Five Pillars Yoga

Meg Walsh-Sinkel

Where are you from?

How did you come to Yoga? How and when did your yoga practice begin?
I was working 24/7 as a Senior VP in a very large and well-known fashion company. I was running nonstop at work, and I was running 6-7 miles a day to relieve my stress. I had a hamstring and hip injury from running (that I was trying to ignore) so I could plow through and get my daily runner’s high. And then 9/11 happened. 9/11 made me stop and ask myself “Why am I running? Where am I running to? What am I running from?” It was time to slow down and reevaluate what I was doing, where I was going. I took my 1st yoga class at Sports Club LA in Rockefeller Center and was hooked. I’ve been practicing daily since… 14 years now.

Who inspires you? 
My 10-year-old niece Keira, my Mom’s home health care aide Anita. Krista Tippet and her weekly show “ON BEING” and so many of her guests. Rainer Maria Rilke and his “Letters to a Young Poet. “Joseph Campbell and his film “Finding Joe.” B.K.S Iyengar and the lineage of teachers he has trained… In NYC & beyond… “the yoga teachers’ teachers.”

How would you describe your teaching style?
Students tell me my style is “Killing Us Softly.” I try to give space for the students to go deep.

Which posture helps you Go Deep?
Self Practice makes me go deep. Repeating Poses makes me go deep. Long holds in a pose help me to go deep. And being able to breath slowly and smoothly in the pose makes me go deep.Lately, a 3-5 minute hold in Prasarita Padotanasana “A” (Standing, Wide-Legged Forward Bend) makes me go very deep.

Do you have a spirit animal?
I don’t know. Some people have told me I’m an owl. I’m curious to find out.

Personal Motto or Mantra?
I have two right now, one related to yoga and one related to life. For yoga, my personal mantra is “Practice more than you teach.” Kevin Gardiner gave me that one in my first Teacher Training course in 2005, and it deeply resonates with me. For life, my personal mantra is “Because everything is better when it’s shared.”

Complete the sentence: I practice because…
Yoga guides me inward, to an inner presence. It makes space for my soul…  and then I try to bring my soul out into the world and give back to others.

Which of the Five Pillars most resonates with you (right now) and why?

For me, it’s the 1st (Right Movement) pillar. This one is the mothership… It sets me up for all the other pillars. It’s the foundation. The way we use the body in Asana practice … The way asana penetrates all the layers of the body and the mind and the senses… The way asana moves us to go “through” the body…To connect us deeply to that place within… It’s beyond words. You have to experience it!