This is a monthly series featuring a student, teacher, and/or business owner committed to wellness in a positive, forward-thinking capacity. January 2023’s profile is Iowa City, Iowa yoga instructor Megan Robertson.
Title: Owner, Muddy Feet Yoga
Teaching credential: E-RYT 500
Q&A with Megan Robertson
- What’s a non-yoga fun fact about you?
I love living small! I lived out of a backpack while traveling Europe for several months, out of my car while traveling the U.S. for about a year, and in a camper for 2 years! I’m an avid camper and I even have a bed in my van! I don’t feel attached to “stuff,” and feel better and lighter when I own fewer things.
- How did you first learn about yoga?
In 2001, I was working in the Sensory Integration room at a day program for folks with intellectual disabilities. The SI room served people with challenging behaviors, namely physical aggression and property destruction. I loved this job. But my stress was terribly high. I was worried I’d have to leave my beloved career to look out for myself. A friend recommended I take a class at a Bikram studio in my town (Fort Collins, CO) and I was instantly hooked. The heat, the sweat, the challenge; it all just put my stress and thoughts on hold for that 90 minutes. I did Bikram nearly every day for 8 years (before trying other types of yoga) and remained in the human services field working with folks with challenging behaviors for 15 years. I even ended up becoming a Behavior Specialist. I truly owe that all to yoga.
- What’s a favorite pose and why?
Camel (Ustrasana)! Fear of judgment, fear of rejection, and so many other things has us guarded and closed off (not to mention our phones, sitting at our computers, and gravity shortening our hip flexors and closing our chests/hearts). Camel is the antithesis of all this! Camel challenges you to face your fears, be open (physically and emotionally) and breathe right through the discomfort! I’m a sucker for any backbend, but Camel is my perfect pose. It’s where I go when I feel stuck or thwarted, and it’s where I get my best ideas. 🙂
- What would you say to someone who tried yoga once, but was frustrated about not being able to do all the poses?
Yoga is about so many things other than asana (physical poses).
In the West, we often are exposed to yoga via the poses, and the other things (see: the 8 limbs of yoga described in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras) come later and at our own pace. I always say (in yoga and in life), if it’s too much, make it smaller. So maybe your poses don’t look quite like everyone else’s or maybe your body doesn’t quite move that way yet. Are you moving, breathing, and sweating? Then you’re doing it right. The rest will come or it won’t, and it really doesn’t matter. Just show up.
Q&A About the Studio
- What classes do you offer and how are they different?
We offer Hot 26, Vinyasa, Power, Restore, Queer Yoga, Soul Flow Yoga, Yogasthenics, Yoga Teacher Training, workshops, and more. Complete descriptions can be found on our website at muddyfeetyoga.com.
But to be as brief as possible:
– Hot 26 is hot and slow
– Vinyasa is warm and faster
– Power is hot and fast
– Restore is cool and restful
– Queer Yoga is vinyasa for queer people and their allies ($7)
– Soul Flow Yoga is low impact and stretchy (donation-based)
– Yogasthenics combines yoga and calisthenics
– Yoga Teacher Training is a Yoga Alliance registered 200-hour teacher certification
– Workshops vary but have included: Road to Handstand, Acro, Sound Healing, Yoga Triathlon, and more!
- Which class(es) do you recommend for someone with little to no yoga experience?
I run an occasional Beginner’s Series! Beyond that, I always recommend Hot 26 for beginners! It’s hot, but it’s slow and you have plenty of time to take and experience each pose. It’s quiet and meditative while being challenging and a full-body/mind/spirit workout and rinse!
If you’re looking for something a little more upbeat, Vinyasa would be your best bet. It’s 10 degrees cooler than Hot 26. But you flow through poses much faster, so perfection cannot be your goal! Yoga is not like rock climbing where, if you have to stop and rest, you could fall to your death. In yoga it’s literally your practice, and at Muddy Feet, you can always take breaks, skip poses, or modify without fear of judgment from anyone (and I’m serious about this) at the studio.
- Why are students drawn to your studio?
When I first started yoga, I noticed a heavy air of judgment from my co-students and teachers. I felt there was a barrier between me and others in the studio and it felt terrible. I was a fit 20-something who could access most of the poses with relative ease and I STILL felt like I wasn’t good enough to be there.
As soon as I started, I knew I wanted to be a teacher. But it took me 13 years to sign up for teacher training. This is a disaster!
When I became a teacher, I vowed never to foster this strange and starkly un-yogic hierarchy I’d experienced. At Muddy Feet, we promote community, anti-judgment, acceptance, and tolerance. I also believe the community created at Muddy Feet is the freaking best! Everyone is friends with everyone. They talk and catch up before class (uncommon in yoga spaces), meet for drinks after class, make friends and introduce themselves to newbies, meet romantic partners, etc. This community is unlike any I’ve ever seen in my 20-year yoga journey. Here’s an excerpt from our website:
No negative self-talk.
No being mean to yourself or others.
No harassment of any kind.
No sexism, racism, homophobia, xenophobia, or any other non-inclusive baloney.
Yes body positivity.
Yes meet yourself where you are.
- What is a favorite “student transformation” story?
Oh, I’ve seen so many! One in particular found Muddy Feet at a time in her life where her children, her job, and her family were all taking a huge toll on her well-being. She had no voice, no courage to stand up for herself, and her inner fire was burning out. Through yoga and Yoga Life Coaching (a service I offer) and her hard work and dedication, she was able to begin to stand up for herself and set boundaries that remain today. She also learned to not attach to things she can’t control (read: the reactions of others) and taking care of herself was of the utmost importance. It took 2 years before she really stepped into her power, but she’s there and glowing now.
- What are some upcoming events we can look forward to at your studio?
February – We have a February attendance challenge coming up! Attend 28 classes in 28 days. It sounds tough, but totally doable! (Remember, just show up!)
February 12 – Galentine’s Bend and Brunch at Backpocket. (This will sell out! Get your tickets on Backpocket Brewing’s Instagram!)
Check us out on Instagram for all the info! Or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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