Sean and I watched Our Social Dilemma on Netflix the other night — and I relearned what I already knew: Social media is wild.
Our newsfeeds aren't filled with our preferences like a tack board or a scrapbook. They're carefully curated to keep us glued to our devices, and surrounded with stories from people who think exactly like we do. With algorithms designed with one goal in mind (to learn everything about us), lest we forget:
Our attention is our most valuable currency.
Sean and I had a conversation about goats' milk the other day. A day later, what shows up on Sean's feed? He was offered an ad for a book about...
Wait for it...
... milking goats.
NAILED IT. We know these things happen — we know the algorithms are working and we laugh when we get profiled in situations like this. (No Mom, we're not getting goats.) And yet, as people who know things about things, how do we approach this from a yogic perspective?
I remember when I was in India a few years ago, and I was hung up on this — and I asked my teacher, Anand. His answer was so simple: Use technology to make yourself available.
That being said, exactly what are we making ourselves available to at any given moment? Are we consciously consuming information for the intent of learning and connection? Or mindlessly scrolling because we're bored? We can ask ourselves: What am I spending my attention on? What am I making myself available to?
As someone who has a hard time swinging fully in one direction (close my social accounts, go dark!) or the other (spend more time on social, it's fun!), I've turned to what I feel like is a happy medium. I'm constantly working on mastering my own attention so I can be available to joy. And not necessarily joy from seeing a friend's new baby on Facebook, or a puppy video on Instagram, or a nice email from a customer. Sure those things are joy-inducing... but I'm talking about being able to cultivate reasonless joy. Joy for the sake of joy. It's simple, sustainable, and keeps me from being vulnerable to forces out of my control. Anand puts it perfectly:
... for a lot of people the joy of life is like an intermission from the suffering in both directions. It only happens on a vacation, when having a piece of cake, a smoke, or whatever it may be. That kind of joy is only a little break from the rest of their life, the real purpose of which should be celebration and liberation.
— Anand Mehrotra, “This is That”
As we enter a month of debates, election news, fake news, real news, and more opinions that we ever cared for in the first place... remember:
Reasonless joy comes from the inside — and radiates out.
... and starting tonight, we'll show you how to wake up, cultivate joy from the inside, and free yourself from unconscious consumption.
Join Blaine and I in our fall Yoga Hive 21-day challenge, Journey into Joy, which meets once a week starting TONIGHT (Wednesdays) 6:30-8pm MST / 7:30-9pm CST — September 30 - October 14, 2020. Pay what you can for the course — either $22, $44 or $66. Learn how to incorporate yoga and mindfulness practices into your daily routine so you can breeze (and breathe!) through the next month and cultivate reasonless joy in your life — this course is filled with NEW content so if you've taken one of these before, you'll find new topics and homework! If you can’t make the in-person meetings, we’ll record all the sessions so you can participate at your own pace!
>>> Click here to sign up for Journey into Joy NOW!
Other things coming up (with registration links and details in the scroll!)
PS — I posted the photo from hiking in the Brooks Range below a few weeks ago on my Instagram page because when I saw this snap on Sean's phone after our hike, I couldn't believe the view that was right over my shoulder! A good reminder that when all you can do is keep your head down and focus on what’s right in front of you, you forget that vast wide world is right over your shoulder 😳🥰 Sometimes a glance over your shoulder is worth the view!
Last week, I dreamt worms came out of a tiny hole on my stomach.
Anytime Sean and I share our dreams with one another, we Google possible meanings. And although there are a lot of weird “meanings” of dreaming about worms, the one that resonated with me the most (yes, I get to choose!) is the release of negativity. As in, something that you were holding onto — that ultimately wasn’t part of your true nature — was finally ready to get the heck out of you.
Or me, I guess!
Today happens to be Sean and my 9th wedding anniversary (!), and I can’t help but think the worms, and this new chapter — especially our massive undertaking building guest cabins for Arctic Hive... it's our do-over.
In 2017, Sean and I built a small cabin on our property in Montana and filmed for a TV show, Building Off Grid, which still airs on Discovery Channel today.
Although it was our second off-grid build project after we built our yurt two years prior, it was a haphazard summer. We had three months to build something we had never done before, and there were a crew of very nice people around us at all times constantly watching for drama, for breakdown, for the slightest character blip that would be good for TV. And while I'm ultimately so happy with how that show turned out and how the crew portrayed our lives back then, I can’t help but look back through a dark lens. That year in our lives, and the aftermath, was rife with struggle, intensity and unnecessary stressors that we were both wrestling with in our own way. Although we don’t have any regrets, that year proved to be our most challenging yet... and the build project was smack in the middle, seemingly churning more and more stress by the minute.
This new arctic build project — which is arguably a million times more difficult than the Montana house for so many reasons — although at first carried some of the same harshness, now feels like our chance to do things over on our own terms. Our own timeline. Our own production schedule. We’ve spent more time together as a team, building a space together, in the last six months than we have in the last six years. And I can’t help but find gratitude for that brief period of darkness years ago —for if we hadn’t felt the pain and intensity of that last time, the relative contrast of ease, fun, and light this time around wouldn’t be as meaningful, or as noticeable. After all...
Gratitude comes from our ability to cognize contrast within our own life experience.
The highs are only high because we know the depth of the lows. And as the highs get higher, so, too, the lows get lower. This is part of the plan — this is the whole objective! As the contrasts continue to deepen all around us, we learn to recognize the lows for what they are, and we can more quickly pull ourselves out of the funk and into our true nature. We find gratitude for where we are — and we honor where we've been. Because every piece of our life puzzle has contributed to bringing us to now.
During this fall equinox season, as we celebrate the passage of time and the changing of the seasons, I find myself mirroring the phase nature is in, within my own life. I've just wrapped up a decade of life with Sean, and a few weeks ago, I celebrated my 34th lap around the sun. A new phase feels good... and I’m brimming with gratitude for my life, and for each of you who we get to serve in so many ways through Yoga Hive.
All it took was some worms to see all this!
Wherever you find yourself, please remember that the external world doesn’t dictate your internal circumstances. Although contrast is everywhere, we can stay focused on the contrast within our own life, and use our emotions as clues to guide us toward the next step. Yoga and mindfulness are timeless technologies that give us the wherewithal to harness our power from within to experience life more fully. Not sure where to start? Yoga Hive can help...
Join Blaine and I in our fall Yoga Hive 21-day challenge, Journey into Joy, which meets once a week on Wednesday nights from 6:30-8pm MST / 7:30-9pm CST — September 30 - October 14, 2020. We start in a week! If you can’t make the in-person meetings, we’ll record all the sessions so you can participate at your own pace! More details below.
I'm also SO excited to announce a brand new advanced yoga training happening with me on Zoom this December - the Energetic Body Master Training. This 30 hour course meets on Zoom with me for one long weekend, in addition to a variety of prep work before the training, and 20 hours of post-training homework that can be completed at your own pace. Scroll for the details!
Other things coming up (with registration links and details in the scroll!)
Sending you so much love, today and always!
One of our current teacher trainees described her mood this past weekend: She woke up feeling like a dragon, breathing fire… that so resonated with me. Fiery energy has been abundant in my emotional world lately, and unfortunately, it has been literally abundant in the Pacific Northwest as the wildfires rage on.
So as Blaine and I sat down this past week to plan our annual fall 21-day challenge for Yoga Hive, we were tossing around themes, acknowledging what had been coming up lately. What do we need more of as 2020 draws to a close? What turns chaos and fire into something useful?
The answer was simple: Joy.
Journey into Joy.
Because fire has been present in our day-to-day, it’s been burning up so many things we were ready to let go of, and we’ve found so much space for new things. New pathways. New adventures. Our willingness to detach and discover joy in every moment has never been so fulfilling, and necessary.
The truth is: Joy is power.
(More on the 21-day challenge below!)
The first time this idea — Joy is power — really stuck with me was a few years ago. Sean and I were on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, looking for an off-grid property to call our own. We were staying with our friend, Mike, who has lived in Homer his whole life. Although we had a tiny budget, we were crossing our fingers we’d find land and an off-grid structure. It was a long shot, but we met with a realtor and went on a drive to see a few places in our budget.
It was like House Hunters gone wrong. One house had a rotten foundation and smelled like mold. One house wasn’t actually on the map — we couldn’t even find it. And the third house I’ll never forget. We pulled in the driveway, and I remember the Realtor saying, “Now you’ll have to use your imagination on this one…” (Never a good start.) He began explaining the features, and said, “And I should probably tell you that the last owner died in the home.”
“… and he wasn’t discovered for two years.”
NO THANK YOU.
We were defeated and called Mike to debrief. He said, “You know, I thought about this cabin that my parents’ friends built years ago. It might just be perfect for you guys. I’ll call them and see if they’re thinking about selling.”
Mike called his family friends — Gert and Floyd, and lo and behold they had just decided to sell their ~300 square foot log cabin. We walked out to the cabin the following day (3 miles from the road system in Fritz Creek) and decided it was perfect.
We drove to meet Gert and Floyd that night, and I noticed around her home there were references to the word “joy” everywhere. I’ll never forget how Gert — a firecracker in her 80s who is the embodiment of joy, herself — sat at her kitchen table and turned the pages of her scrapbook as she told the stories of how at 65 — just shy of 20 years prior, she and Floyd had snowmobiled in all the logs and hand-built this cabin. The stories of their adventure were captivating. I remember thinking, Is this real life?
When we told them we’d be honored to buy their cabin (because of course, it was EXACTLY within our budget), they asked for us all to join hands and they said a prayer around that kitchen table that this serendipitous match would be for the good of all concerned, and would (most importantly) bring us joy as a couple in this new adventure. What way to seal a real estate transaction!
We went back to Mike’s that night, feeling excited… and I pulled a card from my Danielle Laporte Truthbomb card deck and do you know what it said? I took a picture of it that night...
“Joy is power.”
This phrase has guided my life once before… and it will guide us all again this year. I hope that we — as a Yoga Hive community — can cultivate more joy in our lives, regardless of the pain we’ve felt of late, regardless of the uncertainty in the air, and regardless of what’s to come in 2020.
Sending you so much love and JOY this week.
Grandpa checked out of his body in the early morning hours of July 4th. He was NINETY years old, which is incredible — nearly a century of life! I was asked to write his obituary, so I was able to have an intimate conversation with my grandmother in remembrance of him and everything he stood for.
The whole experience got me thinking about the past… and how it shapes our experience of the present.
For me, one of my favorite parts of my past — specifically being from Wisconsin — is all the weird phrases people from Wisconsin say. When my own Midwest slang occasionally pops up in a conversation, I’m accustomed to the silent, confused stare and I quickly clarify. But when I first moved out west, I had no idea these phrases were so regional! I remember the first time I realized not everyone says “a horse a piece” or “geez louise” or calls a Pontoon Boat a “float boat.” I couldn’t believe it!
There’s a hilarious comedian named Charlie Berens that has built his career on this — I’m just going to link these words in case you want a good laugh along with instructions on my grandpa’s favorite cocktail, the Old Fashioned. That video is actually what family gatherings sound like sometimes! This week, I learned one of Grandpa’s phrases was “Sprinkle the Infield!” which he would use when instructing a bartender to buy a round of drinks for everyone at the bar. I love that, and I love how it speaks to the sort of guy my grandfather was.
Now, the vernacular and mannerisms are a source of pride, but I wasn’t always that way. When I was in college, I realized how I talked was different. I even succeeded at smothering my thick Midwest accent in favor of a more “neutral” sound.
I wish I would have been prouder of what makes me unique. But alas, that was the lesson I learned over time, and the lesson I was reminded of this weekend, as I remember a man who played such an important role in the evolution of our family.
The more I study yoga, the more I’m certain that the way we’re raised — the ups, downs and everything in between — is uniquely designed to equip us with the tenacity to move through life, and serve this planet exactly how we’re meant to. We can either smother it down and "forget" where we come from, or honor our past because it ultimately got us to here.
Nothing is a mistake. We are not a mistake. We cannot make the "wrong choice" in life... there are just choices, period.
There are things that toughen us up. There are events that teach us hard lessons, and others that run us through a barrage of emotions. We experience moments of bliss, joy, sadness, and at times when we’re really struggling and stuck, we suffer — sometimes for long periods of time.
But as we refine our understanding of what it means to live, we’re able to look in the review mirror, and change the lens through which we view our past. Thus, the past is changeable. Of course, the facts don’t change, but over time as we witness the ripple effect of each life event — whether one day after, or one year after, or ten years down the road — we see how even the most traumatic events and monumental moments actually shape us and teach us.
Easier said that done, right? The key here is WILLINGNESS. As some point, to move forward from our past, we must have a willingness to learn and evolve. Another word for evolve? Change. Thus, the reason anything happens at all is so we can change, if we choose. Change is the entire point. If we’re not changing with every step of the way, we’re not learning. And when we’re not learning, we’re stuck. And when we’re stuck, this is suffering.
My teacher, Anand, puts it simply: “Evolve or suffer.” The choice is ours.
So, as I see myself and my family changing with this latest shift, I’m comforted. This is the point! I am reminded that we haven’t lost him. Although we cannot find Grandpa anymore in his physical form, it’s impossible to lose everything my grandfather gave to our family (so please don't be sorry for me!). Our memories and our willingness to learn from the past keeps him alive one ripple at a time, and our lives are forever changed because of the life he lived.
Sending you all love, light, and good health,
I have a family member that I love to debate with. Whenever I visit him, politics come up — and normally this is where everyone’s heart skips a beat and the eggshells come out. Not for me! I love the opportunity to voice my view and listen to his. He and I know we’ll "agree to disagree,” but on a deeper level, both of us enjoy the chance to share viewpoints and be heard.
To me, those conversations with family (where I know my viewpoint won’t change anyone’s mind) are practice... practice for when I really need the words to make an impact elsewhere. As a yoga teacher and a writer, I know I need to practice getting my words out whenever I have the chance. The more often I try them out, the more likely they are to carry conviction when they matter most.
In those conversations, I’m detached from the idea of converting anyone, so I’m generously listening. Rather than mentally formulating my next point while he's talking, I’m hearing his view. When I speak, I try to speak to him (based on what he said), rather than AT him... I modify what I say so that he might be able to hear me. And regardless of the outcome, I chalk the whole experience up as a chance to brush up on my listening skills, practice tailoring my words, and ultimately learning how to love my family members for who they are with whatever beliefs they have in that moment.
I know that if my feathers get ruffled, that's on me. That's my attachment to a certain expectation I have for how I think he should act. Of course I could choose to not engage all together... but deep down, I enjoy the challenge of learning how to speak directly to someone, not at them.
It's exactly the process each of our yoga teacher trainees goes through at Yoga Hive. They practice their first custom-sequenced class until it's "just right" for their final test-out. Then when they teach that first class, it’s the most amazing thing to witness! We give love, feedback, and they acknowledge what they’d do differently next time. If they decide to teach post-training (some don’t—it’s not a requirement) they refine, teach, and refine again. It's a lifelong journey, and lifelong learning. As Yoga Hive teachers, when we stop learning, we stop teaching.
So this idea of "marinating" on how we feel and practicing our words applies to all aspects of life.
My teacher, Anand, always says: "If you can't explain something simply, then you don't truly understand it."
If we are having debates with the goal of studying ourselves, practicing our conviction, and coupling that with truly listening to our world (as opposed to a goal of preaching, converting, or forcing an opinion)... that's yoga. Whether you're on a yoga mat, or discussing politics on a couch with your impassioned relative... doesn't matter. It's all yoga — the art of hearing both sides. Being a generous listener. Sitting with the information. Pausing in stillness. Speaking from the heart.
Or when in doubt, just stop talking and get your butt to a yoga class :-)
PS — Come stand in solidarity with Yoga Hive, Love Yoga, and Shanti this Saturday in Depot Park. We're coming together to do 108 Sun Salutations in honor of the Summer Solstice in solidarity with Black and Indigenous People of Color. All registration funds from class (pay what you can!) will be donated to the Montana Racial Equity Project. Scroll for details and a link to sign up.
PPS — We're promoting a Virtual Workshop, also for the summer solstice, from one of our lovely Yoga Hive Wisconsin teachers, Danita. It's in the afternoon this Saturday! Scroll below for details.
It’s hard to know where to begin.
Things are hard and messy these days — there’s no debate on that. The current wave of urgency to act NOW is a familiar feeling for me. After I met Sean, I started my journey as an advocate for people with type 1 diabetes. (I am not comparing chronic disease to civil rights, nor am I implying this makes me some “authority” in today’s world… this is just how my story begins).
Nine years ago this month, Sean and I were on our first trip to Whitefish, Montana. I remember telling friends and family that nothing could stop us from moving there as soon as possible.
The only thing holding us back? We had to figure out health insurance.
Since I’ve known him, Sean has lived with type 1 diabetes — an autoimmune disease with no cure where your body doesn’t produce insulin, the hormone needed for survival and to take in nutrients from food. His pancreas is broken. He didn’t cause this for himself. It just… happens.
In other words: He has a preexisting condition.
I — not knowing anything about life with chronic disease — naively thought I could call up a heath insurance provider and sweet talk my way into getting us a family policy. Then magically, Sean would quit his job as the director of competitive snow sports, and we would move to Whitefish and have health insurance, and the world would be good!
I’ll never forget that phone call. I explained to the gentleman at Select Health that I needed a family policy because we would be leaving our jobs with health insurance to move out of Utah.
At first, he was like, “No problem Ms. Busby! I can help you with that!” He proceeded to take all my information down, asking questions, creating our profile (and I’m thinking, see? Told you so!) … until he asked, “Do either you or your husband have any pre-existing health conditions?”
“Yes. Sean has type 1 diabetes.”
“Oh, I’m sorry Ms. Busby but I can’t offer your family a policy at this time.”
I feigned shock, even though deep down I knew this was coming. I needed to hear him say it. I asked, “You mean to tell me just because my husband was born with a disease with no cure that he isn’t eligible for a policy with you? What do you expect us to do?” (As if this man would have my answer.)
“Correct ma’am. Your husband should not quit his job.”
“But we’re moving.”
“Then you shouldn’t move until you or he has a job that provides health insurance.”
The way I heard his advice? Stay put. Sit down. Be complacent. I was stunned. It moved me. I knew from that moment forward I was committed to doing everything I could to support the type 1 diabetes community, in Sean’s honor. I knew it deep in my bones. Kids with this disease should know they can accomplish their wildest dreams, despite being denied access to basic things like affordable health insurance. I’ve been around the world hosting camps for the non profit Riding On Insulin, and have spent time speaking to members of congress alongside Sean on Capitol Hill about the importance of research for type 1 and access to life saving medical supplies for seniors.
Since that fateful year, advocacy has paved the way for legislation prohibiting insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions and providing access to life saving technologies for some of our at risk populations. Taking a stand is incredibly important, and change is possible when we’re passionate for the long haul. This takes love in our hearts for the cause. Not fear of inaction. Guilt for past wrongs. Or shame for “who we are.” True change comes when we dig deep and see that love is universal. Love is human nature.
But how do we know the right action to take when injustice is fresh in our minds and time is of the essence?
In the yogic teachings, we learn about dharma—your own unique path. Not a career, necessarily. Not “your purpose”. But the path you uniquely walk. Yoga teaches us that it’s better to strive on our own path, rather than to succeed in the path of another. Nothing is ever lost in following our own path. But when we engage in competition with someone else’s path, that action breeds fear and insecurity.
So, we must ask ourselves: Are we living our own path — from love, from that feeling deep down in our bones — or following someone else’s path, out of our own fear/guilt/shame? As we all struggle to determine the right thing to do at this time, instead of looking OUT to what everyone else is doing, look IN.
Yes, read books, get educated, take courses, talk to people, share your feelings, get advice, stand up for what you believe in. Do all those things. But when it comes to your personal right action, look inside. You will know what to do and it will be authentic and correct. When we do what others are doing (be it inaction or action) without examining our own role in the situation, we don’t feel fulfilled. We experience disconnect because our actions aren’t in alignment with our own deep knowing. Ultimately, we end up feeling even more separate than before we took action because we’ve behaved in a way that's separate from ourselves.
This is some deep work! So my recommendation? Do the work, look inside, trust yourself and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! (And if you need yoga and meditation in your life to sort that out, you know where to find us!)
Here are Yoga Hive, we have a stance and some action items:
In light with love,
Have you ever noticed that nature doesn't stop when a virus hits the planet?
Storms still roll through. Birds still wake us up in the morning. Tiny little ants still do their job, hauling food back to their community. Even when they get totally smashed by a human hiking in the woods, they simply begin again.
Even though it feels like our lives have come to a standstill, the world is still turning. Nature is constantly showing us that nothing waits for humans to "get it together." Life — as they say — goes on. The world (nature, humans, animals and everything in between) begins again, in every moment.
I was reading back to some of my newsletters from many months ago, and I found myself thinking: Wow, I had NO IDEA what was in store for me, or Yoga Hive. There I was mid-January, building studios, opening spaces, welcoming in community members alongside our teaching teams... not a clue in the world what was in store in the coming months.
And you know what? This is no different than now. I have no idea what's in store for us tomorrow. Or next week. Or next year. The birds were chirping then. The birds are chirping now. The news reported on chaos then. The news reports on chaos now. I was happy then. I was happy now. I was tired then. I am tired now.
The circumstances have changed — but you know what? The ant's entire kingdom gets wiped out with one boot print. Lets do as the ant does: Begin again, rebuild, and learn. Our circumstances and challenges change daily, virus or not. So instead of telling you about our "new normal," I will suggest that normal isn't worth our time. Normal is not how we do business here at Yoga Hive.
Change is all there is. Lets get present to now, and elegantly begin again.
Stopped meditating because you couldn't find time? Begin again.
Stopped taking Zoom yoga because [insert excuse here]? Begin again.
Stopped making time for yourself because the world demanded you focus on everyone else for 3 months? Begin again.
No need for the drama... the stories... just begin again, and put one foot in front of the other. Do your best. Learn from your mistakes. Trust that something more magical is always right around the corner (and be unattached to what it looks like!). Feel your emotions and allow them to move through you. These are the ways of the yogi — you've got this! And if you need LIVE support in the flesh, we've got you :-) Summer schedule starts June 1st.
We've spent a good deal of time working out how we can all get back together and share vibes in 3D again, and I'll tell you: This plan is not the new normal — in fact, you won't hear me say that phrase ever again (starting now).
This plan is a change from how the studio(s) used to be... and this plan is changeable for the future. Lets all be in the flow, have compassion in our hearts, and show up to Yoga Hive in whatever way makes the most sense for the greater good. Please read our new policies below (or click here to view online) IN THEIR ENTIRETY before signing up for class so that we can all be on the same page starting Monday!
*Quick highlight on masks— because this seems to be a hot topic: Because it's difficult to social distance in our small reception area, we request that yogis bring their own mask, and wear it in the studio anytime they're NOT on their yoga mat. Once everyone is on their mats and class is ready to start, the instructor will cue everyone to remove their masks, if they wish. Instructors will be teaching without masks. Because we are all at least 8 feet apart in the studio, we feel as if the regulations allow for mask-free yoga practice. This is our stance, and we're sticking to it for now. If this doesn't feel authentic to you, we have included a number of outdoor classes you may enjoy, most days of the week!
A few other exciting things coming up:
Sending all my love to each of you for reading this far (and beyond!)
We're opening the Whitefish studio on June 1st! HOME STRETCH, people!
Or is it?
That's the funny thing about COVID-19. We're making moves and setting dates and *thinking* about venturing beyond the boundaries of what we call "home." But is any of that for certain? No. Could that all change in a heartbeat? Yes.
Nothing is for certain — and I know we feel rattled because of the last few months, but lest we forget: Nothing in life is certain, nor has it ever been.
It's got a ring to it! More info forthcoming about our plan of action next week, with a full summer schedule to boot, including indoor classes, outdoor classes, paddleboard yoga and more!
That being said, are there a million questions yet to be answered about how this is going to work? Of course.. I was listening to my teacher, Anand, speak a few nights ago, and he spoke about questions. Specifically, asking questions – and what questions we ask can reveal so much about our internal state of being.
Whatever questions we ask, our life becomes the answers.
Sit with that for a minute. And think about what questions you've been asking yourself lately. "Will I ever travel again?" "Where will my next paycheck come from?" "Will I ever get better at being patient with my kids?"
Once we ask these questions — whether mundane musings or insightful inquiries — our awareness goes searching for the answers. Our mind starts to make meaning out of anything it can, from fake news to first-hand accounts. And as such, our life becomes what we focus on.
If we ask questions from fearful awareness, our life becomes a fearful place. If we as questions with severe and unrealistic optimism, we can miss the quick, simple steps that cut a painful journey in half.
So what questions are you asking? And what answers is your awareness seeking? Use these observations as a clue into your own mental state!
(And if you have questions about what our "grand opening" will look like, wait till we send you an email next week! <--- See what I did there? Ha!)
Me? I've been asking myself how Yoga Hive's 300-hour training is going to manifest for over a year now... and the time is finally right! I'm so excited to share some really big teachings with our tribe this fall.
I am SO excited to finally share a summer studio schedule with you next week! Until then...
This weekend is the final weekend of yoga teacher training for our Montana-based crew. And as I reflect back on the last few months (and where they went?), I am reminded that everything in life is impermanent. Every yoga teacher training — however magical they all are — eventually comes to an end. (And our 100% online YTT begins June 3rd - click for details!)
In the same way, I dropped off our 15-year-old Weimaraner with Sean’s parents this past weekend. Daisy will live out her golden years sunbathing and getting SO much love with our family in warmer climates. Our time with our pets — however magical it is — eventually comes to an end.
In the same way, as so many of you know, we made the difficult decision to permanently close our Kalispell and Columbia Falls studios as of May 1st, and carry on in Montana with our flagship location in Whitefish. Every business — however magical it is for however long it lasts — eventually comes to an end.
Sensing a trend here?
This idea of "impermanence" is a foundational teaching of yoga. Everything that is created will be destroyed. And if we let go of the dramatic semantics of the word “DESTROYED” (e.g. Game of Thrones visualizations) we can see how true this really is.
So then the question: Why — when a life, a business, a job, a pet, etc. comes to an end — do we struggle to move on?
Because of our attachment to the way things are. Or the way things were. Or the way we think things “should” be. When we dive into yoga as a lifestyle, we learn over and over again that as we detach from outcomes, and detach from our fixed ideas about how things are, we can wake up to this truth… the cycle of life.
We can wake up to the ultimate impermanence of literally everything.
We find this principle is everywhere in nature. She changes daily, hourly, moment-to-moment. Just as a day in the mountains can bring showers, hail, snow, wind and sunshine (plus clouds, obviously), change is abundant. Weather isn’t permanent. Seasons aren’t permanent.
Understanding impermanence is REQUIRED for our sanity as human beings. If we don't realize that everything comes to an end, we get confused when things go away, or when people leave our lives. And when confusion becomes chronic, that's when suffering begins.
With the studios closing, I’ve been asked more times than I can count, “How are you feeling about it?” My first instinct is to feed into this idea that I’m devastated and struggling because of course I didn’t want to close two studios. Who wants to do something like that?
But then I remember the truth: I know this decision — like all endings — is just a pathway to more freedom for me, and ultimately more freedom for every human being touched by Yoga Hive, and who will be touched by Yoga Hive in the future. And because we can’t QUITE see what that freedom looks like yet from our unique vantage points, this is where trust comes in.
Every moment holds a spiritual invitation for us. (And YES. I just said the S-word. Stay with me.) The moment when we close two of three Montana yoga studios, when Daisy moved to a warmer climate, and even yoga teacher training coming to an end… if we forget about the spiritual invitation for us to dive deeper, we get lost in crisis and suffering when we encounter an ending. Every ending becomes a monumental problem until our entire life is filled with them.
But if we accept the invite and metaphorically RSVP to the yogic teachings, we start to see how this impermanence is just a fact. It’s coming, and we don’t need to wait for it, or fear it. We welcome it with open arms, we shed our tears and feel our pain in the process, BECAUSE we trust that what’s coming down the road is exactly what we need (even if we can’t imagine it yet!).
So hang in there, everyone. And keep practicing! You’ll find us on Zoom for now — but we have plans in the works and are paying close attention to both city, county and state regulations! We will have outdoor classes to start with (weather pending!) soon! Keep following along. In the meantime, some notes for you:
I can’t say I’ve ever written an email to you guys with puddles of tears in my eyes, but here I am. Guess there’s a first for everything.
I want more than anything to tell you this in person.
In light of the financial pressures of COVID-19, I’ve made the decision to permanently close our Kalispell and Columbia Falls Yoga Hive locations. Moving forward, the Whitefish studio will be our Montana flagship, we'll have our one location in Wisconsin, and Arctic Hive will hold strong as a destination for upcoming yoga + adventure retreats in the Brooks Range.
Wednesday night (the night I wrote this, just 24 hours after coming to this decision), I stood at my kitchen sink after a long day of phone calls, list making, and number crunching. I hadn’t cried yet, and I kept thinking to myself that it hadn’t hit me.
I was staring at a sink filled with dishes. I put on music, I started cleaning, and I felt off… slightly nauseous. Wasn’t hungry, wasn’t sick. Just felt weird. And as I washed, and scrubbed, and rinsed, I felt my heart welling up with emotion at the symbolism.
Cleaning up a beautiful mess.
In my mind, I imagined your faces as you stared at your screen in disbelief, as you read this email. Thinking to yourself: NO. WAY. My yoga home is gone. THIS VIRUS SUCKS. This can’t be happening.
The tears started falling. Maybe yours are too. My cry was not a pity party. Not by a long shot. This was a good, hearty cry that went on for a few hours, on and off, as I energetically honored, and released the incredible 4 and 3 years (respectively) we’ve shared together in collectively four different studio spaces between Cfalls and Kalispell. The movement we’ve made. The groups we’ve cried in. The beautiful yellow and blue walls that sheltered us from the wild outside. Over 75 teachers who’ve come, some gone, and served as leaders of thousands of yogis from near and far. The hundreds of cups of tea, kombucha, and Coffee Traders coffee we’ve collectively shared will never be forgotten.
And please don’t be sorry.
I believe we should save it for when we absolutely mean it. When we’ve screwed up. When we’ve inflicted suffering on someone else, and we see our wrong.
No one here has screwed up. For me, tears are the way I release emotion. There's no other way to get it out! It’s exhausting — and requires a million kleenexes — but at the end, I always feel better because I’ve let it go.
You see, none of us are exempt from pain. And right now, I share your pain. I feel this pain — and if I’ve learned anything through the tender moments I’ve spent with so many of you within Yoga Hive walls:
Our pain has led each of us to our own version of transformation. It’s a required prerequisite to transformation.
We might not see it right away, but the more times we realize the pain happens FOR us, the more times we learn to expect it… and to know there’s light coming.
Pain is inevitable. Change is inevitable. But transformation it’s an optional step that only comes to us when we let go of expectations. When we let go of attachment to “what was,” in order to make space for something new.
By being sorry for pain like this (which I will say is distinctly different than chronic suffering), it’s like being sorry for the journey. Being sorry for the uncomfortable. Being sorry for the times in our lives that make us who we are. And truth is? I’m not sorry for any of this. I’ve done my best with the resources I have. You’ve done your best with yours. We shared millions of incredible moments together. We’re all destined for greatness as we open up space for something new on a collective level.
Before I wrote this email, I scrolled Facebook for a minute and read that the summer camp I grew up working at won’t be holding camp this summer. (The instigator of the second wave of tears as I started to write this email). The feeling of camp ending for the summer is one I know intimately. But the feeling of summer camp ending for a long while? That’s a new one.
One that hits home for our Yoga Hive community.
But just like summer camp, your yoga home will someday open again in Whitefish. Your yoga home will still continue with tons of LIVE Zoom classes every week with some of your familiar Yoga Hive faces — tech experience not required! Your yoga home lives within our new baby for on-demand streaming, Yoga Hive Connect.
But most of all, your yoga home will never leave you. Because it doesn’t require a particular teacher. It doesn’t require our distinct yellow and blue walls, essential oils diffusing, or incense burning. If you’ve learned anything from us, I hope it’s this: Your yoga home will never be lost because it’s within you. Sure, all the Yoga Hive touches are nice. And helpful when we’re really needing guidance. But over time, we realize that everything we need is within, and in the same way, Yoga Hive is nothing without Y-O-U.
And so I leave you with my deepest respect and gratitude for all the words you and I will speak/text/email about this — and all the words that will go unspoken.
Thank you for four years, Columbia Falls.
Kalispell, thank you for nearly three and a half.
Whitefish: We’re looking at you for support as we all take a collective deep (DEEP) breath and nourish this yoga home for many years to come.
I personally invite all of you, throughout the valley, to make a trek over to Whitefish (after we open, of course) to join together as one Yoga Hive community in our Flagship space — you'll always have the option to practice with us from the comfort of your home through Zoom as we make online access a permanent offering within the studio. It's an honor to continue to serve you and I'm sure we'll come up with some creative outdoor opportunities to practice together across the valley over the summer. Thank you for making Yoga Hive such an incredible place to work, teach, and grow.
Be on the lookout for an online store featuring props, bundles, merch and more early next week, available for curbside pickup.
In light (and a few final cleansing tears),
PS - If you have questions about an existing membership or punch pass you have on file, please reach out to our manager Brittany at firstname.lastname@example.org. She'll help make it right!
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.