Originally published in the Winter + Spring 2019 issue.
Earlier this year, I found myself in a yoga class that was being led by a poet. I didn’t know she was a poet in the moment, but as we connected after class, I learned that, and much more, about her. Since then I’ve taken several of her classes (when she’s actually in town that is and isn’t out on tour somewhere), and I have even taken a poetry writing course that she led during National Poetry Month (April, in case you didn’t know).
Megan Falley has a new collection of poetry that came out in September 2018 called “Drive Here and Devastate Me,” and she will be touring to promote her new works. When she is off the road you can find her in Boulder teaching at CorePower Yoga.
At Flatirons Coffee one afternoon, we sat down to go over some questions. Flatirons coffee has a wall of books that were right behind my head and for every question I asked Megan she was quick to point out a title of a book behind me that matched the topic — you could say she has a knack for noticing details.
How does your writing influence your yoga?
Classes are poetic. Language is important to me, the words and images I use to describe how somebody gets into a posture. Spoken word is such a political art form, but my classes have the same message. In a town that is so homogenous my message has been trying to make everyone feel comfortable, safe and to not hate themselves. I think there is a bravery required to step into that room if you aren’t like everyone else; whether that is your gender, ethnicity, etc. It’s nothing against CorePower or Boulder. Basically whatever messages I’m trying to unlearn is what I try to bring to the class.
Classes are poetic.
The first class that I went to of yours you talked about your body and how during your Yoga Teacher Training you never volunteered as “the body” for the demonstrations, but how now it’s been a year and your perspective has changed. I had found that so interesting right as I was about to begin my own YTT and I had my own hang-ups about my body, too. Can you talk a little more about that?
I did YTT about eight months after moving here, and I had always struggled with family and cultural values around body; so I didn’t want to volunteer and do it wrong, or have everyone looking at my body. But now a year later, I’m helping lead the training and I’m volunteering to be the body! There was no outside transformation, there was an inside one. I’m grateful to have a body that can do yoga, and it feels so good. Giving that as a gift to more people would be a really transformative thing that echoes.
How does your yoga influence your writing?
So far I’ve kept the two worlds very separate. But yoga is less blaming, less victimizing; it’s more seeing the light and dark in us all, the wholeness. Yoga makes me feel whole, or closer to whole. It’s more of a commitment to the therapy of the mind.
What’s do you love about being a teacher?
It’s nice to have an immediate impact; to watch someone come in one way and 99 percent of the time leave better. It almost feels like volunteering, like something I’d do for free, an act of service. Writing can have that effect too, or performing at least, but there’s more ego involved. And even though you are at the center of the room when you are teaching, it’s ultimately about the student. I’m also obsessed with the community. It’s a community that is really celebratory and rooting for everyone to do well.
It’s a community that is really celebratory and rooting for everyone to do well.
What is your soul’s mission?
To be compassionate. I want to leave the earth more beautiful than when I arrived — so better than 1988.
Your words and themes of class are always so beautiful, do you have any words of advice for yoga teachers or students of writing?
Notice the details around you, coming up with a theme or a poem is just noticing the details around you.
Photo courtesy of Megan Falley.