Learn to SWITCH OFF FROM WORK to Stay Connected to Your Inner Goals w/ Mara Cimatoribus

Nov 23, 2021

Welcome to episode 21 of the Mindful & Driven podcast! It’s all about how to not lose sight of what really matters whilst chasing your dreams.

Episode 21’s guest is Mara Cimatoribus. She’s a hugely popular yoga instructor and a massive content creator. She has over 500 hours of yoga teacher training and has other specialties such as Reiki. She was raised in a small village in Italy and initially found life difficult when she moved to London, overwhelmed with the big city. Despite starting yoga late, she thrived almost straight away and has over 85,000 followers on Instagram who look to her for inspiration every day.

Mara teaches vinyasa flow, shares tutorials on her YouTube Channel, hosts workshops and retreats, and offers online classes.

I hope you enjoy listening to our conversation! I’d love it if you could subscribe, leave me a review and follow me on social channels. 

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Why it’s important to disconnect from work and pay attention to your inner world.
  • Listen to your inner voice to find your purpose.
  • How to be mindful about your work-life balance.
  • The importance of switching off from work.
  • Why it’s important to take breaks from work.
  • Why it’s important to practice gratitude.
  • How to be mindful despite distractions and work.
  • How to switch off from work.
  • How to find your purpose.
  • Small things you can do to be more mindful every day.


  • Introduction (0:00)
  • Nothing is absolute (1:47)
  • Struggling with balance (4:23)
  • “The rules of society” (7:37)
  • Catch and refrain your thoughts (10:25) A quick decision (13:04)
  • Take breaks(16:17)
  • Mara’s content process and her main goal (19:05)
  • Retreats, workshops, and travel (22:33) The importance of expressing gratitude (24:34 )


Intro Music:
“Himalayas” by Mona Wonderlick — bit.ly/youtube-monawonderlick
Creative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported — CC BY 3.0
Free download: bit.ly/himalayas-download



[00:00:00] Mara: One of the most powerful practices that you can integrate in your life is gratitude. Say to yourself, as soon as you wake up or just after you got up from bed, you say to yourself or even better, you write it down. It really helped me find my purpose in the moment where I didn’t think that was it in the moments where I wasn’t looking for it. I thought, this is what I wanted. 

[00:00:28] Amardeep: Welcome to the Mindful and Driven Podcast, where we help you to not lose sight of what’s really important whilst chasing your dreams. Today’s guest is Mara Cimatoribus. She’s a hugely popular yoga instructor and a massive content creator. She has over 500 hours of yoga teacher training and has other specialties such as Reiki. She was raised in a small village in Italy and initially found life difficult when she moved to London, overwhelmed with the big city.  Despite starting yoga late, she thrived almost straight away and has over 85,000 followers on Instagram who look to her for inspiration every dayMara teaches vinyasa flow, shares tutorials on her YouTube Channel, hosts workshops and retreats, and offers online classes. This is in person to you and hopefully you really enjoy the interaction we had. 

So welcome Mara. It’s great to have you here. 

[00:01:10] Mara: Thank you so much. Thank you for having me. 

[00:01:12] Amardeep: So we’re at my flat in the moment and how I know Mara is because I go to her yoga classes and then I found out from Instagram, that she’s actually a huge deal. So she’s got much more than just her yoga classes and she’s built a whole business around it, so you’ve changed a lot of your career over time. Right? And you’ve now come full time into teaching yoga and I think around that world. 

[00:01:32] Mara: Yes, that’s correct. 

[00:01:34] Amardeep: Is there anything along that journey where you got common advice that you disagree with now, and do you think people should change their minds about it? 

[00:01:41] Mara: I find this actually a very tricky question. General common advice are common advice because they’re good, but like for everything, it will always depend from the situation and the context. And I believe that nothing is absolute. And so it will always depend about your situation and about your life. There is, that said, there is probably a few that I’m not completely on board with. One of them being be your best always. And I feel that although the underlying meaning is good, you can’t physically and mentally be at your best all the time. It’s just a, it can be really exhausting, but then again, it can depend what you mean by being at your best. Your best on a Sunday afternoon can be just laying on the couch and binge a series on Netflix, you know, and, and that is your best then that’s okay. You know, it just, I just don’t believe you can be switched on at all times, and it can be related to another scene, which is leave your day, live today as your last, you know, it’s just not, not possible, not physically possible. 

[00:02:55] Amardeep: And I think people say that, and it’s almost downplaying the realities of people do need to rest. People do need to not always be their best self. Sometimes you need to recover and take it in and relax. 

[00:03:07] Mara: Absolutely. 

[00:03:07] Amardeep: And I think sometimes when people say it to others, it can make them feel that they’re not being listened to whereas if you’re telling them, you need to be your best right now, actually know that they need a different type of compassion at that point. 

[00:03:17] Mara: Yes, absolutely. And, and I think, as I said, you know, it depends what you mean by your best, because my best is also taking time to rest, recharge, and do nothing sometimes, or take a bath, or go for a walk. That’s being my best at that time. So I think it’s probably coming away from the definition of best, where you give a hundred percent yourself all the time to everyone in everything. 

[00:03:43] Amardeep: I find it really funny as well when people will say, for example, give 200%, give a thousand percent. How does that make any sense? You can’t. Right? Like a 100% is your limit, and if you go beyond that, that’s unsustainable. 

[00:03:54] Mara: Absolutely. 

[00:03:55] Amardeep: So I think sometimes people need to dial back a bit, and sometimes you need to just give 80% or 90%, and then you can rest because if you always try to throw yourself into everything as some point, you’re going to break. 

[00:04:07] Mara: Absolutely. I think there is this idea, as you said, of always giving more than you have, and then you’re going to burn out and what then? 

[00:04:15] Amardeep: Yeah. Is there a point in the past where you did burnout. where you found it really difficult to struggle with your balance? 

[00:04:21] Mara: Yes, definitely. After a couple of years after I moved here in London, I’ve been living here for eight years now, and the first couple of years were really fun, you know, I was like, oh my god, this is a completely different reality from what I’ve been used to. I’m coming from a very small village in Italy. So it was, it was really fun, exploring and discovering all the different things that London has to give. But after that, I really felt I really got stuck in a place where I felt lost and overwhelmed by all of the things that London had to give. I was really struggling to find my purpose. I really needed to find my purpose, my calling, the thing that I knew that I wanted to find something that I love to do as a job. I just refused to do something that would make me unhappy, you know, but that became a bit more of an obsession to find something now, and it needs to feel a hundred percent good, and that it became a bit almost unhealthy, you know, follow that, there were some not super good decisions. And I didn’t really particularly love myself in that time either. I was have insecurities, you know, also the fact that I came here and I didn’t really know how to speak English. So at first it was a real struggle to feel less. That’s that was playing with mine securities as well. And also I was looking around and it seemed everyone had their life figured out and they were all doing some really cool stuff as well. I was like, damn, you know, I just, again, I think I really felt less, and I felt a real struggle to find a balance in my life where I was okay with what I was going through. At the same time, it was still exploring and still finding things out. Yes, that was a really tough time. But looking back now, I am grateful for those struggle, struggling moments, because it brought me to a point where, I kind of had enough of feeling that and I thought, okay, I need to really help myself out. So I went to therapy for quite a while. It helped massively and I am so grateful for it. And I tried yoga. So I had taken a few classes before then I really decided to fully commit to the practice and it started in my own home with some YouTube videos, you know, so three classes, comfort of my home, and it was amazing. It really, really changed my life. And that moment, any of the benefits were so sudden and so tangible as well, that it really helped me find my purpose in the moment where I didn’t think that was it in the moment where I wasn’t looking for it. I thought this is what I want to do and this is what I want to share with other people too, and help them in their journey. Like this practice helped me in mind. 

[00:07:26] Amardeep: What did you do before going into yoga? So you said you’ve tried a few different things to find out what your purpose was? What were some of the like dead ends you took? 

[00:07:34] Mara: So I went to university and even in high school, I was already kind of struggling a little bit with what I wanted to do, and I think it goes to the rules of society that you need to know what you are going to do. You need to get married, you know, like all those rules set in stone, it seems. And so I really high school, I was a bit unsure of what I wanted to do and felt a bit the pressure of it. But then I went with like, what’s my favorite subject? And it was history of art, art history, and and so decided to go do that at university, and I graduated in cultural heritage and I really loved it. It was really beautiful, but I love that more, I realized that after, as a passion, more than this is what I want to do as a job especially because it can be a very hard world to get in. You have to work for free for a very long time, you know, before to get to any point. And so I didn’t love it that much. So, but I did try to work in a few museum, museums in a few art galleries back in Italy and in London as well. I did work the classic job as a waitress, which actually was one of the most fun jobs that I’ve had. And then I think because of the no pressure, no, not too many expectations and just like do it. And it was kind of my first real job here, so it was, it was really fun in that way, but then I thought, I wanted to work in fashion as well at some point, but yes, also didn’t work out. It wasn’t like, I think what I kept getting against was both in the art world and in fashion, was that it tends to be a bit fake and really salesy, as well. Especially in the art galleries more than museums, obviously. You know, you have to sell that no matter what you think and, you know, just pretend. And if there’s one thing about me is that I really cannot lie. Like you can really tell it on my face that I’m lying. So I found that really hard and just something that did not resonate and I was really struggling with and it didn’t work. And then I think the longest job I had was for a company that did post production in advertising. That was fun, but again, you know, just not the thing for me. So yes, that’s, I tried a few different things, but, nothing felt as good as yoga does. 

[00:10:07] Amardeep: And when you ended up therapy, was there any particular lessons that the therapist taught you that really helped and kind of set you on the path to yoga at all? 

[00:10:16] Mara: It’s interesting. I think whenever I think back at my therapy time, there are two things that really come up as memories. And one was a tip, was a work that she gave me that where you worked was, you know, my biggest problem was my insecurities about everything about myself, my worth. And so one thing that she said was try to catch yourself, your thoughts, whenever you notice negative thoughts about yourself, putting yourself down, diminishing you, just notice it, catch it and try to reframe it. And, I still think about it now, because sometimes it still happens, you know, we’re humans and I think it’s such a powerful tool to, to have and such a simple, in a way, you know. 

[00:11:06] Amardeep: It’s in yoga. right? It’s one of the things. Right? It’s observing our thoughts. 

[00:11:09] Mara: Exactly. You know, and it’s so beautiful how you reflect on the practice then as well. The other one, the other one that we did this exercise where I was there because I was struggling to find what I wanted to do. She asked me to put down to create a list of things that I wanted from a job, and then put them in order of priority. What I would prioritize more than the other, and and I think I found the list recently and I looked through it and I was like, damn, I got it. I really went for it. You know, and I really found, and in that list that were quite a few things that I am able to enjoy in my work now. So it was, I want to believe that it was kind of the power of manifestation. When you start putting things out there in physical form, when you’re writing them down or just like you start bringing them, bring more clarity. 

[00:12:08] Amardeep: Hi everyone. I hope you’re enjoying the episode so far. I want to take a quick break to ask you to check in with yourself. There’s many people struggling with balance and it’s nothing to be ashamed about. It’s tips that my guests might share can hopefully help you along the way, but if you already feel overwhelmed or burnt out, it’s probably best that you ask somebody for help too. For some, this might be a friend or family member, while others might feel like they have nobody they can talk to. If you’re one of these people, check out the link in the show notes, it’s for United for Global Mental Health. They’ve got health plans all across the world, with people willing to listen on the other side. It’s important to let somebody know how you’re feeling. Now, back to the show. 

How did the journey from kind of doing yoga at home to becoming a yoga instructor and going full into it? How did that happen? Was it kind of a snap decision where you decided this is it, or did it take a bit of time for you to make that decision and really free yourself into it. 

[00:12:58] Mara: So I think it was a, quite a quick decision. So I started properly doing, committing to the practice of yoga in January, 2017. And I think just a few months later, I decided, this is what I want to do. And they think June, I booked my teacher training and in November I went and did it. And when I came back, I started teaching straight away. Because again, I think if it just felt right and I knew that is what I wanted in that moment. So I didn’t want to lose the momentum even after the teacher training. And I just started teaching and I started teaching private classes for £5, for whoever wanted to come, you know, I just wanted to start practicing and to start doing it. And with that, then attracting different opportunities and that’s exactly what happened and I never stopped since, you know, so yes, it was, yes, this feels right. I’m following my gut. I’m doing it. 

[00:14:01] Amardeep: Your teacher training. Did you do that here or did you go? 

[00:14:04] Mara: I did it in India. I did it to where the school called Sampoorna Yoga. And it was a really beautiful experience. It was an intense, obviously intensive, sorry, course. So it was in a month and I was living in there, eating there and everything. So I really appreciated the immersive experience that that was. 

[00:14:23] Amardeep: Was there anything from the experience that you took away? Like beyond just the yoga classes, but going out to another place for a month and living the kind of intensive lifestyle, did you learn anything about yourself while you were there? 

[00:14:36] Mara: For sure. I mean, absolutely. And growing up where I grew up, I wasn’t exposed for example to many different kind of foods. It’s the Italian food and it’s good, you know. There’s not much else. There are no takeaways, really. There are not many different restaurants of different cuisines. So when I moved here, I tended to be quite picky of what I ate. Indian food has never been my favorite because it’s, there’s a lot of spices and a lot of flavors, and I couldn’t appreciate it at the time, but obviously, you know, there that’s what it was. And, and also the time I wasn’t vegetarian either. So it was definitely very interesting to, I want to say [unintelligible] put myself through that to like eat just vegetarian for a month and just the food that I normally wouldn’t eat. And I think, I can, and I think as all humans, when put into a situation, and this is just obviously a simple example, but I can really adapt and you can really discover the appreciation of something that you think, you thought you wouldn’t otherwise. Does it make sense? 

[00:15:50] Amardeep: Yeah. So if you, it was in November, 2017, so it’s been four years. 

[00:15:56] Mara: Yeah. 

[00:15:56] Amardeep: Along that journey, did you have any struggles in that or is anything now where, because you obviously do the yoga teaching, people also do the content creation side and you do retreats, there’s all these different things going on. Is that in the right kind of balance at the moment or is there sometimes where you feel a bit overwhelmed? 

[00:16:11] Mara: So I really, I really love where I am right now. And I love to take breaks from teaching yoga because they teach weekly the classes in studios and online as well. I absolutely love it, but it’s so good, and it’s so important to take breaks from it, and eh, and I feel that whenever then I come back from that break, whether it was a week or two weeks, I feel so much better and I have so much energy and more space for my students. And yeah, I think it’s very important for me to take that time every now and then to just recharge and refill my own cup while for the content creation, so more the social media side is a bit trickier. I love doing it and I love taking photos and creating fun and interesting content. Thinking about it. But also it means that because all of this stuff involves, yes, my camera, but mainly my phone with emails, with notifications, with taking photos with all of that, then it’s much harder to actually take a break. So I find myself, in a way, constantly working, constantly on it because taking a break with me, turning off my phone, leave it on the floor, at home, and that’s it. But like it could be possible for an afternoon, for a day, but otherwise it’s practically really impossible because I use it for so many other stuff, which is calling my parents, calling my friends, using it for guided meditation, alarm clocks, you know, like you use it nowadays for all of the things. And so it’s very hard, and even when I’m on holiday, for example, I love again, taking photos and while on holiday, I am probably in like a nice location with lots of light and lots of sunshine. And I love taking videos and photos there, but then again, it means that I’m constantly on. So I think in that regard I’m slightly struggling, because again, I love doing it, but going back to it, I think it’s important to take rest and, you know take time for yourself to recharge. I am still struggling to understand how I can really pause that and give myself some time away from it. 

[00:18:31] Amardeep: Do you do that at the moment where you batch your content, where you create a few days or few weeks worth of content at once, or is it almost like every single day, you need to think of what you’re going to post that day or how do you do that scheduling side? 

[00:18:44] Mara: A bit of both. Meaning that, for example, when I’m on holiday, I usually take a lot of photos, different outfits, different little places, backgrounds and such. But then you also want to keep it current. So I will always have the bank of photos and videos and content, but I also really want to try to keep it current as well. So whenever it’s fall or Christmas or new trends are coming out and I want to get on that, so there will always be work to keep doing, and which is not every day, because that would be exhausting. But weekly, I try to create something new that can go on there. 

[00:19:24] Amardeep: With that kind of side of things, have you got a plan for the future of how you’re going to like, try to mitigate that bit and make it a bit less intense or what’s the kind of lifestyle you want to look forward in the future? So you’ve got teaching and you’ve got your current courses, but I will say that you do retreats and do you want to do more of those? 

[00:19:41] Mara: Yes. 

[00:19:42] Amardeep: Where’d you want your focus to be in say, a year or two? 

[00:19:45] Mara: So I think my main goal would be to reach a point where I do still teach maybe some, some classes, some dropping classes. But I find, I see it at this moment more sustainable to reach a point where I ever enough community and students that trust me and follow me to just leave on retreats. So hosts like two, three a year and do some workshops here and there, some courses. And then just be that because I think for much I love to teach this dropping classes and again, I’m hoping to find a way to still maintain some kind of class like that, it’s the most exhausting in the long-term because your, and, you know, I’m grateful that with the pandemic, I think as for many people, I have a chance to reevaluate and reprioritize and reschedule a little bit my timetable, you know, and so I was teaching 10 to 15 classes a week before, and I was constantly moving and, you know, you’re not going Into the same place all the time. You’re just moving across London, across the city, going into different places, seeing different people and I really reached a point where I thought I was just reciting a bit of a script, but because it’s habitable, when you, you know, and I tried to teach the same class weekly at least, but also that to change the class, to try to keep it fresh, to try to keep it creative. It just reached a point where it wasn’t, it was impossible for me. And so I asked the classes that I am teaching in-person at the moment, and I find it so much better because they can be much more present and in some regards, more genuine. So yes, either way I find this the most exhausting part. So eventually I would love to, to be in a point where I can host retreats and workshops, a few a year. 

[00:21:51] Amardeep: In the bit in between that then, so you obviously do your own creative stuff at the moment in your own practice. Would you want to then go like, say and do a month in India again, or something like that just to, for your own kind of practice in your own soul, I guess, rather than it to be, you producing something for other people? 

[00:22:07] Mara: Absolutely. So this year has been very good in the sense that I really, my world for this year was expanding. I wasn’t exactly sure how I meant it, but like I found out how I meant it and it was more in my knowledge. And so I had the chance to take a different courses. So I’ve done my 300 hours, and the breath work and Reiki, and some of these courses were online. So it was a bit different. Still very good because I could take it at my own pace. I could revisit some of the content. Go back. So in some ways it was even better, but obviously you take away the physical presence, the being there, that it was so magical, the first big training that I’ve done, but it was, it was really good to be a student, and not to be the one teaching. Not the one to be giving, but the one that I was receiving, I was receiving this knowledge and I was a student and I was learning again. And it’s been, it’s been great. And I’ve done a few different courses and I have just a few more clients for the beginning of next year. But definitely I think, part of why I want to be able also to just have retreats and workshops is because I want to have the freedom to travel a bit more and hopefully also live in a warmer place than London because I really miss sunshine. 

[00:23:37] Amardeep: Because you go back to Italy quite often, right? 

[00:23:39] Mara: Yes, I try to, yes. Yeah. It’s important for me to take a break from London. I love it but it is also important to come away and go back to my roots every now and then. 

[00:23:49] Amardeep: Of the things that you’ve learned this year in courses, do you have a kind of a favorite thing that you’ve learned that really resonated with you? 

[00:23:57] Mara: That’s an interesting question. I think I really loved taking the Reiki course and there, the principle of Reiki, which resonate, and I still try to repeat them to myself every day, are just for today, don’t be angry, don’t worry, be grateful, work diligently, and be kind. And I think they’re just such beautiful staple of your days. And it’s just for today. Just for today. And I think it’s really beautiful and that really really resonated, yeah. 

[00:24:35] Amardeep: Is that something which you want to teach as well? Or is that something you’re doing purely for your own practice? 

[00:24:39] Mara: I am actually about to do the second level. So the first level was just for my own self practice and friends and family, you know. This second level will, I will be able to actually do it as a treatment. I’m not yet sure where I’m going to go with it, but it feels right to do it now. And I trust whatever will come. 

[00:25:03] Amardeep: You’ve learned so much over the years now, what’s one mindset shift you think people could make, who are listening today, that would make a positive difference in their lives? 

[00:25:11] Mara: I think one of the most powerful practices that you can integrate in your life is gratitude. And you know, you might have already heard it all about it, but in case you haven’t, you can really start super simple in the morning. You just say to yourself, as soon as you wake up or just after you got up from bed, you say to yourself, even that, or you write it down 1, 2, 3 things that you’re grateful for and it can be super simple. It can be the sunshine and it can be that you’re grateful for the smell of coffee in the air, or you can be grateful for your health and that you’re here breathing. Whatever it is, just keep at it every morning and then if you feel like it, during the day, it comes, something comes up and you just find a way to express gratitude for it. And trust me, more you do it, more you’ll find that you’ll have things to be grateful for. And it is such a powerful, powerful practice. And as you do it, it also changes your outlook on life because you’ll realize you have a lot of good things going and that you don’t need any more often. 

[00:26:33] Amardeep: So it’s been a pleasure to talk to you. 

[00:26:35] Mara: Thank you so much for having me. 

[00:26:37] Amardeep: Where can the people listening today hear more from you? 

[00:26:39] Mara: So you can find me on Instagram at maracimatoribus, which is my name and surname. Or you can find me also on my website, www.she-smiles.com, but normally I share everything on my Instagram, on my stories, on my posts. You can find the tutorials, but also where, and when I will teach my online classes and live classes and retreats, and there are going to be some also big news coming soon so stay tuned. 

[00:27:08] Amardeep: And the final thing to finish up on is, what’s one small thing that’s brought you joy today? 

[00:27:14] Mara: Today as every day, cuddling in bed with my dog in the morning, is one of the things that I’ve been loving the most, she’s just the sweetest little thing and seeing her happiness as she comes into bed, as we wake up, it’s beautiful. And it always like, warms my, warms my heart. And allows me to really start with a smile. 

[00:27:43] Amardeep: If you’re listening on Apple Podcasts, I’d love it If you could leave me a five star review, it really helps get the message out further. Wherever you’re listening, it would be awesome If you could subscribe and share in your social media channels. If you want to see more of my work and advice, you can find all of the links in the show notes. 

Thank you again for listening and I hope you have a lovely day.

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