Canada is filled with yoga teachers. We meet them in studios, we take their classes, we move along with them. We’re finding out more about these forces of nature – everything from what stresses them out to what they feel makes a good business great.
Meghan McClenaghan has a smile that lights up a room. So we decided on a spot where I could put that smile to the test. Soma Chocolate – a place that treats liquid chocolate as carefully as a newborn baby (chocolate is poured, examined from each angle and lovingly provided to each drooling customer).
I sat down, inhaled chocolate with espresso and then met Meghan. True to form, she described her rush hour ride over as “its own special kind of zen.”
Meghan is one of those women who’s had at least five lives. She’s been a successful actress, taught drama and dance and been a spiral of energy around Toronto, Vancouver and New York. We sat and discussed the journey that led her to start a mobile yoga business.
Did you ever expect you would become a yoga teacher?
I did the teacher training because I already was a teacher. I mainly taught kids and teenagers, drama and dance, for 15 years. I thought if I do teacher training I could add it to my bag because I felt like I needed to deal with adults. Then the irony - I started bringing yoga to kids.
So there’s a flow from your old career to your new.
Definitely. I’ve always worked in the arts or in social activism. I sometimes imagine a spiral, like a slinky. When you’re on track in life you’re in an upward spiral, but it’s still connected to everything you've done before.
Who have you been consistently throughout this spiral?
I’m an extrovert in the true definition of the term. I figure things out by saying them out loud. It’s the getting it outside of myself. I learn as I go along. I like where I am. Every night I give thanks for what I have. I literally kneel in gratitude.
What are you grateful for?
I work for the Open Arms Outreach program, where I volunteer to teach in underserved areas. One woman has been really forthcoming about her depression. She was prescribed yoga. I told her to do what she could and to not be hard on herself - if that’s just buying groceries or just doing one pose. It’s step by step and by understanding that, I feel I can make a difference.
Why did you decide to start your business, Go Yoga?(Go Yoga is a new mobile yoga studio, letting experienced teachers come to businesses, schools or homes)
I’m really interested in working with people. I have no interest in being a solo entity. I’ve had a feeling that I would eventually be at the helm of something. I want to do yoga. I want to be a part of a team. It just made sense.
As you embark on this new business what are your immediate hopes and dreams?
5 years from now, I would love to have Go Yoga Toronto and Go Yoga Vancouver. For now, my hopes and dreams are to have all of my teachers working as much as they want to work. I would love to need more teachers.
Flip the coin – do you have worries and fears about this change?
Even before the launch party, I worried that no one would buy in. Within a week, I was wrong. I also realized, if it did fail, I wouldn’t die. I would still learn something.
What’s the best yoga pose for beginners?
Tree pose, because it’s simple and straightforward. Everyone can try it, yet it’s really hard. I like it because I had a love hate relationship with tree. It gives me an opportunity to share with beginners the fact that it’s not about doing it, it’s about trying. They can also notice the different sides of the body and strength.
What’s your favorite yoga pose right now?
Triangle. I love the lines and the angles. And I feel beautiful in it.
Meghan, with her light-up-a-room smile and her beautiful triangle can be contacted through her website www.wegoyoga.com.
Courtney Sunday has two cats and a boyfriend who are very patient with her health and wellness obsessions. She teaches yoga, Pilates and indoor cycling and gives Thai massages through her Toronto business Om at Home Yoga. When she's tuckered out, she takes up the sport of sleeping.