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!
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.