The Yogi Next to You

Meet DANA C.!

What’s your yoga story? How did you find Mala?

The Yogi Next to You - Dana C.I don’t remember exactly when or why I began practicing yoga, but I do remember that it was at New York Sports Club.  People who do gym yoga treat it as a competitive sport.  Even so, I stuck with it for many years.  At the time, I didn’t want to switch my practice to a yoga studio because there was too much “ohm-ing” and I was a busy New Yorker, no time for self reflection.

About a year and a half ago, a co-worker convinced me to give Mala a try (after all, Mala was just a few blocks from the office, and I hadn’t stepped foot in a gym in quite some time).  She told me to try Stephanie’s classes because she wasn’t too “dharma-y.”  (Honestly, at the time I had no idea what a dharma talk was; I was too worried about the “ohm.”)  One class and I was hooked.

I’ve stayed with Mala because of the teachers and the Mala community.  From the moment I stepped in the studio everyone was welcoming and accepting.  No one judges you.

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

I have a short attention span, so there’s no pose I’d want to do all day.  Currently, I’m pretty keen on Dhanurasana.

I’m trying to avoid saying “never” or “can’t” in my yoga practice but I’m always happy when 90 minutes passes by without a single Triangle pose.

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

I have some physical limitations that mean I’ve had to come to terms with modifying poses and using props.  As a type-A personality this is a very hard thing to embrace.  Getting out of “competitive yoga” mode and onto my own mat has made it easier to accept my body as it is.

As I noted above, I’m also trying not to say “I’ll never” or “I can’t” with respect to my practice. I’m by nature a very risk-adverse person but I’m trying to learn to trust my body and my strength (both mentally and physically).  The reward for allowing myself to try is being constantly impressed with what my body can do.

What was the last Dharma talk that resonated with you?

Although “meet the heat” is currently my personal mantra, the talk that most resonated with me is Stephanie’s discussion about allowing ourselves to be beginners.

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

Coffee:  One Girl; Drink:  Local 61 or Henry Public

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

I think a rooftop garden in Manhattan would be pretty cool.

How has practicing shifted other aspects of your life?

Most notably my practice has had lasting physical effects.  I was hypertensive when I began my practice at Mala.  My past two physicals, I’ve had normal to low blood pressure.

Also, like many people, I have a stressful job.  Many of the frustrations I encounter daily are things that are out of my control.  Having a regular practice has allowed me to recognize that and expend less energy trying to change things that I have no control over (“meet the heat”).

Thank you Mala.

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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2 Responses to The Yogi Next to You

  1. Marianne Cohen says:

    Dear Dana C,
    Having just read your story, I am very impressed by your flexibility, as seen in the picture above, but more impressive is the drop in your blood pressure and coping skills that you attribute to Mala yoga practice. Too bad Huntington Beach California is so far from the Mala studios. I might join you. Keep up the good work!

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

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