Meg: Feeling Beautiful
Tell the world about yourself.
I’m from Medford, NJ; it's a little, quaint town with lots of trees, lakes, and nature trails. Some people say it is in the middle of nowhere, but I like to think of it as my very own homey, a desolate habitat.
I have four dogs; Fletcher, Maui, Oakley, and Chewy. Fletcher, however, is my very favorite. You can always find me cuddling him whenever I get the chance. As for my non-furry family, I have two older sisters and a brother. I am the baby of the family and apparently, I get away with a lot more than my older siblings did! My parents are my rock. They are the most supportive, knowledgeable, loving, and dedicated beings in the world. I love the close bond me and my family share. Hobbies of mine include art, travel, volunteering, yoga, and lounging at the beach. My favorite season is summer because I get to live down the shore in LBI and enjoy the company of my family, friends, and the beautiful beach setting.
Tell me about college life.
I am just finishing up my first year of undergraduate school at Nova Southeastern University which is located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I have really enjoyed my first year and am looking forward to the years to come. Nova is certainly the perfect environment for me: sunny weather, amazing beaches, good vibes, and relaxed peers! I am studying public health with a pre-health minor. I am also in the Dual-Admission Physician Assistant Program, so I am on the Pre-PA track. It is certainly going to be quite the ride with classes, but I am eager to keep learning and growing.
Why health sciences?
Growing up with two medical-oriented parents certainly exposed me to all aspects of health science and the medical field. Their love and passion for the field inspired me, especially my momma who is a Physician Assistant - one of the first certified in the state of NJ! My earliest memory would be when I was about 4 years old and my mom brought me to her job at the time, which was at a gynecology office. I never had so much fun rolling around the hall on the doctor’s spinning chair and touching all the equipment. Since then, I have shadowed and volunteered in health science environments like hospitals and doctors’ offices. Later on, I was fortunate to go on a medical mission trip to Peru and then last March I went on another to Ecuador. Both of these experiences strengthened my desire to become a health professional. I really believe I am my best self when I’m helping others, so health sciences is the channel in which I can be my best self.
What are your career aspirations?
I aspire to be a Physician Assistant (PA). This profession is so appealing to me because it consists of variety. PAs can go from working in an emergency room to delivering babies to practicing dermatology; they don’t specialize in certain fields, rather, they learn it all! I really enjoy the fields of dermatology, gynecology, pediatrics, and psychiatry. I long to travel and continue to bring medical aid and relief to underserved populations. I also am interested in getting my master’s in public health. Understanding the health inequities, disparities, and contributing factors existing in various populations allows for compassion and true comprehension. I want to be the best medical professional that I can be and apply my knowledge to shorten health gaps across the globe.
What prompted you to become a yoga instructor?
It was kind of an in-the-moment decision. I had been practicing for a while, not religiously, but I knew that yoga and meditation made me feel some type of way. After leaving classes, I would generally feel happier and everything seemed much clearer. It was last Mother’s Day when my mom and I began contemplating doing the training together and signed up for it that summer. I am so grateful for that experience, especially because I shared it with my momma. It was A LOT of work, but it is totally worth it!!
What type of yoga do you teach?
I teach all types of yoga including refine & flow, yin, vibrant vinyasa, and restorative. I like an upbeat pace and usually make my students sweat! Vibrant vinyasa and refine & flow are certainly my favorites. However, I do like it slow it down with deep stretching and relaxation in yin and restorative. Honestly, yoga is your own practice. I don’t really like putting names of types of classes I conduct because it is really a mixture of it all!
When did you become a yoga instructor? Run me through the process of becoming a certified yoga instructor.
Last summer (2019) I became an instructor. It was a 200-hour YTT (yoga teacher training) in Long Beach Island, NJ. It took up my whole summer, we had class almost every day of the week. This included learning poses, making art, reflecting, and much more. The group we had was amazing and we grew so close. I call them all of my "yoga mommies". In August, right before college, I graduated from yoga school on the beach in a white dress and surrounded by vibrant flowers – that was certainly one of the best days of my life so far.
I know that Mom went through the same training and graduated yoga school with you. How did sharing that experience with your mother affect your relationship?
Yes! It was everything and more. We certainly had a strong relationship before YTT but it made that relationship even stronger. It was really special because, as the last one of my siblings going to college, she got so much extra time with me (and I with her) before I left for Florida. We definitely got on each other’s nerves sometimes, but that is a mother-daughter relationship! She impressed me so much and encouraged me to go above and beyond. She is literally so amazing – my number 1 role model.
How does yoga tie into your health science major?
Yoga and health sciences certainly have a synergy. I believe that with the proper medical care, holistic and medical treatment can work hand in hand. Three papers I have written have all tied in this aspect. Right now, I am researching the effect of yoga therapy and mindfulness on drug addiction recovery. It’s so wonderful that all my interests are coming together. Mindfulness and yoga are becoming more and more popular, especially among those who need it (and EVERYONE needs it). The mind is just as important as the limbs attached to your body. It takes a lot more to sculpt your mind than it does to sculpt a six-pack.
Do you think yoga can help people feel more beautiful? How?
Certainly. A lot of people think that to do yoga you need to be flexible, look perfect, hold poses, and constantly breathe. Yoga is not about appearance, how flexible you are, how you look on the outside, how long you hold a plank, or how many breathes you take. Yoga is about feeling. Feeling your internal body. Once you tune into yourself and ignore the negative dialogue in your mind, that is where the real beauty is felt. Trust me, when you feel beautiful inside, it will shine on the outside in countless ways other than your physical appearance. If you are yourself, you are beautiful.
How do you define beauty?
Beauty is being your whole self, without any restrictions. I used to struggle with body image and beauty growing up as a pretty chubby child. However, societal norms regarding beauty are not real norms. In fact, they are not norms at all. Wear that crop top, those low wasted jeans, or that bikini. Run with your sports bra on and spandex if you want to! When I sit down, I have a belly roll. There is nothing wrong with that. As long as you are taking care of yourself and your health, no one should be judging your beauty. The real beauty is again found within. Being a beautiful human cannot be reached through the application of makeup or plastic surgery. Everyone finds their beauty in own ways, but it all starts in the heart.
What makes you feel beautiful?
When people compliment me on my personality, spirit, and energy, I feel very beautiful. However, on my own, I feel beautiful too and knowing that your beautiful makes you that much more beautiful. My favorite thing to do is put on baggy jeans, my butterfly shirt with no bra, no makeup, and no shoes. I like to sit on the floor, paint, listen to music, and enjoy my own presence. I smile, laugh, and dance around. That to me is my own beauty.
What would you consider your most beautiful asset?
I think my most internal beautiful asset is my vibrant spirit. Externally, I love my green eyes and lengthy lashes. Honestly, as I talk about this it is a little difficult to mention my specific assets because such an unnecessary stigma surrounds the topic of seeing yourself as beautiful. Many people criticize themselves constantly. Rather than looking at the present beauty, they dig for a flaw. So, disregarding that stigma and being proud of my beauty, I will name some other things that are beautiful about myself.
My imperfection is beauty.
My sassy, fiery, fierce personality is beauty.
My noticing of my worth and potential is beauty.
My gratitude and my self-sacrifice to others is beauty.
I am beauty.
Kind fashion is all about spreading kindness. How has yoga helped you do this?
Kindness, like beauty, is found within. Yoga can spark this kindness and it certainly rekindled mine. By sharing my practice, my energy, and my spirit with my fellow yogis is spreading kindness because I am lighting that fire within them, or at least aiding in it! Yoga has also taught me to resist making snap judgments and channeling negative energy. Energy is very real. Kindness can be spread through so much in yoga, but those are the main ways for me!