“Just Breathe”: A Conversation with Bibi McGill
All-star yogi and musician, Bibi McGill, will be teaching yoga AND performing live on the main stage of MAYfest 2017. McGill may be best known as the musical director of Beyoncé’s “all girl” band, Suga Mama. At MAYfest she will share the stage with fellow yogi/musician Sadie Nardini. As if that wasn’t enough, McGill is also an internationally respected yoga instructor. She is bringing a heart opening yoga class called “Love and Gratitude” to MAYfest. We were honored to get the following insights into yoga, music, and life from McGill in advance of what is shaping up to be an unforgettable Memorial Day weekend.
Sensible Reason (SR): As a musician and yogi, this festival seems perfect for you! How did you find your way from music to yoga?
Bibi McGill (BM): It seemed like a natural progression. Since I was a kid I always loved music, nature, wellness, science, spirituality, etc. When I first started doing yoga, the classes incorporated music and chanting so I was immediately drawn in. Yoga tends to be mindful and conscious of all the other things I’m interested in too. I probably wouldn’t still be doing music if it wasn’t for yoga. At one point in my life I wanted to give up music and the guitar and just meditate and do yoga; then Beyoncé called.
SR: Once you came to yoga, how did it impact your music?
BM: I started doing yoga in 1996, many, many years after I had already been playing music. It seemed to be everything I was looking for even though I didn’t know I was looking. It quickly became a priority, because when I didn’t do yoga I didn’t feel as good. Yoga taught me to connect more with my entire being as well as the beauty in all things. It helped me to focus on the inward things that are more important than outside distractions. It also helped me create more balance and peace in challenging situations.
SR: What do you think is special about women’s relationship to yoga? Music?
BM: I don’t think there’s really anything more special for women than anyone else. Maybe women are more likely to do yoga but that’s slowly changing. I’m starting to see more men in classes as well as people of color and people from all sorts of backgrounds experiences, cultures, and with all body types. We in the western world have a responsibility to make yoga more accessible and welcoming to ‘EVERYONE’ who needs it and not just the demographic of ‘good-looking’ hipsters doing fancy poses. Yoga in Europe and Asia is starting to catch on more and they’re looking to the western world for an example. I don’t feel we’re leading them in most optimal direction.
SR: Everyone approaches yoga from a different life perspective and yoga fulfills people in many different ways. What does yoga mean to you?
BM: Yoga is like eating or breathing to me. It is absolutely necessary that it be a part of my life in some form.
SR: MAYfest is very welcoming to beginners. What advice would you give to a beginner who was attending your class?
BM: If you’re a beginner or anyone coming to my class, let go of any preconceived notion about what you might expect. Show up and be open to create and receive whatever it is you need. It’s your practice so set your intention and get what you need. Don’t be concerned about what anyone else is doing on their mat. Let go of any judgement, comparisons, or fear and be ready to have some fun! Just breathe.
SR: Your class is going to focus on heart-opening postures. Why did you choose this focus for MAYfest?
BM: For me one of the greatest things we can learn from yoga is to get out of our heads and get into our hearts. Regular practice of yoga with intention can certainly help with this.
SR: Is there anyone on the MAYfest schedule that you are particularly interested in taking a class from? Are you going to explore any of the art offerings?
BM: I’m going to explore as many offerings as I can. I love learning from other teachers. I don’t have an agenda but will let it flow when I get there.
SR: What musician, artist, or yogi are you most looking forward to interacting with at MAYfest?
BM: Well, besides Sadie Nardini and our band who I’ll be performing with, I would say SriKology for sure! I’ve been hearing about him for a while so I’m excited to finally experience some of his music!
For tickets and more information, please visit the Official MAYfest 2017 website.