I’m a yoga teacher who lives in the wilderness. And I love learning about history, philosophy and the signs and symbols we can learn from studying nature, the animal kingdom, the moon and the other planets.
A friend recently asked me what I mean when I say “I’m studying” something, like the planets, and I chuckled. I’d never considered that question before!
Let’s just say that instead of raising children, grabbing drinks in town, or meeting up with a friend group for dinner, I’m hanging out in the arctic with Sean and the dogs. I’m either outside exploring the Brooks Range with family or retreat guests, managing our businesses with a slow internet connection, or reading books and studying things I’m interested in. In the summer we build, in the winter we mush dogs, and all year round I spend my spare time with my nose in some book, furiously scribbling notes.
And you know what feels like a timely topic today? Mercury Retrograde.
When I committed to a long-term study of the planets of a few years ago, I wanted to understand how a planet — so incredibly far from where I stand — could supposedly travel backward, break the internet, make me communicate horribly, and strike down fear in the hearts of yogis everywhere. I mean c'mon. It's getting a little out of hand in the media, yes?
The short answer to what I discovered? It’s all good, and we've got nothing to fear.
My philosophical conclusion? Per usual, it's going to take a few more paragraphs to explain...
Firstly, we need to understand what that might be obvious, but it's important to the storyline: Three-ish times a year, from our vantage point, the planet Mercury appears to be moving in reverse. We call this phenomenon Mercury Retrograde. If you were to fly up above the entire Universe and look down, you would see it's an illusion. Mercury doesn’t actually go backward. It’s moving along its inner circle around the sun, whereas Earth is moving on an outer circle. We’re essentially getting passed by Mercury because it’s moving fast on its smaller track and from where we stand, it looks like it's going backward.
Secondly, we need to remember that for MANY thousands of years, cultures all over the world (including those at the root of yogic philosophy) have viewed the planets as symbols or archetypes that help contextualize life on Earth. And humans have been cooking up archetypes ever since, so this is not "new age". Little Red Riding Hood is an archetype. Madonna is an archetype. The seasons are archetypes. And wouldn’t you know it: The planets are all archetypes, too.
Through my studies, I’ve learned that Mercury is an archetype for intellect and discernment. We associate him with communication, speaking, and the intellectual side of our mind (versus the subconscious mind).
So humor me. If we sub the symbol of “intellect” for the word “Mercury,” this is what we know:
If we look directly at our intellect, it appears to move backward — but if we remember to use our intuition, we don't need to see to believe that our intellect is always moving forward, no matter what.
So here’s where we have to get philosophical (my favorite part): When we look at Mercury, so slyly “moving in reverse,” we consider how our own life appears to move in reverse, with roadblocks and setbacks and problems… Let's blame a planet, they say!
But, we can use Mercury's timely illusion as a mirror in our life. Knowing what we understand about retrograde motion, we’ve been moving forward all along. And consider that setbacks aren’t actually setbacks at all — they're illusions!
The way we approach setbacks can actually be our superpower. As long as we're doing the best we can with what we have, setbacks are like course corrections in disguise. I like to think the Universe is saying to me: Here, little human, it's OK. This is the path forward that you couldn’t see before. Take my hand and I’ll show you…
So we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and take a step or two in the new direction. Whether Mercury “causes” setbacks or not remains to be seen — and will likely never be known.
But this I know for sure: The more time we spend looking over our shoulder at “what could have been,” the more time we spend NOT seeing the gifts of the new path in front of us. Sometimes it takes us a mile down the road. Sometimes we spend days, months or years still waiting to comprehend the "Big Why." But someday... somehow, it clicks and we think: Dang. Thanks Universe!
Definitely something to think about :-)
With love from Alaska,
One of our adventurous retreat goers last month arrived early for breakfast to thank me for creating a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for she and her partner at Arctic Hive.
Without skipping a beat, I humbly replied “You’re so welcome,” as I’ve been taught to do... I smiled graciously, as I’ve always done.
But then she went on, trying to put into words how deeply this place has touched her, and I watched tears well up in her eyes. Just then, something clicked in my head.
I remembered how the week earlier, another retreat guest had walked up to her cabin every afternoon for four days straight and exclaimed, out loud, “Today was the BEST day!”
And I remembered another retreat guest shared how he stayed back from an excursion to meditate on the deck of the Igloo, and felt as if he could hear the mountains speaking to him as he meditated and memorized the outline of one peak at a time.
I realized that we hadn’t just given our guests a “good time up north.”
We facilitated access to a sacred space to heal.
How do I know for sure? Because Sean and I have felt it, too. Healing is the foundation upon which our retreat center was built — which didn’t really dawn on me till that moment.
When the COVID lockdown happened last March, Sean and I were thrown together in the same space for an undetermined amount of time, and all our plans to bring people to the Arctic that month were cancelled. All that time together was something we hadn’t experienced in years, given the haphazard schedule we’d been maintaining for work.
So even though it was uncomfortable at first, we took that opportunity to re-imagine Arctic Hive, build our dream retreat center, and build up our relationship that had suffered some wear and tear from our intense entrepreneurial lifestyle.
This sacred ground — which we were so lucky to purchase from an Alaskan Native family as some of the last available land in the entire Brooks Range — helped us relearn each other. It helped us learn more about ourselves. It helped us create a shared vision for our future.
In short, Arctic Hive changed our lives, and our marriage.
And incredulously, in that moment standing in the kitchen, hearing this woman’s words, I realized that healing capacity of Mother Nature wasn’t exclusively for Sean and I. That side effect of eye-opening self-discovery after spending time here, so close to the earth, is available to everyone... anyone who’s willing to show up, sit in quiet and listen to the heartbeat of Mother Nature — 270+ miles away from the nearest shopping center, town, and reliable internet.
Here, we can hear Her feedback and wisdom. We can integrate Her teachings slowly, and steadily into our own lives. This is the way we were meant to be — one with Her, and thus one with all. Everything — and everyone — is interconnected.
Sure, these retreats are filled with adventure, yoga, laughter, good food among good company (you'll see a photo recap, below!). But I now understand on a deep level that this land, so far from the hustle and bustle and yet in the middle of one of the most delicate ecosystems in the world... the Arctic... it’s here to jumpstart healing. Not just for us, as stewards of this property and visitors to Arctic Hive. But healing for humanity — and Mother Earth herself.
I always tell folks that environmentally-speaking, what happens in the Arctic should be the concern of everyone, everywhere. It’s ground zero for climate change — which isn’t even debatable anymore. The changes happening here trickle into everyone’s life, no matter where you live around the globe.
And now I know it can also be ground zero for reestablishing that connection with Source so that we might tread a little lighter on Her soil. So that we may be more conscious in our connections with others. So that we may live a more spiritually-sound life.
With that, I’m honored to open up dates for our Fall 2021 retreats, as well as Winter 2022. We also have just one more spot open at our women’s 200-hour YTT happening in September. I hope if you’ve been thinking about it, you are able to join us — and if the timing isn’t right, we’re not going anywhere. We’ll be here in the Arctic when you’re ready! (Enjoy the photo recap, below!)
Here are some highlights of what's coming up:
PS - Enjoy the photo recap!
First, we left Fairbanks (the nearest town to Arctic Hive) and drove 7+ hours on the famed Dalton Highway. The views are... epic:
We crossed the Arctic Circle...
We yoga'ed in the Igloo with incredible views of the Brooks Range!
All abilities are always welcome at yoga... from yoga teachers to first time yogis! Some folks took a day or two off to just enjoy nature. Everything is optional, with just the right amount of programming to keep you comfortable and having fun!
We went dogsledding all over the arctic landscape, even (shown here) on the Koyukuk River!
Guests brought their cross country skis to enjoy the scenery during our downtime...
Dinners in the Igloo were one of my personal favorite times of the day... afterward we'd share stories, play games, make malas and enjoy time by the fire before the northern lights would come out!
and come out, they did!
Bonfire under a full moon...
And our Arctic Safari road trip north for a day was incredible... we saw hundreds of Caribou from the Central Arctic herd and had high hopes of also seeing a Muskox. This photo with the full Brooks Range Panorama in the distance looks like a moon landing, doesn't it?
And what I’m about to share has been one of those things I’ve been holding close.
Seven years ago, my dad, Steve — a 65-year-old Green Bay Packer loving attorney with a knack for cribbage, who was devoted to the happiness of his wife and two kids, who had built his entire life in a marvelous small town in central Wisconsin — was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. One of the brightest minds we knew had decided to make its excruciatingly slow exit from this reality. The diagnosis left my mom, my brother and I scratching our heads. Why him? Why now? It’s one of those life changes you can do nothing to prepare for... and you can do nothing to change.
It just... is.
My teenage fascination with the movie, “The Notebook” has been constantly on my mind as I’ve watched my mom navigate what I can only imagine is a prolonged traumatic love story. An unraveling. A re-writing of a future she never imagined she’d be living when she married my father over 35 years ago. And although I can watch that play out, a love story isn’t mine to write.
So why bring up Dad’s story at all?
I guess I feel like there have been enough silver linings, love-filled moments, and learning lessons that dad would approve of other folks learning from our experience now... or specifically from his experience — his world, and all of us living in it.
His condition is not a secret anymore like we initially felt it needed to be. We moved Dad into a local nursing home last week, so now there’s no turning back. Even though it’s been that way from the start... today feels more concrete. More certain.
And as hard as it is to adjust to my own perception of the situation, Dad is seemingly settling in with ease. And I’ll tell you: When he laughs? He laughs SO HARD. That’s the biggest thing I’ve noticed about his manifestation of this disease, especially over the past few years. Emotions cannot be hidden. Forgotten, sure. But in the moment, his emotions ride his face like a wave in the ocean — unmistakable.
Like any disease, every person and every body handles it differently... and even though there are less emotions and far less words for Dad overall, when he does feel, he feels big. In contrast to his relative silence, his emotional moments, hugs, and laughter fill the space more than usual.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot as I reflect on my own ability to cloak my feelings... to cushion my own vision or soften my opinion so that others won’t feel uncomfortable. (Even though, as I teach others frequently, I have exactly 0% control over everyone’s reactions to my actions!) What good does this habit do? Sure it might make a whole crew of folks feel good in the moment... but the more comfort and insulation I build for others, the more raw I feel inside of myself.
And then as my brain fog settled in, pondering how to end this story for today, I paused to open up my dad’s old binder of sermons and notes to a page titled, “My Conversation with God.” Dad wrote a series of reflections in the early 90s after picking up a newly minted copy of what became his favorite book, “Conversations with God,” by Neale Donald Walsch. And right there in one of the first paragraphs, I realized that 20+ years ago, Dad wrote a perfect conclusion to my story today. His story.
“Feelings... these are considered the language of the soul. [God] says that if you want to know what is true for you about something, you must ask yourself how you feel about it. Hidden in your deepest feelings is your highest truth... and these are the defining characteristics of who we are.”
So today— for the sake of getting in touch with your Highest Self, the Universe, Consciousness, Earth Mother, God... whatever word(s) feel good to you... please don’t feel sorry for me, or my dad, or my family. He wouldn’t want you to feel for him. Rather, do as he does and FEEL FULLY for yourself, through yourself. And know that even if it’s uncomfortable, it’s your highest truth coming out. And that interplay of noticing your feelings without judgement? That is the greatest conversation with God we can have.
In light, love and big feelings,
So there I was, slowly making long, wide turns as I skied down a slope in Bulgaria on my honeymoon over New Year's 2012.
I was trying to keep up with my new hubby Sean (a professional snowboarder) on my first ever powder day. I was — at the time — a novice skier who grew up skiing on tiny hills in central Wisconsin. After meeting him, let's just say my learning curve was steep.
I'd just barely come to a stop next to him on the side of the slope before the words escaped my lips: My quads are on FIRE! His response stuck with me all these years...
"Mollie... that feeling you have in your legs? We like that feeling."
And with that, he rode off — effortlessly — through the choppy, powder-mogul-covered slope.
My quads hummed, but I laughed as I considered whether or not this was a feeling I could ever... enjoy?
I repeated that phrase like a mantra:
WE LIKE THIS FEELING!
Flash forward to today: YES! I do — in fact — love that feeling!
That was one of many lessons I've had in perspective. We only see our life through our own lens of experience. Being a relatively unexperienced skier at the time, that was all I knew. Until Sean did what he always does (and what I love him most for as my partner in life)... he encouraged me to try something new. Something different. He helped me see something from a different angle.
That's the thing about perspective... it's always relevant. In every situation, no matter what. We only see the world through the lens through which we've created for ourselves.
To someone, life circumstances are hard. To another? Those same circumstances are a gift.
To some, -20 degrees outside might feel like a nightmare! To me here in the arctic? Just another day.
In this way, truth is bendable, based on your vantage point. And we don't get truth from someone else, just because we say so. Or just because they say so. If I said to you, "-20 degrees is warm! That's the truth!" You might call me crazy. Although it's a bit of semantics, I would call that a belief. Because something you believe can also be disbelieved.
From the yogic perspective, we don't discover truth by believing or disbelieving. We don't discover it by merely writing something, or listening to a teacher, or reading a book. We discover truth through our experience... our actions. You cannot "untruth" something you've experienced. Your experience is what it is. What can change — and WILL change — over time is the value and quality of that experience. Your vantage point changes. Your perspective changes. And because of this — if you're open to it — you learn.
This is what Yoga Hive is all about — and that's why you're still reading this email. Because you likely understand that truth isn't just what I say here, because I say it. Or because I was taught that by my teachers. Truth, from our perspective, is based on what we have intimately experienced within our own lives — from the best powder days, to a powerful breathwork practice, to those earth-shattering moments in life that shape life as we know it.
And that experience is what we hope to share with you, every time we see on on your mat — virtual or in person!
So... what do you have to lose? Come experience some of these amazing things we have for you this month:
In truth and perspective,
“Negative twenty degrees!” Sean grins as he reads the inside temperature from cabin thermometer aloud.
I sigh, willing the oil drip stove to work it’s magic (faster!).
Ten minutes pass as we focus solely on the mechanics of the stove, lighter, fuel, flame.
Sean: “Only -6 degrees!”
I allow a smile to cross my lips as the frost stops accumulating on my neck gaiter. I know the warmth is on its way.
Another 20 minutes and we’re above zero… hallelujah! I sigh again with relief, and peel off a layer before starting the long process of unpacking.
Getting back to the Arctic after a few days spent in town is interesting. Getting back to the Arctic for the first time in over a month? I’ll call it “an adjustment.” After tending to business in the lower 48, and getting used to plug-and-play life on the grid, I knew I was in for an awakening, returning home up north when Sean came to pick me up from quarantine.
I’ve learned over the years... whether I’m a month on the road, or one day on the road, it doesn’t matter how efficient I feel, or how many pro-tips I remember before making the long journey up the Haul Road. I’ve come to know that something WILL break and I WILL receive a swift kick in the rear end, compliments of Mother Nature.
This is a promise.
On this week’s butt-kicking menu was a typical sunny, gorgeous winter day with the standard subzero temps — the kind where you can’t have your fingers out for more than a minute, and your eyelashes develop a white, frosty mascara. You need at least three layers on bottom and four on top. Anything plastic must be handled with extreme care or it breaks like a tiny twig. Daytime temps typically range from -20 to -40 degrees Fahrenheit at latitude 67 during the winter. When we hit -10, it feels like a heat wave! That polar vortex that slammed the rest of the country and Texas? Yeah, just a little gift that originated right here in the Arctic.
So after a long night of hauling, warming, arranging the dogs and feeding them so they can crawl in their straw-filled dog boxes, followed by a 10pm dinner for Sean and I... I fell into bed, which was still hard as a rock— downside of me insisting we have memory foam mattresses! Regardless, I had no problem drifting to sleep.
When I woke up the next morning, I looked outside and remembered why I love this life. Why I put myself through the hassle of being our own utility company to live in the wild.
I do it specifically for that reason. When I disconnect from life’s utilities, I can reconnect with the moment. The mountains. And myself, without all the noise. And that reconnection happens all day long... the wild surrounds us 24/7... we have the privilege of spending each moment in sync with Mother Nature. And for Sean and I, that’s what’s required to live our best life
And the first taste of 2021 has been anything but quiet— am I right? If you’re feeling anything close to what I felt for a month on the road, it’s time to disconnect from the noise, and reconnect with my inner wild... my inner voice... my true self. Join me, won’t you?
Mindful March starts this Sunday! It features all the tools for a complete re-connection with your body, mind and spirit — tools that I, myself, use every single day of my life. You can work through our instructions at your own pace to embark on a month of plant-based eating (full instructions provided), take on a daily meditation practice (complete with instruction video AND two pre-recorded meditations with Blaine and I to help you get started), and a membership to the Morning Buzz — join our crew every day, Monday through Friday, for 20 minutes of yoga.
This is the optimum TRIFECTA of infusing yoga into your life. We have three Q&A Zoom calls throughout the month to answer questions and share stories of how it’s going. You’ll stay connected and supported on our Yoga Hive Connect Community (our platform functions like Facebook, but it’s not Facebook!).
Did I mention it's only $44 for all this? If you're currently a member at Yoga Hive, reach out for your discount!
Or... for a more extreme overhaul, you could book yourself into one of two remaining spots for a Northern Lights, Yoga + Adventure retreat here at Arctic Hive (March 24-28). We had a few folks shift from the first set of dates to the second, so the second retreat is now completely full.
For a longer immersion this fall sans snow, consider joining SheWild, a women’s only yoga teacher training for a small, intimate group up here at Arctic Hive in the backyard of Gates of the Arctic National Park and Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. It will be my first in person yoga teacher training in almost two years due to COVID!
Whatever you do, commit to staying plugged into the heartbeat of the earth this month. As much as we want to hibernate when the temps get cold, we need that fresh air and connection outside our four walls. Appreciate the weather. Honor the season. Notice how your senses absorb what She offers.
Here’s what you need to know is happening at Yoga Hive this month:
Sending love and connection,
Last night was our final live Zoom Q&A from our first Conscious Leadership course. One of the participants shared how she was so grateful to finally master a daily meditation practice— something she'd wanted for years.
She smiled and admitted: It finally feels EASY.
Yoga/meditation truly finds us at the exact right moment, doesn't it? I bet you can agree with me if you're practicing yoga regularly, the moment you finally decided, "Wow, I love how this makes me feel!" something inside you committed. You wanted to feel that way more often... and then BOOM. Your regular practice (whatever that is) was born.
There's the initial struggle phase as you determine what aspects of yoga you love/need the most. You seek out different studios and styles and schedules. And then one day... when you least expect it... you land in a place that feels like home. With people who seek what you seek. With a community who sees you for exactly who you are, and because of that, lifts you up so you can become a brighter version of yourself.
You find your yoga home.
My first yoga class as a student was one of the worst experiences. I felt zero connection with the teacher, I felt out of place in my baggy T-shirt and gym shorts (even though exactly NO ONE in the room cared), and afterward resolved never to do it again.
Flash forward a few years and I picked yoga back up ONLY for the purpose of making friends. A girl that I wanted to be friends with loved yoga, and so I decided to do it to become friends with her... and not a moment too soon, my love affair with yoga started that first day back on my mat.
Yoga found me. (And I made a best friend that I still have today!)
There's this phrase I love... all in perfect time. And truly, it's become a mantra to me. When life gets busy and my to-do list seems a mile long, I remind myself that I'm doing my best, I'm aware of what needs to get done, and everything in my life, my family, and my business are happening in perfect time.
Yoga happens all in perfect time.
Business happens all in perfect time.
Relationships happen all in perfect time.
Life happens all in perfect time.
From this lens, life — with all it's twists and turns, ups and downs — feels like the most incredible symphony. If I can stay consistent with my daily practices, I earn my own trust each time I commit to showing up to my mat.
So in absolutely perfect time, I have a few big announcements, since it's been FIVE whole weeks since I last wrote a newsletter!
As I sat on my cushion last night to do my Soulful Sadhana kriya practice, I spontaneously opened Spotify to make a playlist. It's a New Moon after all... the best time of the month to set new intentions — and one of my intentions right now is to bring back my love for music.
Music is one element that helps me feel the magic of yoga.
I pressed play and closed my eyes — it was as if no time had passed since my last trip to India. I could see myself, sitting in the front row of a massive yoga hall with my teacher Anand on the stage... music blaring at full tilt — and all of us, all 100+ yogis in that hall, practicing in union. Dancing in union. Feeling... in unison.
Photo below, © Sattva Yoga Academy
Call me sentimental, but I had tears running down my cheeks, thinking of the electric feeling of being side by side with fellow yogis practicing together. And in the same breath, I realized how lucky I am to be practicing kriya yoga with 30 Yoga Hive yogis around the country every day for the next month. From New Moon to New Moon we stick with the same practice, or Sadhana, until it's time to do it all over again the next month — this is the purpose of Soulful Sadhana. It's truly a gift to have a practice and a playlist that — when combined, and when shared — make me feel so alive that I shed tears.
Oops, did I just publicly admit to crying in yoga?
YES! Fun fact you may not know about me: I consider a class complete if I get to cry a little... I love the release I get from crying that much.
If you haven't already, I hope that each and every one of you can experience a yoga class that touches your heart so deeply that you shed tears... because it feels amazing. Magical, even. (And there's always time to join Soulful Sadhana, if you're curious!)
That's the thing about Yoga Hive that I've realized this week... realized (again) what I've known all along. We're not making it to our mats to fix our bodies, or to check a box on a to-do list.
We practice yoga on our mat to feel closer to the magic of everyday life off our mat.
The way I see it, magic isn't a taboo word we save for tricks and woo-woo... magic is tangible. And accessible. And alive. And it feels SO. FRIGGIN. GOOD.
I feel magic when I watch the Northern Lights dance at Arctic Hive:
I feel the magic of community when we welcome a new group of yogis to our 200-hour yoga teacher training (TONIGHT!) Each round of training, I marvel at how the universe so eloquently orchestrated the assembly of exactly the right group at the right time to create... magic. Together.
I've felt the magic of Himalayan wisdom trickle through my head in the past few weeks and come out the other side as our Conscious Leadership course that starts next week! Including the introduction to the course that I'm offering to everyone... for exactly $0. Details below!
Magic... serendipity... connection — it's all out there, waiting for us to see it. So join me this month, if you feel so inclined. Lets commit to feeling the magic of every moment... crying is optional, but you know where I stand. Let it FLOW!
In light and magic,
I can remember the day like it was yesterday. My six-year-old self sat on the bank of the Menomonee River, holding tightly to the arm of my best friend, Lisa.
The two of us had cried that morning as bus pulled out of the parking lot in Waupaca (our Wisconsin hometown), with our faces glued to the window, frantically waving to our parents. We were terrified for this new adventure alone... together. The bus drove around the state picking up more campers, and many hours later, we reached our final destination: Chalk Hills Girl Scout Camp.
Lisa and I would be gone one whole week — but we really just wanted to go home.
...until I saw her.
I couldn't stop staring at her as we walked toward the water and took a seat on the grassy steps leading down to the waterfront. She was a camp counselor, standing to the side of the amphitheater, wearing cutoff denim shorts and a homemade tie-dye T-shirt... guitar cradled in her arms, strumming a tune I'd never heard before with a huge grin on her face.
And she was singing!
I looked around at the other girls from the bus, sitting on the steps beside me, and I realized that everyone was singing. And if my tie-dye icon was singing, I probably should too... in fact, whatever she did, I was immediately committed to doing because I knew she had something that sparkled. If singing camp songs and wearing tie-dye and smiling ear-to-ear would make me sparkle like that, I was in.
The rest is history.
It's probably obvious (especially those of you who've been reading these newsletters for a while now) that I continued to go back and eventually work at summer camp until I was 23 years old. And even after I moved away from Wisconsin, I started a nonprofit that hosts camps for kids with type 1 diabetes, which I still help run today.
Camp shaped (and shapes!) who I am. It has made me empathetic, independent, joyous, silly, and has given me a deep appreciation for the outdoors.
Below: Me, leading a 17-day backpacking trip to Isle Royale, setting up a tent as fast as possible to beat my previous day's record. (Less than 2 minutes!)
Camp staff like Sarah — the woman with the guitar, who I fondly remember by her camp name, Eek — helped me learn what it meant to be a leader. Not just in my 6-year-old effort to be exactly like her, but as the years went on, I returned again and again to learn to muster the courage to stand in front of a crowd of hundreds and sing camp songs. To portage 3 canoes, one at a time, over a mile in the same time it took my campers to make one trip with our Duluth packs...
Below: Summer Camp Mollie, with her signature braids, straw hat, and tie-dye.
... To inspire a school group of tweens to discover their voice using ropes courses and ice-breakers. To not freak out with mice or spiders. To be OK with showering every three days... or less. To see the pride on a young woman's face when she realizes she just made the best cinnamon rolls of her life over the coals of a campfire that she started. To remain calm when a camper sprains her ankle 1.5 miles from the nearest Ranger Station in the wilderness in the middle of Lake Superior as you piggy-back her down a mountain. (True story)
As I was reminiscing with camp friends a few years ago about the "good old days," I had a liberating thought: The good old days of summer camp haven't really ended.
In all those 17 years of physically being at summer camp, I cultivated exactly what Yoga Hive continues to teach me every single day:
It makes all the difference in life when you have a community that inspires you become a brighter version of yourself.
And while at first we follow those we admire, over time we learn to lead from our own heart, in our own way. I've learned firsthand that leadership isn't simply a skill you pick up like cooking, or riding a bike. You can't find it in a certificate or a book or an expensive business coach.
Leadership is an active culture; it's a vibration at the core of your being. It's the ability to open your pores and let the light within you shine out — and be seen.
Leading is not saying the same things your teacher would say. It's not looking like your role model. It's not selling the same product as your peers.
True leadership means saying your words, looking exactly like you do, selling whatever flows through you most naturally in the moment — even if that means being a follower for a while.
And when you're — as we say — "living your truth," the world can't help but notice you, standing there with your tie-dye shirt and guitar.
With that in mind, let me remind you: It's January, folks. A new year — and it's time for us to get to work as we prepare to lead our teams, households, friends, and family into this new era of life on Earth. In the spirit of our Yoga Hive motto, Come as you are, leave as you want to be, we've got so many offerings launching this month to support you on your path to beeeee-ing your best self (couldn't help it!)... hope to see you on your mat, one way or another!
Be a Conscious Leader: I've distilled a framework of yoga teachings, practices and leadership principles into a course called Conscious Leadership. It's more of a lecture/meditation based course, rather than movement, and if you consider yourself a leader in any aspect of your life, this self-paced course is for you. CLICK FOR DETAILS.
Be a steward of the Himalayan yogic tradition: I can't believe it's time to embark on another YTT journey. We only have one spot left for our 7-month LIVE virtual training starting next week. If you're hearing the whisper, now is your last chance to hop in for the season. Click here for details,
Already an RYT200? Consider taking our Himalayan Kriya Yoga Teacher Training, and join Yoga Hive's lineage of leaders bringing timeless technologies from our roots in India into our modern world of yoga. Click here for details!
Be accountable to a daily practice: Really, if no one watches you practice, did it really happen?! Of course... but research tells us that tasks are a smidge easier (and more fun!) when you're held accountable by a group. When Blaine and I heard the call in our own lives to dive into more structured daily yoga practice, we decided to bring everyone along for the ride. Soulful Sadhana was born, a monthly membership and community of yogis committed to their personal transformation, one daily practice at a time. This starts on Monday and we're diving into the Divine Feminine and all about the Cosmic Womb — and we'd love to have you! Start with one month, or commit to six. The choice is yours... Click here for details!
Be adventurous: Join us at Arctic Hive this spring for a life-changing retreat experience bordering Gates of the Arctic National Park. We only have two spots left for each of the dates in March/April. Dog mushing, the chance to see the Northern Lights, peace and quiet above the arctic circle in the Brooks Range, and of course, yoga... what could be more ideal for 2021? CLICK HERE FOR RETREAT DETAILS
Aerial Yoga Teacher Training will be offering LIVE online via Zoom this month with me! Have a rig in your home? Dive in with us... those who've taken Aerial Training with me (Mollie) in the past are eligible for a refresh price of $125. DETAILS ARE HERE
Wishing you all the joy of tie-dye and camp songs,
Yesterday, as I was working on the curriculum for the upcoming Conscious Leadership course, I brushed the dust off the manuscript of my first book, The Yoga of Business.
I wrote it in November of last year, but haven't touched it since, because... well, COVID.
The book is written how I speak to you in these newsletters. I take my life experience as an entrepreneur and as a human, and apply that yogic mentality to the wild world of business — which is precisely the foundation for Conscious Leadership!
Pre-COVID, I was determined to get it published, but then the Virus of the Year arrived, and sent me back to real-life business bootcamp, once again.
Knowing what I know now about 2020, I was both surprised and relieved that my words in the book still ring true — maybe more-so than they did before. A true testament to the timeless nature of yoga. Here's an excerpt from the Preface that really stuck with me as we face a new year, starting tomorrow:
Growing up, my dad was a stand-in pastor at our church. He gave sermons when the actual pastor was out of town. Apparently, he knew a thing or two about inspiring folks. Through his words, impeccable attendance record and willingness to volunteer, he showed the congregation what devotion looks like.
Me, on the other hand?
I had to be persuaded every week to go to Sunday School! Egg McMuffin Happy Meals were my bribe of choice — and it didn't matter who was in the pulpit during the sermon. And despite my pushback on whether it was realistic to turn water into wine, my dad never forced me to learn anything I wasn’t willing to learn — he just asked that I show up.
And I did.
What I (nor my dad) didn’t know then, was that he was my first yoga teacher. Not by making poses like down dog and Warrior 2. My dad was teaching me through his actions what it meant to show up, to study, and to learn.
Although he's given me many nuggets of wisdom as my spiritual identity has evolved, perhaps the one I remember most is: “God never gives you anything you can’t handle.” And despite my constant search for a spiritual landing zone, that idea has been an anchor through my whole life.
What in the world — you might be asking — do God, church and Happy Meals have to do with business?
The answer is everything. My entire life has prepared me for this moment, right now.
And so has yours — all the hard times, the scary times, the euphoric experiences and memorable moments.
I believe that with my whole heart, and you’ll be hearing many stories in this book that seemingly have nothing to do with running a business… and yet they have everything to do with who I am, which is everything to do with running my businesses.
I believe the same might apply to you, too.
As I reflect on how far I've come since my Happy Meal Sundays, my thoughts drift to all the things 2020 has taught me. This year has truly been my great guru (teacher).
I learned that nothing — no business, or ambition, or travel plan — is more important to me than my family. I officially moved to Alaska to be with my hubby, Sean, and haven't been on an airplane in eight months! The universe (and an incredible team around the country) made it possible to still teach yoga remotely, uniting our communities from Montana, Wisconsin, Colorado and beyond. This has been a true gift to do what I love, with the human and pups I love, and I couldn't be more grateful.
Also: I learned the supreme art of letting go (aparigraha, in Sanskrit) when I made an incredibly difficult decision to close two of our beloved Yoga Hive locations due to the hardships associated with COVID. Seeing so many of your faces, and air-hugging you from a distance as I loaded the Uhaul with years of studio stuff... those moments and hugs and helping hands meant so much to me.
And: I learned what it means to build a wilderness retreat center above the Arctic Circle in the Alaskan bush. I have the strength to haul materials — yes, nearly every single thing you see in the photo below — by hand, either partially or the entire way to our build site when the mud was too thick, or the ice too slick ... and then smile for the camera at the end of the day!
...among many, many other things.
To think... if I judged the "quality" of 2020 based on my initial expectations in February, I'd be so disappointed because the last year has been one giant pivot.
But — I was ready to see (or perhaps, be shown) the path of least resistance, without being attached to what life "should" look like... and I will tell you: That is the secret to success right there:
When we grip life less tightly, magic happens.And so, as you collect yourself, and your resolutions and a bubbly beverage of your choice, I invite you to remind yourself (as I have) that your ENTIRE LIFE has prepared you for this moment. This new chapter. This new year.
2020 has been our collective great guru.
And whether you're smiling in remembrance, or cannot WAIT to be in 2021 (or perhaps somewhere in the middle!), the age-old practice of honoring the guru within and without is indeed something to raise a glass to.
Cheers — happy new year, friends!
Ever since spending another summer in the Midnight Sun, Sean and I have been looking forward to experiencing our first Polar Night in the Arctic. It lasts from November 30th - January 9th here at Arctic Hive. It’s a time that only happens above the Arctic Circle when the sun stays below the horizon during the day. There are just varying shades of twilight blue “light” during a short period each “day”, before darkness settles in again and northern lights dance in the sky.
Here's a good diagram I found on timeanddate.com that really shows how it works:
My body has been feeling it. I’m grateful to be taking A LOT of vitamin D — but I’ve been witnessing myself turning inward more often, sleeping a little longer than usual, and indulging in more self care routines before bed. Truly, I feel like a hibernating animal sometimes!
Then on Monday this week, as Sean and I enjoyed a quiet night watching the Northern Lights, I could feel the incredible energy from so many of you, experiencing Shelle’s Yin + Sound Bath in the Whitefish studio with Meghan. I could feel those of you in Wisconsin, Colorado and beyond unwinding from the comfort of your home with Blaine in her virtual Solstice class. And as we put the finishing touches on Arctic Hive before our Northern Lights + Adventure retreats this March/April, I was imagining our guests witnessing the magic of this sacred place.
I could feel a collective sigh of relief from all of us in this Yoga Hive community, far and wide, past, present and future. (Yes, you!)
We’re letting the light back in.
Then on today’s Yoga Hive staff call, we debrief’ed all the amazing feels from Monday’s classes, and how we want to create that space more often. We spoke about how experiences like that give us permission to feel. Not in a superficial way. We’re talking true, intentional experiences that empower us — even help us — to feel the emotions that need to flow through us. It’s these experiences that bring tears to our eyes or a smile to our lips for no other reason than to release what’s no longer serving us inside.
There’s an old saying that Anand always reminds us of: “What you resist will persist.” Monday night felt as if we all recognized this new chapter — the path of least resistance, and we witnessed the page turn, together.
And if you’re anything like me, you’re not taking this next chapter for granted. Our promise to you, here at Yoga Hive, is that we’re not turning back from this path of seeking a more spiritual connection with life through yoga.
We don’t teach yoga classes to make you sweat. We don’t run trainings to teach you how to make the “right shapes” on your mat. We aren’t here to run yoga retreats without depth.
No, no. We’re here to hold space for what this community needs. And the honest truth? We’re not just creating what you need. We’re creating what WE need, because we are right there with you. We’re ready to see the beauty in our lives, tap into the abundance of spiritual connection through yoga, and keep our inner fire burning bright.
And my prayer for all of us this holiday season, as we look to the horizon of 2021 is that we can see that sacred intelligence within ourselves. Your flame isn’t inside your yoga teacher. It’s not in the right yoga pants or yoga shapes. The flame — your flame — is within you. We’re not creating it for you. We’re not even the ones holding up the candle for you. It’s you, dear friends, that fans the flame within yourself.
And if you need some kindling for your fire in 2021, we’ve got you covered. We would be so honored to have you learn with us:
...Throw this unattainable idea of work/life balance out the window in 2021. Instead, seek an optimal state of unity within and without by applying liberating yoga philosophy to your entire life. It's professional development that's worth every penny!
An online course with Mollie Busby
How it works:
--->> CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR SPOT NOW!
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.