Maya’s initial studies lead to her graduating from the University of Florence in History of Arts and Costumes. In 1994 she started working in the world of cinema and fashion and worked with leading designers, from Gucci to Romeo Gigli, from Max Mara to Alberta Ferretti, from Vivienne Westwood to Calvin Klein.
She deepened her studies with two Master’s degrees in Arts and Fashion Design in London at Saint Martin’s School and in New York at the Fashion Institute of Technology. She worked as a costume assistant for the famous in the world of cinema and appeared in various movies. After many years travelling, living, and working abroad (in London, New York, and Hong Kong) as a designer and costume designer, Maya decided to visit India where she found her spiritual path and her first Indian guru.
This visit allowed her to radically change her life and connect herself with her true nature through a deep journey of spiritual growth.
In 2006, when she returned to Italy, she decided to settle in Milan and to leave the shining and superficial world of fashion and to fully dedicate herself to teaching the Indian traditions through yoga and dance. Maya founded her yoga and dance school in Milan in 2007 with the objective of spreading the arts from the East.
Maya has been Chair of the association MUDRARTE since 2019 and co-partner of Mudra Lifestyle, which was created by Maya and her husband with the objective of encouraging people to adopt a lifestyle in line with and respectful of nature.
Yoga training and spiritual pathway
The name Maya Swati Devi was given to Maya by her spiritual Guru in India after a long stay there and an intense time of spiritual growth that radically changed her life. Maya is an acknowledged Teacher and Yogini from the Sakta and Kaula tradition.
She is a spiritual researcher and has practiced yoga since 1996 through workshops, seminars, and retreats. She is one of the few Western yoga teachers invited to teach at yoga festivals and hold workshops in India.
She has studied Vedic astrology, the I-Ching, numerology, and she is an expert in vegan-macrobiotic and natural body therapies.
Maya has been a vegetarian since she was teenager and vegan for the last 20 years. In line with her spiritual path she decided to reject the use of all animal products. She has been healing herself through herbs and natural remedies.
Maya is the first and only teacher in Italy of gypsy dances from Rajasthan and Kalbeliya, and is a member of the CID UNESCO International Council, the most acknowledged international organisation worldwide. Maya Devi is the only Italian student of Sua Devi, one of the greatest teachers from Kalbeliya, who dances in the famous movie ‘LathoDrom’ by Tony Gatlif, which tells the story of nomadic gypsy populations in their journey from India to Andalusia. Maya has been dancing since she was 8 years old and she has attended courses with different dance styles: Argentinian tango, gypsy dances, Sufi dances, Japanese and Chinese dances, and the Chau dance from Orissa (India).
She started learning flamenco in London and when she moved to Milan in 2006 she studied with Sabina Todaro from Il Mosaico Danza. She deepened her studies in Andalusia and learnt from the greatest international dance teachers, such as Isabel Bayon, Rafaela Carrasco, Antonio El Pipa, Olga Pericet, Blanca Del Rey, Eva La Yerbabuena, Angel Munoz, Belen Maya e Mercedes Ruiz, Studia Palmas y Compas con El Londro, El Gamboa de Jerez, Antonio Mejias, Santiago Lara e Antonio Porro. She studied Duende gypsy dance with Miriam Szabo (Yumma Mudra) and Carolna Fonseca.
In 1996 Maya travelled to India and during her long stays she learnt a variety of Hindu and sacred dances, such as folk dances from Rajasthan with Guru Vandana, Kalbeliya dance at the gypsy villages populated by the local serpent enchanters. She deepened her studies with Gulabo Sapera and Sayari Sapera, worldwide-known dancers from Rajasthan.
Maya has always been passionate about Eastern, nomadic and Indian dances and during her trips to Asia she practised various dance styles, such as the dance from Odissi with Rekha Tandonin Bhubaneswar, the Khatak dance with Guru Girdhaj Maharaj in Jaipur, in New Delhi with the Kalashetra school of Pandit Birju Maharaj, in Lucknow with Anuj Mishra and Neha Singh, Anasua Majumndar, Manisha Gulyani, Bharata Natyam with Nuria Sala Grau and in Chennai, the Chau dance from Orissa with Rakesh Saibabu, folk dances from Ladhak, the Sufi mystic dance and Qawwali music with spiritual teachers, Persian dances with Miriam Perez, Helene Eriksen, Aram Ghasemy, Rana Gorgani, Farzaneh Kaboliand, Chinese dances with Olivia Kwong, Balinese dance with I Made Djimat in Bali and Enrico Masseroli in Italy.
In India she studied with her first teacher Rahul Verma in New Delhi and deepened her studies with Sunny Singh in Mumbai and George Jacob in Bangalore, both popular Bollywood choreographers, dancers, and actors. In Italy she was one of the first dancers and teachers to teach Bollywood dance.