The Yogi Next to You

Meet KATIE T.!

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

I first took a yoga class at my college gym when my very wise mother suggested I give it a try to help de-stress.  I was hooked immediately and went searching for yoga wherever I could find it.  After many years of vinyasa classes I moved to Brooklyn and met Steph, Angela & Christina.  They some how slowed me down and made me pay attention to alignment which totally changed my practice.  I found Mala before there were bamboo floors when I went to go help paint the bathroom turquoise.  Mala has been my yoga home and supported me through a chronic illness and several injuries and I am so grateful for all my teachers and the Mala community.

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

Steph likes to say that I was backbending in the womb.  Ekapadarajakapotasana (One-Legged King Pigeon Pose) is my all time favorite because you get hip opening, shoulder opening and a super deep backbend all in the same pose.  I also love suptavirasana so much that I might fall asleep in it… sorry if I’m snoring.  I would be ok with never doing arm balances again (any of them).  I have hypermobile joints, especially shoulders and weight-bearing in some directions is really unstable for me.  I’ve been working to build strength and stability in prep poses for a few years now and will probably continue that for a few more.

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

Definitely the aforementioned hypermobility, in my joints and my spine.  Flexibility is not always a blessing, it actually makes every pose really hard work.  To gain control and stability requires lots of muscle engagement and drawing in before I can think about stretching.  If I’m not careful I get injured easily and I’ve spent countless hours getting reassembled by chiropractors.  Hypermobility is something I work with constantly and I’m overcoming it by building strength and trying to accept my practice and my body, wherever it is on any given day.

What was the last Dharma talk that resonated with you?

Steph has been talking a lot lately about having a beginners mind.  I’ve been practicing for eight years now and I still love taking basics classes.  Sometimes I learn to refine my practice more when things are broken down in a basics class, especially when the Netter gets busted out.  I’m also getting my beginners mind on by going to anti-gravity yoga classes which use a hammock suspended from the ceiling about three feet off the floor… terrifying, exhilarating, challenging and so so fun to do something new and different. 

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

I’ve given up caffeine, but love hanging out at Pedlar with everyone else anyway.

I’ll get a drink anywhere that will let me bring my dog.  Downtown is pretty conveniently located.

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

Anywhere outside, preferably with some nature around.  I’ve been known to take cheesy yoga pictures anywhere I go that I think is particularly awesome (mountains, beaches, Brooklyn Bridge Park). 

How has practicing shifted other aspects of your life?

I think it’s pretty much shifted every aspect of my life.  Growing up I was very Type A –  go go go, what’s next, who needs sleep? My yoga practice has slowly calmed me down a bit and let me relax and enjoy life more.  Shortly after I started practicing I switched my career plan from pre-law to speech pathology which has been really fulfilling and much less stressful.  I think my practice was a big part of getting rid of chronic insomnia, quitting smoking and generally having a healthier lifestyle.  I gained a spiritual practice which is definitely not required but there if you seek it out.  Most importantly I met some of my best friends in yoga class.  I believe that everyone should do yoga, and there is nothing yoga can’t change if you let it.  Namaste 🙂

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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