Our Teacher of the Month for March is Megan Skelly.
Megan was inspired to become a yoga teacher as a result of the tremendous impact her own practice of over 10 years has had upon her personal healing and wellness journey. She received her 200-hour Hatha Yoga Teacher Training certification from Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in 2015, and also completed a Trauma-Informed Teacher Training through Liberation Prison Yoga in 2017. She currently teaches Kula for Karma classes at Bellevue Hospital for adolescents in the psychiatric ward on the weekends, in addition to working in the NYC public school system during the week. Megan is a Reiki I practitioner of the Usui lineage, and is in the midst of pursuing a 150-hour Holistic Health Counselor certification in an Ayurveda nutrition program under Vaidya Naina Marballi. She is infinitely grateful to all of the teachers who have guided her on her path, and honored to have the chance to offer these transformative practices to other seekers and to those in need. You can learn more about her at her website, www.manjariyoga.com. Here's Megan's story in her own words:
"My story with yoga is that it has saved my life. Since an early age, I have struggled with depression and anxiety, which led me into drug addiction and other self-destructive patterns as a teenager. During this time, a friend invited me to a yoga class at the local gym (and later on, yurt) led by a Kripalu instructor. Although I went infrequently at first, maybe every other week, there was something about the practice that stuck within my soul. As the years went on, I developed a deeper sadhana and my habits began to fall away, slowly but surely, as I began to heal. Eventually, this led me to pursue my teacher training at Kripalu (a word which I would come to learn means "compassion"), which was also my link to Kula for Karma. During one of our practice clinics there, I partnered with Carolyn Bryan, who worked for Kula at the time. She asked me what I hoped to do after receiving my certification; I told her that, more than anything, I wanted to give back and offer the incredible gift of these practices that had helped my own metamorphosis to populations that have the least access to them and could benefit from them deeply (especially within prisons and hospitals).
As a result of that chance encounter, Carolyn introduced me to Kula for Karma, where I have been volunteering for about two years now. I teach biweekly classes to teenagers in the psychiatric units at Bellevue Hospital. I love my students dearly and they are some of my greatest teachers. Many of them suffer from some of the same conditions that first led me to a yogic practice, and I feel so blessed to be able to pass on the tools I have learned to them. It is not always easy: inpatient units are transient environments ridden with crisis and trauma, but I do my best to ensure that for the hour I have them every other week, my students feel seen, welcomed and supported through even the smallest touch (they love having lavender oil during relaxation!). Because many of them have left the inpatient unit by the next time I come to teach, it is truly an act of karma yoga in that I can only plant the seed and am usually not there to witness the blossoming of their practices down the line. One of my personal favorite moments during this work was when I had a student (who had seemed disinterested during our first class together) approach me two weeks later to tell me that she had been practicing Nadi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Breathing) in her room at the hospital every day.
I am so humbled to be part of this mission in my own small way, and forever grateful to Kula for Karma for the opportunity to witness the light of awareness and peace spreading through their continual service."
Thank you, Megan, for your incredible dedication in bringing the healing effects of yoga and meditation to a population so much in need. You are amazing!