The Yogi Next to You


The Yogi Next to You - Lisa StoweWhat’s your yoga story? How did you find Mala?

Coming from a dance background, which translated into I-know-how-to-stretch-so-I-don’t-need-yoga-itis, as well as being rather type A and preferring the adrenaline rush of running or lifting weights, I was a reluctant yogi.  Except when I was pregnant.  Yoga helped me immensely in my first pregnancy, so when I was in the family way with my second son, I turned to the yoga studio around the corner, and hence discovered Mala.  However I found something much more than just squats and kegels – I discovered an amazing community where yoga was not boring, was not preachy, and was not too chant-y.  I found precise anatomical instruction, an outlet for stress and strain, and a new appreciation for my body (and of course, a killer workout).  Fast forward 3 years – including one newborn, 2 yoga retreats in Costa Rica, and a move to Park Slope – and my practice is still going strong.

What pose do you want to do all day? What pose could you never do again?

Revolved extended side angle is one of my current favorites.  Forearm dog (and forearm stand) I could do without.

What are your biggest yoga obstacles and how do you overcome them?

Expectations!   When I first started practicing, I was still thinking about how to “succeed” at yoga.  If an optional instruction was offered, I went for it.  After some humbling inversions, as well as a SI joint injury, I’ve learned to respect my body’s limits.  A key element of my current practice is an appreciation for my own boundaries and knowing when “going for it” in a pose makes sense or is just silly.

What was the last Dharma talk that resonated with you?

A couple of months ago, Angela talked a lot about how “retreats” are better labeled as “advances.”  That really spoke to me – I find that my practice grows remarkably when I am able to really dedicate time and space to it – whether on an “advance” or via an intermittent home practice.

Where is your favorite place to get coffee, or a drink, post-yoga?

Coffee – One Girl Cookies
Drink – Sample

If you could practice yoga anywhere in the world, where would it be?

For me, the location is less important than my ability to immerse myself in the practice.  One of the best aspects of both retreats in Costa Rica for me was the ability to dedicate my time to my practice and have nothing else get in the way.  Honestly, we could have been practicing in Alaska and it would have been amazing.   Although the infinity pool definitely didn’t hurt.

How has practicing shifted other aspects of your life?

My yoga practice has had many positive externalities: emotionally, physically, and socially.  I have become much more attuned to my own thoughts and feelings in a very constructive manner.  I am increasingly able to deal with stress usefully – acknowledging the source of stress but not letting it consume me.  I also find that mindfulness applies not only to yogis but to kids – in a yogic language slip, I’ve told my 4 year old that he needs to be mindful of how his actions impact his little brother (and I like to think the lesson resonated).  From a physical perspective, I have a much greater understanding of my body and am the official anatomy geek amongst my family and friends.  Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the amazing friends I’ve made through the studio, who I have no doubt will be friends, confidantes, and fellow practitioners for the long haul.

We’re thrilled to bring you the stories of Mala yogis in their own words.  Maybe you know them, maybe you’ve never seen them before, maybe they look familiar, maybe you once knew their name, but forgot. Whatever the case may be, here is the chance to learn a little more about the person practicing on the mat next to you. Click here to read about other yogis.


About The Mala Yoga Blog

We are a Brooklyn-based studio that focuses on alignment, balance and community. Have a read, try one of our Practice Podcasts, or come in and say "hi" in person!
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7 Responses to The Yogi Next to You

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