Ageless Style feature, Margeaux House…
Life is unpredictable and sometimes it takes many twists and turns for you to meet your passion. This is the case for our ‘Ageless Style’ featured guest Margeaux House. She’s been named one of the Top Yogis of Color by WellandGood.com and MindBodyGreen.com and has devoted her life to sharing wellness and light into the world.
We may live in a society that defines success based on social media numbers but this powerhouse is doing the work and changing lives.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a yoga instructor, motivational speaker, lifestyle blogger, and have also enjoyed a successful career in the interior design industry for over 25 years. After embarking on a wellness journey in 2017 I launched the lifestyle blog ‘This Curvy World’, as a creative outlet to showcase my passion for beauty, personal style, wellness, and design. My goal was to encourage people to live their best life and build a community created to inspire and promote self-love, body-positivity, and fitness at any size. My message is meant to remove the stereotypes around what wellness, beauty, fitness, and self-love look like.
What is your morning routine and how has life changed since the COVID-19 pandemic began?
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. I typically start my days with some form of movement whether yoga, pilates, or a bike ride in the park. I find that if I don’t get my movement in the morning it won’t happen. I am a super-social person with lots of energy and I love a good routine but those things have been severely altered since COVID-19. I don’t think I have ever sat down as much as I have over the last 8 months. I miss my pre-pandemic life but I am doing what I can to create new routines and the movement that keeps me feeling well.
I’ve personally taken one of your Yoga classes and it was amazing. Have you always been in the Yoga space? What was your journey into wellness?
I have struggled with my weight my entire life… my mom was dragging me to Weight Watchers when I was 10. I had gained and lost very large amounts of weight over the years but never kept them off for any longer than a few months. I also grew up in a time were body positivity was not promoted and because I grew up in an area that was not ethnically diverse… and I am mixed race… the only examples of beauty and what a woman’s body should look like that I saw were the models in the magazines or actresses on TV… and none of them looked like me. Subsequently, I spent my entire youth hating my body and trying to manipulate it to an unattainable version of what society thought I should look like.
2016 was the first time in my life my weight had become a health concern. At the time I was at my highest weight (well over 300lbs) and my doctor told me I was pre-diabetic. It really shook me, I was scared and realized I needed to do something and I needed to do it NOW… things went from wanting to be skinny to wanting to be healthy… and I didn’t really know what that meant because I still associated skinny with healthy like I couldn’t have one without the other.
I knew I would have to do something different, to make a permanent change. I would need to examine myself honestly to get to the root of the problem, however difficult that would be. Why was it that I kept repeating this cycle? Yes, genetics were involved, I’m not built like a small person, but there were clearly emotional issues that I was ignoring, and I had to get moving again in some capacity.
My husband had been practicing hot yoga for a while and was really enjoying it. He and another friend of ours kept telling me to try it, but I had tried yoga several times before, and wasn’t interested… the only way I ever lost weight was if I was punishing myself in the gym. Funny though how things work. I changed the route I take going into the city every morning and I started to notice Sacred Studio in my neighborhood; I never even knew it was there. I must have passed it every morning for a month before I went in. Something about it just looked different than the other studios I tried before, so I figured… all right let me check it out and give Yoga one more try.
I walked into my first class at Sacred Brooklyn on New Year’s Day, in an old baggy T-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 have a type-A personality and always need to do everything perfectly, so I certainly didn’t want anyone to see me struggling through the class. I got myself settled and looked around the room and immediately… I felt something different from all the other places I had been… and quickly realized it was the energy. The people were all of different shapes and sizes, ages, and ethnic backgrounds.
Francine who was teaching the class was a black woman which is something I had not seen in the Yoga community and she was so full of light. 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 give yourself a smile and thank yourself for showing yourself self- love today”.
I realized…nobody here was judging me this was a supportive space, 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. Her energy was such that whatever she was doling out… I was drinking the cool-aid. I struggled through that first class and in the end, I looked at myself in the mirror and cried. I thought… I think I may have found something 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 5 days a week, and not because I was feeling manic as I would in the past if I missed a day at the gym but because I was feeling… lighter, freer, more relaxed, more in control. For the first time in my life, I wasn’t focused on every little bite of food or calorie that I was putting in my mouth, and I was losing weight and by the end of that year, I had released over 80lbs.
In 2019 I did my Yoga teacher training as I wanted to be an 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.
You are an advocate for wellness at any size. Many people (including myself) were very afraid to work out or even take a Yoga class. Can you talk about wellness for those that are just unsure about how to start and the positive things that come with movement?
I used to look at fitness as something I had to do in order to eat something. I would work out with the sole purpose of losing weight. Over the last few years, I don’t look at movement as a punishment for what I have eaten but as an act of self-care. I am not chasing a number on the scale that feels comfortable for others but what feels good for me.
As someone who has battled depression in the past, I find movement helps to keep me feeling well and happy. Wellness and fitness are two different things. There are 7 layers of wellness with the physically just being one of them. People will often look at a smaller person and just assume that they are in shape or “well” and a larger person and assume they are not but that is simply not true. Wellness is different for every person and every body.
I would say try different movement classes and see what you really enjoy doing. If you are moving in a way that feels enjoyable for your body you are more likely to make it part of your daily routine and it will ultimately become a part of your lifestyle.
One of the things you often talk about is ‘healing’ and that it’s an ongoing process. Can you share about how healing is part of our journey to wellness?
Many people are afraid to heal because their entire identity is wrapped around the trauma that they have experienced. They have no idea who they are outside of the trauma and that unknown can be terrifying. I was guilty of this myself for so many years but was never able to identify what it was until a few years ago.
My whole life I never hid the fact that I was adopted, in fact, I shared my story very openly. But it wasn’t until a few years back when I started my wellness journey that I was honest enough with myself to identify the trauma that I had experienced as a child and how it was affecting my life. I began to realize that my fear of abandonment, low self-worth, and lack of showing up for myself consistently all stemmed from my being adopted. I had never really taken the time before to talk to my 3-year-old self. To give that little girl a hug or the extra love and tenderness she deserved. I simply powered through life in a bold way and swept under the rug the hurt and shame I had felt from being given away.
We all carry the baggage of childhood trauma with us in some way shape or form, and as we grow older we have new traumas that can add to the bags we have already been carrying. Often when we sweep things under the rug these past traumas show themselves in other areas of our lives. It could be bad relationship choices, addictions or a myriad of things. Once we begin to understand this we can begin the healing process and do the work to let go of those bags and change our lives.
Healing is an ongoing and often painful process, but we cannot let the fear of who we are without our trauma dictate the way we move through life. We owe it to ourselves to find the courage to heal ourselves and move on to a happier healthier place.
Let’s chat a little about your style… I LOVE to see what you wear when you are practicing but also, and maybe even more so, when you are not. Your style is so chic… how would you describe your style aesthetic?
I would say my style is boho chic and believe that what you wear on the outside is a reflection of how you feel on the inside.
Shopping is most definitely my happy place (especially a good sample sale) and I enjoy being creative with what I wear. My closet is filled with lots of midi skirts and maxi dresses which I love to nip in the waist with a great belt. I put a lot of time and energy into my wardrobe and prefer to buy quality pieces that will last a long time but fill in with less expensive things for on-trend pieces. I don’t subscribe to trends. Sure, I want to be fashionable, but I also want to be timeless and am very aware of what looks good on my body type. So, I do my best to buy clothes that highlight my shape not just what is in style.
I love to play with pattern, color, and texture and am all about layering patterns and bold color. If I do wear a neutral color it needs to be something with an interesting texture. Typically I’m drawn to clothes with a lot of movement or a beautiful drape and really love something unusual as I don’t like seeing other people in my outfit.
You will rarely catch me in a blazer or a suit, although I have a hard time saying no to a fabulous coat and believe they should be a major investment piece. Think about it sometimes in the winter your coat is your entire outfit so it better be fierce!
What would you say to 21-year-old Margeaux about life?
Stop trying to conform to who others think you should be or what you should do. Just continue to be you. Stop being so hard on yourself. You are enough and you have always been enough and you will always be enough. Whatever happens, you will be ok.
How do you describe success?
Success to me is coming to a place with yourself where you feel at peace, at ease, content and fulfilled. That can look different for everyone. It’s not about money or things but about being truly happy.
What is your advice to anyone looking to begin taking virtual yoga classes? What should you look for in an instructor and what can you expect?
It can feel defeating to take a class and feel like you don’t know what you are doing or can’t keep up so if you have never tried yoga before or are just not that familiar with the asanas, I would strongly suggest taking a few beginner classes so that you can have an understanding of the postures. It is hard enough to get the hang of it in a physical classroom where the teacher can offer hands-on adjustments but the virtual thing makes it even more difficult.
Also, there are so many different types of yoga so do a little investigative work to see which style you may enjoy the most. If you don’t like the style of one teacher try another not every vibe is for everyone but there are so many wonderful teachers out there.
Most importantly always remember there is no such thing as perfect in yoga that is why they call it a practice. No two yogis will ever look the same in the same posture, because no two bodies are the same. No matter how many years you have been practicing every day will be different because your body changes every day. It is your practice, everything the instructor is saying is just an invitation so take what you need and leave what you don’t.
Slow down the pace if you need or take a moment of pause if you need, just meet yourself where you are at.
Can you tell everyone where to follow you and anything that you have coming up?
- You can follow me on IG @thiscurvyworld subscribe to the blog on my website www.thiscurvyworld.com
- Coming up November 15th I will be leading a free 2-hour “Yoga for people who don’t do yoga” workshop with Sacred Brooklyn @sacredbrooklyn
- December 6th I will be kicking off a 4-week “Yoga for Beginners” Workshop also with Sacred Brooklyn @sacredbrooklyn and sponsored by Athleta NYC @athletanyc
- You can catch me every Monday at 6 pm Vinyasa Flow with @thefitinbedstuy and Thursdays at 5:30 pm Vinyasa Flow 2ith @sacredbrooklyn
PLUS Model thanks Margeaux House for sharing her inspiring story.[divider]PHOTO CREDITS[/divider]
Photographer for Margeaux House