Margaret Burns Vap

Founder & Boss Mare

Founder & Boss Mare

“Margaret is the ring leader of this amazing cowgirl circus that I was incredibly fortunate to be a part of.” – Mary, B-LUXE Cowgirl Yogini

“Yoga teacher, horsewoman, and all-around world improver Margaret Burns Vap founded Big Sky Yoga Retreats, through which she runs retreats that combine yoga and horses and the Montana landscape, and turns them into alchemical creations that transcend the sum of their parts.” – Sarah, Cowgirls vs. Cancer 

Margaret is the founder of Big Sky Yoga Retreats and creator of Cowgirl Yoga™. Her relationship with yoga began more than a decade ago, when she began attending Jivamukti Yoga and took up the practice in an attempt to balance her hectic New York City lifestyle and corporate career with cosmetics giant L’Oréal.

A few years and several hundred down dogs later, she traded in her designer duds for yoga pants – and moved to Washington DC to open her own studio. She combined her business background and passion for fitness to create Georgetown Yoga, which soon became one of DC’s most popular studios.

She practiced at Jivamukti London, when her family relocated to the UK for six months, and studied Ashtanga Yoga under Richard Freeman, David Swenson, and Dave Oliver. Margaret also completed a 200-hour training program with renowned California/New York-based Yoga Works and traveled to Hawaii for Baron Baptiste’s Level 1 Teacher Training Bootcamp.

Margaret’s students have included celebrities and DC luminaries to wheelchair-bound seniors, beginner yogis to other experienced yoga instructors – and everyone in between.

Her belief that yoga can benefit anyone was part of what excited Margaret when her family relocated to Bozeman, Montana in early 2007. Alongside her husband David, daughter Morgane, and two Boston Terriers, she quickly embraced the laid-back-yet-vibrant town, its outdoor fitness focus, and breathtaking 360-degree mountain views.

It wasn’t long before Margaret felt called to combine her love of yoga with her new-found love for Montana. Her fresh approach to teaching and natural gift for creating nurturing, safe spaces for people to practice yoga inspired the formation of Big Sky Yoga Retreats. With the help of her close-knit team, especially her first Head Wrangler Janice Cartwright from Montana Horse Sense, Margaret developed a one-of-a-kind retreat experience that welcomes women to enjoy calm, refreshing, and vigorous yoga with an unforgettable Montana backdrop.

Big Sky Yoga Retreats has been featured in numerous publications and has received impressive press coverage since its inception. 

Margaret earned her B.S. from Georgetown University and her MBA from Thunderbird, the American Graduate School of International Management. She speaks French, Spanish, and un po d’Italiano and has traveled extensively across the U.S. and abroad.

She and David make the most of Montana’s endless outdoor activities and love watching their daughter Morgane grow up on the ski slope and on horseback. She’s also proud ‘mom’ to English Mastiff Lili and her equine herd – Dude Boy and Java.

Want to become a “Chaturanga Cowgirl” like Margaret? Book one of our Montana retreats today!

Brands We Love

Margaret was an Athleta sponsored athlete in 2008 and has written over 25 yoga tutorials for their Chi Blog. She is also thrilled to be working with the Boulder-based Tea Spot as their first Tea Spot Yogini. In July 2015, she was featured on CNN’s passion to portfolio series. Margaret and Morgane were also featured as Cowgirl Yoginis in a 2009 JADE Yoga ad (at left). You can also meet her equine herd over at Montana Horse Sense in Bozeman, MT (a must for pre- and post-retreat riding!).