Mid-day in the arctic, as I was walking down our access trail, I heard a resounding THUD from behind me.
Then a groan.
Sean wiped out on a piece of muddy plywood, right on his tailbone. Ouch!
My instinct was to chuckle, ONLY because the same darn thing had happened to me just days earlier. What a mess! (Note: Sean is fine!)
At that point, we’d tried so many different solutions to patch together a workable access trail. When the permafrost is exposed without the tundra above, it melts and it's unstoppable. Likewise, tundra is important because it insulates and protects the frozen layer. The definition of an access trail is moving over tundra, so this is a natural obstacle. In the bottom photo below, Sean holds a chunk of ice we dug out from a few inches beneath the tundra as we were selecting the sites for the cabins — literally, a hunk of ice from a mass that can exist as deep as 2,000 feet beneath the surface!
With an abundance of water running down the hillside (which leads to mud) and so many trips back and forth hauling in materials (which also leads to mud), we created a bit of a (no surprise here) muddy mess.
As we start to really put some effort toward raising our guest cabins over the next few weeks, we knew it: There was no more time to waste stuck in the mud. That slick old piece of plywood did us a favor — it was our swift kick in Sean’s you-know-what, telling us to get to work.
We spent the next day and a half building a corduroy road of logs — which is how people have built solid roads in wild muddy places for a long time. Sean had gotten this tip from a few friends here in the village, and we didn’t need to research much before we knew exactly what to do.
The first time we drove the wheeler up the hill, over the log-laden access trail with a full load without having to stop and either hand-haul things up piece by piece, or winch from a tree felt SO GOOD. In that moment, so much gratitude washed over me… and with every trip up with materials from then on, I think every time of how grateful I truly am.
So then, why do we wait until we fall on our tush before doing something that we know will be good for us?
Instead we go through all that toil and trouble before we finally realize there’s a better way. How can we prevent injury and dis-ease sooner? This is where my current motto comes in handy:
What are you NOT seeing because you're seeing what you ARE seeing?
Read that again, just to make sure you get it.
2020 continues to ask us to pivot. To invent. To shift. To close. To open. To stand still and wait. To move forward at lightning speed. It’s like a big game of Simon Says, isn’t it? And right about now, we’re all pretty tired of playing.
What I’ve noticed (more easily because the tidal waves of change come so quickly!) is that when I’m open to seeing a different perspective without my own preconceived notions getting in the way, I more easily see a better way to walk.
Simply put: I listen. Like really LISTEN, without thinking of my response in my head.
When I consider someone else's perspective, I get to see my blind spots. I get to see a way forward I’d never considered before. And then I usually think, “Why didn’t I think of that sooner?”
Because life isn’t rocket science. (Rocket Science is rocket science.) And when it seems hard, there’s always a path of least resistance available. But if we can’t see Easier Street because we’re seeing Destruction Drive, then we can’t see Easier Street. Period. And we stay stuck — not even knowing Easier Street is out there. Destruction Drive even looks appealing in some ways without anything to compare it to.
And yet, Easier Street is RIGHT. THERE.
When I really feel stuck and need to listen? I turn to yoga. Every time, my meditation practice grounds me and gives me insight… every time, my physical practice leaves me feeling refreshed and accomplished. And we have SO MANY opportunities coming up to join us... I hope you do.
In light and mud,
Sean and I have been making trips up and down Alaska’s Haul Road recently, bringing building materials to hand-build off-grid cabins for Arctic Hive guests up here in Wiseman, 63 miles north of the arctic circle. Driving 7 hours (each way!) away from civilization into the heart of the Brooks Range means I have to stock up on podcasts each time we make the trip.
Enter ZigZag, with Manoush Zomorodi. I love this podcast and earlier this week, I listened to an older episode where she interviewed Jennifer Petriglieri, author of Couples That Work. Although Jennifer was speaking primarily to marriage with two people who are both working, I believe her research supports all relationships concerned — business, friendship, family, etc. Her research proves that couples go through three distinct transitions together. And not just some couples — ALL COUPLES, across the board. If they don’t make it through one of three transitions, the relationship doesn’t work out.
It really struck me to the core because I feel like the last few months have had me on relationship overload. Not just my marriage — although anytime Sean and I build something together, we learn new things about one another. Recently, all sorts of my relationships have come up, shown up, and have required a thorough evaluation. I’ve asked myself so many times: What am I here to learn?
And while this was a cathartic podcast for me on many levels, I’m going to tell you just about Jennifer’s first transition because THIS is what has been coming up for me so often:
After the honeymoon phase of any relationship, some transition for a pair triggers the end of parallel beliefs — meaning the end of “it’s all good.” Something big happens, and you ask yourselves, “How are we going to make this work?”
Turns out: Pairs who just focused on the practicalities couldn’t make it work. Like, EVER. And compromise — as nice as it sounds — didn’t bode well either. Compromise puts an emphasis on tit-for-tat and scorekeeping, which only led to resentment. Couples focusing on practicalities never got back to the basic question: “Why are we doing this? What do we want together, and how can our time together facilitate this?”
It’s like figuring out the core values of your business… What means the most to you, why are you doing it, and from that place, everything else falls together. Once you forget your why, you fall off track. It’s like losing your North Star.
Because here’s the thing: Any relationship takes work, time and a willingness to grow. That willingness is crucial — on the part of both parties — and if it’s not there on one or both sides, the relationship may come to an end.
… and THAT’S OK.
Sure, there can be massive emotional hurdles and agony to move through as anything comes to an end (I don’t mean to belittle the process), but generally speaking, this is so often what we’re most scared of: Failing. Losing. Dying. We live in a society where we don’t discuss death because it’s scary. Death of anything is somewhat taboo and leaves us at a loss for words. And I’m here to tell you — it doesn’t matter if it’s a business, a pet, a friendship, or a human being… I’ve moved through all four of those in the past few months. Death on all levels is intense, but when you're through to the other side, it has its own liberating quality, too.
So at the end, regardless of where you end up, there will be people with whom you do the work. You won’t remember the business that succeeded or failed, the number of followers we gained, or the superficial connections made at a networking event. What we remember most is true connection to the other souls — placed inside human bodies — that we connect with on a deep level, and the lengths we went through to learn new things together.
And speaking of OUR relationship (yes, you!), we’re going to be sending more emails than normal in the coming weeks painting a picture of yoga and why it’s so important for us during these times (including a sweet deal for you on getting started for next to nothing)… because when it comes to Yoga Hive, this is a relationship I’m invested in, as is every single teacher on our team.
We are willing! Are you?
Sending lots of love,
PS — If you’re reallllly willing to dive a little deeper into yoga, be sure to check out our upcoming online teacher trainings! If you’re interested or want to start a convo, please don’t hesitate to reply to this email.
PPS — Thank you to the yogi who requested via email that I speak on this topic this week. If you’ve got something going on in your life that you want me to speak to, chances are the entire mailing list shares your plight (seriously), and I do, too! Reply here and I’ll take topic requests as often as I can!
Grandpa checked out of his body in the early morning hours of July 4th. He was NINETY years old, which is incredible — nearly a century of life! I was asked to write his obituary, so I was able to have an intimate conversation with my grandmother in remembrance of him and everything he stood for.
The whole experience got me thinking about the past… and how it shapes our experience of the present.
For me, one of my favorite parts of my past — specifically being from Wisconsin — is all the weird phrases people from Wisconsin say. When my own Midwest slang occasionally pops up in a conversation, I’m accustomed to the silent, confused stare and I quickly clarify. But when I first moved out west, I had no idea these phrases were so regional! I remember the first time I realized not everyone says “a horse a piece” or “geez louise” or calls a Pontoon Boat a “float boat.” I couldn’t believe it!
There’s a hilarious comedian named Charlie Berens that has built his career on this — I’m just going to link these words in case you want a good laugh along with instructions on my grandpa’s favorite cocktail, the Old Fashioned. That video is actually what family gatherings sound like sometimes! This week, I learned one of Grandpa’s phrases was “Sprinkle the Infield!” which he would use when instructing a bartender to buy a round of drinks for everyone at the bar. I love that, and I love how it speaks to the sort of guy my grandfather was.
Now, the vernacular and mannerisms are a source of pride, but I wasn’t always that way. When I was in college, I realized how I talked was different. I even succeeded at smothering my thick Midwest accent in favor of a more “neutral” sound.
I wish I would have been prouder of what makes me unique. But alas, that was the lesson I learned over time, and the lesson I was reminded of this weekend, as I remember a man who played such an important role in the evolution of our family.
The more I study yoga, the more I’m certain that the way we’re raised — the ups, downs and everything in between — is uniquely designed to equip us with the tenacity to move through life, and serve this planet exactly how we’re meant to. We can either smother it down and "forget" where we come from, or honor our past because it ultimately got us to here.
Nothing is a mistake. We are not a mistake. We cannot make the "wrong choice" in life... there are just choices, period.
There are things that toughen us up. There are events that teach us hard lessons, and others that run us through a barrage of emotions. We experience moments of bliss, joy, sadness, and at times when we’re really struggling and stuck, we suffer — sometimes for long periods of time.
But as we refine our understanding of what it means to live, we’re able to look in the review mirror, and change the lens through which we view our past. Thus, the past is changeable. Of course, the facts don’t change, but over time as we witness the ripple effect of each life event — whether one day after, or one year after, or ten years down the road — we see how even the most traumatic events and monumental moments actually shape us and teach us.
Easier said that done, right? The key here is WILLINGNESS. As some point, to move forward from our past, we must have a willingness to learn and evolve. Another word for evolve? Change. Thus, the reason anything happens at all is so we can change, if we choose. Change is the entire point. If we’re not changing with every step of the way, we’re not learning. And when we’re not learning, we’re stuck. And when we’re stuck, this is suffering.
My teacher, Anand, puts it simply: “Evolve or suffer.” The choice is ours.
So, as I see myself and my family changing with this latest shift, I’m comforted. This is the point! I am reminded that we haven’t lost him. Although we cannot find Grandpa anymore in his physical form, it’s impossible to lose everything my grandfather gave to our family (so please don't be sorry for me!). Our memories and our willingness to learn from the past keeps him alive one ripple at a time, and our lives are forever changed because of the life he lived.
Sending you all love, light, and good health,
I have a family member that I love to debate with. Whenever I visit him, politics come up — and normally this is where everyone’s heart skips a beat and the eggshells come out. Not for me! I love the opportunity to voice my view and listen to his. He and I know we’ll "agree to disagree,” but on a deeper level, both of us enjoy the chance to share viewpoints and be heard.
To me, those conversations with family (where I know my viewpoint won’t change anyone’s mind) are practice... practice for when I really need the words to make an impact elsewhere. As a yoga teacher and a writer, I know I need to practice getting my words out whenever I have the chance. The more often I try them out, the more likely they are to carry conviction when they matter most.
In those conversations, I’m detached from the idea of converting anyone, so I’m generously listening. Rather than mentally formulating my next point while he's talking, I’m hearing his view. When I speak, I try to speak to him (based on what he said), rather than AT him... I modify what I say so that he might be able to hear me. And regardless of the outcome, I chalk the whole experience up as a chance to brush up on my listening skills, practice tailoring my words, and ultimately learning how to love my family members for who they are with whatever beliefs they have in that moment.
I know that if my feathers get ruffled, that's on me. That's my attachment to a certain expectation I have for how I think he should act. Of course I could choose to not engage all together... but deep down, I enjoy the challenge of learning how to speak directly to someone, not at them.
It's exactly the process each of our yoga teacher trainees goes through at Yoga Hive. They practice their first custom-sequenced class until it's "just right" for their final test-out. Then when they teach that first class, it’s the most amazing thing to witness! We give love, feedback, and they acknowledge what they’d do differently next time. If they decide to teach post-training (some don’t—it’s not a requirement) they refine, teach, and refine again. It's a lifelong journey, and lifelong learning. As Yoga Hive teachers, when we stop learning, we stop teaching.
So this idea of "marinating" on how we feel and practicing our words applies to all aspects of life.
My teacher, Anand, always says: "If you can't explain something simply, then you don't truly understand it."
If we are having debates with the goal of studying ourselves, practicing our conviction, and coupling that with truly listening to our world (as opposed to a goal of preaching, converting, or forcing an opinion)... that's yoga. Whether you're on a yoga mat, or discussing politics on a couch with your impassioned relative... doesn't matter. It's all yoga — the art of hearing both sides. Being a generous listener. Sitting with the information. Pausing in stillness. Speaking from the heart.
Or when in doubt, just stop talking and get your butt to a yoga class :-)
PS — Come stand in solidarity with Yoga Hive, Love Yoga, and Shanti this Saturday in Depot Park. We're coming together to do 108 Sun Salutations in honor of the Summer Solstice in solidarity with Black and Indigenous People of Color. All registration funds from class (pay what you can!) will be donated to the Montana Racial Equity Project. Scroll for details and a link to sign up.
PPS — We're promoting a Virtual Workshop, also for the summer solstice, from one of our lovely Yoga Hive Wisconsin teachers, Danita. It's in the afternoon this Saturday! Scroll below for details.
It’s hard to know where to begin.
Things are hard and messy these days — there’s no debate on that. The current wave of urgency to act NOW is a familiar feeling for me. After I met Sean, I started my journey as an advocate for people with type 1 diabetes. (I am not comparing chronic disease to civil rights, nor am I implying this makes me some “authority” in today’s world… this is just how my story begins).
Nine years ago this month, Sean and I were on our first trip to Whitefish, Montana. I remember telling friends and family that nothing could stop us from moving there as soon as possible.
The only thing holding us back? We had to figure out health insurance.
Since I’ve known him, Sean has lived with type 1 diabetes — an autoimmune disease with no cure where your body doesn’t produce insulin, the hormone needed for survival and to take in nutrients from food. His pancreas is broken. He didn’t cause this for himself. It just… happens.
In other words: He has a preexisting condition.
I — not knowing anything about life with chronic disease — naively thought I could call up a heath insurance provider and sweet talk my way into getting us a family policy. Then magically, Sean would quit his job as the director of competitive snow sports, and we would move to Whitefish and have health insurance, and the world would be good!
I’ll never forget that phone call. I explained to the gentleman at Select Health that I needed a family policy because we would be leaving our jobs with health insurance to move out of Utah.
At first, he was like, “No problem Ms. Busby! I can help you with that!” He proceeded to take all my information down, asking questions, creating our profile (and I’m thinking, see? Told you so!) … until he asked, “Do either you or your husband have any pre-existing health conditions?”
“Yes. Sean has type 1 diabetes.”
“Oh, I’m sorry Ms. Busby but I can’t offer your family a policy at this time.”
I feigned shock, even though deep down I knew this was coming. I needed to hear him say it. I asked, “You mean to tell me just because my husband was born with a disease with no cure that he isn’t eligible for a policy with you? What do you expect us to do?” (As if this man would have my answer.)
“Correct ma’am. Your husband should not quit his job.”
“But we’re moving.”
“Then you shouldn’t move until you or he has a job that provides health insurance.”
The way I heard his advice? Stay put. Sit down. Be complacent. I was stunned. It moved me. I knew from that moment forward I was committed to doing everything I could to support the type 1 diabetes community, in Sean’s honor. I knew it deep in my bones. Kids with this disease should know they can accomplish their wildest dreams, despite being denied access to basic things like affordable health insurance. I’ve been around the world hosting camps for the non profit Riding On Insulin, and have spent time speaking to members of congress alongside Sean on Capitol Hill about the importance of research for type 1 and access to life saving medical supplies for seniors.
Since that fateful year, advocacy has paved the way for legislation prohibiting insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions and providing access to life saving technologies for some of our at risk populations. Taking a stand is incredibly important, and change is possible when we’re passionate for the long haul. This takes love in our hearts for the cause. Not fear of inaction. Guilt for past wrongs. Or shame for “who we are.” True change comes when we dig deep and see that love is universal. Love is human nature.
But how do we know the right action to take when injustice is fresh in our minds and time is of the essence?
In the yogic teachings, we learn about dharma—your own unique path. Not a career, necessarily. Not “your purpose”. But the path you uniquely walk. Yoga teaches us that it’s better to strive on our own path, rather than to succeed in the path of another. Nothing is ever lost in following our own path. But when we engage in competition with someone else’s path, that action breeds fear and insecurity.
So, we must ask ourselves: Are we living our own path — from love, from that feeling deep down in our bones — or following someone else’s path, out of our own fear/guilt/shame? As we all struggle to determine the right thing to do at this time, instead of looking OUT to what everyone else is doing, look IN.
Yes, read books, get educated, take courses, talk to people, share your feelings, get advice, stand up for what you believe in. Do all those things. But when it comes to your personal right action, look inside. You will know what to do and it will be authentic and correct. When we do what others are doing (be it inaction or action) without examining our own role in the situation, we don’t feel fulfilled. We experience disconnect because our actions aren’t in alignment with our own deep knowing. Ultimately, we end up feeling even more separate than before we took action because we’ve behaved in a way that's separate from ourselves.
This is some deep work! So my recommendation? Do the work, look inside, trust yourself and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! (And if you need yoga and meditation in your life to sort that out, you know where to find us!)
Here are Yoga Hive, we have a stance and some action items:
In light with love,
Have you ever noticed that nature doesn't stop when a virus hits the planet?
Storms still roll through. Birds still wake us up in the morning. Tiny little ants still do their job, hauling food back to their community. Even when they get totally smashed by a human hiking in the woods, they simply begin again.
Even though it feels like our lives have come to a standstill, the world is still turning. Nature is constantly showing us that nothing waits for humans to "get it together." Life — as they say — goes on. The world (nature, humans, animals and everything in between) begins again, in every moment.
I was reading back to some of my newsletters from many months ago, and I found myself thinking: Wow, I had NO IDEA what was in store for me, or Yoga Hive. There I was mid-January, building studios, opening spaces, welcoming in community members alongside our teaching teams... not a clue in the world what was in store in the coming months.
And you know what? This is no different than now. I have no idea what's in store for us tomorrow. Or next week. Or next year. The birds were chirping then. The birds are chirping now. The news reported on chaos then. The news reports on chaos now. I was happy then. I was happy now. I was tired then. I am tired now.
The circumstances have changed — but you know what? The ant's entire kingdom gets wiped out with one boot print. Lets do as the ant does: Begin again, rebuild, and learn. Our circumstances and challenges change daily, virus or not. So instead of telling you about our "new normal," I will suggest that normal isn't worth our time. Normal is not how we do business here at Yoga Hive.
Change is all there is. Lets get present to now, and elegantly begin again.
Stopped meditating because you couldn't find time? Begin again.
Stopped taking Zoom yoga because [insert excuse here]? Begin again.
Stopped making time for yourself because the world demanded you focus on everyone else for 3 months? Begin again.
No need for the drama... the stories... just begin again, and put one foot in front of the other. Do your best. Learn from your mistakes. Trust that something more magical is always right around the corner (and be unattached to what it looks like!). Feel your emotions and allow them to move through you. These are the ways of the yogi — you've got this! And if you need LIVE support in the flesh, we've got you :-) Summer schedule starts June 1st.
We've spent a good deal of time working out how we can all get back together and share vibes in 3D again, and I'll tell you: This plan is not the new normal — in fact, you won't hear me say that phrase ever again (starting now).
This plan is a change from how the studio(s) used to be... and this plan is changeable for the future. Lets all be in the flow, have compassion in our hearts, and show up to Yoga Hive in whatever way makes the most sense for the greater good. Please read our new policies below (or click here to view online) IN THEIR ENTIRETY before signing up for class so that we can all be on the same page starting Monday!
*Quick highlight on masks— because this seems to be a hot topic: Because it's difficult to social distance in our small reception area, we request that yogis bring their own mask, and wear it in the studio anytime they're NOT on their yoga mat. Once everyone is on their mats and class is ready to start, the instructor will cue everyone to remove their masks, if they wish. Instructors will be teaching without masks. Because we are all at least 8 feet apart in the studio, we feel as if the regulations allow for mask-free yoga practice. This is our stance, and we're sticking to it for now. If this doesn't feel authentic to you, we have included a number of outdoor classes you may enjoy, most days of the week!
A few other exciting things coming up:
Sending all my love to each of you for reading this far (and beyond!)
We're opening the Whitefish studio on June 1st! HOME STRETCH, people!
Or is it?
That's the funny thing about COVID-19. We're making moves and setting dates and *thinking* about venturing beyond the boundaries of what we call "home." But is any of that for certain? No. Could that all change in a heartbeat? Yes.
Nothing is for certain — and I know we feel rattled because of the last few months, but lest we forget: Nothing in life is certain, nor has it ever been.
It's got a ring to it! More info forthcoming about our plan of action next week, with a full summer schedule to boot, including indoor classes, outdoor classes, paddleboard yoga and more!
That being said, are there a million questions yet to be answered about how this is going to work? Of course.. I was listening to my teacher, Anand, speak a few nights ago, and he spoke about questions. Specifically, asking questions – and what questions we ask can reveal so much about our internal state of being.
Whatever questions we ask, our life becomes the answers.
Sit with that for a minute. And think about what questions you've been asking yourself lately. "Will I ever travel again?" "Where will my next paycheck come from?" "Will I ever get better at being patient with my kids?"
Once we ask these questions — whether mundane musings or insightful inquiries — our awareness goes searching for the answers. Our mind starts to make meaning out of anything it can, from fake news to first-hand accounts. And as such, our life becomes what we focus on.
If we ask questions from fearful awareness, our life becomes a fearful place. If we as questions with severe and unrealistic optimism, we can miss the quick, simple steps that cut a painful journey in half.
So what questions are you asking? And what answers is your awareness seeking? Use these observations as a clue into your own mental state!
(And if you have questions about what our "grand opening" will look like, wait till we send you an email next week! <--- See what I did there? Ha!)
Me? I've been asking myself how Yoga Hive's 300-hour training is going to manifest for over a year now... and the time is finally right! I'm so excited to share some really big teachings with our tribe this fall.
I am SO excited to finally share a summer studio schedule with you next week! Until then...
This weekend is the final weekend of yoga teacher training for our Montana-based crew. And as I reflect back on the last few months (and where they went?), I am reminded that everything in life is impermanent. Every yoga teacher training — however magical they all are — eventually comes to an end. (And our 100% online YTT begins June 3rd - click for details!)
In the same way, I dropped off our 15-year-old Weimaraner with Sean’s parents this past weekend. Daisy will live out her golden years sunbathing and getting SO much love with our family in warmer climates. Our time with our pets — however magical it is — eventually comes to an end.
In the same way, as so many of you know, we made the difficult decision to permanently close our Kalispell and Columbia Falls studios as of May 1st, and carry on in Montana with our flagship location in Whitefish. Every business — however magical it is for however long it lasts — eventually comes to an end.
Sensing a trend here?
This idea of "impermanence" is a foundational teaching of yoga. Everything that is created will be destroyed. And if we let go of the dramatic semantics of the word “DESTROYED” (e.g. Game of Thrones visualizations) we can see how true this really is.
So then the question: Why — when a life, a business, a job, a pet, etc. comes to an end — do we struggle to move on?
Because of our attachment to the way things are. Or the way things were. Or the way we think things “should” be. When we dive into yoga as a lifestyle, we learn over and over again that as we detach from outcomes, and detach from our fixed ideas about how things are, we can wake up to this truth… the cycle of life.
We can wake up to the ultimate impermanence of literally everything.
We find this principle is everywhere in nature. She changes daily, hourly, moment-to-moment. Just as a day in the mountains can bring showers, hail, snow, wind and sunshine (plus clouds, obviously), change is abundant. Weather isn’t permanent. Seasons aren’t permanent.
Understanding impermanence is REQUIRED for our sanity as human beings. If we don't realize that everything comes to an end, we get confused when things go away, or when people leave our lives. And when confusion becomes chronic, that's when suffering begins.
With the studios closing, I’ve been asked more times than I can count, “How are you feeling about it?” My first instinct is to feed into this idea that I’m devastated and struggling because of course I didn’t want to close two studios. Who wants to do something like that?
But then I remember the truth: I know this decision — like all endings — is just a pathway to more freedom for me, and ultimately more freedom for every human being touched by Yoga Hive, and who will be touched by Yoga Hive in the future. And because we can’t QUITE see what that freedom looks like yet from our unique vantage points, this is where trust comes in.
Every moment holds a spiritual invitation for us. (And YES. I just said the S-word. Stay with me.) The moment when we close two of three Montana yoga studios, when Daisy moved to a warmer climate, and even yoga teacher training coming to an end… if we forget about the spiritual invitation for us to dive deeper, we get lost in crisis and suffering when we encounter an ending. Every ending becomes a monumental problem until our entire life is filled with them.
But if we accept the invite and metaphorically RSVP to the yogic teachings, we start to see how this impermanence is just a fact. It’s coming, and we don’t need to wait for it, or fear it. We welcome it with open arms, we shed our tears and feel our pain in the process, BECAUSE we trust that what’s coming down the road is exactly what we need (even if we can’t imagine it yet!).
So hang in there, everyone. And keep practicing! You’ll find us on Zoom for now — but we have plans in the works and are paying close attention to both city, county and state regulations! We will have outdoor classes to start with (weather pending!) soon! Keep following along. In the meantime, some notes for you:
I can’t say I’ve ever written an email to you guys with puddles of tears in my eyes, but here I am. Guess there’s a first for everything.
I want more than anything to tell you this in person.
In light of the financial pressures of COVID-19, I’ve made the decision to permanently close our Kalispell and Columbia Falls Yoga Hive locations. Moving forward, the Whitefish studio will be our Montana flagship, we'll have our one location in Wisconsin, and Arctic Hive will hold strong as a destination for upcoming yoga + adventure retreats in the Brooks Range.
Wednesday night (the night I wrote this, just 24 hours after coming to this decision), I stood at my kitchen sink after a long day of phone calls, list making, and number crunching. I hadn’t cried yet, and I kept thinking to myself that it hadn’t hit me.
I was staring at a sink filled with dishes. I put on music, I started cleaning, and I felt off… slightly nauseous. Wasn’t hungry, wasn’t sick. Just felt weird. And as I washed, and scrubbed, and rinsed, I felt my heart welling up with emotion at the symbolism.
Cleaning up a beautiful mess.
In my mind, I imagined your faces as you stared at your screen in disbelief, as you read this email. Thinking to yourself: NO. WAY. My yoga home is gone. THIS VIRUS SUCKS. This can’t be happening.
The tears started falling. Maybe yours are too. My cry was not a pity party. Not by a long shot. This was a good, hearty cry that went on for a few hours, on and off, as I energetically honored, and released the incredible 4 and 3 years (respectively) we’ve shared together in collectively four different studio spaces between Cfalls and Kalispell. The movement we’ve made. The groups we’ve cried in. The beautiful yellow and blue walls that sheltered us from the wild outside. Over 75 teachers who’ve come, some gone, and served as leaders of thousands of yogis from near and far. The hundreds of cups of tea, kombucha, and Coffee Traders coffee we’ve collectively shared will never be forgotten.
And please don’t be sorry.
I believe we should save it for when we absolutely mean it. When we’ve screwed up. When we’ve inflicted suffering on someone else, and we see our wrong.
No one here has screwed up. For me, tears are the way I release emotion. There's no other way to get it out! It’s exhausting — and requires a million kleenexes — but at the end, I always feel better because I’ve let it go.
You see, none of us are exempt from pain. And right now, I share your pain. I feel this pain — and if I’ve learned anything through the tender moments I’ve spent with so many of you within Yoga Hive walls:
Our pain has led each of us to our own version of transformation. It’s a required prerequisite to transformation.
We might not see it right away, but the more times we realize the pain happens FOR us, the more times we learn to expect it… and to know there’s light coming.
Pain is inevitable. Change is inevitable. But transformation it’s an optional step that only comes to us when we let go of expectations. When we let go of attachment to “what was,” in order to make space for something new.
By being sorry for pain like this (which I will say is distinctly different than chronic suffering), it’s like being sorry for the journey. Being sorry for the uncomfortable. Being sorry for the times in our lives that make us who we are. And truth is? I’m not sorry for any of this. I’ve done my best with the resources I have. You’ve done your best with yours. We shared millions of incredible moments together. We’re all destined for greatness as we open up space for something new on a collective level.
Before I wrote this email, I scrolled Facebook for a minute and read that the summer camp I grew up working at won’t be holding camp this summer. (The instigator of the second wave of tears as I started to write this email). The feeling of camp ending for the summer is one I know intimately. But the feeling of summer camp ending for a long while? That’s a new one.
One that hits home for our Yoga Hive community.
But just like summer camp, your yoga home will someday open again in Whitefish. Your yoga home will still continue with tons of LIVE Zoom classes every week with some of your familiar Yoga Hive faces — tech experience not required! Your yoga home lives within our new baby for on-demand streaming, Yoga Hive Connect.
But most of all, your yoga home will never leave you. Because it doesn’t require a particular teacher. It doesn’t require our distinct yellow and blue walls, essential oils diffusing, or incense burning. If you’ve learned anything from us, I hope it’s this: Your yoga home will never be lost because it’s within you. Sure, all the Yoga Hive touches are nice. And helpful when we’re really needing guidance. But over time, we realize that everything we need is within, and in the same way, Yoga Hive is nothing without Y-O-U.
And so I leave you with my deepest respect and gratitude for all the words you and I will speak/text/email about this — and all the words that will go unspoken.
Thank you for four years, Columbia Falls.
Kalispell, thank you for nearly three and a half.
Whitefish: We’re looking at you for support as we all take a collective deep (DEEP) breath and nourish this yoga home for many years to come.
I personally invite all of you, throughout the valley, to make a trek over to Whitefish (after we open, of course) to join together as one Yoga Hive community in our Flagship space — you'll always have the option to practice with us from the comfort of your home through Zoom as we make online access a permanent offering within the studio. It's an honor to continue to serve you and I'm sure we'll come up with some creative outdoor opportunities to practice together across the valley over the summer. Thank you for making Yoga Hive such an incredible place to work, teach, and grow.
Be on the lookout for an online store featuring props, bundles, merch and more early next week, available for curbside pickup.
In light (and a few final cleansing tears),
PS - If you have questions about an existing membership or punch pass you have on file, please reach out to our manager Brittany at firstname.lastname@example.org. She'll help make it right!
The Yoga Hive team agrees that we're now in the year Zero AC — after COVID.
The time prior to this, we fondly refer to as BC — before COVID.
BC, Blaine (owner of Yoga Hive Colorado) and I worked together closely on programs and trainings and executed them separately at our studios. We would check in with each other and share feedback and learnings on our separate workshops and events and yoga teacher trainings (YTTs) and I would fly to Colorado and teach portions of her trainings and she would fly to Montana/Wisconsin and teach portions of our trainings... but they were separate.
Then quarantine happened.
AC, the light bulb happened... a brilliant, shining realization. Online, we can teach TOGETHER! We can merge yoga class schedules and have various teachers from all over the Yoga Hive Universe teach all the Yoga Hive Members. Instead of Blaine leading BeAbundant (a 21 day workshop that ends today) in Colorado, and I lead it in Montana and/or Wisconsin, we can teach it to everyone TOGETHER.
And all this togetherness has been more fun and impactful that we could have ever imagined.
And SO FUN! Meeting people from other Yoga Hives who show up and take classes, co-leading BeAbundant with over 40 students each week, getting creative with ideas regarding how to get programs like this off the ground and learning about different technology options (like Yoga Hive Connect on demand streaming!) to support us moving forward have all been such blessings in this quarantine world.
New friends! New knowledge! New ideas!
When we encounter new things (be it teaching a yoga pose for the first time, or teaching on Zoom, or navigating new funding applications — anything!), we're quick to label things as "difficult" or "uncomfortable." But what yoga teaches us is that when we're in the challenge zone of life, as opposed to our comfort zone, we're creating new neuro-pathways. We're problem solving. We're getting more life experience. We're EVOLVING!
So being out of the comfort zone is not "difficult" unless you decide it is. In other words, if you think a new obstacle is hard, YOU'RE RIGHT! Just like if you think a new challenge is easy... YOU'RE RIGHT.
So Blaine and I? We've been embracing the challenge — and beyond that, we're normalizing the challenge so that over time, challenge becomes comfortable. And even furthermore... challenge becomes exciting. Blaine found this lovely quote from Dan Stevens that sums it up:
The comfort zone is the great enemy to creativity.
As we keep looking forward to that sweet moment we practice in person together, we don’t have a re-opening date... but our team is working hard on a plan. Can you please help us? Please complete this survey (it’s quick) to give us information we need as we build out the plan.
It would mean so much to me — to all of us. Help shape our future with your thoughts and ideas! Thank you! Survey link HERE. (If you already took it earlier this week, we did add a few more specific questions, so feel free to take it again!)
And I have an exciting announcement! In this time of live-stream togetherness, this June Blaine and I are CO-TEACHING a one month long immersion Yoga Alliance Certified 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training! It’s a one-time only unique and special opportunity. In a month, from home, taking live classes that are just the same as our in-person 3-6 month YTTs, you can learn the ancient science of yoga and become a yoga teacher. No other time have Blaine and I been able to split teaching a YTT entirely down the middle... but now is the time. This is our chance.
Will you join us? If you click here to see more, you can enter your information at the bottom of the page to take pre-recorded classes with Blaine and I to get a feel for our teaching style. PLUS: Blaine and I will do a live Q&A on Zoom to answer all your questions on Monday, May 4th at 4 PM Mountain Time (in Montana), which is 5 PM Central Time (in Wisconsin). SIGN UP for the Q&A HERE.
Blaine and I have also been having a blast co-teaching 90-minute Saturday morning classes. We have a new one this Saturday at 9:00 Mountain to support your immune system. It has Energy Medicine Yoga, Kriya, breathwork and yoga poses for that very purpose, and you’ll start your weekend strong and ready for whatever is coming your way! It's a regular class so you can use your package or normal drop-in. Sign up on our schedule — all current passes apply.
Also, if you're looking for a way to fine-tune your intuition, and play with accessing that deeper wisdom within yourself, check out Maud's Intuitive Play workshop on Zoom coming up on May 6th. $20 per person — and if you have a credit from a past workshop that was cancelled, we can apply your credit to this. Just reach out.
Thank you so much for supporting the studio during this time. Seeing your faces on live-stream Zoom classes is my inspiration to wake up and work and create every single day!
And one more reminder request – please complete this re-opening survey!
PS - If you're a Yoga Hive app user, you probably saw that it's not working properly as of late. We had to cut a few costs and unfortunately, the app didn't make the cut. BUT if you download the general MindBody app, you should be able to access all our classes through that system. Sorry for the confusion, and thanks for your understanding!
PPS - Because we won't be renting/lending out props at the studio for a long time, Yoga Hive will be selling bundles of yoga props for your at-home yoga studio, and offering curbside pickup... SOON. You will be able to bring these to Yoga Hive when we can all be back together. If you're interested in a bundle or individual props, please respond here with your request and we'll do our best to compile the interest in the next week!
Originally hailing from Wisconsin, Mollie is a cheesehead transplant to Northwest Montana, with degrees in Retail and Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Today, she lives off the grid, half the year in a Tiny House & half the year in a yurt — both of which she and her husband, Sean, built by hand. Nonprofit Executive Director by day, Mollie also owns and teaches at Yoga Hive — a chain of community yoga studios in the valley.