Brooklyn has it all! Amazing artists, great food, and of course, talented people. One BK resident that stands out from the crowd is Margeaux House. House is a yoga instructor, lifestyle and wellness blogger, and motivational speaker. If you take a quick scroll through her Instagram page, you'll see that the multi-hyphenate influencer is always using her platform to inspire her community online and offline.
At the core of her mission, Margeaux strives to amplify the message that fitness and wellness are achievable at any size. She proudly promotes the sentiment that you do not have to look a certain way, be from a particular area, or even be experienced to achieve holistic wellness. As a person with many roles and a meaningful message to push out, House knows firsthand what it means to work with a purpose. We recently had the chance to catch up with House and take a deeper dive into her passion for yoga, her motivators in life, the advice she would give to people interested in yoga instruction, and so much more. Keep scrolling to get to know House a bit better.
1. When did your passion for yoga begin? How has practicing yoga benefited you emotionally, mentally, and physically?
I began yoga at the start of 2017. I embarked on a mind-body-spiritual journey in an effort to gain control of my health. I struggled with my weight my entire life. As a child, my mom dragged me to weight watchers when I was 10. I gained and lost considerable amounts of weight over the years but never kept it off longer than a few months. In the year 2016, my weight had become a health concern. At the time, I was at my heaviest. I was over 300 pounds, and my doctor told me I was pre-diabetic. The news shook me. I was scared and realized I needed to make a permanent change.
I tried yoga in the past, and I thought it was not for me. I saw my husband was practicing hot yoga at the time, and he was losing weight, so I figured I would give yoga another try. I walked into my first class at Sacred Brooklyn on New Year's Day in an old baggy - shirt and black leggings as if nobody would see my size behind this uniform. I took a spot in the back corner of the room because I couldn't even touch my toes. I got myself settled and looked around the room. I immediately felt something different from all the other places I had been to. I quickly realized it was the energy. The people were all of different shapes and sizes, ages, and ethnic backgrounds. Francine, the class teacher, was a black woman, and she was so full of light. I had not witnessed that in yoga before. I will never forget how she started the class with, "Take a look at yourself in the mirror and thank yourself for showing up for yourself today. Let go of any judgment, don't fix your hair or your clothes, just smile at yourself and thank yourself for showing yourself self-love today."
In this space, I was not being judged. This was a supportive space, and they were here to support each other and me. The teacher helped me with blocks and adjustments without making me feel like I was out of place. She was pouring out good energy, and I was drinking it like kool-aid. I struggled through that first class. When class was over, I looked at myself in the mirror and cried. I thought to myself, "I found something good here." I went back the next day, and the next, and the next. After a few weeks, I started to venture out to other teachers, and I began to practice five days a week. I felt manic as I would have in the past if I missed a day at the gym. I felt manic this time because I felt lighter, freer, more relaxed, and more in control. For the first time in my life, I wasn't focused on every little bite of food or calorie I was putting in my mouth. I was losing weight. By the end of that year, I had released over 80lbs. In 2019 I did my yoga teacher training as I wanted to advocate for yoga for all bodies and hold space for others like me who otherwise would not feel like they belonged in the yoga or wellness space.
2. Your Instagram bio says, "Advocate for fitness and wellness at any size." How is that reflected in your work? What are your thoughts on the current state of inclusivity and body type diversity in the fitness/wellness industry?
In my classes, I offer lots of modifications and numerous prop suggestions so that the asanas are available to everyone regardless of shape or size. You can practice even if you are a beginner or more advanced. It is a shame that the wellness space, in general, lacks diversity, which is a huge part of why I wanted to become a yoga instructor. Often the images that we see in the media as a representation of wellness are thin white women wearing expensive workout gear. It is so important to see reflections of ourselves in the wellness space. We need to see people that look like us to show and reiterate that wellness is not exclusive to a certain economic bracket or skin color. Wellness looks different for everyone. The concept of wellness is not about manipulating your body into unrealistic expectations of what society thinks you should look like. Wellness is coming to a place within your own self that you feel physically, mentally, and socially well. I want people to know that wellness is for all!
3. Your platform also celebrates self-love and acceptance. What advice would you give to young girls struggling with those two things?
The beauty of yoga is that no two people will look the same in any postures, and they are not supposed to because each body is different. Take that philosophy off the mat and incorporate it into your daily life. You should know that you are unique. Your superpower is that nobody else is you. You do not need to try and manipulate your body to fit into some unrealistic idea of what society thinks you should look like. When you love yourself and your body, you will take care of yourself in a way that works for you, and your beauty will be undeniable.
4. How has COVID-19 impacted your work? How have you adjusted your workday routines and practices to cope with this new normal?
My career of over 25 years has been in Interior Design: Hospitality Design in particular. At this time, the business has slowed a bit, but I am still very busy. It has been a challenge to teach yoga classes virtually, but I have learned a lot and have seen so many new yogis coming to the mat these days. The new yogis are looking for ways to cope with this pandemic. Overall, I have learned to set boundaries around work. I used to work all the time, but now I stop work at a reasonable time to take care of myself.
5. How we start our mornings off is so important, especially now. What does your morning routine consist of? What is your favorite part of your morning routine?
Every morning starts with coffee first. I am a French Press girl, so while the water is boiling, I open the curtains and blinds and talk to all of my plants. If it is spring or summer, I check the plants in the garden and water them while I sip my coffee; it is like a meditation. I typically start my days with movement, whether yoga, pilates, or a bike ride in the park. If I do not get my movement in the morning, it will not happen later. I am a super social person with lots of energy. I love a good routine, but those things have been severely altered since COVID-19. I do not think I have ever sat down as much as I have over the last eight months. I miss my pre-pandemic life, but I am doing what I can to create new routines. I will continue to participate in movement because that helps me to feel well.
6. Part of wellness is fueling your body with nutritious foods. What has been your go-to healthy meals and snacks lately?
Fall is my favorite time for vegetables because I love squash and root vegetables. I also love salads with warm components and several types of lettuces or beans. Making a great soup is a weekly routine because it stretches for days. When I make great soup, I don't have to overthink my meals for the week. For snacks lately, I am obsessed with pistachios. I strongly feel as if they give me a chip type of vibe.
7. Your Instagram page is filled with motivational quotes to inspire your followers. How do you motivate yourself when you are having an off day?
Honestly, some days are harder than others to stay motivated. I remind myself that if I just show up for myself for a few minutes daily in some capacity, then that is enough. Showing up for myself looks like working out, taking a bath, reading a good book, or anything that is just for me. Showing up for myself will not look the same every day, but providing some form of self-care daily is important to me.
8. Part of your mission as a wellness blogger, yoga instructor, and motivational speaker is to inspire others. How do you aim to inspire your community moving forward? What are your goals for your brand?
I will continue to authentically share my journey. I share the wins and the setbacks to inspire others. I am consulting for a few brands by showing them how to develop a community. I will also continue to change the narrative of what we see as examples in the wellness space. Eventually, I would like to open my own studio in Brooklyn.
9. Are there any other women in the fitness and wellness space that inspire you?
Yes, there are plenty of instructors who inspire me. Many of them are not big on social media, but they are the teachers I have been practicing with since my journey. In particular, Stephanie Battle and Francine Taylor have been an inspiration to me from the start. I have so much respect for them as women of color rooted in their community while sharing their light with others.
10. For those who want to pursue a career as a yoga instructor, what are three things they should know?
Future yoga instructors should know that teaching is very different from being a practitioner. When you are teaching, you are holding space for others; it is not about you. It is about your students. The training is more intense than I thought, both physically and spiritually. I changed a lot during my yoga teacher training. It is easy to lose sight of your own practice once you start teaching. You need to make time for your own self-care.
11. What does PRETTY GIRLS SWEAT mean to you?
One of the biggest things I realized I enjoy about yoga is the community and the importance of a community; that is what Pretty Girls Sweat means to me. There is nothing more powerful when like-minded people support and uplift each other by sharing their journeys and offering love and kindness.