Vinnie Marino grew up in the 1960s in New York. He was naturally drawn to yoga and practiced it in his teens. But in high school he also found drugs and his yoga practice fell away. His downward spiral continued when he dropped out of college and moved to San Francisco. His first week in San Francisco he was “introduced to shooting cocaine”. On his web site he says, “Enlightenment doesn’t come that easily. Experimenting with chemicals to find different levels of consciousness ultimately left me trapped. The freedom I found from drugs became a prison.”
In his late twenties Vinnie decided to break free from his addiction. He started cleaning up his act and began working out at a gym and jogging around a park. It worked and soon he found himself sober. When he moved to LA in the early 90s he found his way back to yoga. He found that yoga had changed from the one he practiced in school. This new yoga was hot, sweaty, hard, and intense. He loved it, and he felt energized and alive. He found relief and release in yoga. There was now no need to head back to the life of drugs he had left behind.
Soon he was doing yoga every day of the week. Then he took teacher training at Santa Barbara at White Lotus to increase his knowledge of yoga. Here he discovered that he had ways to go both in his yoga expertise and knowledge of the yoga system. Amazed at how much he was learning he subsequently took up an advanced teacher-training program in Iyengar Yoga.
In spite of his teacher trainings he had no intention to become a yoga teacher. In fact he was terrified at the prospect. But it so happened that a yoga teacher at a gym in Hollywood asked to sub for him. Since he was so terrified he was assured that there would be very few students! He showed up and found the teaching experience to be not as terrifying as he had thought. This started a chain reaction and he soon found himself subbing for many yoga teachers including some of the big names in yoga. Then the co-founder of Yoga Works attended one of his class where he was subbing and hired him, giving him some prime time classes on the Yoga Works schedule. Since that time he has become a very successful and popular yoga teacher in the LA area.
With age has come wisdom. In a recent interview he said, “Enjoy right now and be as kind to others as you can. A message that transcends every religion and spirituality is to be of service. Whatever it looks like in your life, as minimal or as big as it could be, people of service are usually happier because when you’re of service, you realize you’re a part of a whole.”
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Credit: This story has been distilled from various sources. Some links provided within the post.