The Yogi Next to You

Emily_1Meet EMILY HYLAND!

What’s your yoga story? How did you find Mala?

My yoga story is one rooted in deep gratitude for the transformative nature of the practice. I was always strong and athletic; I went to college to play basketball, but when I quit the team and discovered the other wonders of college life, I watched my body shift into a place of absolute unhealthiness. This unhealthy journey continued with me through graduate school and beyond. By 24, I found myself almost 90 pounds overweight, clinically obese, anxious, and unhappy. 

By some miracle, my sister – who had just discovered yoga herself – inspired me enough to try a class. In that class, my teacher, Joanne Silver, was so supportive, kind, and nonjudgmental, that I felt charged to return. And return, I did! I started to practice on weekly basis, and before I knew it, I was buying monthly cards and leaving work right on the dot at the end of the day because I HAD to have my dose of yoga before heading home. This dive into yoga helped me reorient the vision for my life – I lost over 80 pounds, ditched the anti-anxiety medicine that left me feeling so blue, and found a genuine connection with my body and breath on a level that I had never encountered even when at the pinnacle of my athleticism.

After I developed a daily practice, I realized I very much wanted to transition into a more genuine exploration of yoga and decided to do my teacher training at Yogamaya, which became the impetus to help me transition out of my high-stress career in public education and into the world of teaching yoga. I am grateful for what this path keeps offering! I am happier and healthier more than I have been in many years, and I look forward to continuing to grow and explore through my relationship with yoga.

I found Mala that way I find so much in the yoga world – I follow along in the footsteps of my dear friend and teacher, Anna Greenberg!

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

I love to stand on my head, sit in lotus, and most of all, fold forward in tarasana. Usually, if I can get into my hips or fold into myself, I am a happy camper.

There is not one pose I would never try again, though I can’t say I’m a fan of active backbending. Nonetheless, I think I could spend eternity with a block underneath my sacrum in a restorative half wheel.

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

Fear. I am totally and absolutely afraid of falling. I have an incredibly strong headstand, for instance – I just listed it as one of my absolute favorite poses above – but I am crippled when charged to come up in the middle of the room. I don’t need the wall; I just need to know the wall is behind me in case I fall. Also, I literally have to stack all of the pillows from my couch onto the floor in front of me when I practice crow, because I am certain I will land smack on my face. Overcoming this fear, like anything, will take time and tenacity. If I keep inching a bit further away from the wall each time I lift into sirsasana, before long, I will be in the middle of the room. I just need my courage to follow me!

What was the last Dharma talk that resonated with you?

Recently, one of my teachers read the Mary Oliver poem, “Wild Geese” to set the tone for our class, and this resonated because since the summer started, I keep encountering the message of that poem. I think it is a beautiful possibility for us each to explore “our place in the family of things.”

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

I’m a big Van Leeuwen fan. They serve Toby’s Estate coffee, which is my favorite. Americano. Iced. Decaf. Black.

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

In Oregon. My husband and I have been dreaming of moving there since the moment of our first visit many years back.  I would love to live in a small bungalow tucked right at the base of Mount Tabor National Park and practice yoga under the rich aroma of the pines.

How has practicing shifted other aspects of your life?

I used to be a really, really angry person with an incredibly short fuse. I’m happy to share that my more heightened connection with my breath and daily asana practice has helped that aspect of myself just melt away. I am peaceful in my interactions and content in my body and mind!

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.

Advertisements

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!
This entry was posted in THE YOGI NEXT TO YOU and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s