Mariana Bantug opens up about her yoga journey as well as her love for beauty and wellness
A petite lady with one of the most charming faces we’ve ever seen, yoga instructor Mariana Bantug embodied the saying "beauty need not be loud" by arriving with no fuss or fanfare. Mariana popped into the studio quietly - which was how we imagined yogis typically moved - but it wasn’t long before we discovered that she was quite the chatterbox. Before we knew it, she had us firing one question after another - all of which she gladly answered.
Her demeanor and movement rival that of the most dignified ballerinas so we were surprised to know that calmer yoga classes gave her a bad case of unrest. “I feel like I have to move more in the middle of the class,” she reveals with a small laugh.
Mid-conversation, a woman emerged from a class and expressed her curiosity at our equipment. “We’re doing a feature shoot – that explains why I’m wearing makeup,” Mariana answered her female friend. Peering closely at her face, Mariana clearly had another talent tucked into her yoga waistband: achieving the no-makeup makeup look.
This would, however, come as no surprise. Mariana is not just a guru on the mat but on beauty essentials as well. She may not advocate wearing makeup while working out but she is a self-confessed makeup junkie.
We sat down Mariana for a conversation on all things yoga, wellness, and beauty.
Not all who wander are lost: breathable muscle tees are great cover-ups for yoga
How did you get started with yoga?
I was very active as a child and I played a few different sports well into high school. After college, I was looking for a way to stay fit and improve my flexibility (I was strong but could barely touch my toes with legs straight!), so I tried a few hot yoga classes at a Bikram Yoga studio. I was hooked on that for two years before shifting to a Vinyasa practice, which proved to be highly sustainable and fulfilling for me personally.
What style of yoga do you enjoy teaching the most?
Vinyasa 1 and Power yoga.
What has helped you improve your teaching since you first started?
My students — all of them, from the most advanced to total beginners. Every class I teach is an opportunity to learn from them.
Mariana wears the Atsui x STU Iro on the mat
What do you feel is the most important skill a yoga instructor should possess?
Their own practice. Not in the sense that you need to be able to execute fancy or advanced postures, but in the sense that a regular personal practice always influences how you teach. It’s a way of making time for yourself — of filling your cup before you can fill others’.
On a teaching day, what are the things that we can find in your bag?
Water, a couple of towels, Yoga Love, extra clothes, and a jacket to throw on after class.
What do you consider when picking out activewear for practicing yoga?
Fabric quality and garment cuts. I don’t mind paying more for fabrics that will maintain their quality even after lots of washes, and since I’m on the flat-chested side, I only need light support from my bra tops. I also tend to prefer black or printed activewear, so that sweat marks are less likely to show (I sweat a lot!).
Inject a little fun into your yoga wear with lace-up pieces
What is your beauty routine like on a daily basis?
I wash my face with a mild cleanser in the morning, evening, and after yoga. I always, always wear sunscreen even if I’m mostly going to be indoors. I use moisturizer only as needed, and the same goes for toner. I feel things out a lot when it comes to my skin.
Makeup-wise, I feel strongly about NOT wearing any makeup while engaging in any sort of exercise, so you’ll see me bare-faced during practice and while teaching. Gotta let that skin breathe! When I’m not doing yoga, I enjoy wearing makeup — especially mascara. It makes all the difference.
Pinstripes or tropical print?
How do you handle stress and pressure? Do you use any beauty and wellness products to help you get back on track?
I try to take a pause and close my eyes so I can focus on my breath. Candles are big mood-setters for me — scent in general, come to think of it — so if I can, I’ll light a candle or put on my diffuser and that helps me maintain a more stable state of mind.
What is your daily diet like?
Breakfast is usually oatmeal (steel cut — none of that instant stuff!) and almond butter. For lunch, I try to have something filling, like lentils and beans with veggies on the side. And for dinner, I like having rice meals.
Headbands that match our workout top? Why not.
Mariana's secret to stress relief: closing her eyes and focusing on her breathing
What do you do on your non-practicing days?
A lot of errands, chores, and general housekeeping. The errands are an opportunity to practice staying calm even in stressful situations, while the housekeeping activities have a meditative quality in themselves, so my yoga doesn’t just exist on the mat — it’s in my everyday life, too.
What can you say to someone who is intimidated to practice yoga?
Yoga is for everyone. I fully and truly believe that. That said, there are many ways to get into yoga. If it makes you feel more comfortable to practice at home while watching a YouTube video to start, go for it. If bringing a friend to a group class helps, that’s a great idea too. If reading or studying yoga philosophy is more of your jam, then explore that freely. Ultimately your yoga is what you make of it, and the only way to figure out what that looks like is to openly explore yoga’s different facets. If you’re already interested, that’s a start and there is nothing to fear in the journey to yourself.
Follow Mariana on Instagram at @marianabantug. You may also catch her classes at Beyond Yoga Rockwell.
*Shot on location at Beyond Yoga Rockwell