Meredith is authentic, energetic and positive. Her classes are welcoming, approachable, and light-hearted; there’s always good tunes playing and some laughs to be had. She tries not to take things too serious and keeps her instructions simple so her students have the space to explore whatever it is they are working on.
1. How long have you been teaching?
I’ve been practicing yoga consistently for 11 years and teaching for the last 5.5 years.
2. What motivated you to start teaching and what have you learnt from teaching?
I worked as an advertising executive for almost 18 years and it was about 13 years into my career that I realized I wasn’t fulfilled anymore. I was already practicing yoga and one day after leaving a yoga class with my husband, I looked over at him with tears in my eyes and said, “I want to be a yoga teacher. That’s my chapter 2.” The minute I said it, I knew it to be true. I didn’t want to be in my 70s, looking back on my life wondering ‘what if?’. I signed up for a teacher -training and, that was that. Ultimately, it was about finding fulfillment in helping others – giving back.
3. What is something that you have learnt from a fellow teacher?
Wow – so many things from so many teachers (I also want to add that I learn a lot from my students as well)! Early on in my yoga career, and after teaching a class that I didn’t think went very well, I was talking to my teacher. After listening to me go on and on about what I did wrong, what I could improve upon, what I thought the students liked or didn’t like – she told me two things that have stuck with me. First – never assume you know what your students are thinking or how they are feeling. Second – your teaching style will not be for everyone but your style will be right for a lot of people so stick to being you. This is true not only for me as a ‘teacher’ but where the magic happens is how this advice really applies to how I interact with the world as a human when I’m at the grocery store, a party, whatever. Solid advice is solid advice.
4. How many times a week do you practice?
I do my meditation along with breath work every morning and my physical practice 5-to-6 times a week.
5. Who inspires your practice?
A much harder question than it seems. At first, I went through the usual suspects: my son, my husband, me, my students, and so on. While I love them all very much, and despite the guilt in saying this, none of those humans sat right with me as the answer to this question. Yet someone I barely know rests nice and comfortable as the answer. I live in Santa Monica and there’s a man, Ray, who lives down the street from us who sits outside in his wheelchair every morning and every afternoon. As he sees every biker, car, walker, scooter rider, and skateboarder,Ray smiles and waves. Some acknowledge him back and some don’t; yet Ray continues to see, smile, and wave at every human. Ray continues to give to other humans without always receiving anything in return. That’s the yoga and why I keep coming back for more of it.
6. Why is it necessary for you to practice?
It keeps me connected to myself, to others, and the world at large.
7. What message do you like to spread through teaching?
Yoga is more than the physical poses – it’s about awareness. Through yoga, you get to know yourself better and this shapes how you interact with the world. What we learn about ourselves on the mat during challenges poses or during a choppy meditation has a direct impact on and correlation to how we choose to live our lives off the mat. But that doesn’t mean it has to be super serious…smiling, laughing, and trying new things is the good stuff of life. The energy in my classes come from the laughter, the smiles, and the challenge. Be it public or private sessions, my students venture out into the world with a smile on their face and a spring in their step.
8. Where are you currently teaching?
Hot 8 Yoga (Santa Monica, Koreatown, and Sherman Oaks locations).
Fauve Yoga Club (Santa Monica).
I also work with private clients.
9. How has yoga helped your character develop?
I believe that through yoga we shed the superficial layers that surround who we truly are. In other words, we get to know ourselves better and we see ourselves with more clarity. With the clarity, I’ve been able to enhance certain characteristics such as my playfulness and authenticity while strengthening others such as tenacity and compassion.
10. What has kept you practicing all these years?
The great thing about yoga is that it’s always evolving, there’s always somewhere to go, and a bit of fun to be had along the way. Each experience I have on my mat or in meditation is different because I’m constantly evolving. So, it’s never the same.
11. What would you tell yourself when you started teaching yoga?
OMG so many things – all the head games – that I needed to be like that teacher I saw on Instagram, that my students weren’t enjoying the practice, that I wasn’t good enough, that my personality wouldn’t resonate. But I also knew right away teaching is for me and each time I doubted myself, I remembered why teaching yoga sits so securely in my being. I love helping people, I love the creativity of vinyasa, I love holding space for my students, I love seeing my students faces after they nailed a challenging pose they had been working on, I love being a part of a welcoming community, I love the intimacy of the student/teacher relationship, I love being a part of the magic that happens when a bunch of humans get in a room and flow their bodies while listening to great music.
12. What are the best ways to start teaching at a yoga studio?
From a nuts/bolts perspective, have your teaching certificate, resume, bio, and insurance certificate ready to go so it’s there for you to send off whenever asked. It’s vital that you want to be at a studio just as much as you want them to want you. It’s important to spend time at the studio you think you may want to teach at. I take a humble approach and I avoid announcing that I’m a teacher looking for a job…it just becomes transactional then. Instead fly incognito at first &get a feel for the space, take classes from different teachers, get to know the community, and let them get to know you. Take classes from the owner or studio Director at least twice so they get to know you. Once you’ve decided that the studio feels right for you, that’s when you can find the Director or owner of the studio after taking a class (preferably theirs). Start chatting with them, let them know what about their studio resonates with you, let them know you teach, and that you’d like to submit a resume or teach a free class as an audition. Many studios offer free weeks, or heavily discounted pricing for new students for a week or two which makes this process more attainable. Of course, you can certainly send in your resume via email without going to the studio & you can also hand walk your resume in (just call ahead, ask when Director or owner is there and just time it right). Some studios also offer open auditions or post their jobs on their websites, social media, and through Craigslist. My more human approach certainly requires more effort but it works.
13. Why is breath so important in your practice?
Breath is everything in my practice (asana as well as meditation) because that breath is the connector, it’s the tether that keeps me aware of what is happening in my and in my body at any given moment. And when I’m aware, I’m able to notice the pattern and behaviors as a way to inform what conscious choice to make next. Breath provides me with a pause so I take notice before reacting/acting.
14. What is your FB name? IG name and twitter?
Facebook: Meredith Meyer