The Yogi Next to You


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

About a year ago I decided to shake up my life a bit. After 30 years of running a company I was eager to have some time to myself to explore new things that running a company and raising two amazing children didn’t allow time for. Yoga was one of those things and the board outside Mala Yoga seemed to be screaming my name each time I passed it. I have been happily hooked since my first class.

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

All day?? Honestly I haven’t quite found that pose. Yet. I do love pigeon, legs up the wall and L-shaped handstand. And of course anything and everything restorative. I would be thrilled if I never had to do another forward seated bend. I actually think I hold my breathe the entire time I’m in this pose!

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

At this point I am very curious about the int/adv classes but can’t seem to get myself to attend one. Fear takes over-which is obviously my ego. I always tell my kids “do things that scare you” as I really think one grows so much by these experiences. Now I just need to practice these words myself.

What was the last Dharma talk that resonated with you?

At the end of one of my first classes with Marcus he shared a string of words a friend of his gave him. I asked him for a copy as they so resonated with me-and continue to do so:

Pray, meditate, be aware, bow, practice yoga, feel, chant and sing, breathe and smile, relax/enjoy/laugh/play, create/envision, let go/forgive/accept, walk/exercise/move, work/serve/contribute, listen/learn/inquire, consider/reflect, cultivate oneself, cultivate contentment, cultivate friendships, open up/expand, lighten up, dream, celebrate and appreciate, give thanks, evolve, love, share/give/receive, walk softly/live gently, simplify, surrender/trust.

These words are all so powerful-each one by itself or collectively.

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

Ted & Honey hands down. Great coffee, great music and if you are hungry post yoga, the best huevos rancheros. Also the nicest/friendliest staff in town.

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

For me it is not where I would practice but who I would practice with as I rarely practice solo. For me the experience is very much about the teacher as well as the other students in the space. Why I love Mala so much.

How has practicing shifted other aspects of your life?

I would say yoga has taught me how to be easier on myself when it comes to expectations. It has been a year since I started practicing and I had expected to be further along than I am. But I am very Ok with with this and content with the fact that I am learning with each class I take and each teacher I experience. Expectations tend to carry a lot of unnecessary weight.

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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