I’m Margaret Burns Vap, And This Is My Dharma
I’m a former city girl fashionista turned yoga entrepreneur and chaturanga cowgirl. As the boss mare of Big Sky Yoga Retreats and creator of Cowgirl Yoga, I infuse my love of yoga, horses, and Montana into every retreat. I aim to create nurturing, safe spaces for people to practice, and to help women enjoy calm, refreshing, and vigorous yoga with an unforgettable western backdrop. I live in the Montana mountains with my husband, daughter, English Mastiff, and equine herd. I share my musings on life under the Big Sky, yoga, motherhood and more on my Cowgirl Yoga blog.
Your Personal or Professional Goals:
To share the healing power and potential of yoga, horses, and nature with as many people as possible.
To teach that self-care is non-negotiable. It’s not a luxury, but a necessity, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. We all have so many demands on our time that taking care of ourselves can feel like a luxury. But how many other things suffer if we don’t start with ourselves? It has a ripple effect. To grow my non-profit, Cowgirls vs. Cancer, that provides scholarships to women with breast cancer. These cancer kickin’ cowgirls attend a Cowgirl Yoga retreat in Montana for healing with horses and yoga. One of the hardest things I have to do is choose 10 women from hundreds of applicants each year – and everyone deserves more than we can give.
To always add a little Yeehaw to my Namaste.
What’s your offering to the world:
The opportunity to connect. Connection is the craving behind all human existence. In the words of T.S. Eliot, “Hell is a place where nothing connects with nothing.” We’re healthy when we connect with others in meaningful ways and when we connect with animals, nature, and what’s going on inside ourselves.
Despite the Internet and social media, we live in a disconnected culture. In an ironic twist, technology has caused us to become disconnected from ourselves in ways that threaten our humanity. Whether we realize it or not, we crave connection on a more simple, primal level. This means enriching our lives by spending time with other people, spending time in nature, and reveling in the basic processes of moving and breathing – as we do in a yoga practice.
Many people view vacation as escapism, to get away from their day-to-day lives. The goal of my retreats is to find ways to make your day-to-day life the one you want to live, the place you want to be. Yoga definitely helps add a sacred element to the mundane, and that is available daily to everyone in some way. On retreat, we focus on ways you can infuse your daily life with what is sacred to you, with yoga being the foundation. We cultivate connection. Perhaps it’s also meditation, journaling, finding joy in what you eat, creating a mutually beneficial relationship with horses. It’s about recognizing what you are passionate about, what matters most to you, and how that can help you live the most fulfilling life possible on a daily basis.
So basically, after a retreat…I want you to be excited to go home, and find connection there.
Who/What Inspires You:
One of the best things about making yoga my career is the inspiration I get from everyone I teach. I’m constantly amazed and inspired by every individual and her life experiences, challenges, and goals. We have so much to learn from each other, and it’s powerful to recognize that. Sometimes the smallest thing can translate into the biggest inspiration.
To never stop learning. I started playing violin five years ago, and plan to play for the rest of my life. I’ve had a lifelong crush on the violin, and finally did something about it. It’s never too late to learn something, anything new. And as the late Pattabhi Jois famously said, Practice and all is coming.
“The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with nature.” – Joseph Campbell
Online and Social Sites:
Website URL: http://bigskyyogaretreats.com
Photo credit: http://montanaphotographer.com/
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