Interview: On the yoga mat with Mariska Gunsing

From the hollows of the yoga studio every Thursday morning, there is usually a lot of moaning and groaning. However, there is no need to worry, according to yoga instructor Mariska Gunsing, “the bellows are usually punctuated with a lot of laughter”. Mariska, who usually combines bits of Japanese, Chinese, and Vinyasa yoga poses, smiles and says, “my classes are hard work and the participants at The Crunch know it, that’s why they come”. Just the same, they laugh at each other when they grunt from the muscle pain, which takes the edge off the seriousness that is usually associated with yoga”. That’s one of the many things she enjoys about the friendly atmosphere at The Crunch, and the way members have an accepting attitude towards others, like old friends have for each other.

Yoga Magazine

Mariska, who started at the The Crunch in late 2015, has been teaching yoga for the last two and a half years. She started doing yoga when she was 19 years old and was still working as assistant editor for Yoga Magazine. “That’s when the yoga bug bit me”, she laughs. “Usually most people write and work for a magazine after they have been working in that field for quiet some time, but I did it the other way around”.

Interview: On the yoga mat with Mariska Gunsing

Mariska’s work as an editor and journalist entailed many hours of sitting in a chair and developed into RSI. She eventually had to do some other kind of work, and during a trip to Thailand she contemplated what do with her life. “I made the decision to teach yoga, which had always been something I loved, and for the rest of the trip, I drank a lot”, she laughs.


After she moved to Amsterdam Noord two and a half years ago, she has been working as a yoga instructor in Amsterdam, and currently works at two other gyms besides The Crunch, as well as teaching at big festivals like Lowlands where festivalgoers can chill out from the intensive three-day program of film, theater, literature, and music concerts. “Besides all the tents where people camp, there is a special area, called the ‘Low Zone’ that can only be reached by a boat where they have sauna’s, hot tubs, and do yoga”. She asserts, “there is a really positive vibe at the festival”.


Many of the students that come to Mariska’s classes come for her no-nonsense approach to yoga. Although she had a minor in philosophy and is interested in the spiritual aspect of yoga, Mariska admits that she does always appreciate all the spiritual hocus-pocus that surrounds yoga”. She adds, “it’s really simple … yoga is hard work where you need to concentrate on your breathing and should not be afraid of your physical shortcomings. One of her teachers once said that yoga is a general tryout for life, but then on the yoga mat. You have to accept your limitations in life. Mariska elaborates and says, “I look at it this way, life is fucking good, but you have to do the work to make it that way”. She laughs, “that doesn’t sound very philosophical but it’s true”.

About the author

Benjamin Roberts is an American, a spinning instructor and also a writer, journalist, and publicist. He has a passion for finding out what makes people tick. Over the years he has taught at more than ten gyms in Amsterdam and when he started at The Crunch three years ago, he noticed The Crunch was more than just a gym. It has a different kind of 'buzz'. In his bi-weekly blogs over the coming year, he aims to find out what makes The Crunch and its members tick.

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