Maria Kirsten: A Yoga Star Gone Out

Apr 21, 2021 | Obituary | 20 comments

Portrait photo of yoga teacher Maria Kirsten.

Maria would have hated the title of this post. She was as humble a yoga teacher as she was a star.

One area of enormous influence was in her specialty, ‘Yoga For Grownups’. We old people weren’t seniors in her way of teaching, or elders, or even old. We were treated as grownups, deserving of yoga thoughtfully and respectfully taught.

Her credentials included the whole breadth of yoga taught these days. According to Maria’s bio, she could teach in these domains: classical, corporate, gentle, hatha, intellectually-challenged, mental health, viniyoga, yogalates, dynamic, postnatal, general, teacher training, therapy and meditation.

I remember Maria fondly as she was particularly deferential to me…maybe because I was much older than she, or had more teaching years under my belt. But in fact, I would always defer to her supreme communication skills, as well as possibly the best sense of humour of almost anyone I know. My husband Daniel remembers verbatim many of the verbal instructions Maria gave in the class she conducted at the Ekam Festival a few years ago–simply because of her concision and humour.

Maria died yesterday after her battle with cancer, and she died too young. She had so much more to give to our yoga community. She was never going to be a guru because Maria was too egalitarian. Students, trainee yoga teachers and old veterans like me stood as equals with her, perhaps not in terms of knowledge and skills, but in deserving of respect and goodwill. If you look for images of Maria on-line, many of them will be standing shoulder to shoulder with one or more of her students.

I am so very very sad about Maria’s death. Sorry that I won’t feel her physical presence in another class or workshop. And yet, Maria was enough of a bright star in the yoga firmament that we will carry her special brilliance in our hearts always.

There will be a ceremony to celebrate Maria’s life Friday morning April 30th in Bangalow.


  1. I also recall Maria’s last class at Ekam fondly with many a giggle had during the class! What a beautiful tribute Eve. Maria will certainly be missed…

  2. A lovely tribute Eve.

    • Beautifully written Eve for a very special person ????.

    • She sounds like an amazing person! I didn’t know her but I remember you from the days of Martyn Jackson in Bondi Junction….He was a tough but kind teacher (a big bark but a soft soul)…. He had generously helped me with physiotherapy after pulling my neck from some vigorous folk dancing…
      And he felt quite confident that he could realign a student with scoliosis….and I fully believed that he could! To me he seemed to have such a profound understanding of the human body….and I completely entrusted myself to his care…

      I am so glad that I got a chance to experience the energy and knowledge of people like him who have such another view and interpretation of life to offer…

      It seems also that this lady would join him in this unique pantheon of individuals….


  3. A beautiful and fitting tribute. Maria was one of my first teachers when I set out on my yoga teacher journey. I shall never forget her sheer exuberance for life and her passion for yoga. Truly a gem.

  4. Beautiful Eve…will her service be online for those of us overseas?

  5. So very sad. We have lost a wonderful teacher who so generously shared her love, knowledge, humour and life.
    She enriched us all whether we were the fortunate ones to have experienced her way of teaching or others who have been taught by us.
    Love and light will shine on throughout the Yoga world and beyond.

  6. What a wonderful tribute to Maria. She as simply brilliant and I’m devastated with this news. I did yoga Therapy training with both of you a long time ago and I have done some of Maria’s training since. I quote her all the time in class. I will so miss this amazing lady.
    How unfair is life to take someone like her, so young and so giving. But I’m SO grateful to have known her 😉
    Thank you for these words Eve 🙂

  7. Hi Eve, I didn’t have the fortune to experience Maria’s yoga wisdom or sense of humour. Your lovely tribute has made me wish I did! My heart goes out to you Eve & all others who are feeling this loss so intensely.

  8. I met Maria only once, she taught in a retreat (New Year’s at Byron Bays’ Yoga). I thought if I was living closer to her I would seek her out to attend her classes.
    Died so too young.

  9. That’s beautiful Eve.. and so true to Maria and her wonderful humorous teaching style. I attended many of her classes up here in beautiful Northern Rivers. she made us all laugh whilst delivering a wonderful class for a variety of students. I am deeply sad to hear of her passing this week as I know all of her students will be. Sad times

  10. Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice
    Rest in a forever peace Maria

  11. I never met her but her reputation preceded her. She was very highly regarded but everyone who spoke of her. What a great contribution to the Australian yoga world. Vale Maria.

  12. Hi Eve
    All true
    The ceremony for Maria will be at the Lennox Head Surf Club at 9.00am on Friday the 30th
    There is a link to register for zoom link
    Libbie Nelson

  13. Lovely words Eve and so true.
    I did not know her well but was she memorable! That amazing sense of humour and full of life. So, so sad. x

    • Yes, Ali, I am so glad she came into my life. Her passing is incredibly sad.

  14. I live in New Zealand and her “yoga for grown ups” is my most useful reference. All thats been said is true about her gifts talents and personality. Before covid, going to Lennox heads and attended her classes was my intention. Her video clips are wonderful and demonstrates her generosity and gift as a teacher

    • Ditto, Marian, I love that dvd. So many of us will carry Maria in our teaching tool box, but more importantly in our hearts.

  15. Have just heard about Maria’s death. How terribly sad for her family and friends. I am blessed to have met her at EKAM and then experiencing her Yoga for Mental Health training.

    • Hi Karen,
      I know, so very sad, as Maria was a relatively young person.
      Her website ‘Yoga for Grownups’ is a rich source of her teaching.
      Do have a look.
      Kind regards…


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The Archives