When Marcella moved to Los Angeles in the early 90s, she was already leading an active lifestyle, working as a personal trainer, running marathons and participating in bodybuilding competitions. As this was well before the current yoga boom, when a friend initially asked her to join her at a yoga class at a private house, she wasn't sure what she was in for.
“I never thought I’d like it so much,” she said. “But it felt really good in my body because I was doing so much lifting and working so hard. It helped me form a relationship with the softer part of me, the part of me that needed to come back to the present moment with the breath.” She began a steady practice immediately.
When her father passed away shortly thereafter, she found refuge in her practice in ways that surprised her. “When I first heard that my father died, I remember holding my breath and not really moving. My yoga practice helped me be in touch with my pain and helped me not stay stuck in the fear of feeling the amount of pain I had,” she said. “Moving in the practice helped a natural movement occur and I could feel the pain moving - it didn’t make it go away, on the contrary it made it more present. But I could relate to it and move with it and make peace with it.”
Growing her practice to six times a week, she eventually enrolled in a teacher training with Anna Forest. “I was working as a fitness trainer, so I took that first training to deepen my practice and be able to offer what I learned to my clients, not with the intention of being a full-time yoga teacher.” When one of her friends Cheryl Moss opened Goda Yoga in Culver City, she asked if Marcella would be willing to come teach classes and Marcella agreed. Goda Yoga became SoulPlay Yoga in 2017 and while she still trains private clients, we’re the only studio where Marcella gives public classes!