The Yogi Next to You


Alex Venier - YNTYWhat’s your yoga story? How did you find Mala?

When I first moved to the U.S. 16 years ago from a little Alpine village, I had not yet heard about yoga. I first encountered yoga while living in Miami and working at a Montessori school. The pre-K students enjoyed a weekly yoga session. I knew right away it was what I wanted to pursue. Observing those little bodies in savasana – amazing! So I began taking classes and teaching the children in my Montessori class, then after school programs, and eventually adults. One can say I have taught yoga from the youngest to the most mature yogis over the years. Once I moved to Brooklyn I was looking to find a yoga studio in my neighborhood and stumbled upon Mala Yoga. I enjoy the classes, workshops and wonderful Mala teachers and community so close to home.

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

I love a good savasana and could definitely stay in it for a long time, after a well-rounded practice. I have not found a pose that I could never do again.

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

It has been very difficult to fit in a complete asana practice into a busy daily schedule while juggling two kids and enjoying a stay-at-home mom lifestyle. I try to at least come down to the floor and get into some asanas while playing with my daughter and do some yoga asana with my 2-year old. Not the same as a complete practice but a good start.

What was the last Dharma talk that resonated with you?

I went to my friend and fellow yoga instructor Ruah Bhay’s class and she asked the students, “why do people come back to yoga class?” People generally feel better physically and happier afterwards and they come back for more.  Asanas, moving, and doing physical activities let the brain release dopamine, which makes us feel good. Ruah also mentioned the movie, Happy, which discusses the building blocks of happiness. If you haven’t seen Happy, check it out!

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

I wish I could mention a place but usually after a class I am rushing home to spend time with my family. Once at home I might sip on my homemade green smoothie.

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

Anywhere is good.

How has practicing shifted other aspects of your life?

Practicing yoga has made me physically fitter than I have ever been and I feel mentally more peaceful, calm, and balanced. Also, I am much more aware of which foods are good for my body and the general rule of 80% healthy and 20% of whatever I like or crave (chocolate and a glass of wine ain’t bad ;). And yes, practicing yoga does make me happy 80% of the time, and at the end of the day, a better mom, wife, and person.

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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