The Yogi Next to You


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

I started practicing yoga in 2000, when a physical therapist friend suggested it might help with my back issues. Alas, it didn’t, but it’s helped me in many other ways over the years. Strength, calmness, balance – I guess if you’re reading this I don’t need to explain to you the benefits of yoga.

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

I like bhada konasana (yes, I had to Google the spelling) because I’m good at it and headstands because I’m not. I’ve come to think of headstands as a telling barometer of my practice, a good measure of where things stand (so to speak).

I’ve been told I have childbearing hips, though I’m not sure what to make of that.

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

Time, or the lack thereof (cliché, I know, but true). I feel like my inability to get on my mat every day is almost entirely the product of the many demands on my time, though if I had an abundance of time, I’d likely find other excuses. Though maybe not. Maybe I would in fact practice every day. Isn’t it nice to think so?

The gender imbalance in most yoga classes can be daunting. I often feel like an intruder in the wrong clubhouse. When I first started practicing, on more than one occasion I genuinely feared that I’d accidentally stumbled into a pre-natal class. Sometimes it’s a lesson about being an outsider, but usually it just makes the partner work awkward. Sure, all of that is part of yoga and makes me stronger, etc., but sometimes I just wish that the teachers would stop using metaphors involving women’s shoes. You know when you’re wearing a Caesar sandal, how the strap cuts into your ankle? No, Stephanie, I do not.

The back and neck issues that led me to yoga can also be an obstacle, though over the years I’ve learned what to do, and what not to do, to accommodate them. I still remain optimistic that one day they will go away.

What was the last Dharma talk that resonated with you?

Though it doesn’t quite rank as a Dharma talk, Daniella recently said (yelled) something that continues to resonate: “Make this pose different from every one you’ve ever done.” It might not translate on paper (screen), but as I go about the constant repetitions of yoga (and life), it continues to provide little insights. Savor the repetition.

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

Cafe Pedlar, so that I can quickly counteract any good I may have done with baked goods.

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

It has been SO long since I’ve gotten out of this crazy town. Anywhere with no BQE, no cars, no cement sounds idyllic beyond words. I’m easily pleased. Tulum?

How has practicing shifted other aspects of your life?

On a good day, I think it plays a very positive role in my self-conception: I take care of myself. I am grounded. I can do hard things.

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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