Megan Weigel, DNP, APRN-c is an MS-certified nurse and board-certified advanced practice holistic nurse who has been practicing neurology since 2001. She received her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree from the University of Florida and has a special interest in Multiple Sclerosis. She was awarded the Jacksonville Business Journal “40 Under 40” Award in 2010 and is an active volunteer with the National MS Society and Healing Hands. She has received multiple local and regional nursing awards and is active in the Multiple Sclerosis community internationally. Megan, her husband, and son share a love for the ocean, the environment, and traveling. She believes in the importance of addressing the mind, body and spirit in a person’s care plan. Megan spends her extracurricular time in the MS community educating and empowering people living with MS and other providers. In 2012, she founded a non-profit organization, oMS Yoga, that in partnership with Yoga Moves MS brings free virtual yoga classes to people living with MS. Megan is the author of Monday Mantras with Megan.
The Giving and Gratitude challenge runs the entire month of January. Join us as we embark on generosity as a way of life. Here’s what to do:
- Spend a few minutes journaling on our gratitude prompt of the day. (We have included a list of prompts for the month of January and you can follow along on our Facebook or Instagram)
- Perform an act of giving each day. (We have included a list of suggestions, most of which cost nothing and require no special skills or equipment.)
Interact with others challenging themselves on our daily social media posts and “in person” during our virtual yoga classes. Building a life of generosity and gratitude is a practice. If you miss a day, don’t beat yourself up, just begin again.
Watch the entire presentation
How did you become interested in Multiple Sclerosis and integrative health?
I have so much gratitude that the realization of what I was meant to do
I was a sick kid in 5th, 6th and 7th grade I spent time in and out of the hospital getting sinus surgeries and missed a lot of school. I went to college thinking I’d study physical therapy or medicine, but then I found out what a nurse practitioner was.
As far as MS goes, my preceptor in graduate school had a neurologist friend, Dr. Maquara who was looking for a nurse practitioner to join his team. He mentored me and two other nurses who joined his practice. I was doing family practice in his neurology office.
Why did you write Monday Mantras with Megan?
As a little girl I always wanted to write a book. I started keeping journals in kindergarten. Over the pandemic I started doing Monday Mantras on Instagram and went back and wrote into each one. The project evolved over the years and I received so much positive feedback and now it’s a book. Each story is about an experience I’ve had that’s allowed me to go into a deeper place or achieve healing for an issue I’ve had.
When did you begin your yoga practice?
I was 25 years old doing Bikram Yoga, 108F plus degrees, looking at the mirror. There’s a lot of ego in the room. I was a recovering gymnast, dancer, cheerleader I thought “wow, I’m good at this!” In one of my first 5 classes in camel pose I had a panic attack and started crying. I’ve always been emotive and sensitive to energy. I asked my teacher, “what was that?” The teacher said, “When your heart is open the body releases in yoga.” I was finally learning how to deal with the anxiety in my life. Ten years later I was still doing Bikram and was seeing a nutritionist to heal from some food issues I had. My husband and I had lost a pregnancy pretty late and my nutritionist suggested I go to Big Fish yoga. That was the first time I did yoga as a mind-body-spirit practice. It’s where I did my teacher training and where we started oMS Yoga.
How do you benefit from yoga?
I practice a little bit. My husband goes to yoga five times a week. We have a Bikram date most Sunday mornings. I’ve started going to a 6am Vinyasa class. After years of doing power yoga, my body doesn’t like it anymore. If I don’t go to a yoga class, I do yoga at home. Yoga shows up in my everyday. I put my feet on the floor. I’m sitting up strait, rolling my shoulders back and taking a deep breath. I try to line my body up so I’m moving in the right way. It’s hard to choose gentle, be it because of age, injury or having MS.
How do you engage in introspection?
It’s more of a minute by minute practice rather than setting aside 30 minutes a day to meditate. If my mind is racing at work and I’m rushing into a room because I’m a little bit late, I try to stop, and take some deep breaths so I can be present with that patient. I try to recognize when I feel yucky and try to make an adjustment. When I have time I will sit down for 5 minutes and put on a timer and do some meditation. My body likes the practice of meditation. It is clear to me that my brain needs that, to be able to just shut down with a million things going on around me and to just hear quiet. My son is in kindergarten and I’ll tell him, “it’s time to sit still for a minute and breath.” We use the Zenimal for screen-free mindfulness.
What is a mantra?
I’m not speaking from an Eastern philosophical tradition. For me, it’s a set of words that ground you, cause you to pay attention and you look to keep you on the path you want to be on and makes you feel affirmed. In the Eastern tradition it’s a prayer or a song that keeps you in the meditation state. “Om shanti shanti” is a mantra in yoga. If you want to meditate for 10 minutes you could repeat over and over “I am loved.” Mantras keep you in a connected, mindfulness state.
How does gratitude come out in your life?
I hope whoever reads the book and goes through the weekly process, leaves with the sense of having gratitude for everything that comes your way, the good and the bad. There is some goodness in suffering. When you look back on the events that happened in your life. Having gratitude with the way things rolled out because it brought you here.
The patients that practice gratitude are a totally different species than the ones that don’t. They are happier, more resilient, more in their hearts. They may have awful problems physically or cognitive challenges, but if you ask them about their life with MS, they’ll say they’re so grateful because it brought me here.
A lot of people keep a gratitude journal or go around the dinner table with their family, or they might name what they’re grateful for in prayer at night or in the morning. You can think of one thing you’re grateful for and put it in a jar. Just looking at the jar will bring up feelings of gratitude. People with a gratitude practice are open and learn a lot more and verbally express their gratitude more.
How do you define grace?
Grace is a journey. Grace is having gone through really hard things and being able to communicate with integrity without offense. It’s connection. You have to be willing to let things roll off your back and give yourself a break without judgment. You have to be willing to speak up for what you believe in and be respectful. It’s the gift of letting go.
Momastery Blog – by Glennon Doyle
Mathew Sanford – yoga teacher with a spinal cord injury
Bikram hot yoga/ 26+2 series
Zenimal turtle speaker with 6 choices
Research shows gratitude journalling practice can improve happiness by 10%
Use discount code “Joy23” to access all the content on Mondays Mantras with Megan for $5