The Yogi Next to You


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

I’ve been a somewhat regular yoga practitioner for 9 years, but my first yoga experience was in the mid ‘90s. I signed up for a week-long Iyengar intensive at Feathered Pipe Ranch in Montana. Since I’d never taken a single yoga class, the “intensive” lived up to its name.

I found Mala through Stephanie.  We practiced together at another studio, so I was delighted when she was opened Mala with Angela and Christina.

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

Viparita Karani is one of my most favorite poses. I’d happily give up handstand and forearm stand.

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

I have two big obstacles. The first is getting to class. It’s easy to allow other things, like work, to intrude upon that time. I do my best to make at least 3 classes a week. The second is mentally checking out, which happens more often than I like to admit. When I’m in familiar poses, it’s super easy to be thinking about anything and everything other than what I’m physically doing in the moment.

What was the last Dharma talk that resonated with you?

I’m sort of a dharma talk groupie, so I can’t possibly list just one. Is four okay?

Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche—he’s my primary teacher, and I appreciate how accessible and practical he makes the Dharma. A recent quote that resonated with me is, “You can’t change a thought with another thought.”

Robert Thurman—we’re so lucky to have lots of access since he lives in NY. My friend Priscilla describes him as “inexpressibly far-out.” So are his talks!

H.H. the Karmapa—he’s not in the US often, so good to catch him when he’s here. The Dance of 17 Lives offers a vivid account of his dramatic back-story.

Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche—raised in Nepal and a graduate of Columbia, he brilliantly blends Eastern and Western thought. His new book, Rebel Buddha, is great.

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

One Girl Cookies for sure. Their space is so pretty; the coffee is superb, and the mini cookies are yummy.

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

Well, at Mala Yoga in Brooklyn, of course.  Otherwise someplace where there’s lots of big nature—preferably mountains—like Cortes Island in British Columbia, the high desert in New Mexico, or the Catskills or the Berkshires closer to home.

How has practicing yoga shifted other aspects of your life?

Practicing yoga has impacted every aspect of my life, but probably my relationship to my body the most. I’ve always been an emotional eater, so for a lot of years I carried around an extra 20 or 30 pounds. Through yoga I developed a healthier, more respectful relationship with my body and my feelings. That shifted how and what I eat and the weight dropped off.

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: Patty and Tenzin | MALA YOGA

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