “Trust yourself. No worries of the past, for the future—live in the present and let go.” Becoming a good employee has taught Evan how to be a respectful daughter. Appreciating her mother as a teacher helps her “show up for her as a friend. “We truly love and relate to one another,” said Evan. “We dance the dance. We push the boundaries… we show up for one another so that the legacy lives on.”

Maui Yoga Path offers a variety of classes daily, including Yoga Core Conditioning and Iyengar Yoga. Deepen your practice at the upcoming “Maui Yoga Path New Year Iyengar Retreat” from Friday through Sunday, Jan. 14 to 16, where Deni will share her recent studies from India. 

It’s been said that a well of love resides within all of us. Tap into some of this beauty and reward the world around you by advancing your resolutions through the Maui Yoga Path, located beachfront at the Mana Kai Resort at 2960 S. Kihei Road