• Congratulations, Malani Yabsley!

    Please describe your journey to yoga:

    Over the years, yoga has been a part of me, just not necessarily a part of my schedule. Long ago, I learned the importance of breath control. Breathing correctly has been a tremendous help with high-pressure jobs, and well, just life in general. My husband and I even opted to go the route of Hypnobirthing with our first born (our teacher told us to tell people it was “yoga-birthing” so it didn’t sound so hippie/crazy-town). Hypnobirthing is a practice that I recommend to everyone. It teaches you how to work with your partner to breathe and meditate so that you can relax and let your body do what it knows how to do, and allows you to give birth without medication. When we lost our son at 37 weeks, it was the things we learned from Hypnobirthing/Yoga-birthing that allowed us to experience this traumatic event with grace, and love, and peace. It was the first time I was able to truly live in the moment and flow with it, instead of fight it or try to control it. If I can find this at such a terrible time in my life, imagine how much it can help when things are going well? Now I am working to make yoga a priority in my day – in my life – so that I can continue to grow and live with grace.

    As curator of our newsletter you are exposed to so many facets of Yoga as a practice. What is the pure objective of yoga as you currently understand it?

    I am so lucky to be able to put the newsletters together every month! I have learned so much about yoga, but even more so about myself and how important yoga is to my life now. To me, the pure objective of yoga is to bring you back to your true self. Just like you were when you were a baby and let your instincts and your body tell you how to do things. I think the role of yoga is to clear out all the years of gunk that we’ve been collecting and storing in our minds, our bodies, our souls. I can get so caught up in the way I think things should be - some picture that has been painted over the years as a result of the things I’ve seen, heard, experienced… someone else’s picture of what my life should look like - and I become so unhappy. It’s when I turn my focus back to myself - my higher self, my true self - that I start to find peace again. And yoga helps me to do that.

    Of the Yamas and Niyamas you introduced to us in the last newsletter, which speaks to you most and why?

    I’m going to have to say there are actually two Niyamas that speak to me: Sontosa (contentment) and Svadhyaya (self study) are both big topics for me right now. The best definition of Sontosa I have found is, “To be at peace within and content with one's lifestyle, finding contentment even while experiencing life’s difficulties; for life becomes a process of growth through all kinds of circumstances.” This, tied together with Svadhyaya is what I’ve been working on for quite some time now - loving the skin I’m in and finding contentment in who I am at this moment. Though I have far to go, I am learning to look inward and to appreciate myself, love myself, and be content with the beauty within while accepting the areas that need improvement. I am so incredibly blessed in this life - there is little that I am left wanting. But being content in my own skin is a whole other story. As I learn more about yoga and living a yogic lifestyle, the more I come to realize just how important it is to love yourself wholly. And, I’m not talking being narcissistic… I’m talking love without ego, without judgement. How can I forgive someone else if I can’t forgive myself?

    Please share some fun facts about you and/or your family.

    My husband and I moved up from So Cal almost two years ago. We worked together for 3 years before we got married in Hawaii in 2012. He is my favorite person on this planet and we would love to run a business together someday. I am so glad to have found Grace Yoga - not only for the yogic benefits, but I feel so lucky to be able to come into work and be surrounded by so many wonderful people that are trying to better themselves.

    Some fun facts: My parents were late to my delivery (c-section) appointment because they went to see Star Wars and have lunch. There's a Malani Ewok, I have the stuffed animal. Even though it scares me and can take quite some time to get in the water, my favorite thing to do is snorkel with my husband.