The Reverent Student: Meet Malia Hill

“As you get older, the questions come down to about two or three. How long? And what do I do with the time I've got left?” - David Bowie.

When 2019 started, I moved in with my boyfriend and had to start all over in a new town. I wanted to check out a nearby yoga studio, Just Be Yoga, after hearing about how wonderful of a space and community it harbored. As I walked into class, I felt this nostalgic sense of comfort and peace from the teacher that I hadn’t felt in nearly 4 years, when I attended my regular yoga studio back in Baltimore. I didn’t feel like the “new” person in town or in the yoga studio, but I already felt like I was a part of a welcoming and grounded community of like-minded warriors.

The moment you walk into Malia’s class and are in her presence, there is an unexplainable sense of light, healing, strength, and empowerment. I didn’t even have to speak a word to Malia to feel so comfortable and taken care of in her class. From the way she lead the flow, to the vulnerability she exhibited in sharing her intention to the class, to the tenderness she exhibits when she adjusts you, Malia exudes out her compassion, empathy, groundedness, and realness when you are around her. As my previous interviewee, Maris Degener, mentioned, Malia inspires us all to talk about the shit that no one wants to talk about, and she helps us find the inner strength to be vulnerable and share our struggles with one another as part of a larger community. She helps us love all the different parts of ourselves, flaws and all, and helps us feel comfortable being in our own skin.

I had the wonderful opportunity to meet up with Malia, and what we thought would end up being a short 30-minute get together ended up being hours of talking about our similar past experiences working in the pharmaceutical industry, our journey into developing our yoga practices, Ayurveda, functional medicine, our healing journeys of overcoming trauma, and our total (and unapologetic) fandom over science fiction and fantasy movies/books. I could feel her empathy surrounding me in a warm and welcoming hug, and creating a safe space for us to simply be two humans connecting to one another and sharing what makes us both human: our struggles, our joys, and everything in between.

I love how Malia encompasses someone that is real, relatable, grounded, incredibly humble, and beautiful inside and out. I am so honored to know you, Malia, and to feature you on my blog. I am excited for you all to get just a glimpse of the amazing human being she is.

Malia, you are a role model and inspiration to us all. Thank you for being such a shining light in the world!


How did you get to where you are today?

 I just feel lucky to have woken up this morning. I don’t think I’m in any particular “place.”

What inspires you?

People. Love - despite all of the constant challenge & change - love is persistent and everywhere. The ocean. Outer space. My teachers, which is pretty much everyone I meet and every book I read. Especially my daughter. 

What are you passionate about?

Death. No one has escaped it yet and it’s a constant reminder to love as much as possible in the short time that we are here.

What is/are something(s) you would tell your younger self? 

So many things, the same things I tell myself today:

  • Slow down.

  • Stay in school as long as you can.

  • Stop abusing yourself.

  •  You are still worthy when you aren’t achieving.

  • There is so much freedom in your insignificance.

  • Breathe before you speak because words are very significant. They have the power to both positively or negatively change someone’s day and possibly future generations.

  • Wait to respond so you have time to choose your response. If you react you will have to apologize later, and apologies don’t take away the harm that was caused (thank you Viktor Frankl, Marshall B. Rosenburg, and Lama Brandy).

  • See God, Buddha, Shiva, nature, the Divine in everyone, especially yourself, and most importantly those you disagree with (thank you Baba Ram Dass, Richard Rohr, and Brian Baker).

  • You don’t have to repeat the patterns that were programmed into you (thank you Patanjali & Alan Watts).

  • You will never be able to make all the people happy all of the time, it’s not your job to do so, you don’t have the ability to do so, and you will hurt yourself & others if you try to do so. 

  • Most things you think are true right now are really just temporary preferences. If you decide they are the truth you might close yourself off from learning more (thank you Judith Lassiter & Patanjali).

  • Don’t waste time running towards the things you think you like and running away from things you think you don’t like. If you do, you will miss the present moment and most of your life (thank you Patanjali, Pema Chodron, and Michael Singer).

What is the best advice you’ve received?

Time is the most precious commodity-you can’t buy it back, you can’t make more of it. (Thanks Mom and Phil).

What is the best advice/pieces of advice you have for others who are on their healing journey?

It comes from Carl Gustav Jung, not me - “There is no coming to consciousness without pain”.

In my opinion there is no magic fix. It’s on ongoing lifelong process. I liken it to a marriage with ups and downs, breakthroughs and setbacks, passion and complacency. If I attach an end goal like happiness, enlightenment, or perfection, I will always be disappointed because in my experience that isn’t the nature of things. If someone promises that they have the answer to everything I excuse myself from the situation. I try to seek out teachers and mentors who have lived through very difficult things, who don’t shame, blame, or condescend, and whom can connect interdisciplinary dots to learn from. 

What is/are the biggest life lesson(s) you’ve learned?

I think I answered that up top, but here is another thing:

One has to have awareness on something to place it in a special, cared for, loving way. We have to have pay attention to one another to truly care for each other. I do think It’s important to give yourself your own attention and if that attention becomes judgmental and critical - the best way out of that is to put your loving awareness on someone who needs it the most and help them.

What do you do to balance your life when it feels unbalanced?

I take time to move energy - I get on my mat more and take more classes from the amazing teachers here. Or I get on my skateboard or rollerskates. I get outside. I go for a hike with my friend Nicole.  If I notice there is no time to get bored-the birthplace of creativity-I change my schedule if & when financial commitments actually allow for that.

Malia practices yoga and teaches in the East Bay. You can find her at Just Be Yoga Walnut Creek and Danville, Equinox San Ramon, Yoga Barn of Pleasanton, Mike’s Paddle in Alameda, and occasionally The Bay Club in Pleasanton.