The Yogi Next to You


Chris and Annie - The Yogi Next to YouWhat’s your yoga story? How did you find Mala?

CHRIS: It all began for me in the spring of 2005… Tired of running and seeking help for chronic sinus issues, I stumbled into my first yoga class at Crunch Fitness. I made the ego-driven mistake of going into an advanced class – boy was I in some serious pain the next day. I made my rounds trying all different types of yoga, including Kundalini and Bikram. I almost gave up on yoga after my one and only Bikram class! I then searched for a credible yoga studio, which led me to The Shala. There, Lisa Yi taught me the foundation of my yoga practice and to this day I am incredibly grateful! I stuck with it and went to basics regularly with the ultimate goal of going to ashtanga and the “hard” classes. Within six months, I started with the advanced classes.

In July of 2007, two years into my practice, I met the love of my life, Annie! She had little prior yoga experience so we began to go to basic classes again! After two years of regular practice, going back to the basics with Annie helped me learn many new things. We love to practice next to each other! I enjoy smiling at her in the middle of a class (of course that’s with glasses on).

In the summer of 2008, we decided that we wanted to explore Brooklyn more. I came across the Mala grand opening news article and emailed it over to Annie! I remember the photo of Steph, Angela, and Christina standing with paint rollers. I believe our first class was with Angela and we were hooked!

ANNIE: Before I met Chris, I had taken one yoga class during college and it didn’t really click. When we met, I was really impressed with Chris’s dedication to yoga and was so thrilled when he asked me to go to a class with him (after our third or fourth date)! I was surprised that I actually could do yoga and enjoyed it!

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

CHRIS: Ardha Chandra Chapasana is my favorite yoga pose! It gives me a great feeling of openness in both my chest and quad!

I like the challenge of learning about a pose and trying to figure it into my 6’4″ body, but to this day Upavistha Konasana doesn’t work for me! Somehow at home, watching TV and sitting on the floor, I can fold forward and rest on my forearms. But this never seems to happen during the practice!

ANNIE: I love the thrill of doing jump backs (not that I could do them all day though!). I could happily do without camel pose.

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

CHRIS: Practicing at home is my biggest obstacle! Annie and I often do Mala podcast classes. I’ll setup our mats and blocks and mentally prepare myself to focus. We start and I often make an excuse to stop early! I guess I’m still working to overcome the distraction of the TV!

ANNIE: I agree, weeknight home practices are our downfall. I’m easily distracted by our two cats and more prone to “give up face,” as Chris calls it. We do love the Mala podcasts though. They keep us on track most of the time!

What was the last Dharma talk that resonated with you?

CHRIS: A teacher was talking about the idea that in the winter, we humans tend to want to hibernate like other animals and there is nothing wrong with that. It all clicked for me…. After years of sinus/asthma issues during the winter I realized that when it’s really cold we belong inside! I have had a healthy winter (knock on wood)!

ANNIE: I always love Stephanie’s talks on being okay with where we are in our practice now, today. “You’re here, you made it. That’s the hardest part,” also resonates!

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

We travel to Mala from Williamsburg, so following class we look forward to good coffee and grilled cheese sandwiches from Depanneur.

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

CHRIS: Anywhere with Annie! Practicing together with an amazing ocean view in Hawaii was amazing!

ANNIE: Aww, I agree, anywhere with Chris! Right here in Brooklyn might be my favorite.

How has practicing shifted other aspects of your life?

CHRIS: Yoga has done amazing things for my health and has made me a calmer person! At times I get very worked up to practice and after I finally do, I feel a shot of total relaxation! Throughout a stressful day I know that I will have peace and quiet for 1-2 hours. I have always been a goal-setter and yoga has helped me realize not to be upset or over react if you don’t reach the goal fully. Instead yoga has taught me to accept where you are in this moment!

Yoga is something that Annie and I share and it has become part of our weekly life. We look forward to coming to Mala all week! It makes me feel comforted to know that Annie is right next to me!

ANNIE: Yoga is something that I never would have thought to try before meeting Chris. Through my practice, I realized that I could do more than I ever thought! I love that yoga is something that Chris and I will share forever.

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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