After I arrived home to Alaska last week, it was the first time in a long time that I really felt myself settle. I realllly slowed down.
All my trips planned through July are cancelled. My cell phone hotspot wasn't working, so it wasn't worth it to be on the computer. I didn't have anywhere to drive, or food to buy because we're stocked. And without all the things that normally fill my schedule, I found the craziest thing: Space.
And although my mind still runs a million miles an hour, the content within has a different quality — backed by stillness instead of busy-ness. From the depth of my awareness (on a walk with the dogs), a thought popped into my head.
When we slow down, we can speed up.
Our mind has time to reset, to open up to new possibilities and new ways of thinking. And as I think about all those people on the front lines of this medical nightmare, I pray that everyone has enough time and space to breathe, reflect, and heal as we navigate this new path.
And then it occurred to me that I'm not alone. The media/government reinforces this fact every single minute.
We go through these things during pandemics. We go through these things without pandemics. Despite what we believe in the Facebook feeds, Instagram stories, and highlight reels we scroll through on social media, no one is exempt from the pains of life. And no one is exempt from the joys of life. And right now, no one is exempt from COVID-19. We are all human beings having a human experience, and we're all in this together, whether we like it or not.
The only difference is that now, we're all forced to slllllowwww down and actually see that, and feel that. And grieve that. And grow from this.
So when you hear the whisper to slow down... to pick up that book... to finish that project... to air-hug your neighbor from a 6 foot distance... to show up to the front lines in your scrubs to care for those who can't care for themselves... pause. Deep breath. You've got this.
And you are not alone.
Here are Yoga Hive, Blaine (owner of Yoga Hive Colorado and a master teacher for our EMYoga training this summer!) and I have planned a new 21-day program with completely new content to reinforce this fact.
We are proud to co-create and co-lead BeAbundant.
Using virtual group discussion, yoga and meditation practice, we will harness the power of yogic technology to let go of resistance, allow creativity to flow, and see our world as a chain of infinite possibilities over the course of 21-days, and 4 weekly meetings. You will walk away from this experience with new friends who are interested in growth, new habits focused on your wellbeing, and a game plan for how to move forward in your life. The world is not happening TO you. It’s happening for you.
This entire program will happen once weekly on Zoom starting Tuesday April 7th from 6:30-8pm MST. You will get a recorded weekly yoga/meditation practice to use daily during our program. Never used Zoom online video conferencing? No problem. We'll walk you through it step by step, and the software is free and easy! We will record all meetings, too... so if you can't make it live, you can still join in.
In a nutshell? We gotchu. The standalone 21-day program, which includes four meetings + a virtual manual and day-by-day program instructions + recordings from Zoom to access after the meeting time, is FREE for any autopay monthly unlimited members (reply here and I'll enroll you free of charge), and costs $44 for anyone else. If you want to make a one-time purchase for a month unlimited yoga + the BeAbundant program, you'll get all that for $108. Click here to enroll today!
It's time to rise up and dive deep during this time of cocooning, so that when it's time to emerge from this quarantine chrysalis and re-enter the world, you've got a game plan, a rock solid daily routine and mindset, and bold and beautiful butterfly wings to carry you as fast as you need to move.
Slow down. Speed up. BeAbundant.
Interested in seeing what online yoga is like before you commit? Try out a class -- on us. If you haven't attended online classes yet, you're welcome to use the promo code yogahiveonline for a 1-time 100% discount off a Drop-In Pass (with no mat rental!). This code is good through April 14th - 1 per person, please. Tell your friends — join us online this weekend to see what Yoga Hive is all about!
PS - If you don't have the means to pay but need BeAbundant in your life, please reply to this email and fill me in on your situation — I'm ready to help make this happen for as many community members as possible.
Let me put this into perspective: Earth is a tiny blue dot in a galaxy that is part of other universes and multiverses, to infinity... farther than we have ever been able to see with modern technology.
Also: We are but one human being on a planet of 7.53 billion people (give or take).
Also: Our individual cells are but one component of 37.2 trillion other cells that make up the human body.
Sometimes — in the midst of "social distancing" and "sheltering in place" and a handful of new buzzwords that we'll never forget — it's worth pulling back or zooming in for some perspective on what's going on in the world today, and within our own bodies. (And if you want to visualize this, watch this YouTube video.)
These times — just like so many times in history — will be a blip on the radar of our life. Of course, there are going to be businesses that don't survive, others that thrive, families devastated from losses, and others traumatized from experiences all over the world in light of the pandemic. My intention is not to belittle the gravity of today's situation, which inevitably varies from human to human.
For the vast majority of us, this could be a distant memory with varying small degrees of influence on our daily life down the road. Knowing that — and reminding myself of that — is a reminder that although my actions today could make massive waves for my future, I know time is passing just as fast as it ever did, and every day is a gift, just like they always were (and always will be). Every moment is an opportunity, and just because there's a pandemic doesn't mean opportunities cease to exist.
Nature is still on our side. She doesn't necessarily want to be comfortable, but she wants to grow and learn. As long as we're on the same page with her, we're going to get along just fine.
How do we get a place where we're comfortable with the pace of the world and confident in our every step with a mission to grow and learn? It comes down to letting go of an attachment to what "success" looks like. To what "bad" looks like.
And for our purposes here, letting go of the attachment to what "opportunity" looks like.
I remember this one activity at leadership camp where we were given the task of making a cup of tea, and we were given a bag filled with random supplies and 20 yes or no questions of our leader. As we whittled away the questions, and tried our best to use a bow-drill to start a fire (SO HARD), I remember toward the bitter end as we struggled to light a fire, someone came up with the idea we should ask our leader if she had any matches.
It was the ultimate testament to creatively using resources. We detached from the idea that we "have to use the bag of supplies we're given." We had already gotten pine needles from nature (no one said the tea had to taste good!), and we'd figured out the cup and heating situation. We just needed a spark. And the one person who had identified themselves as a guide, a teacher, a bystander... we realized was actually our greatest asset.
She handed over a match, we started a fire, made the tea... and FELT LIKE A MILLION BUCKS! We did it. I'll never forget that moment... and that lesson to look at my entire life as an opportunity has never left me.
The life of Yoga Hive Montana is testament to this same truth. Our history has prepared us for this moment, as we lean on a massive resource we're lucky enough to have: five studios around the country! Today we join hands with all five Yoga Hives to bring you a virtual class schedule with over 30 classes a week from teachers, many local friendly faces, some new ones. You'll be able to use your pass at Yoga Hive Montana to take LIVE virtual classes with teachers here in the Flathead, along with teachers at Yoga Hive Wisconsin and Yoga Hive Colorado. Click here to see the full lineup on the schedule.
We are grateful to lean on one another during this time to make sure Yoga Hive is around for the long haul. We know our creativity and agility — like any small business — is our greatest asset. So thank you for co-creating this new reality with us, and for meeting us on your mat!
Don't forget to share the zen — not the virus! We are offering a QUARANTINE SPECIAL (couldn't help it!). It's $44 for unlimited yoga for two weeks of online, LIVE classes with Yoga Hive using Zoom. Your cousins in Minnesota and your grandma in Arizona can buy this pass and join the fun. We walk you through the process here.
Don't have $44 but desperately need yoga? Or a CLUE about where your next paycheck will come from? Reply here with what you can pay. Your message goes straight to my inbox and will be completely confidential. We GOT YOU.
In light (and gratitude I never decided to make my own line of tea),
If we're not pulling our hair out because of quarantine this weekend, it's going to be because we're tired of the Virus-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named posts on social media... or we're figuring out how to grocery shop online... or we're so flipping overwhelmed about the fact our entire world flipped upside down in a matter of weeks/days/hours (circle whichever one applies to you).
And when we're pulling our hair out, our loved ones come to the rescue. They grab our shoulders, look us right in the eye, and shout: "GET A GRIP!"
Of course they have good intentions, but the words they choose are interesting. "Get a grip" ... hmm...
So we have a grip on something — for example's sake, let's use a specific brand of coffee creamer. Your favorite coffee creamer. Because it's your favorite, you're holding it tightly, planning your routine around it, expecting it each morning. Figuratively you're "gripping" it tightly enough that it stays in your possession. You've got decent control over it. You can move it, toss it, drop in, hug it. Whether the "thing" is coffee creamer, or five crayons, or a computer mouse because you hate your laptop trackpad, you've got a grip, you've got control, and you're good to go.
Or are you?
Consider the moment you approach the cooler at the grocery store, and you scan the shelves for that same friendly label you've come to know and love... and then, dang it. You notice they're out. First you question whether it's true: "Could it be? Are there REALLY no more or did they move it to a new cooler?" You scan, and pace, and then frantically grab an associate and ask WHERE IS THE VANILLA SOY CREAMER, PLEASE?!
The associate confirms they're out of stock, and mentions that there's been a shortage of that exact brand and flavor lately, and they don't know when to expect more in stock...it could be weeks... months... maybe August. When you check your phone, you notice Amazon isn't even doing shipments of it for two weeks, and apparently the price of one container of your coffee creamer costs $87?
So although you weren't physically holding that coffee creamer in your hand in the grocery store, figuratively speaking, you had a grip on it. You shaped your entire morning routine around it. It defined you! And so naturally it stands to reason when you hold tightly to something, you have that something to lose.
Let me say that one more time:
When we hold tightly to things in our life, we have things to lose.
So when we take this simple example and extrapolate it to the current climate of the world, it would seem nature is slapping us in the face with this simple truth... the tighter we grip to "the way life is," the more we have to loose when life changes.
Especially when it changes without our consent.
I was listening to an online meditation from a friend of mine on Facebook, and she spoke about this concept. I loved how she put it; When we're attached to things in our external environment, things outside of ourselves, and we create our life to be centralized around those things, we realize at some point that things outside of ourselves can be taken from us. Anything! Any one! At any time!
I think about the people in Tennessee recently who went through a wave of devastating tornados. Their houses just simply plucked off the foundations, swirled around and smashed down.
Demolished. In an instant.
Things like that — or our recent shake up with the world — can feel jarring, unfair, and life-altering. Maybe it's not the coffee creamer that puts us over the edge, but something more impactful like losing a consistent paycheck. We assume, either way, big or small... our life from here forward will just get worse.
But if we loosen our grip on "the way our world is" we can start to peek around the corner. We can start to allow creative energy to flow, we listen to the whisper of our heart, and we pivot. We get a glimpse of how our life could actually be BETTER down the road. Different — no doubt. But better. Ultimately, life is not happening to us. It's happening for us.
To see that glimmer and get out of your own pity party, I'll tell you this: The only way out, is in. Practice. Meditate. Yoga. Of course you need to exercise and get your blood pumping... but I'm talking about the practices that allow you to focus on the inside job. Especially today when there's no one around to care what you look like other than your family and your pets (quarantine perks?). It's important now, more than ever, to really sit with the uncomfortable and do the work.
And you guys, I'm speaking from my own depth of experience... not as someone who is above "needing the practice" anymore, but as someone who is diligently working on a daily basis to hold it all together. No one is exempt!
When we practice, we are cultivating a strong internal culture, and strong sense of ourself as a human being. And your commitment and dedication to your internal practice is something that can never be taken from you. No one can take meditation away. No one can take away your learning... your insights... your gut instinct.
It's the ultimate lifeline... GRIP YOUR HEART OUT, BABY!
And even with quarantines and closures, here at Yoga Hive, we've got you. We're completely running online, with some of your favorite teachers and more to come. Hear what Shayna had to say about her first online class with us...
"I wasn’t sure about yoga online. The thought of doing yoga over the web seemed like just too much... but I tried my first Yoga Hive class LIVE on Zoom today and it was not what I expected. It wasn't just another recorded yoga class. I could see and hear the friendly instructor the whole time. I could see other students in the class and say hello. I felt the love and energy, just like if we were all in the same room. It was an amazing experience and I highly recommend trying a Yoga Hive Live class online. I’ve learned that resistance can show you what you need the most." — Shayna
And if you're like Shayna, wondering if online yoga feels anything like the "real thing," we've created a whole explanation page on our website about what these online classes look and feel like. CLICK HERE. While we could never say this before, you now can bring your dogs... your kids... and your cats to yoga. Even your ferret, Paul. He can come, too.
On Monday, we will merge online yoga schedules for all five Yoga Hive studios around the country. You'll be able to use your pass at Yoga Hive Montana to take classes with teachers at Yoga Hive Wisconsin and Yoga Hive Colorado. Click here to see the current schedule and stay tuned over the weekend as we add more for Monday onward!
Oh yeah. That.
Well, to be honest, we could use some too... but we know that yoga is the most important factor here. So we are offering a QUARANTINE SPECIAL (couldn't help it!). It's $44 for unlimited yoga for two weeks of online, LIVE classes with Yoga Hive using Zoom. Your cousins in Missoula and your grandma in Rhode Island can even buy this pass and join the fun. Share the zen — not the virus!
Don't have $44 but desperately need yoga? Or a CLUE about where your next paycheck will come from? Reply here with what you can pay. Your message goes straight to my inbox and will be completely confidential. We GOT YOU.
In light (and openness to the possibility of enjoying a new coffee creamer in the future),
Funny how things change in the course of a week, isn’t it?
And by funny I really mean... life-altering, potentially fear-inducing, and funny-not-funny.
Now, more than ever, is the time to practice. As the first yoga sutra says, "Now, yoga begins."
The impact of this pandemic on small business promises to be massive across the country, and Yoga Hive is not exempt from this, not by a long shot. But one thing you can always count on from us (and one thing we’ve learned over the last four and a half years) is that we practice yoga like our life depends on it.
In honor of helping to make “social distancing” the catch phrase of our time, we've spent the last five days crafting a plan to support the sustainability of Yoga Hive, and support this community like never before. At the recommendation of Yoga Alliance, Yoga Hive’s physical locations in Whitefish, Columbia Falls and Kalispell are officially closed, effective immediately, for in-person group yoga classes until it’s safe to reopen.
Plus, we’re completely out of toilet paper! 😜
And... here's the fun part. Yoga Hive Montana is proud to offer a full online schedule of LIVE classes starting TODAY on Zoom Video Conferencing (full "how to" directions and FAQs below!)
As for the state of our world amidst a pandemic... as someone with so many family members, friends, and colleagues with chronic health conditions... I keep getting asked, “Is this for real?”
In short? Yes. It’s absolutely for real. Whether you're part of the "at risk population" or not, we're all part of the same ecosystem, and this thing moves in ways we can't always anticipate, Chlorox wipes or not.
It’s not something we need to resist, or fear, or turn a blind eye to. As yogis — I told you last week — we respond to the need of the moment. And right now, all over the USA, we are called to physically distance ourselves from others not for our own safety. I’ve been traveling through Alaska, Wisconsin, and now to Montana. I’ve seen the way communities are responding in so many places for the last month, I’ve watched my colleagues in Denver, Miami and beyond boldly take their studios completely online. We can’t sit back and wait for this to become small town Montana’s problem. The time is now, and this concerns everyone.
Deep. Breath. We have nothing to fear!
And yet… fear is there, isn’t it? If it’s not fear, then it’s some other emotion. Denial. Anger. Disappointment. Confusion.
So do we smother it down and deny we’re “having a moment”? No. In times like this, we practice yoga IN ORDER TO have emotions like this bubble to the surface. You heard me right: Yoga brings it all to the surface. That's the sneaky purpose of yoga when you really start practicing in earnest… to bubble things up so we can see them, acknowledge them, and delete them.
What seems sneaky at first becomes a technology we can use to free ourselves from unnecessary suffering.
And even with fear, or denial, or anger on board, those emotions don’t define us even though they might feel all-consuming. Emotions are like tools that give us an indication of what’s happening on the inside. If we recognize where we feel fear in our body (tight hips, clenched jaw, etc.) then we can recognize it and treat the body as it’s happening by doing breath work, meditation, and yoga. The emotion becomes a tool for self-healing.
This moment-to-moment awareness of our emotional state is called emotional intelligence.
As yogis, we remain vigilant, we tune into what’s happening on the inside through this emotional intelligence, and we practice like our lives depend on it.
And know for sure: Yoga Hive has you covered. You can count on:
Alaskans have a phrase for traveling to the lower 48... it's called “going to the outside.” And I never truly understood that phase quite like I did last week!
After spending the better part of the last few weeks off-the-grid in the Brooks Range prepping for our Far North Northern Lights + Yoga retreat, even returning to mainstream Alaska felt like stepping out of a dream into a harsh reality... it’s a world filled with ongoing news stories, scary updates, and a bit (ok, a mega dose) of mass hysteria.
All I could think was: Where the heck is all the toilet paper?!
In all seriousness, with everything going on from election sagas, to virus watch, to the economy, to toilet paper's disappearing act, I find it hard to pull away from the news sites and my daily news podcast. I find it hard to not worry about the future of... everything.
How do we stay up-to-date in the world without constantly diving into fear?
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: It all comes down to the unknown, and our relationship with it. And our ability to ask ourselves realistically: What can I do right now?
In fact, this concept is so important that it's the basis of the FIRST yoga sutra — Yoga is now. This is the most important sutra, as they are to be practiced sequentially for maximum benefit!
So we avoid asking What does my future hold? Or How should I have done the past differently?
A yogi will ask: What is this moment asking of me right now?
Before heading up to Arctic Hive last week (which is our home and igloo above the Arctic Circle... the northernmost yoga studio in America!), Sean and I poured over weather forecasts and tried to prepare ourselves as best we could.
Needless to say, there were a lot of unknowns.
Our objective was to ready the property for this April’s retreat by breaking in spring access trails, hauling food and provisions, moving solar panels, shoveling massive amounts of snow from roofs and decks, and packing a dogsledding trail. From afar, we wondered what -30 daytime temps would feel like as we spent our entire days and parts of the evening outside doing physical work, trying not to sweat to avoid hypothermia. We wondered how much firewood we would go through, how long snow-boiling shifts would take to make ample water for our dogs, how to keep our snowmachine and truck oil warm to prevent freezing. We wondered if we had the right layers/boots/socks/gloves/hand warmers... you name it.
We wondered, we researched, and we prepped as best we could. That’s all we could do. That's what the moment was asking of us. And we knew if it weren't so logistically complicated, then surely the village of Wiseman would look quite different. Instead of the 12 souls that live there, year round, off the land (mostly all from the same family) would be more like 1200. Or 12,000.
Having prepared our hearts out, we drove north, 7 hours from Fairbanks into the heart of Alaska’s mighty arctic Brooks Range—the Himalayas of the Arctic. And despite the unknowns of winter, all we could do was walk through the fear of unknown.
A wise yogi named Scott taught me this idea of “walking through fear." I’ll never forget as he described his experience in the armed forces overseas, and how when it comes to fear, you have to face it, walk through it, and let go of the desire to turn around to get one last look at it. A difficult lesson learned for him, I’m sure... and one I didn’t take for granted, and use daily.
The more we step outside our comfort zone into a space of challenge (walking through our fear), the more we find ease in the unknown. The more we sign up for classes that make us a bit squeamish... the more we take trips to wild off grid places... the more we try that yoga pose that pushes our limit... each new experience adds up and prepares us to flex our “uncomfortable” muscles at the drop of a hat.
So days upon days and nights upon nights of working outside in temps that ranged from -25 to -47 degrees for hours in a remote and isolated wilderness? Yeah. It was mind-numbing cold.
Was it amazing to push through the intense moments and work side by side with my partner in one of the most incredible places in the world?
Yep. Totally worth it. Mission accomplished.
So whatever fear you’re facing at the moment — whether it’s a manageable stressor or it’s a big, hairy, esoteric fear of the unknown for our planet (or somewhere in between), take a step back and assure yourself: The future does not exist.
Say it again, put it on a post-it in shouty capitals, whatever you have to do: THE FUTURE DOES NOT EXIST.
Then ask yourself: What is the moment asking of me, right now?
From there, don’t wait. Prepare, and walk through it, resisting the urge to look in the review mirror.
You’ve got this!
And, maybe now you feel a pull to spend 5 magical days with us in April and disconnect from the rest of society when daytime temps are likely much more comfortable than -25 degrees... You’ll spend 5 days in and around the comfort of our warm igloo studio and staying in hand-harvested Alaskan log cabins, nourishing yourself and taking time to just... be. And thanks to all the chaos in the world, flights are pretty dang cheap to our launching point in Fairbanks... click here for all the details!
As for Yoga Hive Montana? In this moment, the world is asking everyone to keep clean — which, when you consider all the implications—isn’t a bad idea! We have already increased cleaning overall, and will continue to regularly deep clean the studios and props.
Here are a few things we’d love your help with!
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.