The Yogi Next to You


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

I found Mala through my friend Amanda, whom I have known since we were both five. (We now work together.) Have you read any of those recent articles about how willpower works? The theory is that willpower is a finite resource, and you should identify times when you can outsource it. I hitch my Monday-night yoga willpower to Amanda’s. It helps to overcome weariness and lethargy and to get on the subway.

I’ve been doing yoga on and off since the 1990s, but these last three years
at Mala have been my longest continuous practice. Outsourcing works!

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

I love downward dog: it’s like traction, it undoes the kinks in my neck and upper back and creates a feeling of detachment and calm.

I could happily never do pigeon again. It’s like being pulled apart and smashed together at the same time.

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

My biggest obstacle is my brain nattering endlessly on about what I can’t do. Getting out of my brain and back into my body helps quiet (although not silence, not yet) the noise.

What was the last Dharma talk that resonated with you?

It wasn’t a dharma talk, really, more of an accidental philosophical moment: it was a class in which Christina said, hmmm, something’s happened to your downward dog. We tried some different things and talked it through, and then I asked why what had previously worked was no longer working. She said that sometimes the instructions we’ve given you no longer work, and it’s the teacher’s job to see that it’s time for new instructions.

This, on reflection, is an amazing way to look at almost anything, as a work in progress, a dynamic process that doesn’t always need the same approach: it’s certainly true of art practice, of parenting, of relationships.

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

Home, in the bathtub.

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

I’ve never done yoga outdoors. I think it would be lovely. Somewhere breezy.

How has practicing shifted other aspects of your life?

I think it’s made me more patient, helped me not to panic when I can’t immediately see how something should be done or resolved. More is revealed when I step back and observe than when I jump in and frenetically act.

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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