We are deeply sad to say that our dear friend and yogini, Meg Laing, died on 5 January 2023. Meg was one of the pioneers of the early, heady days of Iyengar yoga in Edinburgh – she started in Oxford as a student in 1972 and went on her first visit to Pune in 1977, when she was only 23. It was the early days of the Institute there and Guruji awarded her Introductory teaching certificate at the end of her stay. She never got over the surprise and the delight on her face showed every time she recalled it!
From its opening in 1980, Meg taught at the Edinburgh Iyengar Yoga Centre. Over several decades, in collaboration with her close friend and colleague Elaine Pidgeon, she helped to train many dedicated students to become teachers.
Meg was irrepressibly enthusiastic and positive about everything. It was impossible to be grumpy around her – she just lifted up your spirits, put a positive spin on everything and was consistently encouraging and supportive. And she was so intelligent, efficient and articulate. Her contribution to the assessment and teacher-training aspects of the work of the IY(UK) was immeasurable; the most recent of which was co-writing the amazing Mentoring Manual with Kirsten Agar Ward.
Bob and Kathy Welham recall Meg’s early role in their campaign to introduce Iyengar yoga to Scotland. “We talked to Mr Iyengar about it and were always writing to update him. He wrote back with advice, encouragement, congratulation or consolation, and promises to visit that he was careful to keep. He loved the idea of it being a new frontier – and Meg was such a buoyant member of our little band of Iyengar pioneers.”
This Scottish poem is beautifully apt for Meg. The way she dressed and the way she was gave her a kind of timelessness. She was in and of her own style and era. Her clothes were so Meg – colours, styles and shapes all particular to her. We can just imagine her in a silver dress, golden shoes, a sparkling necklace made from the dew and a coat from the rainbow, riding the wind through the wall at the world’s end. The wind seems like her element.
There are no words to say how much we shall miss your warm presence, Meg. But they say people leave presence in a place even when they are no longer there and we shall feel your presence always in our treasured Edinburgh Iyengar Yoga Centre where you practised and taught for over 40 years.
Hairst the licht o’ the mune(William Souter)
To mak a siller goun;
And the gowdan licht o’ the sun
To make a pair o’ shoon;
Gether the draps o’ dew
To hing about your throat;
And the wab o’the watergaw
To wark yoursel’ a coat;
And you will ride oniewhaur
Upon the back o’the wind;
And gang through the open door
In the wa’ at the world’s end.
Meg Laing, 10 May 1953 – 5 January 2023
Published in IYN Spring 2023