Meagan McCrary is an experienced yoga teacher (500 ERYT) and writer with a passion for helping people find more comfort, clarity, compassion and joy on the mat and in their lives. She is the author of Pick Your Yoga Practice: Exploring and Understanding Different Styles of Yoga , a comprehensive encyclopedia of prominent yoga styles, including each system’s teaching methodology, elements of practice, philosophical and spiritual underpinnings, class structure, physical exertion and personal attention.
What do you do to inspire your community?
I’ve never really thought about myself as a person who inspires others, but the notes from my students suggest otherwise. I simply keep it real and am as honest as possible with my students. Every one of my classes begins with a theme, a centering of sorts, that creates an attitudinal direction for that class — infusing the physical practice of yoga postures with intention or meaning.
Whether it’s a piece of yoga philosophy, something I’m studying or even something I’m struggling with, I strive to offer my students a little bit of wisdom and a whole lot of you’re-not-alone comfort. I tell my students all the time this may or may not resonate with you. If it does, great, use it. If it doesn’t, let it go. Above all else I want all of my students to feel like they belong in class and to recognize their own intrinsic worth. Basically, I want them to feel good about themselves.
As a teacher you never know what type of impact you’re having, so I love receiving those little notes from students letting me know how much they appreciate the offerings I bring to class and how often it speaks directly to them. I care so deeply for my students, it’s truly one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.
What brought you to the mat for the first time?
For years, while I was in undergrad, my mother tried to get me to try yoga. I wasn’t having it. Then after graduating from college I spent nearly four months living in Costa Rica, and it was in the rainforest that I fell in love with the practice. Once I returned to the States, I was feeling really lost, out of placed and depressed. I threw myself into practicing twice a day and didn’t do much else. Yoga basically helped me navigate the tricky transition from college-party-girl to who I am today.
Who and what inspires you?
Vulnerability inspires me deeply. Brave teachers and writers who admit to being flawed, who admit to personal struggles and feelings of shame, loneliness, depression, etc. inspire me to make my offering, and to make it more personal. Nature inspires me to live more fully in the present moment. Sometimes I’m just so overwhelmed but the simplistic beauty of nature my being bubbles over with that juicy its-good-to-be-alive feeling. My girlfriends who are mothers, who have chosen a different path, who are putting their creations out in the world, who have the courage to leave unhealthy situations, women in all forms of strength inspire me.
How do you set intentions in your life?
I wholeheartedly believe in the power of the unknown and the magic of the universe, but even more so I know that where my attention goes, energy flows so I make a point of writing my list of intentions every morning. I draw a line down the center of one piece of paper, on the left side I make a to-do list of what I’m going to take care of that day and on the right side I make a list asking the universe to attend to certain things. This is where I write my intentions every morning, that way my mind is free from worrying about whether or not they will manifest — I simply do the best job I can do and leave the rest up to the universe.
I also love moon rituals, and every new moon I write down all of the things I want to manifest, planting the seeds of intention. Then I burn the piece of paper, offering it all up to the ethers. On the full moon I do the same thing, except instead of listing intentions I’d like make manifest, I list the things I desire to let go off, offering them to the power of the full moon energies.
What advice do you have for all the boho yogis out there?
Be easeful with yourself. Just getting to class, to your mat, is enough. Yoga begins and ends in the fertile grounds of self-acceptance, which I believe is one of the hardest lessons to learn. With all of the yoga hoopla and social media craze, I believe it’s easy to get caught up in the poses and comparing: What poses can I do, what poses can’t I do, what poses does so and so do better, etc. I’ve definitely found myself going down that rabbit hole more often lately.
As yogis we must remind ourselves that this practice is so much more than physical asanas; yoga is about becoming a nicer, more compassionate and clearer person. Who cares if you can do a one-armed handstand, does that make you a happier and kinder human being? Your yoga’s working when you can begin to accept all aspects of yourself, when you can catch your negative self talk and play a different, more positive track; your yoga’s working when you can respond to circumstances rather than react according to old conditioned patters, it’s about becoming more conscious, more aware of who you are and the impact you leave in your wake.
For me, yoga is above all else the attitude you possess while practicing. When that becomes your focus, whether or not you nail handstand is secondary to the bigger picture of what yoga is all about and there’s little room for feeling diminished.
Oh yeah… and what is your favorite Mala and why?!
I was honored to win Ashley Turner’s Divine Priestess Mala, which I’m absolutely obsessed with. For starters I love everything the Priestess stands for, intuition, truth, mystic and the divine feminine. As an empathic Pisces on a path of healing I truly resonate with those qualities. I also love the mala’s Guru bead, which is a stunning dark royal blue stone with beautiful gold specks, representing not only the Priestess but the throat chakra as well, which is connected to self-expression and speaking one’s truth. I’m typically drawn to lighter colors, so if I were given a choice I might have picked a different Guru bead; however I struggle with my throat chakra, which tends to close up, so winning the Urban Priestess was the biggest blessing in disguise.