We had the good fortune of connecting with Maria Alvarez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Maria, how do you think about risk?
Risks are essential to growth. I’m not sure why the word “risk” has such a negative connotation and invokes so much fear. I welcome taking chances and love to change stuff up. It’s not to say I don’t feel doubt or uncertainty but I also know that even if something fails or doesn’t go as planned I learned something and I’d rather have the experience than the thought of feeling like I missed an opportunity. I feel like most decisions we make can be considered “risks”, some choices just feel safer or are more socially accepted. Moving to Miami after graduating from Emerson College (Boston, MA) to attend law school, was a risk. I knew nothing about what it took to be a lawyer, I knew nothing about law school, and no one I knew was a lawyer. The only thing I knew was that I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my Marketing/Advertising degree and I had a real talent for arguing and an interest in the law.
Throughout my law career, I flip-flopped from the public to the private sector. Every two years I took a risk and changed jobs because I was unhappy, not satisfied and lacked purpose. Like most professionals, exercise and movement became my way of maintaining my sanity, yoga in particular. After 14-years of practicing law and teaching yoga five-days a week after work for four years, I took what many people would consider the biggest risk of all and quit the security of law to pursue teaching yoga and leading retreats, full time. It didn’t feel risky to me. I just knew “if not now, then when”.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
To be completely honest, I feel like I am just starting in my career as a yoga instructor, so it still feels very new and exciting and I still have a ton to learn. At the moment I am very excited about expanding my retreat business with my friend and partner, Rachel Loebs. We just returned from Tulum, Mexico and are heading to Santa Fe, NM in September. Having the opportunity to combine my love for fitness with my love of travel has been the ultimate dream come true. We also lead Sunset Sweat & Sip, the first Thursday of every month at the Mondrian Hotel on South Beach. The event includes our signature workout class which is a combination of cardio HIIT and yoga and makes for an awesome sweat session. I am looking forward to expanding to other locations throughout Miami in the coming year.
The biggest lesson that I have learned and continue to remind myself is: output over outcome. The end result should not be the focus, I just need to keep showing up. The rest will fall into place.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I LOVE this question! Miami is such a hot spot. I used to call it a tropical New York City, but honestly it’s a city like no other. My go-to is a day pass at The Standard on Miami Beach. Arrive early, get a good chair, lounge by the pool and people watch for the day. Their spa is also one of the best in town. I also highly recommend grabbing an outdoor table at Amara at Paraiso, ordering their Yuca Cheese Puffs and watching the sunset. Last stop is coming to my free yoga class on Saturday mornings at 10:00 am at the Mondrian on South Beach, their view of the bay and Miami skyline just cannot be beat.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I honestly wouldn’t have felt so certain of my transition from practicing lawyer to full-time yogi without the encouragement from my husband, Jaime Alvarez. We met in law school and have been partners in life for the past 15 years. He is a lawyer with Freidin Brown in Miami, and over the years, I often looked to him and was envious that he was so interested and genuinely excited about being an attorney. He gets a lot of purpose out of his job, and I wanted that for myself. I feel very lucky to have a partner who doesn’t talk me out of stuff and is so proud of the things I am doing and the changes I have made.
Also, like most strong women, I was raised by one. My mom is my ultimate supporter. She is the epitome of strength and positivity and I would not be the woman that I am if it wasn’t for her. My dad, he was the hardest worker, a true visionary and risk taker. He valued education, encouraged us to travel and always thought outside the box. Initially, he didn’t understand why I wanted to quit law, he thought it was a waste of my education, but over time he saw how happy and fulfilled I was, and one of the last conversations we had was how proud he was that I was finally pursuing my passion.