Interview with The Merrymaker Sisters

Emma and Carla Papas are the founders of The Merrymaker Sisters and both graduates of the Essence of Living Academy.

These multi-passionate women describe themselves as bliss followers, magic creators and health coaches. They reach over 250 000 people every month to help them live healthier, happier, merrier lives.

Today we’re chatting to the sisters about their journey to becoming yoga and Pilates teachers respectively, why they love the practice and what led them to undertaking their training with Michelle at Essence of Living on the Gold Coast.

Describe your journey to yoga/Pilates:

Exercise has always been a big part of our lives, from teeny kids all the way up until our early 20s it was a really healthy relationship. In 2012 we both followed a path with unkind intentions for our bodies. We overtrained at the gym and became obsessed with losing weight and counting calories. Our relationship with ourselves was fueled by self-loathing. To heal, we both literally stopped exercising, just light walking. When we made the move up to the Gold Coast in February 2016 we were ready to get back into exercise… but we wanted to find an exercise that would help us build our self-love. Something that would nourish not just the body but the mind and spirit as well. We heard about Essence of Living from a friend and as soon as we walked into the studio, we knew we’d found home. After almost 2 years now of practicing at EOL, we’ve not only transformed our bodies, our minds and spirits… but we’ve made magical friendships for life.

Why do you devote yourself to this practice?

It’s simple. It makes us feel SO DAMN GOOD. On our good days we feel even lighter and brighter… and on the not so good days, we can walk in one person and walk out feeling like a brand new being.

When and why did you decide to complete yoga/Pilates teacher training?

For Carla she picked up the training brochure on her first visit. Yoga teacher training has always been something she’s wanted to do so at the start of 2017 she popped it on her goals list for the year! Emma saw the transformation take place first hand that Carla went through and she wanted a piece of that! At the time pilates training started, she was going through a break up and wanted something that would help her gain confidence.

What made you choose EOL Academy?

We’d already been practising at EOL for a year, made friends with the other teachers and students, plus we loved Michelle so it just made sense! We also loved that it was over 8-10 weeks, so we could keep working on our business at the same time!

What’s your relationship to your own practice? How has this changed over time?

One of our most used sentences of all time is “we LOVE yoga and pilates… it’s changed our lives.” And it continues to do that each and every day. Going to yoga and pilates is like our sanctuary. It’s our place where we can become fully present and leave everything else at the door. We can feel the difference when we don’t practice, we’re not as focussed or productive or joyful! We practice every day, whether it be pilates or yoga (or both if we’re energetic!). We’re 100% devoted to feeling good and yoga and pilates brings this into our lives.

What keeps you inspired when it comes to your personal practice?

Carla likes to schedule it all in the calendar for the week, whereas Emma is more of a does what she feels kind of person. But having a buddy that goes to yoga and pilates all the time is really inspiring, somedays you just feel blah and even though you know practicing will take you out of that funk, having a friend to say “let’s go!” really makes a difference. It’s accountability. We also find a good playlist inspires us during the practice!

Who are some of your mentors? Why do you trust them?

We 100% believe that everyone we meet has something to share and something teach, as long as we’re listening. Oprah is one of our biggest inspirations and although not a personal mentor (yet!) we’ll meet her one day!

Since completing teacher training, how has your life changed?

We’ve both gained confidence and so much more peace and serenity in our lives. The yoga philosophy that Carla learned (and continues to learn) has helped both of us realise the true essence of life is to spread kindness and create real, meaningful connections with others. Life feels more magical. Life flows. Life is more love filled! To anyone thinking of doing their training we always say DO IT DO IT DO IT! It’s been one of the best things we’ve ever done. Plus, we’re now teaching at Essence, which is just so fun!

What are some of the songs on your current playlist that get you moving?

We are OBSESSED with making playlists! At the moment we’re loving Walk on Water by Beyonce and Eminem, anything Taylor Swift, old school JLO and Robbie Williams. We actually love most music and dance and play carpool karaoke every single day.

What are three books that are currently on your nightstand?

The Alchemist (sooo many notes have been written in the margins!), Wheels of Life (recommended to Carla at teacher training, all about chakras!) and Think and Grow Rich (working on our money mindset!),

Off the mat, how do you fill your days?

You’ll find us working on our business, The Merrymaker Sisters. This might include cooking up a delish recipe, coffee meetings, podcast interviews and lots of writing! Intertwined will be beach swims, magical hiking adventures and a LOT of laughter.

Join Carla and Emma on the mat!
Check out the Essence of Living timetable here.