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C Magazine - Meaghan Kennedy Townsend

C Magazine - Meaghan Kennedy Townsend

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Published by Michael Browne

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Published by: Michael Browne on Aug 21, 2010
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10/19/2010

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CALIFORNIA
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THE
SEASON'S GEOMETRIC
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JOSHUA TREE
HOW
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A KENNEDY
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SCENE
SEPTEMBER
2010
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LACMASMICHAEL GOVAN
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STYLE SETTERKATHERINE ROSS
AT
HOME
 
Political
Posturing
A
scion
of
Americanroyalty
opens
a
yoga studio
in
L.A.
BY
DEBORAH
SCHOENEMAN
eaghan Kennedy Townsendlikes
to
kick
off
teaching
heryoga
class
by
blasting somerock-and-roll."I'm going
to
play somechurch music
for you
now,"
she
says
on a
recent Saturday morning, cranking up the
song
"Faith"
by
George Michael.The irony may have been lost on the
sweaty
group
of
about
20,
since they're
garn-
ered
for a
yoga
class more
focused on
burn-
ing
calories than chanting
om.
Only
a few
students know that Townsend was raised
Catholic—in
America's most
famousfamily.Yes,
there's
a
Kennedy among
the
Lululemonites
of
Southern California.The
yoga
instructor is the oldest daugh-
ter of
Kathleen
Kennedy—former
Lieutenant Governor
of
Maryland
and
eldest
of
Robert
F.
Kennedy
and
Ethel Skakel's
11
children.Townsend's
father
is David Townsend, a professor at St. John's
College
and the Aspen Institute's Senior Advisor on Seminars.
At 32,
Townsend
has
come into
her own as one of the
city'smost successful yoga teachers
with
a steady base of privateclients, including Drew
Barrymore,
Bob
Saget
and
screenwriter
Mike
White
(School
of
Rock).
Having earned
her
chops teaching
for
about
a decade at various studios and gyms around town, Townsend
finally
opened
her
dream studio,
Up Dog
Fitness,
in
February.
The
classes
are
already
full—if
not
totally
packed—with
passionate
fol-
lowers
who
can't
get
enough
of
her
high-intensity,
flow-style
yoga.
"It's about giving back
in a
different
way," says Townsend.
Yogini
MeaghanKennedy
Townsend
"Peoplesay to me on adaily basis,
'You
changed my
life,'
and
'Look
at
this
com-munity you're creating.'"Townsend,
for
one, certainly improved
her
life
with
yoga.
The
legendary Kennedycurse didn't exactly pass her over. In 10th
grade—after
taking an educational test,
being
developed by a family
friend,
on awhim—Townsendfound out that she wasseverely dyslexic with a kindergarten read-ing level (though she did have math skills of
a
college student). She was also diagnosed
with
A.D.H.D. These discoveries helpedease the pressure she had
felt
her whole
life. After
all, her birth announcement in
the
newspaper said
she
would usher
in a
more peaceful time
for her
family
as the
first
of
a new
generation
of
Kennedys,
go to
Harvard
and
follow
in
her clan's presidential footsteps. (She did attend the Ivy Leagueuniversity, but her college experience was anything but easy.)
"I
was a bit of an outcast," says Townsend, who also had
major
food
allergies.
"I
never learned
a
good
skill-set
for
having relationships. Maybe it was because I was dyslexic, ormaybe because I was a Kennedy, or maybe because I movedarounda lot as akid,but I
didn't
knowhow tointeract
with
people very well.
I had ahard
time."
Shediscovered yoga
while
visiting relativesinL.A. during
a
college break and checked out flow-style vinyasa classestaught by now-yogalebrities Steve Ross, Bryan
Kest,
Shiva
Rea and
Seane Corn. When Townsend
CONTINUED
ON
PAGE
174
C108
SEPTEMBER2011

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