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    On any given day, you can see Morgan DeYoung behind the counter at the Starbucks in the Seelbach Hilton. She’s lithe and quick to smile, with an expressive face and impressive eyebrows. Morgan’s more than just a top-notch barista, though; on the daily, she inspires nearly ten thousand people with her Instagram feed, the_southern_yogi.
    Morgan, 24, has one of those Instagram feeds that makes you want to leap off the couch, dust off your yoga mat, and start flowing. “I believe 100% in doing what makes you happy,” she says. Though she graduated with a degree in Vascular Sonography, she’s happy at her current job. “I absolutely dig it. I moved to Louisville when I was 8 years old, so about 16 years ago. The south has definitely grown on me, along with this small town's undeniable charm.”
    Morgan’s journey into yoga, which she documents with relentless positively, has changed her life. “If you would have told me 10 months ago I'd be where I'm at today, I wouldn't have believed you. It's a funny world, that of social media. Having a following of almost 10k is humbling, inspiring, scary, exciting, and just plain crazy. Crazy that 10,000 people care about my little yoga journey here in Kentucky.”
    Q. How did you get started practicing yoga?
    MD: “If I'm honest the main reason I started yoga was because I thought it would be the coolest thing ever to pop up into handstands whenever I felt the urge. The first few months of my practice was all targeted at getting upside down. No mental or grounded attachment whatsoever. I started to realize how much I was cheating and fooling myself by thinking practicing all ‘advanced’ poses made me a yogi. So I downloaded the app Yoga Studio, started following Kino MacGregor's YouTube channel and become determined to spend at least a few focused, intentional minutes on my mat every day. This became a turning point for me. Practicing with INTENT. Taking the time to appreciate and respect your body for all that it is capable of. Realizing that yoga is a different journey for every single person. No ones practice ever looks the same. After 10 months of being ‘self taught,’ I joined a yoga studio. It has been one of the most fulfilling and best decisions I've ever made.  At the moment I'm taking hot yoga and vinyasa style classes. I am learning to become grounded and focused in my practice. It's such an amazing feeling.”
    Q. Do you practice yoga at any studios in Louisville? Have you been able to teach any guest classes?
    MD: “I just recently joined my first yoga studio on December 15th. It's called Yoga on Baxter and my teacher is also quickly becoming a very close friend. The yoga community here in Louisville is full of compassionate and inspiring humans. I feel so welcomed and ‘at home’ when I'm at my studio. I haven't taught any classes, but I did recently just host my first yoga challenge on Instagram called Self Taught Yoga Bums along with 4 other girls from around the world. It gave me a chance to give tips, and show other yogis how it is possible to teach yourself challenging poses with a little persistence and hard work.”
    Q. You’re working towards your 200 hour RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher), are you planning to teach full time or open your own studio?
    MD: “I plan on attending my 200 hour RYT training program this September through Yoga on Baxter. After I am certified I'd love to offer private lessons to people. I'm sure I will teach a few times a week at a local studio but I love one on one interaction with people. Sometimes in a classroom setting it's easy to get lost in doing the same old routine and not noticing or being able to focus on individual needs. I also have plans to release an e-book through my Instagram, but ya'll will have to follow me for details on that later this year.”
    Q. You’ve gathered quite a following on Instagram! What are some of your favorite feeds to follow?
    MD: “I owe so much credit to many feeds on Instagram. Some of my favorite people I follow (whom I now consider friends), are @healthyxjessx, @fitwithgeorgie, @_lozfit @b_fityoga, @shadesofjoy, @carolinehgroth @yogaslush and @aubreyyrenee. These ladies near and far have become sources of learning encouragement and inspiration.” 
    Q. How has your engagement with so many people (9.7k!) on Insta influenced your yoga journey?
    MD: “Oh, Instagram. If you would have told me 10 months ago I'd be where I'm at today, I wouldn't have believed you. It's a funny world, that of social media. Having a following of almost 10k is humbling, inspiring, scary, exciting, and just plain crazy. Crazy that 10,000 people care about my little yoga journey here in Kentucky. I wouldn't be where I am today without the amazing yoga community I've found on IG. I am encouraged and pushed to my limits every day by people I've never even met. It's incredible. It's also been so, completely HARD. It's frustrating when people don't understand social media and why I am doing what I do. I have busted my behind to be where I am at today. This isn't just a fad. It's my lifestyle. My goal is to use social media as a platform to one day promote business ideas in the future. I have big goals for 2015, and I truly believe that if you are fulfilling your passion on this planet than many people will try to stop you and there will be even more who don't like you. My theme for the new year is to LET GO. Let go of people who no longer serve me, let go of fear, let go of opinions, let go of anything that gets in my way of moving forward and bettering myself.”
    Q. How would you suggest someone get into yoga in Louisville? Is there a yoga community? A studio you recommend for beginners?
    MD: “Louisville has infinite opportunities to become a member at a studio. I adore Yoga on Baxter, obviously I'm biased, but I've also attended community classes at Yoga East, 502 Power Yoga and Bikram Yoga Louisville. The amount of talent and variety the yoga instructors in this city have to offer is nothing short of inspiring. If also highly recommend the yoga classes at the YMCA for those wanting a more generic and less intense approach.”
    Q. Any advice for those who’d love to dive into yoga but are nervous to try?
    MD: “My best advice is to begin yoga with an open mind and lots of patience with yourself. Yoga isn't for the flexible, the strong or the patient. It is FOR those who can't touch their toes, do a headstand, or focus on their breath. Yoga is meant to be a physical and mental journey of finding out what you are truly capable of.
    Namaste Louisville! As one of my favorite yogis say, ‘the wild in me honors the wild in you.’” 

    All images courtesy of Morgan DeYoung 

    Elizabeth Myers's picture

    About Elizabeth Myers

    Big fan of bacon and bourbon, deep fried anything, sweet tea and sweet nothings.

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