In 2004, Malia Hill was dragged to a yoga class by a friend in Hawaii. She felt overworked, overweight, overstressed, and very disconnected from her body. Through yoga, she made changes to her life that she had always been afraid to make. After years of practice, she is the co-owner of SupAsana East Bay, where she runs BOGA Yoga Stand Up Paddleboard classes. Read on about how yoga changed her body, life, and her relationship with herself.
WL: What aspects of yoga / meditation / spirituality do you bring into your work?
MH: Asana is a moving meditation for me. It changed my life. I have always been a stressed out over-thinker and yoga has been a way to think less and feel more.
WL: How did you get involved with yoga?
MH: I tried yoga once in college and did not like it at all because I wasn’t “good” at it. Seven years later I was living in Hawaii as a pharmaceutical rep and I was stressed, overworked, and over eating. I was about 60 pounds heavier than I am now. I had a good group of girlfriends that wanted to start a semi-private yoga class with an instructor that they loved. They talked me into going because the more people they got to go, the cheaper the class rates. I agreed, and the first few classes were so tough for me that I wanted to give up. But the teacher was so kind and nurturing and I didn’t want to bail on my friends.
Over the course of time I grew to love, need, and crave yoga. I followed my teacher to all the places she taught and practiced six to seven times a week. Yoga gave me peace and made me strong and brave. It made me face lies I had told myself and start living my life from the heart instead of my head. A couple years later I moved back to California and got word that my first yoga teacher had passed away from a staph infection while traveling in India. I thought about how she had changed my life for the better in so many ways in such a short amount of time and decided I wanted to do the same for others. I went to Teacher Training shortly after that.
WL: What’s your favorite pose?
MH: Right now it’s Adho Mukha Vrksasana it helps me feel awake, alive, aware and strong.
WL: What’s feeding your wanderlust today?
MH: It’s pretty dark and cold outside right now and my four year old daughter is rollerskating inside the house – so thoughts of Wanderlust Oahu in March is feeding my wanderlust. I’m so excited to teach BOGA yoga there again in the beautiful warm water and I’m so excited to take classes from Seane Corne and Megan Currie! Not to mention I’m looking forward to some serious beach time with my best girlfriends.
WL: If you could leave one legacy for your community what would it be?
MH: Community and Seva (selfless service). We all have the power help others in need. I am the co-chair for Yoga Reaches Out Bay Area. We had a yogathon in 2012 and the 2014 yogathon is coming up on March 15th at The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. We are raising money for Children’s Hospital Oakland, Children’s Hospital UCSF and the Africa Yoga Project. It’s going to be an amazing day of yoga and a way to build community while helping children both locally and globally.