The Yogi Next to You


Annie Carlin - The Yogi Next to YouWhat’s your yoga story? How did you find Mala?

In college, one of my roommates was going on about how she had tried yoga and how awesome it was. Feeling pretty out of shape and at sea, as I did during most of college, I was interested. She told me about a free intro class at Jivamukti Yoga Center and I went. After almost fainting, I decided a basics class or 100 was a good idea. It wasn’t until I took my first intermediate class, though, that I fell head over heels in love with yoga – with the chanting, the asana, the philosophy, the everything. I remember going home and telling my parents, “This is it. This is what I have been waiting for my entire life.”

Like any relationship, the initial honeymoon period wore off a bit, and when I moved
away from the east village after college, my practice dropped off. It wasn’t until I moved
back to Brooklyn that I rediscovered my practice at Area Yoga. I lived at the studio –
at one point practicing pretty much every day. But then DC called and I moved away.
Shortly thereafter, Mala was born. I searched and searched (and am still searching) for
a yoga community in DC, but never really found one.

Mala has been my yoga home ever since. Even though I don’t get to go every day or
even every month, I know that I can walk in those doors and be completely comfortable,
safe and accepted. Recently a student I’d never seen before asked me if I was new.
I laughed and said, “No, I’m very old…” It reminded me how priceless having a yoga
home is, even if it’s not around the corner or in the same city.

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

All day – Triangle – it’s my go to pose. It feels awesome even when I’m feeling gross. And supta padangustasana – the variation with your leg out to the side – I could sleep like that.

Eagle – I don’t get this pose. It’s uncomfortable and my legs don’t wrap.

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

I have a mental brick wall about going to class here in DC – it’s silly, I almost always feel better afterwards, but getting to class and onto the mat is a struggle. Home practice has always been difficult for me – so podcasts are a must!

Due to a dramatic weight gain, my physical practice is not what it used to be. Though I
have been and am working on accepting my current practice, not being able to do poses
I once practiced with ease *cough* handstand *cough* is incredibly frustrating. I am
just now, after struggling for a couple of years with my new body, learning to love my physical practice again. One of the reasons I am finally doing teacher training, even
though it can be a struggle physically, is to show myself and my students that anyone
can practice and benefit from yoga.

What was the last Dharma talk that resonated with you?

Loved the pink towels! Angela’s talk about ordinary perfection definitely reminded me
that goals don’t have to be huge to be worthwhile.

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

Coffee: oddly enough, I find that I crave the bodega/street vendor $1 coffee – it tastes
like home to me. I also have a long-time post-yoga coffee and brunch tradition at Café
Luluc with the beautiful and most awesome fellow Mala student, Blakeney Schick.

Drink: Sample – their sangria and munchies are awesome!

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

India – Pune to practice with BKS Iyengar and Rishikesh to meditate on the shores of
the Ganges. And Mala, of course.

How has practicing shifted other aspects of your life?

It’s made me very aware of my body and it’s taught me how to listen to what my body is
trying to tell me. I think one of the most important benefits of yoga is self-awareness –
on a physical, mental and spiritual level.

Yoga has also helped me become more patient and compassionate with myself and
others, which, in turn, has made me a much happier and calmer person.

Finally, yoga awakened the teacher in me. I find that as I become more and more
committed to teaching yoga, I take up more and more teaching, training and mentoring
roles in my non-yoga life.

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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One Response to The Yogi Next to You

  1. Pingback: The Yogi Next to You | MALA YOGA

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