A place to heal...
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,
The truth about truth
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,
Tuning back in
“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,
There she was...
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,
2020, our great guru
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!
I was chatting with one of our Yoga Teacher Trainees this past week for her podcast. Jen and I were discussing how I became an entrepreneur, the Yoga Hive story, Sean and my adventures building Arctic Hive, and we dove into the details of our retreats happening this March.
And she suggested something that surprised me: "You should talk about the spiritual component of your retreats. That's what hooks me."
I paused. Spiritual?
Am I creating a spiritual experience? I can't say the word s-p-i-r-i-t-u-a-l and expect people to show up... can I?
Seriously, this was something I had to chew on.
Flash forward to Sunday. Jen and her YTT cohort graduated from their 100% virtual training, and after our closing ceremony (my all-time favorite part of the YTT experience), one of our other grads thanked me. I had tears brimming in my eyes as she said: "Thank you for having the courage to teach this lineage of kriya yoga. I can't imagine it's been easy being different, but it's important. It's life-changing."
And with that spiritual bug in my ear, my wheels started spinning again. Could I be so bold as to admit that we're facilitating a spiritual experience in Yoga Hive classes? In our trainings? On our retreats?
I mean... how can you see something like the Northern Lights, or the majesty of the Brooks Range (or BOTH at Arctic Hive!) from the comfort of your yoga mat, and NOT feel a spiritual connection to Mother Earth?
Or... how could you NOT sit in a room packed with yogis (ahh, pre-COVID times!) and —in electrifying unison —pound your fists against an imaginary wall and you breathe in through your nose, and out through your mouth, working all negativity and frustration out of your body with a kriya we call Prana Shakti?
Or... how can you NOT experience joy and exhilaration as you drop all the structured poses and DANCE your heart out in the middle of a yoga class?
I love it. I seriously love all of these things, and what we've created at Yoga Hive.
But... because a spiritual experience on a yoga mat might seriously confuse a lot of people who think yoga = group fitness. I had to Google the word spirituality to make sure I understood it:
Spirituality: the quality of being concerned with
the human spirit or soul as opposed
to material or physical things.
THAT. IS. IT.
It's like that quote... Instead of human beings having a spiritual experience, we — through our work at Yoga Hive and retreats at Arctic Hive — learn to see ourselves as spiritual beings having a human experience. Using kriya, breathwork, a relatable approach to ancient philosophy, and Energy Medicine Yoga, we're exploring ourselves and learning about ourselves on a deeper level than a fitness regimen would ever take us.
Sure, we incorporate vinyasa/power flow. We do yin, and restorative, and hatha flow. But combine all that with the mantra, mudras, kriya, breathwork, philosophy, and EMYoga ... and you've got more than a 60-minute yoga class.
You've got a yoga journey.
Not a group fitness class. Not a seminar where you listen to someone explain how you should live, or how you should move. Not a workout focused on your bum, or your thighs, or any one body part in particular. It's a yoga journey where you dive deep and realize yourself, through yourself.
And in this season of giving stuff, getting stuff, and wanting more material stuff to fill our lives with, I know I speak for myself, and our entire team at Yoga Hive. We want to rise above the noise, and dive deep. This is one of the most incredible times in our life to heed the call to learn. To study. To bring more to the table for our students who need us most.
Me? I'm right there with you. I'm seeking deeper meaning through my morning meditation, an intimate connection with Mother Earth as I build our nest here at Arctic Hive, and I seek more union with my body and my life experiences as I flow on my mat and beyond.
I'm ready to share the lineage of Kriya Yoga with more of you.
So many of you who took your 200-hour training elsewhere have asked how you add kriyas into your classes. The thing is: Kriyas can only be received by willing students from trained Sattva Yoga Master Teachers, and there are only a handful of us running teacher trainings here in the USA.
Maybe you have no clue what kriya is, and maybe you're not even using your teaching credential in the classroom, but all this talk about being more spiritual is intriguing to you? Listen to the whisper, my friend.
Himalayan Kriya Yoga Teacher Training... happening February 10th-14th, 2021 — the missing link for any 200-hour Yoga Alliance-certified yoga teacher who wants to up-level their teaching, and impact students with more than just asana.
(All held on Zoom with plenty of breaks and a balance between activity and sitting still!)
--->> CLICK HERE TO PAY YOUR $250 DEPOSIT NOW!
--->> CLICK HERE TO PAY IN FULL, EARLY BIRD PRICING NOW!
Mollie, what if I'm ineligible for the kriya weekend training because I haven't taken a Yoga Alliance-certified 200-hour training yet?
You're in luck! In Yoga Hive's 7-month 200-Hour YTT, you get everything listed above (yes, everything) ... and much, MUCH more. Early bird deadline coming up is December 31st! Save $250 by registering between now and then, and paying on a payment plan of your choice. If you’re unsure, don’t hesitate to reply to this email. I will make myself available for questions and concerns you may have! CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS
A few more things you don't want to miss:
In love and spirituality,
I think I can, I think I can...
Isn’t it amazing how much power is behind the phrase, “You can’t.”
So much beauty has been born from the spark of someone saying a version of that phrase to me.
Me: “I’m going to be a fashion journalist!”
Naysayer: “You can’t. There’s no money in journalism.”
✅ Did it for three years after college, where I had a salary and benefits in Madison, Wisconsin and loved every minute.
Me: “I think I’m going to start a nonprofit and make that my full time job.”
Naysayer: “You can’t. That will never work because nonprofits can’t afford employees.”
✅ Founded the nonprofit in 2010, volunteered my time for two years and by 2012 our nonprofit corporation had a board of directors around the country and a growing team of staff. It was my full time job and Riding On Insulin still exists today 😜
Me: “I’m want another dog for dogsledding.”
Naysayer: “You can’t. Five dogs is already too many.”
✅ ... what do you think happened?! Her name is Tundra and she’s the cutest little nugget and I've never once thought to myself that six is too many!
So that’s all fine and good. I’ve learned to weed through the naysayers. But... what if the naysayer isn’t someone outside yourself? What happens when the naysayer from inside says, I can’t.
Woa, different vibe, isn't it? I've been there, too.
When Sean and I first visited the Brooks Range last April and scouted (now) Arctic Hive on skis, surveying the property the old fashioned way, with a compass and a looooong surveying tape measure to span the distance of a borderline, we started dreaming. It sounded nice. And simple!
Build a retreat center!
Bring people above the Arctic Circle!
But you can imagine my mind created a list of excuses a mile long...
I can’t — There’s no solid access trail to haul in gear.
I can’t -- I don’t have enough time with all the other businesses.
I can’t — It’s 271 miles from the nearest grocery store.
That’s a whole lot of doubts!
So what changed? What makes someone just send it off the metaphorical “I can’t” cliff and reach for a dream?
However complicated the journey has been, the decision was simple. The decision to build in the Arctic with Sean came from a moment of silence.
All the I can'ts happen in the chatter. In yoga/Sanskrit, we call them vrittis... the busy mindstuff that swirls in circles of indecision. So much so, that we can convince ourselves (many times out of fear or practicality) to not dive head first into the thrill of a lifetime. The vrittis get in the way of us taking the lead role in our own life — they keep us from being conscious of the silence from which dreams are born. The silence from which we can hear the whisper of our true self.
In short, we need to think less, and sit in silence more. Too much thinking and the vrittis take on a life of their own. (And that's not the version of life that I want to live!)
When we listen to that inner whisper (we call it chitta, or pure consciousness) more and more, it becomes second nature... like a dear friend and confidant we come to know and count on. A friend who always steers us far away from “I can’t” and always toward the higher good for all concerned, which is often in the direction of our wildest dreams, whether we know it at the time, or not.
Conscious Leadership is born in our moments of silence and stillness.
This leads me to a SUPER exciting announcement I’ll be making next week about a new 5-week course I’m offering this January called Conscious Leadership. It’s a self-paced course with twice weekly pre-recorded lectures, once weekly live Q&A’s with me, and homework outside the virtual classroom to help you get focused on YOUR ability to hear your own whisper. I don’t want to say too much, because this newsletter is getting long already. Just look forward to next week for all the details!
For now, you need to know that the early bird deadline for our 7-month online 200-hour yoga teacher training is Thanksgiving Day — TOMORROW! Save big bucks ($528 to be exact!) by registering now and paying in full. If you’re unsure, don’t hesitate to reply to this email. I will make myself available for questions and concerns you may have! CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS
The early bird deadline to save $250 on your trip to Arctic Hive this March is also approaching... TOMORROW! Secure your spot on this adventure of a lifetime with us. CLICK HERE FOR ARCITC HIVE RETREAT DETAILS
Blaine and I are hosting a virtual Malas and Mantra workshop on December 9th! This is a fantastic opportunity to make something meaningful for yourself or a loved one this holiday season. DETAILS
Aerial Yoga Teacher Training will be offering LIVE online via Zoom this January with me! Have a rig in your home? Dive in with us... DETAILS
And... in case you haven't seen our special deal yet, snap it up before it's gone:
TODAY'S SPECIAL DEAL: Unlimited two weeks of livestream yoga for just $1
CLICK HERE TO GET THE DEAL
In light (and a big healthy YES I CAN!),
Over and over (and over) again...
Here’s a thing about me: I hate making two trips.
I posted this photo on my Instagram story a while back because it truly captures this essence. We forgot to put the ladder in the trailer? Here, let me carry it — amidst all the other things I’ve packed on this wheeler — like a javelin uncomfortably just so that I don’t have to go back twice.
One and done.
You might imagine that by building three Arctic Hive guest cabins over the last six months, one after the other, repeating every single task not one, not two, but THREE TIMES EACH, I’ve had a lot of time to examine this pattern in my life.
First time through: Fresh energy! Feeling good! I’ve got this!
Second time: [questioning my life decisions]
Third time: JUST. BE. DONE. + this really insane lion’s roar that I’ve been doing when I need to release some of that energy. (Highly recommend letting that sound out!)
In other words: I’ve gotten comfortable with my inevitable intensity when I have to do something over again. This opportunity to roar out frustration, ponder my patterns, and having a willingness to examine my emotions has been amazing.
And in my case with the cabins, I realize that I don’t have to do it over again. I’ve chosen to do it over again. And again. And again.
So as I was applying a coat of stain to the walls of the second cabin today (questioning my life decisions — second time through)… maybe it was the fumes, maybe it was the good vibes I’m feeling because I can see the finish line… maybe it was the six month mark that finally kicked something straight in my head.
I figured it out.
Somewhere along the way, I got it in my head that if you have to do something over again, it’s bad. It means you didn’t learn anything the first time. And as an A+ student who LOVES to sit in the front row and raise my hand and ask all sorts of questions (yep, was totally that kid — still am!)… in my brain, “not learning” is “not OK.”
WHEW! I’m ready to let go of this pattern!
This is the yoga I love most — self study. Always being willing to examine what’s going on in my life, and learning from my own experiences. Years ago, I spent a day with Tim Gunn (of Project Runway fame — a story for another time), and when I asked him if he thought I should keep doing what I was doing or go back to school, he gave me some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten.
He said, “Mollie, your experience will be your education.”
And ever since, that’s how I’ve lived. So thank you Cabin 1, Cabin 2, and Cabin 3… you’ve shown me that I am — in fact — always learning, even if I’m choosing to repeat the same thing over and over. What makes each round different is the quality of attention I’m paying to my experience. And honestly? My willingness to have fun with it along the way.
All this to say we have some incredible opportunities for YOU to learn with us at Yoga Hive this holiday season. I know there are a lot of excuses for why you don’t have time to prioritize yoga, or join a workshop, or stream a pre-recorded class on Yoga Hive Connect. But my advice? Don’t repeat the same pattern you always do. And definitely don't "wait for 2021" to make a change. Let go of your old patterns and start fresh with us — with ME!
So, a holiday deal for you... it's back:
TODAY'S SPECIAL DEAL: Unlimited two weeks of livestream yoga for just $1
CLICK HERE TO GET THE DEAL
And other things you need to know...
In light and as many trips as it takes,
Here's your reason to try.
I’ll never forget the moment I considered what life would be like without eggs, meat and dairy.
Background (which most of you know): I’m originally from Central Wisconsin. I lived there my entire life, up until I met Sean and moved west. My “motherland” is that of milk, sausage, cheese and the Green Bay Packers.
The way I grew up eating wasn’t gluttonous or unhealthy by any means — but the way I thought about “things that go on a dinner plate” was definitely locked in. You cook some sort of meat. A vegetable. And a grain. Done and done. I created that habit long ago, and I’d never considered changing it.
... until I did.
It was the night of my 32nd birthday in 2018 — something shifted.
I was standing in a hotel room in Salt Lake City, and I distinctly remember munching on cheese and crackers. Blaine, the owner of our sister studio, Yoga Hive Colorado, was seated across the room. She’s been plant-based as long as I’ve known her, and long before.
On this day, I was curious. I wanted to know why she was so passionate about eating (and living) this lifestyle.
I expected her to list the reasons humans are cruel to animals (which she did) and be done with it. But then she started to list more reasons like health benefits and the environmental impact — things that, against all odds, intuitively felt right in my brain — and she kept going, and going, and…. the moment happened: As I popped a slice of cheese into my mouth, I had the thought: Maybe I could eat plant-based?
The seed was planted.
The week after I got back to Montana, I hosted Yoga Hive's first 21-day program at the Whitefish studio, and I was excited: I had an excuse to investigate this whole plant-based thing. Part of the program was giving up three things for ONE WEEK, and I had a whole group of people to support me in my decision. To any confused friends and family, I could say “I’m doing it for Yoga Hive!" … the perfect excuse!
So I gave up eggs, meat and dairy for one week. And then, when I realized how easy it was to get creative in the kitchen… one week became two. Two became six, and flash forward over two years later, I’m still eating my own version of a plant-based lifestyle and I couldn’t be happier, healthier, or feel more creative when it comes to what I cook in the kitchen. To really make sure I knew the ropes, I even got my certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition last year.
So why did I take me 32 years to discover a way of nourishing my body that feels so good? Two reasons:
These two reasons are my primary motivation for co-hosting The Yoga of Food — a 22-day fully supported plant-based challenge smack in the middle of Halloween and Thanksgiving, with Blaine — my plant-based muse and mentor! If it wasn’t for Blaine’s passion and willingness to answer ALL my questions (and more!), along with a handful of other Yoga Hive community members who also value a plant-based lifestyle (thank you, Erica and Shelle!), I would never have tried.
You're invited to try it with us!
And if you — like me — want to hear Blaine's story, click to hear her tell the story herself!
And please know: This challenge isn't about going cold turkey on the things that you love for the same reasons I did... or Blaine did it... or so many other folks have done it. This challenge is about YOU — spending 22 days with the support of a community to jump outside “what you know” about food to see if there’s another way of living and being that might feel good!
This, my friends, is how we live yoga.
The challenge officially starts Monday, and Blaine and I will host LIVE Zoom Q&As every Tuesday night for four weeks that will be recorded where we answer any questions you email us beforehand, or that you ask live on the Zoom call if you can make it. You don't need to be at all the Q&As, and you'll be paired up with an accountability partner next week to really have someone hold you accountable (and do the same for them!).
To prepare your fridge and pantry over the weekend, we’re sending out a whole beautiful manual with shopping lists, all the info you need to get started, and a pre-recorded welcome video from us.
If you're reading this over the weekend and you want to sign up anytime before Tuesday, no problem at all — enroll yourself and we’ll catch you up to speed as soon as we see you’ve registered.
If you have lingering questions, don't hesitate to reply to this email — I'd love to hear from you and start a conversation!
PLUS: Don't forget these changes to train with us... coming up soon!
PS — Registration is open for our spring retreats at Arctic Hive. We have 5 spots remaining for the first set of dates, and 4 spots for the second set of dates. Click here for all the details (and check out the northern lights a few nights ago during an Aurora Flow in the igloo!)
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.