Marya Barrios

Marya Barrios

The study of movement brought Marya Barrios to Columbus and the practice of movement (for the moment) keeps her here. Her father moved from Venezuela to New York in 1993 and then from New York to Ohio to pursue his Master’s in technology and dance through the Ohio State Dance Department. Barrios joined her father shortly after his move to Columbus. At the age of 15, she left behind a Venezuela already exhibiting early symptoms of political and social unrest.

Barrios excelled academically and musically while finishing out her last two years of high school in the United States. While pursuing music technology and related arts at Oberlin College, she became interested in the relationship between movement and body. She finished out her degree at Ohio State where she also developed a love for martial arts.

We met a few free minutes before Barrios’s hot yoga class at Yoga Six. Free moments are rare for Barrios as caring for her young daughter and teaching classes throughout the city keep her busy. Yet, she clearly enjoys this busy schedule. Through a diverse set of classes – Vinyasa yoga, hot yoga, deep stretch yoga, boxing, Shuai Chiao, and Tae Kwon Do – Barrios seeks to “promote synergy in varied physical, artistic, and holistic practices to bring a deeper understanding of each individual healing processs, creating breath, mind, and body awareness.”

I found teachings of mindfulness and compassion replete in Barrios hot yoga class as a lucky participant. These lessons translate to practices in her everyday and Barrios seeks to impart this appreciation of motion and love to her students. Listen for more on Barrios journey to discovering her passion for movement and teaching on this week’s ¡Dímelo, Columbus!:

Drawn to the Dance:

🎧  Listen (2:22)
“My father moved to the United States in ’93…When I used to to visit him, I used to go to New York and visit him – it was like every other summer… When I was 15, things in Venezuela started going a little bit bad already. That was the time where Chavez had already won and people were already predicting this whole mess was going to happen.”
“My dad moved to Columbus to do his masters in the Dance Department [at OSU]… So it worked out that when he came here, that second year he was here I moved to Ohio with him – of course not knowing that Ohio was going to be very different than New York!…That’s pretty much how I ended up in Columbus, that random series of events.”

Discovering Movement:

🎧 Listen (4:26)
“The high school was a lot more like what you see in movies, with the cliques, but I enjoyed that freedom. I had a uniform my whole life in school…it was terrible… Making new friends was tricky because I didn’t speak English very well, but I played music. So I had that tool to communicate with people. So even if I didn’t speak English, they were like – ‘these are the chords, this is the key signature…'”
“One of the medias I loved and rediscovered was movement and dance and choreography… If you see a yoga class, it’s like an ongoing choreography. You’re creating movement-movement-movement-movement with words… Somehow I was very interested in the idea of interconnectedness. That web that is a continuous conversation from one medium to another… I started doing martial arts. I came to Ohio State to finish my degree… To get my body  stretched and ready to do more martial arts, that’s kind of how I started doing yoga.”
Marya Barrios


🎧 Listen (2:43)
“I have friends that are from Venezuela and Colombia and Argentina. And friends from China, from Russia, the Ukraine, and friends from here, from Ohio and they’re good good friend. The funny thing is that people are always first generation of something else… I feel like one of my best friends from college is from Cape Verde in Africa and she came here when she was nine. We kind of relate a little bit in how we’re raised but we’re from there, but we’re from here really… In my experience, Venezuela has changed so much that I don’t recognize it anymore. So it’s kind of sad and brings some feelings of melancholy – that melancholia, right?… I do have this much more like rooted love for Venezuela that will never go, but at the same time, I know that my ethnicity is much broader than just [being] from there.”
Marya Barrios

“A Resident of the World:”

🎧 Listen (1:05)
“As a resident of the world. That said, I mean, I was born in Venezuela, but I’ve been living 15 years here – so [that’s] half of my life too, I feel very much from here.”
“Of course when you look at me it’s easy to judge, right? I’m a white Hispanic person, and I understand the privilege that might bring… I think it’s important to acknowledge it, but somehow go beyond that, right? Be a little compassionate and bring some mindfulness to  every action we have. This is why I do what I do.”
Unless otherwise noted, all photos and text are copyrighted to Leticia Wiggins. Music for introduction & interlude by The Original Soundtrack (thanks, guys!).

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