Mantra Yogi of the Month: Paul

Mantra Yogi of the Month: Paul

How long have you been practicing?

I first tried yoga around 2000/2001, and I started practicing regularly about 6 years ago."

How did you find your way onto your mat? 

My friend Meagan took me to my first class at the YMCA near Northeastern. For a while, I wasn't practicing regularly, but I would go back to yoga when I felt I needed to slow down or recover from an injury. Then, around the time my daughter was born, I was ready for a regular practice. The idea that a form of exercise could be energizing and alleviate physical pain was appealing to me because I was afraid that parenting would have the opposite effect. Once I opened up to getting more out of yoga, yoga really stepped up and it's been a great ride ever since. How often do you practice?

These days, I try to get to class three times a week, and I practice at home whenever I can. What is your favorite posture?

My favorite posture at the moment is Malasana. It really helps open up my hips and I like being able to squat down low when I'm playing dolls with my daughter or wrestling something away from one of my dogs. What have you learned on your yogic journey?

I've learned that I am not my mind. I used to think that the experience of the mind was the only one I had to pay attention to, but through yoga, I've learned that so many parts of my body have their own way of responding to life and that cultivating an awareness of those responses can really open things up. What advice would you share with someone who is new to yoga?

I can share a lesson I still struggle with: the times when your mind is telling you to push harder may be the times when you're best served by easing up and letting go. Most of the benefits I've received from yoga have been from letting go and catching myself in the places where I may be resistant to change. Fortunately for me, the mantra "Let it Go!" has been firmly drilled into my head by the magic makers at Disney. What benefits have you received from practicing yoga? 

One of the biggest benefits has been just knowing that there is a practice that can reshape your short term and long term perspective, so you never have to feel stuck in your circumstances. Whatever may seem uncomfortable or even painful today could be remembered later as a challenge that helped you grow. I hope it's allowed me to be less reactive and judgmental, because I've seen that things are going to happen, and yoga certainly doesn't eliminate them from happening, but - as long as you have your breath - it can help you find balance and composure amidst life's uncertainty. What's your favorite thing about practicing at Mantra Yoga?

The people at Mantra - they're so great and they genuinely want to help others."