You & Your Mala: Rochelle
How did you choose your mala? Were you drawn to a particular gemstone or was there a certain intention you were looking to bring into your life?
My mala was patiently waiting for me on a Selenite pillar at North Shore Elements. I was initially attracted to its vivid cobalt stones and an affirmation that plainly stated the words I needed to embody: "I am Confident." On the days when I feel less than brilliant, when my self-assurance wavers, I am reminded of my strength. Even if I don't have all the answers, I'm doing the best I can.
What lead you to start your yoga and meditation practice?
Throughout high school I worked instead of playing sports and, to be honest, gym class intimidated me. I wanted to become skilled in a physical discipline that didn't involve competition, performance, or winning. It was my mother's affection for yoga that eventually led me to the mat. Watching her in my very first class, I was astounded by her willingness to both test her endurance and welcome moments of softening.
My asana practice taught me greater awareness of my body, and eventually led me to meditation. I had a few teaser experiences, moments of unexpected clarity or overwhelming contentment that arrived during asana. Naturally, I wanted these sensations to last, so I began experimenting with various meditation methods and techniques to rein in the monkey mind.
What are some of the benefits you have received from your practice?
My meditation practice made me see my own worthiness. For a long time, I looked to others for validation. I concealed my insecurities behind an armor of people pleasing and overachievement. But when I drop into the quiet sanctuary inside, there is nothing I lack, nothing I have to prove or accomplish. It's the most liberating feeling.
Do you have a favorite mantra or intention to meditate with?
I meditate most often with the Panchakshara Mantra, Om Namah Shivaya, which can be translated as "I bow down to supreme consciousness." It inspires reverence to a higher power without isolating the self from its source. A teacher in India gave this mantra to me when she blessed my very first mala. She wanted me to trust that I could access innate support and strength in a time where great changes were taking place.
How do you practice gratitude?
"Happiness real only when shared," so I look to make connections where I can. Most consistently, this happens in the form of thank yous. I strive to make eye contact and acknowledge people for their efforts, no matter how mundane the situation or service may seem. And I try to connect to the moment, and see the good. When I direct my awareness towards the experience inside my self or the scene I'm involved in, I will find elements worth appreciating.
Rochelle teaches best what she needs to learn most. She is privileged to encourage her students at YYoga to craft greater awareness of the intelligence of the body, the support of the breath, and the connection of self to spirit.
She has great appreciation for her family, belly laughs, snacking in the tub, outdoor adventures, and cheeky animals. Rochelle lives in North Vancouver with her partner Nathan, daughter Ophelia, and Transformer the cat.