The Yogi Next to You


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

I’ve been practicing yoga since college. (We were required to take gym class at Penn State.) My first teacher was a student of Sri B.K.S. Iygenar. She made us stay in poses forever. We started off each class with a flat back and our arms extended at the wall, forming an L shape. She made us stay in that pose for five minutes to warm up. I still have my spiral bound yoga textbook.

I moved to New York almost 20 years ago, and I have encountered lots of yoga: Vini, Anusara, Jivamukti and more. When I moved to Brooklyn, I took classes with Christina, Angela, and Stephanie at another studio. Steph says it was a good omen that I bumped into all three of them outside the Starbucks in downtown Brooklyn the day they signed the lease for Mala. I still remember jumping up and down on Court Street. I gave them my email address and never looked back.

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

Pigeon is my favorite pose. And that’s the reason I always like to practice in the left corner of the studio, fondly known among my friends as the “Pigeon Spot.” I often see a pigeon on the roof across the way while doing pigeon pose. (I’m also a fan of doing tree pose while looking a tree.) 

Meta yoga!

I’m also an adjustment whore. My favorite adjustment is that oh-so-nice lower back press while in downward dog.

There are no poses that repulse me. Rather, they simply elude me. Crow is one of them. (Evidence that I’m a pigeon person at heart.) In general, I suck at arm balances, but I still try. And then I stop and look around the room in awe of everyone else.

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

Here are four:

1) I work full-time, so my schedule isn’t incredibly flexible. In a perfect world, I’d practice first thing in the morning and then go to the office. But that’s impossible because I have a young son – I cherish our mornings together. Thankfully, I work from home one day a week and my staff knows that the 9:15 yoga class is a priority on that day.

2) I also dream of coming to Mala in the late evenings after my kid’s bedtime but have only managed to pull it off just a few times.

3) I can’t motivate myself to practice at home. I’m a people person — being in the studio with my yoga peeps is very motivating.

4) I got laid off from a job I loved in December 2009, and my life went topsy-turvy. I literally “lost” my handstand practice for almost a year. It was very frustrating because I adore handstands. I’m happy to say I’m gainfully employed and my handstand practice is back.

What was the last Dharma talk that resonated with you?

Lindsay gave an inspiring Dharma talk recently about the mind-body connection of yoga. Although we aspire to let go of everything, there are still bills to pay and diapers to change. The takeaway is that our crazy lives and perfect tranquility can coexist, which is the yogic union we strive for.

I also love Lindsay’s “Blue Sky” reference – the image of letting your body overflow with blue light is affirming, poetic and joyous.

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

C’mon! There must be a harder question. It seems like at least half of any class ends up at Café Pedlar. My drink is an iced soy latte. I’m also a sucker for the pretzel with butter and/or cheese. I had a thing for the olive oil cake, but I’m over it now.

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

On a yoga retreat with friends, ideally somewhere warm with a lovely beach and frozen drinks. Before I die, I’d also like to spend some time in India studying yoga.

How has practicing shifted other aspects of your life?

I’d like to think that I’m a kinder, gentler person. I know how to breathe when life gets hectic.

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!
This entry was posted in THE YOGI NEXT TO YOU and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Yogi Next to You

  1. Jill says:

    Great pic, Lauren and I love your words…and especially the person behind them! J

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