Get to know February’s featured instructor, Nila Mechali

Nila Mechali

Nila Mechali joined the Sanctuary Bodyworks team as a yoga teacher last July and has been unstoppable ever since. Read her story and how her recent invitation to Lululemon’s Ambassador program is inspiring her teaching.

What does it mean to you to be a part of Lululemon’s Ambassador program?

I’m humbled and beyond excited. They truly believe in supporting all things positive in the community. I feel like our values align in so many ways. They are very much into supporting the good in the community, so it feels like family, the same way Sanctuary feels like family. We’re all here for each other.

Talk about Sanctuary, how you found out about the studio and what brought you here.

Genevieve, our Pilates instructor, introduced me to Sanctuary. She and I go way back to our dance history as children. I walked in one day saw the space, melted, fell in love and knew that I wanted to teach here. It’s very special to me.

What is it about Sanctuary that makes it so special to you?

Sanctuary is truly a peaceful space where you can feel safe, where you have a support group. It’s very serene. You’re not hearing a million elliptical machines or banging music. You feel something sacred when you walk into the space.

But our community, our students really make it what it is. Everyone here is welcoming yet focused and present on their own mat. In my Monday evening class, I have everyone from athletes to people who haven’t stepped on a mat to advanced yogis who are in full handstand and we’re all practicing, flowing, smiling and having fun.

You’re big on goal-setting. What do you see for yourself in 2014, personally and as a teacher?

I would love to start another class here, maybe a weekend class. I would love to offer more one-on-one yoga sessions and would love to hold a few events so that we can share what we have at Sanctuary with the local community.

Personally I’m working with two athletic teams at Hopkins and would love to turn that two into four teams to further integrate yoga to the athletic community.

What does your personal practice look like?

I take at least 3 classes a week, then I practice a vinyasa flow at least twice on my own at home, sometimes by the pool at my gym because it’s warm (laughs)! I also love practicing backbends…they serve as heart openers. They are a beautiful way to connect within.

You use the word “flow” a lot in different contexts, it seems like that’s a really meaningful word to you being a yogi, being a yoga teacher, coming from a dance background. What does that word mean to you?

Oh my goodness, let the tears “flow” (laughs)! I love the definition of “vinyasa” – to move freely without obstruction. We all have obstructions and obstacles in our way. But to be able to continue to move your body through the air and at the same time move the air through your body. That’s a place of peace for me.

It’s been an exciting few months for you. What asana do you think defines where you are in your life right now?

I love Warrior II so much because here I am reaching one hand toward the past, another toward the future while staying grounded in the present moment. It’s a good reminder that all is well and not to freak out that the world’s spinning so fast!