After making headlines during NYFW for hosting a certain fashion show, Madison Square Garden was visited again recently by the fashion crowd for model Heide Lindgren‘s big charity event, Impact Garden. Partnering with Rebuild Globally to show support for the sustainability movement in fashion, the event allowed you to swap your gently used clothes at the Global Fashion Exchange and also featured -if you wanted something new- 15 artisan brands that positively impact our planet. One of the biggest draws of the night? Doing yoga on the floor of the storied building, led by none other than supermodel Angela Lindvall. Models.com spoke to Heide and Angela about making a difference for the planet and how it was teaching yoga to 200 people. (Interview and photos by Emmie America for models.com)
MDC: Could you explain how you got involved with this charity? What is the overall mission and what are you trying to accomplish?
Heide Lindgren: I traveled to Haiti a few years ago with some friends from the school called English in Mind, to teach English to adults in the community, to open up job opportunities for them. And there I met and fell in love with Rebuild Locally- they were designing sandals out of tires and creating jobs in the community. I have never come across a social business before and I fell in love with the model. But they were only making flip flops, so I said “Why don’t we up the game a little bit, design something a little cuter.” We teamed up and we came up with the Bel Nanms! Since then, they’ve been designing even more beautiful things, but Rebuild Globally – the company with which it all started, they believe in the whole movement, which is why we are hosting tonight. We are also bringing together 15 different brands that are all doing similar things, all in different communities. And everybody involved in this, from the furniture you’re sitting on – Urban Green Furniture -it’s sustainable furniture- it’s all sustainably sourced and made. All these brands have their respective missions, and there are over 7 different countries. Who are our sponsors? Happy Socks – everybody knows Happy Socks, they are amazing. And Fathom- they do amazing impact cruises to the Dominican Republic and Cuba, where you go and have an amazing time, but also help out people in the community. So everybody involved in this event is after the same goal. And Madison Square Garden too! All the kindness and all their generous hearts came together to make this happen.
MDC: How cool! Is this going to be an annual thing?
HL: Yes, we absolutely are planning on making this annual thing.
MDC: What made you think of bringing Angela on board?
HL: Well, Angela represents every single aspect of what we are trying to do. She is an activist, she is a model (the fashion aspect) she is also a yoga instructor. And we thought it would be amazing to bring yoga into this because honestly you can’t help other people if you can’t help yourself, and wellness is super important, and that’s why we wanted to incorporate it into this. So Angela was absolutely the most beautiful, wonderful fit! I am so grateful she came out here for us.
MDC: I’d love to hear about how you first got interested in yoga.
Angela Lindvall: I discovered Kundalini yoga probably 8 years ago. I’ve done other other forms of yoga before, but something just happened when I was in these classes. I was like – first of all this is weird. It was totally different then all other yoga postures and holding all these weird forms and doing weird breaths, but every time I’d leave I was like, something just happened, I am so high on life right now! So I kept going back and going back and one day my teacher said she had had a sense that you should go through teacher training, and I just felt this surge of energy move through me, and I decided to do it. This was about 4 years ago.
MDC: Amazing! And when did you start teaching?
AL: Well that’s the thing, I didn’t go through the training to be a teacher, I had no desire to be a teacher, I just wanted to deepen my practice and learn the science behind it. But I came out a teacher, whether I liked it or not, and my teacher kept urging me and pushing me to teach. And I was like “no, no, I’ll just come to your class”. Then I did teach my son’s 3rd grade glass a few years back, and I’ve taught friends, one on one. But my teacher used to teach Mondays and Wednesdays in Topanga (California), and one day she came up to me and said “look, I can’t do Mondays anymore, my schedule is full,” and the whole community wanted it, so I said “fine, I will teach it.” And as soon as I said yes to teaching I got a call about doing this! So I basically had two months months of practice teaching 4 to 6, and went straight to teaching 200 at Madison Square Garden, so talk about baptism by fire! And this was not an easy crowd, my goodness! This is not an intimate, candlelit environment with a couple of yogis who are really into Kundalini yoga. I chose 200 people most of whom have never done yoga, let alone Kundalini yoga, looking at me like “what is it you want us to do?!” So it was not an easy crowd, but I did feel like towards the end I could see more smiles on people’s faces, people seemed more relaxed, so I hope they enjoyed it!
MDC: Well you did extremely well! And how did it feel being in such a huge space too? I feel like that would make a bit difference.
AL: Oh my gosh, I seriously have a fear of public speaking. I’ve been trying to put myself out there more and more, and the fear of public speaking has gone away, but public yoga teaching… We live in a world where there is a lot of judgement, and a lot of focus on the external, especially with what I do – everyone is looking at your every move. I felt bad at first! I felt like people didn’t necessarily want to be vulnerable, and I felt a lot of eyes watching me, as opposed to being there with me. But towards the end I felt like people were going inward, and having more of an experience, rather then “oh let’s watch Angela make a fool of herself.”
MDC: Which you did not at all! I thought actually, the way you guided people through was very helpful. Yoga I have done before hasn’t been as focused on understanding your body and really connecting, but rather on getting the moves right. So I feel like the internal experience you are talking about, is really what this was.
AL: Awesome, thank you.
MDC: You mention that your career has been really focused on the external. Is yoga your solution to balancing it out?
AL: I think so much of the world we live in is focused on the external. We are so focused on all these THINGS that are supposed to make us happier, make us more beautiful, this or that, and quite frankly isn’t it all a crock of shit? It’s all an inside job. Your happiness, your beauty, it all starts from in there. We can be chasing every thing on the outside, looking for that thing that we’re grasping at, and it might make us happy momentarily, but ultimately it’s self-generating, and that’s what I find to be so fascinating – these mechanics of the human body, and the human experience. We have the capability to self-generate. There are tools and technologies and techniques that are ancient that we have forgotten. We can actually heal ourselves. We can tap into reservoirs of energy and generate energy so we can penetrate and move through the challenges that life gives us, because they will never go away, it doesn’t matter how deep your spiritual practice is, or how enlightened you become, life gives you challenges, because that’s what make you grow. It’s an inside job, baby!
MDC: You are so right. And lastly, what about this event? How were you asked to get involved?
AL: I was asked to be involved – I’ve been a big environmentalist for a long time, and all of these companies that have been invited here are companies that are making a difference in the world. They are companies that are choosing to do their business socially responsibly, and helping people in poverty. And I think it is a great model for existing and emerging companies – to say look- there are ways to create a business that benefit us all. And I think that is really inspiring.
To find out more check out the companies involved