The Yogi Next to You


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

I had tried yoga classes here and there over the past 10 years or so, but never felt a strong connection to any of them. They all seemed somehow wrong for my body, which really frustrated me, especially because I always thought that I would love yoga. After a while, I began to regard it as something I liked in theory.

By sheer kismet, I was seated next to a Mala devotee at a wedding in Rhode Island. When we discovered that we lived just a couple of blocks from one another, we began to exchange our favorite stomping ground tales and Mala came up as one of hers. Since my new friend and I seemed to have so much in common, I decided to give Mala a shot.

My very first class (with Stephanie) was unlike any other yoga experience I had had in the past. I really appreciated the focus on alignment and physiology, which for the first time allowed me to see yoga as a very personal, customizable practice. This felt so unique to me and I was shocked that I had never encountered it before as it now seemed so integral to the holistic yoga philosophy. I remember thinking that this was the best yoga class I had ever taken. I came back again several times and left with the same feeling after every class. And one year later, that’s still the case!

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

L-shaped handstand is pretty satisfying and I love the hip release of pigeon. Given my limited flexibility, I can definitely live without any of the front-bending stretches, and I still can’t wrap my head around crow. How do people do that? And how do they make it look so easy???

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

Flexibility is my biggest obstacle. There are poses that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do because of my tight hamstrings and back. However, I’m at complete peace with this because I get so much out of my yoga practice at Mala.

What was the last Dharma talk that resonated with you?

The concept of honoring your time on the mat and just feeling good about showing up to class always resonates with me. It reminds me that I’m being really good to myself.

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

The last thing I ever want to do after a yoga class is anything jarring that will take me out of my “yoga-mind”. I like to preserve the feeling of serenity and quiet for as long as I can.

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

On a glacier lake surrounded by mountains with the sound of nature as the backdrop.

How has practicing shifted other aspects of your life?

Aside from helping me shake off frenetic days at work that are more and more common these days, yoga has taught me to be more patient with myself and with life in general which has proven particularly valuable over the past year.

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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