The Yogi Next to You


The Yogi Next to You - Meghan GreenhalghWhat’s your yoga story? How’d you find Mala?

I started practicing yoga in January at another studio because I wanted to find a way to decompress from work and take care of my body. Though I felt good after practicing, I thought that the classes moved too quickly and I was only completing about 75% of the poses, often not knowing if I was doing them correctly or safely. I was intimidated by the other people in the class, who were all in incredible shape and seemed like they knew exactly what to do, while I was slipping and wobbling every step of the way. For these reasons, I couldn’t get into a groove of attending class consistently and after a few months stopped going altogether.

When I moved to Cobble Hill in June, I decided that I wanted to give yoga another try and set out to find a studio where I could feel comfortable. I live around the corner from Mala, so after reading the reviews on Yelp, I decided to give it a shot. I found that the beginner’s classes were perfect for me. I realized that I’d been doing a lot of poses incorrectly all along and I’m working to teach myself how to recognize when I’m properly aligned (and when I’m not, I know Stephanie or Christina will come and correct me!). There’s such a warm, welcoming vibe at the studio and I feel so good after practicing that I’m now consistently attending classes a few times each week. My colleagues at work know that I’m going to be heading out early on Mondays and Wednesdays because I have to get to the Basics class by 7pm.

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

I’ve always been afraid of inversions and didn’t think I had the upper body strength to do any of the poses, but I recently discovered that I love half handstand! It was really empowering to know that I could hold the pose and enjoy it after avoiding inversions for so long.

It might sound strange, but I find Mountain pose very challenging. I sit at a desk all day and It’s hard for me to stand up straight and engage all of my muscles in such a subtle way.

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

It’s getting easier, but I have a hard time not beating myself up when I lose my balance or can’t hold a pose for long. I’ll get frustrated and then the frustration distracts me from the focus I need to hold the pose and then I’m mad at myself for getting frustrated and now I’m totally thrown off! Taking a minute to step into Child’s pose and take a few deep breaths and thank myself for taking the time to practice helps me get past the mental blocks and treat the next pose like a fresh start.

My other big obstacle is making the most of Shavasana. When I’m doing the active poses, I’m so focused on holding the pose that my mind doesn’t wander. But when I’m lying down, the events of the day and my to-do list start running through my head and it’s hard to keep my mind clear and focus on my breath. Taking deeper breaths and counting them helps me stave off those pesky thoughts (…for 10 seconds at least!)

What was the last Dharma talk that resonated with you?

I love being in control so I struggle with situations when I can’t just jump in and fix everything. A few weeks back, Angela spoke about modeling yourself after a river, flowing around obstacles without letting them stop you. It really resonated for me and I’ve been thinking a lot lately about learning to accept people and situations that I can’t change.

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

On weekends, I love to grab a smoothie at Nectar on my way home from class. On weeknights, I’ll go home and have a cup of Trader Joe’s Sleepytime tea and I’m ready for bed.

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

On a beautiful, empty beach. After practicing, I’d take a dip in the ocean and nap on the sand.

How has practicing yoga shifted other aspects of your life?

I’ve definitely noticed changes “off the mat” since I started practicing yoga. I feel stronger and more confident, like my body has so much potential that I’m just starting to tap into. I’m less stressed and I’m able to unwind from work in a way that I couldn’t before. I also have been getting more sleep and eating better, since I see the immediate benefits when I do good things for my body.

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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