Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Meet the Teacher of the Month

Meg Carlough can be found teaching her Gentle, Basic and All Level Vinyasa classes at New York Yoga’s York Ave studio. If you are really lucky, you may even get to hear her beautiful voice during class or catch her at a Kirtan event. Meg is also a director of New York Yoga’s 200 and 300 hour Teacher Training programs. You can join Meg for the next 300 hour Teacher Training this Fall - October 3rd through May 8th. She is also on the faculty of this Fall’s 200 hour Teacher Training.

In class, Meg believes students, new and advanced alike, can learn from the humility of approaching postures with a fresh focus each class. She encourages every student to look deeper, get in touch with their body, and to take each day as its own new practice.

Meg, when did you first discover yoga?
I first discovered yoga in 1999 after a very serious motorcycle accident. Yoga helped me rebuild strength and heal.

How long have you been teaching?
I have been teaching for six years now. I did my 200 and 300 hour certifications at New York Yoga – so I am 100% home grown.

What makes your class unique?
I encourage people to slow down and get honest about things. Instead of practicing on auto pilot, I encourage people to question themselves. I believe that knowing yourself better on the mat helps you know yourself better in the world.

What is your favorite pose to teach?
Downward dog – because it’s a whole body pose. There are so many things to explore in this posture; every time I come to it, I find something new. Downward dog is one of the most common but one of the most complex poses. Again, it’s so easy to be on auto pilot in class, this pose is a good place to check in and feel what’s going on.

What is your favorite pose to practice?
I really enjoy practicing drop backs because it requires your full attention. You could start standing and move to wheel and then back to standing for example. It is a practice of balance and back bending altogether, which encourages you to be really present and awake. I believe that’s what practice is.

Best advice for beginners?
Be honest about what your body needs. It is easy to fall into habit and do a pose just because you always do or think you have to. For example, if your back is screaming at you to take it easy, why would you push yourself to do full wheel? Be honest with yourself, any given day, any given practice.

Best advice for more advanced yogis?
Same advice! I would say this especially applies if a student is advanced because it gets harder to stay honest.

What is your biggest yoga pet peeve?
Habit or unconsciousness – in other words, thinking that your pose is perfect without taking time to really be aware. You will get more out of your practice if you check in with yourself and be humble – admit that poses are not perfect and try to be more present in the moment.

One reader asks: What makes your gentle, basic and all levels classes different?
I offer different variations depending on the difficulty level of the class, but I really teach to the people who are there for class that day, so variations depend on that too.

Another asks: Why do I have enough flexibility to take a bind on one side of my body, but not on the other side?
We are all slightly asymmetrical. Chances are that you are doing something in day to day life to perpetuate imbalance. Practicing yoga is great for balance but we do spend most of our time off the mat – try to notice if you are doing something in your daily routine that focuses more on one side.

And lastly, what is your favorite thing to do besides yoga?
Anything puppy related! I love walking my bulldogs, Sheriff and Jelly in the park.

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