The Yogi Next to You


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

Mala South member Annie Carlin introduced me to yoga after college at a studio in Manhattan, and the practice challenged me in ways going to the gym and playing basketball didn’t. I practiced there on-and-off for about a year there until their focus on veganism became too much for me and I stopped going.

About 8 months later I was half-heartedly searching for a new studio and it was right around the time that Mala was preparing to open its doors. Annie, who had moved to Washington DC, kept urging me to try this brand-new studio, but I was a little gun-shy. It took Annie about 6 weeks to talk to me into it, and from the first Dharma talk I felt at home at Mala and the community here.

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

Pigeon was love at first pose. Full wheel and I are not friends…yet.

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

Not getting stuck on the word “can’t” and instead accepting where I am in my practice without having to make a judgment. For some reason, before I stepped on the mat I had thought of “acceptance” as being a passive thing that just happens (or doesn’t), but it’s probably the part of the practice that I have had to work the hardest on.

The other biggie for me has been trusting that my body is learning and remembering even when my brain doesn’t seem to be. But over the years, my body has figured it out time and time again.

What was the last Dharma talk that resonated with you?

The one that I come back to over and over again (or maybe it comes back to me) is that you are always provided with the teacher you need, not the teacher you necessarily want.

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

Drink: Sample.
Coffee: Just for the fries alone, I have a post-yoga brunch tradition at Cafe Luluc with Annie Carlin, whenever she’s in town.

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

I went to Jordan this winter and we drove around Wadi Rum and then watched the sun set. It was so peaceful and it felt like we had the world to ourselves, so I’d love to roll out my mat on sand there.

How has practicing shifted other aspects of your life?

I got on the mat for the physical benefits — I wanted to be stronger, stand up straighter — and I’ve gained a much, much deeper understanding of how my body works and why some poses feel great and others don’t.

But my recent “aha!” moments have reminded me that the poses we do on the mat are just part of the practice. I’ve noticed how I’ve made the practice my own or how I can be more patient. And then there was the day when I was facing a “situation” at work and for the first time the yoga part of my brain hit the “pause” button all on its own. I took that second to breathe, I got my emotional bearings and then I chose to react the way I did. That was a whole new kind of beginner’s joy.

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. Blakeney also contributes to the Mala Yoga blog here.


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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