Maria Wheatley is a pharmaceutical representative, specializing in oncology medications, with Pharmacyclics and a certified yoga instructor with Nearme Yoga, Moosic and Peckville, who also has volunteered at River Front Yoga, Wilkes-Barre. She is a native of Old Forge and a graduate of Bishop Hannon High School and Wilkes University, where she earned a degree in biology. She and her husband, Bob, live in Moosic.
Meet Maria Wheatley…

Earlier this year, you received your RYT 200 yoga certification and are now a certified instructor. When did you first develop an interest in yoga? 
I started practicing yoga a few years ago and then decided to enter into the teacher-training (program). I fell in love with it for the physical aspects — as most students of yoga do — but through the practice of yoga, I found the benefits to be not only physical but (also) mental. I enjoy having a quiet mind for a few hours and controlling your body with your breath. I entered into the teacher training in July of 2016 and graduated in January.

Do you enjoy teaching yoga?
I love it. I love seeing how the students that come to my class develop after having class with me. And, having not taught very long, I love seeing my own transition and development in teaching.

You’ve been in pharmaceutical sales for 25 years and have specialized in oncology products for 15 years. What do you enjoy about it?
I like having conversations with physicians about specific patients who could benefit from what I sell, which is a targeted therapy or supported care. And I like that those conversations aren’t broad, as if we were talking about all of their patients. They’re very specific to particular patients and how they can benefit from the medications. And I like having follow-up conversations with physicians about patients who are on my medications and are doing well.

What do you do in your free time to relax?
Working two jobs, when is my free time? (Laughs) When I’m not teaching yoga, I literally try to practice yoga every day. And my husband and I like to travel. We go to London every December for a week. And we’ve been to Alaska and around the United States as well as several European countries. But we also enjoy just going to the Minooka Pub and watching Notre Dame. My family also lives close by, so I like to hang out with them as well as friends.

Favorite music?
I like all kinds of music, though my very favorite is Beyonce. I also love Steely Dan. I’m all over the board. I listen to pop. My husband loves jazz, so we also listen to that a lot.

Do you follow sports?
Mostly college football. I love Notre Dame football, and my husband loves Notre Dame football. He’s also a big Cowboys fan and has been since he was little, so we watch the Cowboys every Sunday. And we watch college basketball during March Madness. We’ve actually gone to Las Vegas to watch March Madness.

All-time favorite movie?
“The Sound of Music.”

Favorite TV show?
Currently it’s “The Real Housewives” of anywhere. (Laughs)

Favorite city?
London.

Favorite vacation spot?
Also London. We’ve been there a dozen times, so when we go there, it’s not as if we have to run to Westminster Abbey and go see Big Ben. We literally live in London for a week and go to local pubs and walk to different neighborhoods.

Favorite thing about NEPA?
The fact that all of my friends and family are here. I guess most people would say the seasons, but I would just like summer to be its own year-round reason. (Laughs) But this is where I’m from. It’s where home is. And there’s something really lovely about the community here.

Favorite food?
Pizza. I’m from Old Forge, and my grandparents had one of the original pizza places in Old Forge. What’s now Café Rinadli used to be a Lettieri’s.

Favorite holiday?
Thanksgiving.

Guilty pleasure?
Beer.

Biggest pet peeve?
Grammatical errors. And people that don’t say “thank you” when you let them pull out in front of you. I drive about 1,000 miles a week, so I have a lot of time to observe people’s road manners, or lack thereof.

Favorite book or author?
Jennifer Weiner.

Favorite quote or catchphrase?
I say it all the time in my classes, and I say it all the time to myself: “Take a moment to say something nice to yourself.” I think, in our heads, we’re very critical of ourselves. We’re very quick to say, “That looks terrible on me” or “My hair looks bad.” But in moments like that, when you’re sitting in traffic and you find yourself getting angry, just take a moment to say something nice to yourself.

Have you had a defining moment in your life, or someone in your life, that has helped shape you into the person you are today?
I think I’m a pretty good combination of both of my parents. The older I get, I see a lot of my own self in them and a lot of them in me. Overall, I’m cut directly from the Lettieri cloth. As for a moment, a couple of years ago, we were renovating our home, and the builder went to jail. And we were left, literally, with nothing but studs and mess of the home that we had lived in for 10 years. This was someone that was willing to take our money and leave our house half-done. And so we lived with my brother and his family, in his basement, for 10 months. And for all of the bad that was happening in our lives with our house and the builder, people were genuinely kind about it. My brother and his wife went out of their way to allow us to live there, and even their neighbors — who became our neighbors during that time — never missed an opportunity to ask how things were going. And our neighbors, when we would stop back to our house, always came over to offer to help in any way that they could. That was a moment in time that showed us the goodness
of people.

UP CLOSE & PERSONAL with ALAN K. STOUT is a regular feature in electric city, profiling people from all walks of life throughout NEPA. Reach Alan at alankstout@comcast.net.

Photos by Emma Black

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