Meet February cover model Heather Lilleston, cofounder of Yoga for Bad People.
Carin Gorrell: You’ve studied under Rodney Yee, Colleen Saidman Yee, Sharon Gannon, and David Life. What’s the most powerful lesson you learned from them?
Heather Lilleston: That what you do matters, and to never stop asking questions about everything, including yourself.
CG: Where did you get the idea for Yoga for Bad People, your yoga-retreat company?
HL: My business partner, Katelin Sisson, and I felt our practice had become a little too strict, too serious, and we wanted to bring back lightheartedness. We planned a retreat in Brazil called Yoga for Bad People—we wanted everyone to know that while yes, we’d do four-plus hours of yoga a day, we’d also leave room for good old-fashioned fun. It’s a formula that’s inviting and healing, and it has something for everyone.
CG: With the country currently experiencing a great political divide, how can yoga help us all find unity?
HL: I’m sure I’ve taught yoga to people who do not share my political beliefs, who do things in their lives I would disagree with. And yet, when we enter a setting of sharing yoga, all of that goes out the window. Yoga works with both light and dark; the whole point is to bring opposites together. The natural next step for all of us is merging what we learn in yoga with the rest of our lives.
CG: What exciting yoga-related projects do you have in the works for 2017?
HL: My new favorite retreat is our Deep Retreat in Ireland and Montana. It’s 50 hours of continuing education that include Tibetan Buddhism practices, a dive into philosophy, meditation, and physical practice.
CG: What’s your favorite pose and why?
HL: Salamba Sirsasana (Supported Headstand). Going upside down reverses the negative effects of traveling, plus it’s the perfect combo of energizing and strengthening, stillness and quietude.
CG: Do you have a mantra or words of wisdom that you live by?
HL: I often refer to the poem “Do It Anyway,” popularized by Mother Teresa. It’s about how not to take things personally, and a reminder that all things are met with a variety of reactions and results, and to continue to meet it all with kindness no matter what the outcome.
See also 3 Prep Poses for Supported Headstand