The Yogi Next to You


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

My yoga story started less than a year ago. I had tried some classes here and there, but did not have a regular practice. People kept telling me to start practicing saying, “you’ll gain more flexibility…you’ll feel more centered, etc.”  I thought to myself, “feel more centered…what does that even mean?  What does it mean that this person feels connected to their yoga studio? Isn’t yoga just another form of exercise?”

While all these thoughts were going through my mind, I received a one week pass to a studio in Manhattan.  I figured if I was ever going to try it, this was the time.  I went for the week and thought, “ok, I get the flexibility part”. I started to stretch and use muscles I never knew existed.  But I still wasn’t sure about “feeling centered”. I felt relaxed after class, but was that all I was supposed to feel?  It didn’t stick so I felt like there was something deeper I was missing. But because I was feeling the physical benefits, I stuck with it and continued my journey.

Last summer, I moved to Brooklyn and wanted to find a new studio. My first two attempts were not great and I started getting concerned. But then I actually just stumbled upon Mala when searching online and here I am!  The reviews said that it was a warm and friendly place and I felt that as soon as I walked in to my first class. After practicing at Mala for just a few weeks, I finally felt like I was getting a deeper understanding of the non-physical benefits of yoga. I was starting to “feel centered” and I finally understood what that meant and finally felt that connection to Mala that others had said they felt with their studios. I can’t say exactly when all this happened, but it’s just something I’ve noticed in the last few months. I knew I had found not just a studio, but a home in Mala (and Brooklyn!)!

I remember the first workshop I went to that was with Steph, Angela and Christina. I loved having all three of them there – each unique in their own way but all so real.  Their ability to break each pose down in a way that works for you personally and make the impossible seem so easy is amazing.  I knew after that first workshop that I was a part of something special.  I am so grateful to have found Mala and for all the wisdom you all impart upon me during every class. You have helped change my practice to what I had always hoped it would be and I am so excited to continue on this journey!

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

I really like tree pose and plow pose. I love the strength and focus I feel in tree pose and the stretch I get with plow pose.

In terms of the one I could never do again…well, I don’t know that I could never do them again (because I actually can’t do them!), but I have a hard time with handstands and most arm balances (and backbends while we’re at it!), but I’m getting better and love the challenge! I can finally do crow…well, some of the time!

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

My biggest physical obstacle is lack of flexibility. My biggest mental/emotional obstacle is being too hard on myself when I can’t get certain poses and focusing on where I am in my practice, rather than where the yogi next to me is. I try to overcome that by just keeping with the practice and trusting in the process and myself that I will get there in my own time!

What was the last Dharma talk that resonated with you?

I think for me it’s actually a Buddha quote I saw on Mala’s website saying to turn your mind from the things that are not permanent. I love that quote because I think it can be interpreted in different ways. The interpretation that resonates most with me is to not get caught up with the insignificant/non-permanent things in life. A lot of times, so many of us get so caught up and worked up about things that at the end of the day, don’t really matter.

Keeping that quote in mind, I now catch myself when I’m getting upset about something and I stop to think if it’s worth it…nine times out of ten, it’s not, so I force myself to let it go and move on. If you really think about it and think about the things and people who are important (those that are permanent) in your life, you really are left with a few treasured things and those are the things that really matter.

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

Well, my post-yoga stop is usually groceries at Trader Joe’s…

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

At a lake surrounded by mountains.

How has practicing shifted other aspects of your life?

Yoga has had a profound impact on my mindset. I definitely feel more grounded and by this I mean that I feel like I have both feet planted on the ground and therefore, I feel like I can stop, take a breath, and respond to a situation, rather than just react to it. This has helped me immensely with work and personal relationships.

Yoga has also helped me to be more present. I used to always live in the past and in the future. Always worrying about what already happened or worrying about what might or might not happen. Through my practice, I’ve been able to be more present and let go of what happened five minutes ago and focus on the here and now. It has helped me to stop living for the future, but rather to enjoy where I am today, at this moment. And, it has helped me on the mat as well by allowing me to focus on where I am within my practice at that moment and not where I feel I should be.

I’m not saying that any of this is always easy to do, but like everything, it’s a process and I feel that because of my practice, I am able to take a step back and actively choose to respond rather than react; I’m able to actively choose to be present and focus on the here and now.

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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