So Hum: Self-Expression Through Yoga with Megan Windeler (interview)

Model: Megan Windeler

Photography: Faern

Writing: Erica Rodefer

Full Interview:

1. The only instruction you were given prior to this photo shoot is that you can’t wear
traditional yoga clothes! Tell us why you chose your outfit. What does it say about you?

I chose to wear all my favorite things: dark blue cords, white Adidas shell toes with red
stripes, brown pinstriped ¾ sleeve hoodie jacket, sunglasses and large gold hoop earrings.
I kinda wear a variation of that everyday. I feel most at home in plain, not-too-girly stuff
with a slap of bling and a pair of sunglasses. I have taught classes and taken yoga classes
in more or less this outfit…minus the shoes. I am not too comfortable in front of the
camera, so I wanted to feel like me. I am kinda a no-frills yogi. I love the practice. I love
the holding the basic shapes for a long time, exploring the spaces until some deeper, more
blingy variation grows. Somehow I think that is how I dress.

2. How does yoga help you to express who you are and who you want to be?

I see the asana practice of yoga as an invitation to be present in this physical body we’ve
been gifted to walk through life in. As we answer that invitation we are invited to be
present to all that is outside of us. The teachings of yoga remind us to practice that
presence with compassion. I want to be present and compassionate in body and spirit.
Practicing yoga gives me the grounding and tools to walk that walk for real through
this life. I am a pretty ‘heady’ and emotional person and find it easy to get lost in that.
Yoga helps me pare that down and focus on what is really happening and respond to that
instead of the stories in my head.

3. What important lessons have you learned about yourself through your yoga practice?

What I have learned about myself from yoga is that I am OK. I am a human, and I do
the best I can. For me yoga is a constant reminder that if it is not OK, you are not done
yet. There is always something more to learn, some small thing to notice and to love, a
subtlety, a new opening, another reason to connect. My yoga practice reminds me that
I am capable of loving and being loved simply because I am. Like most folks, I have to
re-learn that one daily, but that is really the most beautiful thing about yoga is that it is a
practice and you keep doing and you keep learning, even if it is always the same lesson…

4. What’s your favorite pose? Why?

Were I to describe my practice and my teaching I would say it is simple, strong, filled
with love, little nuances, and a great dose of humor and patience. Those things describe
my very favorite pose, which is Virabradasana 1 (Warrior 1 Pose). It is so beautiful! I
love it because it is so simple, and so complicated. It is a hip opener, a back bend, a twist
and a heart opener. It is grounding and powerful and at the same moment wide open and
light as a feather. And you are invited to laugh at how something as simple as standing
in a lunge with your arms up in the air and your back heel down can be so hard! You can
be both completely passionate and calm in that shape. I have had moments in Vira 1 that
are like lightening bolt of connection and openness – something magic and liberating
happens when you actually ground through the feet and legs enough for the heart to float!

5. Tell us what inspires you so we can be inspired, too.

So many things inspire me. But, the three that I will mention are: 1. That we can do yoga!
I just plain get inspired by the fact that we can move and breathe and be in asanas and
notice how we feel. That is beautiful. 2. Teaching is the most wonderful practice. It is an
amazing gift to offer people the space to feel more comfortable and connected to their
bodies, and from there, their lives. 3. My son. Being a parent is a constant invitation
to live with your heart outside your body. This is what yoga asks of us, too. To live as
though your heart belongs to everyone and everything. Being a parent is a gift that makes
that invitation more tangible.

Faern is a yoga practitioner and photographer in San Francisco. Visit her website,
follow her on Twitter, or like her on Facebook.

Erica Rodefer is a writer and yoga enthusiast in Charleston, SC. Visit her blog, Spoiledyogi.com, follow her on Twitter, or like her on Facebook.

Would you like to take part in this project as a model? Please be in touch by emailing
this address sohum.selfexpression@gmail.com and we’ll send more information.
If you are not in the Bay Area or planning a visit, do not worry, there are travel
plans afoot, subscribe to the blogs http://www.faern-in-the-works.com and http://
spoiledyogi.blogspot.com
to keep in touch and get updates on travel plans”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“I am kinda a no-frills yogi. I love the practice. I love the holding the basic shapes for a
long time, exploring the spaces until some deeper, more blingy variation grows.”

– Megan*

Yoga is deceptively simple. You unroll a mat and you stretch a little. What could be
simpler than that?! But once you get into the practice you can see there’s so much more
beneath the surface. The poses are just a very small part. The simplest of poses can be
extremely complex at the same time when you pay attention to the little nuances and the
energy that make it special.

Like Megan, many of us see ourselves as no-frills yogis—the human equivalent of the
simplest poses: Triangle, Warrior 2, Downward Dog. Through the practice of yoga, we
get to know ourselves better. We notice how just one little tweak—a stronger grounding
of the back foot or a more completely engaged thigh—can change everything. We feel
the subtle shifts of energy inside of us. Suddenly, we see how that basic pose is more
complex and amazing than we ever dreamed it could be. That’s how transformation
happens. In life, the yoga is in seeing that we are simple and complex at the same time—
that we are perfectly imperfect no matter how we present ourselves in this world.

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