Mari Anderson is one of those woman every young, adventurous, entrepreneurial woman aspires to be. A woman in midlife — Mari is gracefully and confidently embracing the journey. An original BuddhiBabe, Mari is the creator of Yogicards, a BuddhiBox monthly staple, and her evolution is an incredible story.
Mari’s career began in graphic design and advertising, owning Anderson Advertising & Design in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In the late 1990s, Mari closed her advertising and design business to sail off to Crooked Island in the Bahamas with her husband, Fritz Damler. Mari and Fritz co-authored, Plunge: Midlife with Snorkel, as a chronicle of their adventure moving to the Bahamas, forgoing “a safe and scripted midlife”.
While hand-building their home on Crooked Island during the winters, Mari and Fritz spent summers renovating an old farm house on a small island off the coast of Wisconsin on Lake Michigan. Washington Island is only accessible by ferry and has a year-round population of six-hundred and fifty.
As a regular carpenter and triathlete, Mari became stiff and neither island offered yoga. Approaching her yoga practice for the first time, Mari realized, “I may be able to ride my bike up a mountain but something’s lacking here.” Unable to touch her toes, she initiated her practice with Barbara Benagh DVDs and as Mari independently learned, she incorporated yoga into sessions with her personal training clients on Washington Island.
After a couple of years figuring it out on her own, Mari enrolled in Yandara Yoga Institute’s 200 Hour yoga certification program. Mari referred to her month long immersion program in Baja California, Mexico as an “intensely marvelous experience.” Returning to Washington Island as a certified instructor, Mari began teaching regularly. While on Crooked Island, she volunteer teaches classes in a neighbor’s living room to anyone interested in attending — both visitors and the local community.
As a yoga teacher, Mari constantly found herself, “wishing that her students would make better use of the practice to take themselves off the hook – to pay more attention to their overall experience rather than feeling pressure to perform.” She wanted to encourage her students to “notice we are alive in the world and [be] curious about it.”
Those desires acted as one of the catalysts for Yogicards. The illustrations initially manifested for use in a manual for a program she co-designed with her friend and practicing therapist. Core Play was a program for women in midlife, “to get a handle on what [they’d] like [their] older age to look like” and “for creating strategies to stay physically and emotionally healthy… strategies for endurance and flexibility.” Mari created the illustrations as a more playful alternative to taking small photos of herself in the postures and exercises for the manual. The designs became the highlight of the program! It was then she was able to blend her talents as a writer, artist, and yogi to create cards to inspire her students and yogis everywhere to “celebrate a light-hearted approach to their practice.”
As a part of her graphic design studio, Hatamari Design, Yogicards became Mari’s answer to the question that followed her career as a yoga teacher: “how can we have fun with this practice? how can we respectfully use this serious practice to engage in light-hearted ways?” Those questions culminated into a 33-card “YogiWisdom Card” deck, as well as a variety of ever-expanding greeting cards for all occasions. She designs the cards to create an opportunity “to smile and lighten-up a bit… to share presence and gratitude together.” The cards are purchasable on her Etsy site — Mari is currently making updates on her website, HataMari.com. Visit her website now to enter your email address, you’ll receive an update once it’s live!
In addition to living on two-islands, teaching yoga, and creating Yogicards, Mari manages the yoga studio at Hotel Washington and Studio on Washington Island. She is writing her second book and frequently travels to South Korea to visit her son, Seth, and his wife, Byung Yun. Seth and Byung Yun founded an English language school, DaVinci Language Academy, in Ansan, South Korea. We look forward to continuing to share Mari’s adventures and seeing her Yogicards in our boxes, monthly. Click here to subscribe and receive a Yoga Card in your BuddhiBox!
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