Since walking through our doors in 2017 and meeting our smiling front desk team member Nicole, Meghan dropped all her preconceptions of what yoga was and instantly got hooked on the practice.
She’s now logged nearly 200 hours of yoga in the span of 2 years. Fun fact about Meghan, she’s a student of archaeology and has done trips across Canada and Europe – but she still always comes back to her practice at Yogatown.
If you’ve had the pleasure of meeting Meghan, you’ll know her as a gentle soul who you instantly feel at home around. She always greets us with a smile and brings a sense of calm and ease with her.
Meghan was a part of our Energy Exchange Program in Stittsville for almost 2 years and continues to be a proud Yogatown Townie. We got a chance to ask Meghan a few questions about her time here and she didn’t disappoint:
Why did you start doing yoga?
I started doing yoga about two years ago because of the amount stress I was experiencing as a university student. I struggle with stress and anxiety in general – but it just seemed to be getting worse every year. I knew I had to find an outlet that would allow me to get out of my head and into my body.
I chose to try yoga because it encompassed all the elements that I felt I needed more of in my life, like mindfulness, strength and creativity. After my first month at Yogatown, I knew yoga could help me overcome my stress and anxiety.
What’s a yoga accomplishment you’re most proud of?
In general, I tend to be very hard of myself (don’t we all, right?). I often catch myself criticizing myself, comparing my poses to those of others, cursing at my hamstrings under my breath, getting frustrated that I can’t stay focused during meditation.
I won’t tell you that I never do these things anymore, because believe me – I do. However, I can say that I’m getting a lot better at recognizing when I’m not treating myself with enough compassion.
In fact, my perspective on this has evolved tremendously. When I find myself slipping back into that harsh mentality, I’m able to shake it off and say “Hey, you know what? We’re all human here. Today, I’m grateful to just have a beating heart.”
All of a sudden, my hamstrings don’t seem as important. My biggest enemy has always been my mind, and my biggest yoga accomplishment has been not letting it get the best of me.
Before I started at Yogatown, I passed by the Stittsville location almost everyday on my drive home thinking: “Should I go in”? Something about it seemed inviting, but also intimidating. I had only done a handful of yoga classes in my life, and I worried about not fitting in at a yoga studio. We all have preconceptions, right?
Well, one day (I guess I was feeling brave) I decided to go inside and check it out. As I walked in, I was greeted by Nicole, who shattered all the preconceptions I had about hot yoga.
I loved the variety of classes (“Wow! Yoga is for everyone?! Mind blown.”), the trendy studio (“Cute and cozy”), the friendly staff (“Nicole is awesome!”) and the very reasonable Trial Membership (“Oh cool, I can actually afford this. Mind blown, again.”).
The rest is history: my Trial Membership got me hooked and I joined the Energy Exchange Program immediately afterwards.
How was your time in the Energy Exchange Program?
I was in the EE Program for about 2 years – and loved it! My shift gave me the opportunity to connect with other Townies, EEs and Yogatown staff in a new way.
I loved keeping the yoga studio looking clean and tidy and contributing to the unique and elevated experience we all have at Yogatown. Not to mention the exclusive EE events and unlimited yoga!
What does the word Townie mean to you?
I think the word Townie means being part of a community of people who love yoga – and who love and Yogatown!
Anyone who’s taken a class at Yogatown knows that the studio, the classes and the teachers all cater to a variety of people.
Townies are all about embracing who you are right now. We learn to love the wobbles, smile through the long holds, breathe into the tightness of the stretch. We do this all together, share our practice and good vibrations, all in the hopes of feeling connected to ourselves and others in a deeper way.
We believe that yoga is about so much more than being bendy. What does yoga mean to you and how has it changed since you started?
When I first started yoga, I definitely thought being bendy was important. I had this idealized image of what a ‘perfect’ yogi looked like in my mind; she was bendy and strong, always did all the chaturangas, never used blocks, didn’t take any water breaks.
It’s staggering the expectations that we set for ourselves. Well, let me tell you, my fellow Townies, it didn’t take me long to realize that I was not the ‘perfect’ yogi. I just couldn’t live up to the impossible standard I was setting for myself and realizing this was frustrating at first.
It’s usually in these moments that we feel like giving up, we think: “I’ll never be there, so why bother?”
I’m a little ashamed to admit that I held on to this mentality for a long time, it even creeps up to haunt me sometimes, but ultimately I eventually realized something really crucial: I was missing the entire &$#@% point of yoga.
Practicing yoga can be a challenging journey for us perfectionists (I know I’m not the only one!) and it’s only after we leave perfectionism at the door that the journey can truly begin. It took time and mental practice, but I learned to embrace the fact that my hamstrings are really tight; that I skip chaturangas because sometimes I feel lazy and that’s alright; that I really like using blocks in half-splits; that I drink water even if it means missing a beat or interrupting my sequence.
After I stopped letting my unreasonable expectations define my practice, I opened my mind to being grateful for my body just the way it is. Yoga is about so much more than being bendy; yoga is about self-love.