You’ve probably seen their powerful, acrobatic and sometimes stupefying images online. How did they pull off that pose? The YoGoGirls, Debby Siegel and Michelle Thomas, are two St. Louis-based, cyclist yogini edge-dwellers who want to inspire others to rise to their highest calling through artistic photographs and words. Here’s a glimpse into their inverted world.
How did YoGoGirls come about?
As two creative, entrepreneurial yoga mamas with many overlapping interests and hobbies, we were bound to meet in St. Louis. It wasn’t long after our paths crossed in 2012 that, while meandering in an alleyway headed to a local coffee shop, we captured our first acrobatic connection on an iPhone. I backbended between the walls of the narrow alley while Michelle shimmied up them to perform her first on-top-of-Debby trick!
Michelle originally created our yogogirls.com blog, and since then we’ve expanded to social media. Today, we have 5000+ subscribers, more than 8,000 followers on Facebook and 65,000 on Instagram.
How would you describe YoGoGirls to someone unfamiliar with it?
Athletic art. Creative people require outlets. It’s the finished piece of art that boosts our souls. Our captured snippets provide visual stimulation. Our words are meant to connect.
We believe everyone’s life mission is to take the years given them and to become the best version of themselves they can. YoGoGirls would be thrilled if our work inspires this actualization process for others.
What can people expect if they start following you online?
They can expect to experience their facial muscles making a few expressions, varying from laughter to curiosity to confused amazement. We offer followers a little spunk, mixed with athletic creativity, topped off with a regular sense of bemusement.
How do you come up with ideas for your photos?
We have a plan most often, and chase the sun a lot. Usually one of us has an idea. We come together to fuse our creative energy, and it mushrooms into something we high-five over and get giddy about sharing. And some photos are merely blooper poses, ones we discovered while posing to focus the camera, or when attempting to re-invent something we’ve seen. One thing’s for sure, posing for a lens supplies your brain with a heightened body awareness. It’s easier to feel where your body is in space when you look at the back of the camera a few times.
What was your most memorable shoot so far?
In August 2015, Daniel Wilson’s cameras and drones followed us around City Museum for 12 hours, from the caves in the basement to the highest point on the rooftop, capturing footage for So iLL’s “Take Hold” video featuring YoGoGirls. We are humbled to be a part of this series highlighting many professional athletes from around the U.S. [Watch it at http://climbsoill.com/press/take-hold-yogo-girls/]
YoGoGirls incorporates yoga with many other fitness activities. What are some outdoor pursuits you enjoy?
We both commute by road bike and ride for fun. Michelle is committed to cyclocross, and she really is quite good. Catch her riding her new, custom Stanridge CX bike in area races this fall. I dabble in triathlons for the positive self-talk required so as not to drown, wreck or die. I paddleboard many summer days and sport climb rocks all over the country, but primarily in Arkansas and Illinois.
How has yoga changed your life?
After four years of practicing, we find new strengths in yoga regularly. We both connect to learning new things, and yoga offers an endless supply of these lessons. Plus, we enjoy the camaraderie of the yoga community here and around the country. We’ve met so many uplifting yoginis online and in person. It’s a very loving, supportive group. I’m currently in yoga teacher training at Yoga Six and plan to begin supporting others on their yoga journeys beginning this fall.
Author: Brad Kovach is the editor of Terrain magazine