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.
Meet SANDRA BARK!
What’s your yoga story? How did you find Mala?
Once upon a time, the corporation I worked for offered a lunchtime yoga class. That was at least a decade ago, and that class launched a practice that lingered, then fell away.
I used to live around the corner from the studio, and for at least a year, I would walk by daily and say to myself: Maybe tomorrow I’ll go to yoga! When tomorrow finally came, I dropped in for a class. And then another. And then I bought a class card. And a stack of American Apparel leggings.
Now, two years later, my home is a mile away from the studio, but I keep coming back. So my yoga story begins with capitalism and ends with Svanasana. At Mala. Happily ever after.
What pose do you want to do all day? What pose could you never do again?
Pigeon is awesome. Forearm dog is awkward.
What are your biggest yoga obstacles and how do you overcome them?
My biggest obstacles used to be in my head or in my calendar: “I can’t go to yoga: I’m not in the mood. I have too much to do, I have a lunch date.” Then I experienced the wonders of injury and really learned the meaning of “can’t.” Now that I’m feeling better, I’m so grateful that my obstacles aren’t in my body that my head just kind of stays out of the way. Most mornings. Sometimes, I really just have too much to do…
What was the last Dharma talk that resonated with you?
Stephanie and the towels! I love the pink towels, which are only alarming if you know that you’re supposed to be mad at Elmo.
Where is your favorite place to get coffee, or a drink, post-yoga?
Coffee: Pedlar. Drink: The Jakewalk.
If you could practice yoga anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Brooklyn? Also: anywhere outside, within walking distance to a beach.
How has practicing shifted other aspects of your life?
Experientially: When I practice, I am constantly gauging how my body feels and what it needs. From choosing the right props for the moment to stretching in a different direction than the group when I need to, the practice has taught me to support and listen to myself in the world at large as much as I do in class.
Mentally: Practicing yoga gives me space to consider the way I storyboard in my head, which helps me decode the stories I tell myself when I’m not in downward dog.
Physically: Focusing on alignment on the mat has had a real influence on the way I sit and stand when I’m off the mat. And it helps me keep my balance without holding on when I ride the subway. Urban surfing! It’s a fun side effect.