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From Paralysis to Paradise: Yoga Studio Owner Finds Healing

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Taraka Yoga brings a vibrant energy to the center of the fast developing Colonia of Versalles

[This article on Taraka Yoga originally appeared in our summer print issue. You can view the PDF of our summer print issue here.]

Taraka Yoga, sits opposite the well known Barrio Bistro and opened on January 11, 2023, and has been winning converts ever since.

Taraka Yoga, owned by Mark Hanuman, the space exudes a brightness and positivity that is contagious. Meeting Mark as the sun streamed into the expansive studio; I learned of his incredible life journey, his vision for the studio, and the options they offer to fit anyone who will allow the benefits of Yoga to come into their life. Photo by Oscar Almeida.
Taraka Yoga, owned by Mark Hanuman, the space exudes a brightness and positivity that is contagious. Meeting Mark as the sun streamed into the expansive studio; I learned of his incredible life journey, his vision for the studio, and the options they offer to fit anyone who will allow the benefits of Yoga to come into their life. Photo by Oscar Almeida.

Owned by Mark Hanuman, the space exudes a brightness and positivity that is contagious. Meeting Mark as the sun streamed into the expansive studio; I learned of his incredible life journey, his vision for the studio, and the options they offer to fit anyone who will allow the benefits of Yoga to come into their life.

Mark hails from Baltimore, but has lived in Mexico since 2012. He discovered Yoga due to a life altering event, which very nearly was a life ending event.

Shortly after graduating from college, he visited his brother in Hawaii in June of 2004. While climbing a cliff there, he fell thirty feet, breaking his neck and back. He was paralyzed for three long, excruciating months. As a way to heal himself, he discovered Yoga, utilizing it as a powerful tool in his physical rehabilitation.

After Mark recovered, he returned to school for his Master’s Degree in Translation, then worked for a number of years in musical theater, before joining the Peace Corps and living on the top of a mountain in the Northern Andes of Peru.

Taraka Yoga brings a vibrant energy to the center of the fast developing Colonia of Versalles. Photo by Andrea Fanni Photography
Taraka Yoga brings a vibrant energy to the center of the fast developing Colonia of Versalles. Photo by Andrea Fanni Photography


In 2012, seeking a change, he moved to the Mexican city of Queretaro, which lies north of Mexico City. He opened a yoga studio there, which flourished, until the pandemic hit in 2020.

After closing the studio in Queretaro, he moved to the Pacific beach town popularly known as San Pancho. After two years of some down time there Mark was ready to make his move to Puerto Vallarta.

“Why PV,” I inquired, he answered with a smile, responding; “beaches, mountains, jungles.”

The stars aligned as Mark decided to open a Yoga/Wellness Studio in Versalles upon settling in. His dream was to create a nurturing community of supportive, like-minded people who are interested in delving deeper into their own spirituality.

As part of the LGBTQ+ community, Mark feels strongly that spirituality isn’t necessarily antithetical to being a valued member of that community.

“Both can coexist very naturally, in a space that is inclusive, safe, and diverse,” Mark shared.

His mantra is “unity in diversity,” meaning the paths are many to finding acceptance, love, and peace, but the goal is the same; “there shouldn’t be a tension in that regardless of your belief structure,” he stated.

By engaging in; postures, meditation, breathing, and chanting, we are able to experience those positive feelings. Mark emphasized that he wants his students to realize the importance of the spiritual underpinnings behind the physical practices, “the real goal is inner peace, not just putting your foot behind your head,” Mark said smiling; he continued “you will get physically stronger, but that is an added benefit, not the end goal.” 

There are two different styles of Yoga that Mark teaches; Sivananda, which is slower paced, and more introspective, and Rocket, which as its name implies, is much more physically challenging than the former.

Mark has the help of five other instructors whose styles include; Dharma, Vinysasa, and Yin, as well. 

Every Wednesday evening at 7:30pm is a free chanting class, which includes; guided meditation, chanting, conversation, and philosophy. 

Mark has a clothing line that is sold in the studio called Omen Yoga Wear, the slogan for the brand is, The World Is My Mat, which speaks to the reality that you can practice Yoga anywhere, at any time, it goes with you.

As the afternoon was moving on, Mark made a final point that he wanted to share, “Takara Yoga is an inclusive community space, where nationals, those in the foreign community, and those in the tourist community, can all come together and feel at home,” as Mark said with a smile in his eyes, “no one has ever finished a Yoga class and thought, that was a bad idea.”   

Mark Hanuman.  Photo by Oscar Almeida.
Mark Hanuman. Photo by Oscar Almeida.

Taraka Yoga
C. Espana 312-1, Versalles, 48310
Monday to Friday 7:00am-12:30pm and 6:00pm-8:30pm Saturday 9:00am-11:00am
Telephone 52 322 171 1294
Follow Taraka Yoga on Facebook and Instagram

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